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ConfusedCartman
12-17-2009, 01:00 AM
REMINDER: This is NOT MANDATORY. We will NEVER charge for access to the site, EVER. We will go down in flames before we charge for access. We are simply asking those that have the ability to help support us financially if they are willing to do so.

We've been looking into the causes of our server issues, and it just seems like we've outgrown our server. We're getting bigger by the day, and so has MNRCentral, and they both together have grown past what a shared server (what we're currently on) can handle. Now, here's where we're hitting a snag: the cost. An average dedicated server costs a good $100-$150 per month, which we cannot currently afford. Even ads, which pay about $60-$90 a month (it varies), will not cover the costs. Donations aren't making us much money either - I think we've made about $30-$40 in donations over the past two to three months, which is really not enough to help. I'm not complaining - your support is vital. I'm just providing background before I make this next suggestion:

What do you guys think about subscriptions? It would work similarly to donations, except those who decide to subscribe are auto-billed a preset amount every month. Once you subscribe, you don't have to do anything except sit back and let it work - it will bill you automatically every month. We would obviously set you up with a special account type and privileges that would only cease when you unsubscribed. We could even consider doing something like subscriber-only forums, special giveaways, etc to show our thanks - just something that would provide incentive and legitimate reason to subscribe. Donations are great, don't get me wrong, but a stable source of income would work wonders. As always, if any overflow existed, the money would go back into the site one way or another.

What do you think? If we set the subscription rate at say, $5-$10 a month, would you subscribe?

rtm223
12-17-2009, 01:05 AM
You may wish to hint at a ballpack figure for the monthly subscriptions - hehe just saw your edit.

I'd sign up for that. Does paypal offer a simple way to pay every month, 'cause I'll forget if I have to do it manually :p

ConfusedCartman
12-17-2009, 01:07 AM
You may wish to hint at a ballpack figure for the monthly subscriptions - hehe just saw your edit.

I'd sign up for that. Does paypal offer a simple way to pay every month, 'cause I'll forget if I have to do it manually :p
Once you sign up, it bills you automatically - you just let it work. Plus, you're never locked in - at any time, you can go into your subscription settings in your paypal account and unsubscribe.

Astrosimi
12-17-2009, 01:38 AM
This is troubling. I mean, I would have donated by now anyways, but thing is since I'm a minor with out a card, I don't have any way of getting whatever money I have online without asking my parents, and they're not too thrilled on me wasting (For lack of a better word) money on forums and the such.

However, I recently started up this website project and my dad bought me three years hosting on JustHost. It allows me unlimited bandwidth and domains on one account, so maybe I could help out there if possible. As in, MAYBE you could host LBP Central over there. I don't know if it could work, or if you're comfortable with it, and I don't know if you're even able to do that in the first place, but if you can, you might wanna consider it.

Personally I wouldn't like it. It might have to be necessary, but it would slowly become where this forum is basically a paid service... I've gone through that twice with various other sites and it isn't pretty. It creates a strong divide between those who pay and those who can''t afford to or don't have the means.

JKthree
12-17-2009, 01:41 AM
Personally I think you should have varied subscription rates (and you get less extra stuff with the smaller subscription rate choices). But I can't help by the way of donations or subscriptions, its a long story, sorry :(.

Are there any alternatives that have crossed your mind besides subscriptions?

applepod124
12-17-2009, 01:45 AM
This is troubling. I mean, I would have donated by now anyways, but thing is since I'm a minor with out a card, I don't have any way of getting whatever money I have online without asking my parents, and they're not too thrilled on me wasting (For lack of a better word) money on forums and the such.

However, I recently started up this website project and my dad bought me three years hosting on JustHost. It allows me unlimited bandwidth and domains on one account, so maybe I could help out there if possible. As in, MAYBE you could host LBP Central over there. I don't know if it could work, or if you're comfortable with it, and I don't know if you're even able to do that in the first place, but if you can, you might wanna consider it.

Personally I wouldn't like it. It might have to be necessary, but it would slowly become where this forum is basically a paid service... I've gone through that twice with various other sites and it isn't pretty. It creates a strong divide between those who pay and those who can''t afford to or don't have the means.
I could also offer hosting. unlimited disk space and bandwidth. but no mysql :/

warlord_evil
12-17-2009, 02:53 AM
If there was a subscription, I wouldn't be here, I might drop in to view some news and posts, but that would be it. :( (And maybe some nice levels too.) But you need to do what you need to do.

