Crowdfunding projects is an interesting idea, but I guess it will be challenging to implement. For example, take reviews of products under NDA which go live at product launch. Examples:
1. For example, take launch of a new CPU or GPU.
The way it works now: CPU/GPU vendor contacts TR and sends them a review sample *before* release and asks them to sign an NDA to not release product review before set date. TR tests and releases review at a set date.
Proposed: Obviously you can't mention them publicly before NDA expires. This will mean that TR will propose projects once the CPu/GPU is released publicly and then start work on the review at an even later date. I am also not sure if CPU/GPU companies will be interested in sending the review samples so late, so in many cases each article will also require investment in terms of $$$s to buy the component. This will significantly raise the price of the review. At the same time, review will be late and not sure a lot of people will be interested in reading a review 15 days after everyone else has already published. Sure, TR has been late at a few reviews, and many loyal readers would rather wait for their review, but will *enough* paying readers be interested in such a thing?
Or even worse, think about launches for which companies fly the reporters to a different city to brief them on the product. This is again all under NDA. If TR editors do not undertake the project until the product is launched and they get funded by readers, they miss these briefings and miss their chance to ask good questions to the product folks.
2. News: Will a lot of people be willing to pay for just news?
3. I am not totally sure I will always be interested in a review at the time it is proposed. Sometimes I am buying, say, a new hard disk and I go to TR and find info. Whereas if they ask me for money to fund a HDD review right now, I might just not feel too interested. Basically, I don't know upfront which of the proposed projects/reviews i am actually interested in or might want to refer to in the future.
Overall, I feel that I would rather just pay a subscription fee and let the editors decide on the content they want to work on. I am not opposed to crowdfunding projects, but not sure if it is practical. If I want a product reviewed, I would rather make my voice heard through forums, comments or email etc. OTOH, perhaps they can add a tipping system for articles. Whether or not I am a subscriber, if i like an article, perhaps I should be able to leave a tip on it. This can be a direct feedback for them about which areas they want to expand on in the future. Tips change the equation by changing rewards from apriori to postpriori (fancy words, not sure if use correct