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GT6MK3

Where To Next?

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Finance is always a vexed topic, and I'm loath to bring it up.

 

When the helm of Sideways fell into my lap, I made some technical decisions to upgrade and modernise the software we run on.  This came at a cost, and lots of people have been happy to help share that cost.

 

I run Sideways very very mean and lean.  I had access to a lifetime sweetheart deal for hosting which is still serving us well, and I've been careful to try to chose only the software packages that work well with what we have for minimal cost.

 

Invision Power Board, the software we run on has served us well.  It's pretty much best of breed, and has all the bits we need.  One change that has occurred since we moved to it is a change to the "Subscriptions" package.  Originally, the Subs package was a 3rd party addition.  What were running currently is still that addition.  We currently are able to take one off payments of US$25 for a lifetime subscriber membership.

 

Invision have since added a suite of software for their boards which are primarily designed for sales of bits and bobs by Subscriber members who are businesses.  This is a different model to ours where we have no "Sales" as such and we don't really encourage it.  Ours is a forum for exchanging knowledge, not selling parts.  My original plan for the subscription model was to allow for a voluntary additional membership upgrade.  This was thwarted by the folks at paypal, who require that in order to do so, I register a business account (The account Sideways uses is actually the personal account I used to use for ebay, and it was easier to set up a new secondary personal account than jump through the hoops to make a business out of Sideways). 

 

There's a fork in our road coming though.  Invision are starting to make the running of our current Sub's package less tenable (Lot's of rumblings on the support forums), and pushing us towards their offering.  This would probably allow us to offer an annual sub package, but would almost double our support costs (Plus whatever extra Paypal hits me).  I could upgrade my Paypal, and we could move tho the Invision Nexus system and adapt it to an annual membership system

 

We could avoid these costs by offering the opportunity to tip funds directly into the paypal account.  You'd all have to trust me though...

 

So... here's the questions

 

.  3 years ago, sideways was on its knees, and we fixed it.  People have since contributed to it continuing.  We're not talking big numbers.  

 

Should we bite the bullet, and offer an annual subscription, and if so, how much should it be?

 

Should we avoid the cost of the software by offering the opportunity for direct donations?

 

Anyone got  a better idea and want to take over?

 

Sideways certainly wont go away if we don't change anything - there's a link to my secondary account that will cover the current costs if needs be,  If we were a little richer there's some backup stuff we could do better, (That's the IT nerd in me always looking for more backup!).

 
Please don't take this as a beg for cash - we're actually fine for another 6 months or more.  But lets decide as a community how we go forward.
 
C.
 
P.S.  A personal indulgence.  I work mostly on other people computers, and am a terrible typist.  If ever you don't feel like trying to type http://sideways-technologies.co.uk  your not alone.  Had a few spare hours and was hacked off with typing a couple of years ago.  So...  Try just typing sways.co

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You've done a great job with modest funding Craig - much appreciated!

 

My thoughts - 

 

Needs to be "open access" to a large extent.  I'm conscious that traffic is relatively light compared to a few years ago and don't want to discourage new faces or drive old ones away with compulsory costs.

 

Paying a modest sub for extra features like the edit button, photo allowance (or increased photo allowance), right to post in the gallery, things like that seem fair and reasonable.  This was more or less how it was done before, but as a one-time payment.

 

I'm conscious that traffic is relatively light compared to a few years ago and don't want to discourage new faces or drive old ones away with compulsory costs.

 

If there was a donate button I would hit it from time to time.

 

More as I think of them.....

 

Nick

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I'd be happy to do an annual sub. We get what we pay for and this isn't much. I've saved heaps from the advice here. (maybe $0000's!). Personally, it feels good to go to a forum that not bombarded by adverts and sponsorship.

 

I like the open source principle. The donation button is good and an occasional shout for funds is fine by me. (some of us even do this when we use freeware that is good too).

 

Nigel

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An annual fee sounds like the way to go but, as Nick points out, the value of the information here can only be measured by its usefulness to others, as such, Sideways shouldn't restrict access to any information as some sites do. You may, however, get the ISP to block that Chinese search engine if it's being profligate with bandwidth. :)

 

Now, all I have to do is put something up that others find useful.

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Now, all I have to do is put something up that others find useful.

I would know where to start is I started writing up all the things that didnt work......

Perhaps I should start a thread under the "Humour" section.

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It's once you have everything sorted that the priceless info comes. So think of it as an investment, some times the investment comes good and there will be more info added to the site. Other times the investment will fade away. The thing I love about sideways is we always invest in people and try to help. This is what keeps people coming back and staying long enough so that their project hits the road and we ALL learn something new.

 

Take the sideways and Dave's blog for instance. I wanted to know what alignment settings would suit me well. So onto Dave's blog and a search of sideways. Took the info I wanted and then the payback is you all get the enjoyment of watching me hoon round a course. I will then learn from this and give back info on what worked but it takes time and investment. 

 

So big thanks to everyone at sideways for investing in me and hopefully I can give just as much back.

 

Chris.

Edited by CHRIS211083

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It's once you have everything sorted that the priceless info comes. So think of it as an investment, some times the investment comes good and there will be more info added to the site. Other times the investment will fade away. The thing I love about sideways is we always invest in people and try to help. This is what keeps people coming back and staying long enough so that their project hits the road and we ALL learn something new.

 

Take the sideways and Dave's blog for instance. I wanted to know what alignment settings would suit me well. So onto Dave's blog and a search of sideways. Took the info I wanted and then the payback is you all get the enjoyment of watching me hoon round a course. I will then learn from this and give back info on what worked but it takes time and investment. 

 

So big thanks to everyone at sideways for investing in me and hopefully I can give just as much back.

 

Chris.

 

Well said that man!

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Whatever solution you choose, donation, annual subscription, ....  the value of this forum and the help I recieved is beyond any price. I have no preference on the style of pament and will happily contribute.

Martin

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Determine annual cost and post it.

Do a mass email asking for financial support

contact the usual suspect in the trade. Would they like a link to their site?

The financial situation could resolve itself if you communicate the amount of financial need and what would be an appropriate contribution

You need to but a number on it . The 20% will give 80% rule may apply

Edited by motov8id

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