ConfusedCartman
12-17-2009, 02:58 AM
If there was a subscription, I wouldn't be here, I might drop in to view some news and posts, but that would be it. :( (And maybe some nice levels too.) But you need to do what you need to do.
No, it's not mandatory - you can continue to browse the site as normal without having to pay anything. We are just asking for some regular support from those who can and are willing to provide it. :)

ChristmasJew
12-17-2009, 03:03 AM
Can't say I would be able to.

ePsil0n
12-17-2009, 03:41 AM
I would leave if I were charged to post here. Joined with the intent of a free experience, already pay enough for DLC and such.

ConfusedCartman
12-17-2009, 03:42 AM
I would leave if I were charged to post here. Joined with the intent of a free experience, already pay enough for DLC and such.
Let me refer you to a post I made just two posts above yours:


No, it's not mandatory - you can continue to browse the site as normal without having to pay anything. We are just asking for some regular support from those who can and are willing to provide it. :)

I'll add it to the OP to prevent further confusion.

ePsil0n
12-17-2009, 03:43 AM
Alright, that sounds much better. I'm sometimes one to jump to conclusions.

comphermc
12-17-2009, 03:50 AM
We'll see how my finances pan out at the start of the new year, but odds are I will be offering my support once again. I will continue to do what I can.

:)

Morgana25
12-17-2009, 04:30 AM
We'll see how my finances pan out at the start of the new year, but odds are I will be offering my support once again. I will continue to do what I can.

:)

ditto :)

would depend on how much per month.

jwwphotos
12-17-2009, 05:52 AM
I guess I am a bit confused.

The $5 a month would be the same as what you have now would it not? At least I think a year cost $60. So I guess it is basically the same thing except I guess you are a bit locked into this donation via a subscription of sorts?

I guess I am unclear the advantage as it seems to me given the average willingness and ability to contribue, the bulk of the users here probably don't have the funds to contribute nor have the desire. In other words, do you think a subscription would really get you more subscribers over the ones that already donate?

The extra people that have joined have pushed us above what our current server can deal with which is fine. However it does bring me to ask another question. Do we think this trend continue or is it a spike that we may see fall back down after another month? If the later is the case, can we pull possibly pull more threads over from MNR to support this site in the interim or is it already shared and allocated accordingly? Basically I would hate to see us go to something we have amazing more capacity, but find ourselves not needing it in another month.

Another question if you did proceed with this subscription... If you already contributed for a year, would we have to pay the subscription also or would that then happen once the current term is complete?

ConfusedCartman
12-17-2009, 06:15 AM
I guess I am a bit confused.

The $5 a month would be the same as what you have now would it not? At least I think a year cost $60. So I guess it is basically the same thing except I guess you are a bit locked into this donation via a subscription of sorts?

I guess I am unclear the advantage as it seems to me given the average willingness and ability to contribue, the bulk of the users here probably don't have the funds to contribute nor have the desire. In other words, do you think a subscription would really get you more subscribers over the ones that already donate?

The extra people that have joined have pushed us above what our current server can deal with which is fine. However it does bring me to ask another question. Do we think this trend continue or is it a spike that we may see fall back down after another month? If the later is the case, can we pull possibly pull more threads over from MNR to support this site in the interim or is it already shared and allocated accordingly? Basically I would hate to see us go to something we have amazing more capacity, but find ourselves not needing it in another month.

Another question if you did proceed with this subscription... If you already contributed for a year, would we have to pay the subscription also or would that then happen once the current term is complete?
I wouldn't say "locked in", because you can terminate it at any time at your discretion. The goal of this whole idea is not to increase the amount of money we have, but to ensure a more steady flow of funds so we can expect certain things with a higher degree of accuracy. As of now, I have no idea if anyone will donate tomorrow, or a week from now, or a month from now. Subscriptions would alleviate that, allowing us to make more long-term decisions based on the money we make through it, including agreeing to an expensive monthly server fee.

And, no, I do not think this is a trend that will die. I think, even if we waited and the LBP traffic died down a bit, our other site is not going to die down in terms of traffic. The upcoming ModNation Racers beta alone is going to cause our traffic to jump even higher, and since the game hasn't even released yet, we're going to see a consistent rise in overall traffic and server usage for at least a year, if not more.

