Given the content available and the affectedly simple presentation, it's hard not to see the new Sarah Palin Channel as simply a moneymaking enterprise.

Her competitor Glenn Beck's vertically integrated TV-website-dogwhistle aggregator, the Blaze, takes in $36m per year before ad revenue. And, as both Rick Perlstein and Alex Pareene have noted, one of the animating principles of the conservative movement over the last 40 years has been soaking every last dollar out of people whose intellectual incuriosity has never been an impediment to further rage and paranoia. It's why places like WorldNetDaily run obnoxious flash ads in columns that, top to bottom, tell you to buy and hoard gold, to click here to join a paid newsletter that outlines the UN/Agenda 21 plans to annex Joe's Crab Shack, and how your $25 check to FreedomWorks is the only thing standing between repealing Obamacare or toiling in the lesbian nose-earring mines while wearing Soviet-style tracksuits that give everyone frontbutt.

I wanted to see for myself, but I still can't even sign in for the free sample of the Sarah Palin Channel. Each attempt ends with a server error and my desultorily trying to glean something from available teaser videos.

sarah palin error
Waiting for Palin, in error.

I try different browsers – Chrome, Firefox, Safari – and the social media login options of Facebook, Google+ and Twitter on each. Nothing works. I briefly consider logging into a relative's AOL account and entering the keywords "the sadness of constantly frightened old white people", but that seems too general. I even attempt to find a YouTube mashup of reverse mortgage videos to watch during an NCIS marathon on USA, figuring I might not even miss Palin TV.

Free samples usually work better than this.

Ordinarily, I'd be satisfied with the statement one Twitter wag issued regarding this predicament – "Wow, even her server quits" – but I am here to learn. I crave content, and I have already used up all the other content on the internet. I am discontented.

I begin to suspect that the free sample is not for me. Maybe the website knows who I am. If you've ever done drugs – and you have – you know the first hit's free so you get hooked. There you were, going through life like a stupefied Commie drone, until you got lit up by some smilin' Wasilla sunshine, and now you can't get enough.

That won't work on me. I grew up in America in the 1980s. I got a certificate from a Drug Abuse Resistance Education class every year from ages eight to 15. I know what happens with free samples: you drop out, your tree house falls into gloomy disrepair like the Fall of the Secret Hideout of Usher, you wear army surplus jackets for some reason, and the girl you like begins holding hands with someone who has an Osmonds haircut. Instinctively, I know getting into a real heavy Palin habit will make me like that guy who took too much PCP and sneaked onto Moffett Airfield and thought the propellor on a C-130 was going so slow that he could touch it, and then he, like, walked into it and went tsssssst and turned into red mist like that guy Kid Sampson when McWatt's plane got hit by a wind gust, and it totally happened – my brother said he went to high school with him.

Still, I press on, desperate for my fix.

The non-video portions of the free site are as much of a mess as the video servers. After a banner photo of Alaska, the site background fades to an ugly gray – the default-menu-bar gray of a Macintosh Classic II from 1993 – which seems an odd choice for a site ostensibly run by people in the mainstream media. The top banner logo makes a little more sense: SARAH PALIN CHANNEL in slanted block letters next to a star – suggesting that maybe this site was repurposed from SARAH PALIN VAN LINES or SARAH PALIN AUTO BODY. (The owners of Wal-Mart MURPHY USA gas stations are either going to be incredibly flattered or a little bit angry.)

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Sarah Palin's logo looks a little familiar.

Beneath the lead video, you find "content" in white rectangles, headed by blocks of red and blue in a kind of dumbed-down HuffPo vibe. It's more Townhall than Daily Caller, although presently it lacks the frenetic flash animations of both that tell you to PUT THIS NOOSE ON OBAMA TO WIN A FREE iPAD or FIT EACH BENGHAZI BODY INTO A COFFIN TO WIN THIS GUN WE FOUND OUTSIDE.

Sarah Palin's website makes you wonder if there is a kind of deliberately shitty aesthetic to conservative fundraising vehicles – perhaps a notion that anything too slickly packaged is redolent of elite influence. A glossy, flawless personal site with smooth drop-down menus screams, "I don't need money, and I don't need you. I'm already too much of a commodity".

But the Sarah Palin Channel displays the kind of humility that Palin herself desperately tries to effect between 24-hour news appearances, entertainment TV appearances, book tours and Conservative Political Action Committee speeches during which people hoot after every line. If Palin's followers are the sorts of people who either literally or spiritually still want to sign the guestbook on a website after choosing whether to view it "with frames" or "without frames", then the Sarah Palin Channel's clunkiness works.

I eventually break down and order a month's subscription for the site for $9.95, revealing … well, not much else, really. Easily the most original content comes from Scrabble™ fan and Palin momma Sally with her Word of the Day – they are somewhat politically useful vocab words like "factitious" instead of outright cultural/political warfare words like "Burpo" and "Benghazi".

The rest of the content is a bit more warmed-over: there are Palin speeches, like this one in Denver a few days ago, which you can already find on YouTube. Palin's Case for Obama's Impeachment contains a link to, where the case was published 18 days ago. There's a link to Bristol Palin's blog – already hosted on another site.

Most of the genuinely original-seeming content comes in the form of behind-the-scenes videos leading up to or following things you'd prefer to watch (if you enjoy watching Palinania), like the Denver speech. The overall effect of the Sarah Palin Channel, though, is like buying a $30 double-CD release from a '70s band that gives you one disc of their C-grade greatest hits and a bunch of studio noodling everyone declined to release for the last 40 years for dozens of excellent reasons.

Still, there are some aspects of Palin's channel to recommend it to the devoted movement conservative that isn't necessarily already a fan of hers – especially its obviating the need to resort to Palinology. Like Kremlinology, Palinology is a discipline that responds to an almost total want of coherent information via examining the remaining words in the way one interprets especially terse poetry in college. The Kremlin did it on purpose, of course – which makes it more reasonable – but Palin has always felt a kind of kinship with Russian inscrutability.

Speaking of the Russians, one video on her site, "The Solution to Putin's Aggression: American Energy Development", offers something that her Fox News appearances avoid with almost pathological determination: intelligibility. Because she isn't speaking off the cuff, she had time to formulate a little essay and deliver it in a tidy, digestible take. It's some of the best stuff she's done since the 2008 RNC (before she devolved into speeches composed of a miscellany of punchlines and red-meat-for-the-rubes bumper stickering).

Sure, the video tells you nothing new, and its predictability as conservative intellectual comfort food isn't worth $9.95. It relies on proven conservative logic, like giving America the option of either expanding its energy resources by drilling for gas and oil or … not … uh, doing that. But in its patriotic Palinology way, it is the "socialism is great, and everyone in the USSR is happy, and no one here disagrees" of global energy diplomacy.

Still, Palin sits there, composed, thoughtful and energetic. She's feet from the camera, engaging it and giving the setting a feeling of personal intimacy. Her familiarity with the material – as easily memorizable to you as it is to her – even feels smart.

So if a misleading sense of kinship and education is all you want, then it's well worth the $9.95 per month – although apparently, if you cancel your subscription within two weeks, you get your money back.