Thread: Changes afoot
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Old 12-23-2012, 10:10 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Newton, NH
Posts: 6,601
Changes afoot

Most of you know that the site has struggled on our existing server for a few years now. Mostly it is slowdowns that occur due to the size of the database, number of users (including guests; remember the entire site - reviews, etc. - is driven by the MySQL database), and so on. We have also experience crashes, primarily during the daily backup that would tax the resources of the site. There would also be occasional database errors that occur. I did some minor pruning of inactive users and old threads with no responses. That helped some, but the long term solution was a new server. The problem with that brings us to the biggest problem the site has:

Getting the site to be self sufficient - i.e. pay for itself.

Most know I hate hate hate ads. We were fortunate to have had DVD Empire for years and their monthly advertising fees basically paid for our hosting costs. They left a few years ago, however, and since that time I have been paying the costs for a dedicated server out of pocket. My wife and I make good money, but when you have four kids (two newborns) and the need for a new car (my 1996 Ford Explorer just isn't cutting it), plus the desire to save for a house, the nearly $100 a month I pay for the hosting costs seems like the first place to cut.

We were recently cut a break. The host finally agreed to put us on a modern server (ours was several years old and ancient by today's standards) and for the same price. That's a very big win for the site. We now have a significantly faster CPU, hard drive, and more memory. All three are important for a database driven site. So now we come back to our first and main problem remaining:

Getting the site to be self sufficient - i.e. pay for itself.

Many people have suggested the Amazon affiliate program, which I have relented on and signed up for. I encourage everyone that wishes to support the site to do their shopping through our Amazon link. Simply visit the main page for now and you will see the link. Click on the link and do your shopping. We get a commission from what you buy. Going forward we will integrated the Amazon links through the rest of the site, including for each review.

The other way to support us is to visit the donation link if you wish to chip in by paypal.

Finally, I'm going to again revisit using something like Google Adsense to try and raise some regular revenue. We used Adsense briefly and it worked well raising some revenue, but they banned our account for no reason (a quick google search seems to indicate it is a common problem). There are alternatives and I will look into them.

Those are the three methods I'm looking at to raise revenue to pay for the hosting costs. Neither of the two ad driven methods will be overly obtrusive. We will not have popups and all that nonsense.

Should we get to the point where more money is brought in than what it costs to pay for the site, the excess funds will be put back into the site - either for contents, upgrades, or banking it for future hosting fees.

That's it guys. I want to keep the site going and I want to continue to grow the site. If the site becomes self sufficient I will move to the next phase of getting us onto a more modern portal that has the facebook / twitter integration, and lots of other fun features.

Thanks for all your support.
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