Regarding your last question, all existing donated funds would be honored. We would swap you over to a "Subscriber" usergroup on the site and treat it as if you had simply pre-paid. We wouldn't allow any more "pre-paid subscriptions", but yes, we would absolutely honor any and all commitments we have made thus for. Let me give you an example: when we switched over from $5 for two months of Donor status to $5 for one month of Donor status, we did not ding those we had promised "$5-for-two months" to - we actually still have active donor accounts that are working on that principle just because that's what we promised when they donated. Simply put: we'll never make a commitment we don't intend to keep.

And yes, I realize that policy will cut down on the amount of money coming in at the beginning, but we'll make do somehow. I don't want you guys to feel obligated in any way - we simply cannot continue to operate the site reliably without switching servers, and doing so is going to require a little more financial stability than what we currently have.

rtm223
12-17-2009, 09:51 AM
Well, as I said, I'm in. My current financial situation means I probably wouldn't even notice it.

Plus I don't see that playing this game would appeal to me half as much without the site :(

MrsSpookyBuz
12-17-2009, 11:09 AM
Okay, I understand the problem, and I understand a dedicated server would be one way to alleviate the issues we're currently experiencing.

It's already been mentioned that those who are unable or unwilling to subscribe shouldn't miss out, though if no one were to subscribe, we'd be in a similar position.

If you need hard numbers at this point, I'm in. One question though - would there be an option to pay annually, i.e. $60 per annum?

shropshirelass
12-17-2009, 11:55 AM
I'd be happy to donate on a monthly basis.

I do think it's important though that whatever "privileges" are given to subscribers don't make the non-subscribing members feel too much like second class citizens. It would be such a shame if it created a divide in what is now such a great community. Determining the privileges will be a difficult balancing act to get right. If you really don't need to attract that many more subscribers than you currently have donors, I would be tempted to keep the privileges fairly close to what they are at present. Just a thought.

comphermc
12-17-2009, 12:28 PM
I agree with Lass there, but I also feel that the current donor benefits are fantastic. I'm not sure what else you could need from the site...? Any ideas of how donor status could be made more appealing?

oldage
12-17-2009, 12:38 PM
here are a few ideas, sorry if they're already in the donor status since I don't know anything about them.


- delete your own threads
- a seperate forum section, ONLY accessible for donators
- the ability to get a free bundle because the donator status is only for 3 months (I think) so you can still have a custom user title...etc
- anyone got more ideas?

comphermc
12-17-2009, 01:00 PM
here are a few ideas, sorry if they're already in the donor status since I don't know anything about them.


- delete your own threads
- a seperate forum section, ONLY accessible for donators
- the ability to get a free bundle because the donator status is only for 3 months (I think) so you can still have a custom user title...etc
- anyone got more ideas?

I like the idea of a private forum, but I'm not sure how everyone else would feel about it. We want to avoid any senses of elitism.

I think you can deleted your own threads as a donor.

As for the duration of donor-status, it depends on how much you donate. Giving the user a permanent bundle for donating one time sort of deters them from renewing their donor status.

-----

I'm not sure how much you guys know about donor status, but it does allow for more PM space, a larger avatar, and all the perks of an Ultimate Bundle. After having one, there wasn't much else I could ask for.

Gilgamesh
12-17-2009, 01:18 PM
I'd be willing to sign up. The current donor perks seem fine enough for me. I don't think having a private forum would be necessary, because I really don't see what we could want to discuss which would exclude non-donating members.

rtm223
12-17-2009, 02:16 PM
We could discuss what day of the month our subscription is paid, how to best laud our subscriber benefits over the lowly mortals, swap amusing subscription-related anecdotes... It'll be a blast!

Nah, I don't see what the benefit would be. The current perks give you nice luxuries like the avatar size and PM inbox size and the lack of adverts. This is fine for me as is. I also agree with comphermc's point about lingering perks - it discourages people to continue subscribing.

jwwphotos
12-17-2009, 02:55 PM
I wouldn't say "locked in", because you can terminate it at any time at your discretion. The goal of this whole idea is not to increase the amount of money we have, but to ensure a more steady flow of funds so we can expect certain things with a higher degree of accuracy. As of now, I have no idea if anyone will donate tomorrow, or a week from now, or a month from now. Subscriptions would alleviate that, allowing us to make more long-term decisions based on the money we make through it, including agreeing to an expensive monthly server fee.

