The Online Citizen may be low on funds but has no plans to shut down

SINGAPORE - The company, The Opinion Collaborative Ltd, behind sociopolitical website The Online Citizen (TOC) may be low on funds but it would not be shutting the site down anytime soon.

Director of The Opinion Collaborative Ltd, Mr Howard Lee, told the Straits Times that the company has a business plan but declined to elaborate.

In light of recent crowdfunding success stories, the company has appealed for public donations for the second time in eight months, to supplement its "extremely low funds".

The current appeal posted on TOC explained that subscriptions "have not been forthcoming and donations have dwindled". In fact, Mr Lee explained that the company is struggling on "fumes and passion" to sustain its operations.

To cope with the situation, the editorial team will channel efforts to focus on raising funds instead of producing content from this week onwards.

Although there will be lesser content starting from this week, Mr Lee is hopeful that the increased efforts to raise funds would help to cushion operating expenses, which tallied at $37,673 last year.

TOC's donations reached a high in three years ago, but fell after it was labelled a political organisation the same year.

Earlier this year, the company introduced a subscription-based model, promising exclusive content for $180 per year.

With only 50 subscribers to date, a massive difference from their initial target of 600, the model is clearly an unsuccessful attempt, reported The Straits Times.

Mr Lee acknowledges the poor response and said: "It is fair to say that Singaporeans won't really subscribe for free content. The challenge is on us to find out how to make our content more palatable to our subscribers."