And, no, I do not think this is a trend that will die. I think, even if we waited and the LBP traffic died down a bit, our other site is not going to die down in terms of traffic. The upcoming ModNation Racers beta alone is going to cause our traffic to jump even higher, and since the game hasn't even released yet, we're going to see a consistent rise in overall traffic and server usage for at least a year, if not more.

Regarding your last question, all existing donated funds would be honored. We would swap you over to a "Subscriber" usergroup on the site and treat it as if you had simply pre-paid. We wouldn't allow any more "pre-paid subscriptions", but yes, we would absolutely honor any and all commitments we have made thus for. Let me give you an example: when we switched over from $5 for two months of Donor status to $5 for one month of Donor status, we did not ding those we had promised "$5-for-two months" to - we actually still have active donor accounts that are working on that principle just because that's what we promised when they donated. Simply put: we'll never make a commitment we don't intend to keep.

And yes, I realize that policy will cut down on the amount of money coming in at the beginning, but we'll make do somehow. I don't want you guys to feel obligated in any way - we simply cannot continue to operate the site reliably without switching servers, and doing so is going to require a little more financial stability than what we currently have.

Thanks so much for the thoughtful response. I understand completely. Locked in was a poor choice of words.. sorry about that as it was a bit late last night. I meant the donations would be more scheduled versus just someone tossing some money your way. ..which is what you are saying. ;)

Maybe it already exists, but maybe if there were few more features over the ultimate bundle, this might appeal to more folks and get you more donations / subscribers. I wouldn't want there to be a division against anyone who didn't have the means to contribute, but maybe a cheapie gift of some sort or just minor extra goodie. Maybe a 5$ off coupon towards some LBPC merchandise (which I don't even see the link to anymore?). I guess we do have larger PM boxes and no ads, is there anything else that is more than the ultimate bundle?

Sorry for my ignorance on this, but I have been contributing just because I love this site and don't mind helping out the community. When I first did it, I had no idea there were perks or that XP could buy you perks as well. I'm just sorta silly that way!! The next time around, I just wanted to help out some more and was a bit shocked when you told me I was paid up till some amazingly far off future date! I just can't see playing LBP without being on this site!

Thanks! :)

oldage
12-17-2009, 03:20 PM
We could discuss what day of the month our subscription is paid, how to best laud our subscriber benefits over the lowly mortals, swap amusing subscription-related anecdotes... It'll be a blast!

Nah, I don't see what the benefit would be. The current perks give you nice luxuries like the avatar size and PM inbox size and the lack of adverts. This is fine for me as is. I also agree with comphermc's point about lingering perks - it discourages people to continue subscribing.
they were just ideas... ;)

thanatos989
12-18-2009, 01:20 AM
Well, I love the site, and it's definately worth supporting financially. I'd be fine with a subscription. One thing though, people are more willing to chip in if they understand there is a need. Let people know, and I think you'd find a lot more people willing to chip in.

Astrosimi
12-18-2009, 03:46 AM
Okay, we only have max like 250 ACTIVE users, and about 100 more that come on every once in a while and contribute. The we have the thousands of people that come in, make an account, and never return. I'm not sure if there's some practical manner of doing this, but a after a certain time accounts should be deleted.... to conserve server space. We must have hundreds if not thousands of dead (Metaphorically of course :p) users in the database.

Of course, as I said before, there might not be a practical way of doing this. That being said, we need to brainstorm perks we can give to subscribers without creating a divide as my good comrades above have stated. I can't help but feel sad at this predicament though, and my lack of ability to help :cry:

TheAdipose
12-18-2009, 06:51 AM
I've already donated and I dont have a problem with the voluntary subscription idea. I think people who can spare 10 a month should support this excellent resource.

I must admit though - even though i donated - I have no idea what the perks are :-o - could someone give me a list?

It might be a bit of a cheeky suggestion but perhaps some of the 'forum fathers' comph, cartman, rtm, etc, could make some of their logic switches or beta versions of their levels available to subscribers. Or maybe some subscriber only tutorials.