THIS WEBSITE NEEDS YOU - SERIOUSLY!
This website has been in arrears for a while & will not survive without your donations! We have over 18000 members & if everyone contributed we would never need to ask for money again. We appreciate that not all of you are in the same financial position, but we do run at a loss - so if you can afford to help then please donate. The progress bar is arbitary & resets every month & there is a thread on running costs here.

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Thread: This forum needs donations to survive!

  1. #1
    Supreme Being Moderator Admin's Avatar
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    Announced This forum needs donations to survive!


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    This is an updated version of the archived donations thread, you can read the original
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    .

    Following is a breakdown of the bottom-line running costs of this website (2016), information on why it costs a lot to run, and how you can help...

    Hosting: 648 p/a inc VAT
    Domains x 4: 50 p/a


    Vbulletin forum software currently costs 170, plus we've had to pay for several upgrades over the years, some which cost us over 200 - the next one will cost us 140 and currently overdue.

    Miscellaneous paid for items (such as the mobile template) are needed occasionally - in the past we have paid for chatroom software, photo gallery software and more - these, and a bespoke mobile app, are on hold indefinitely until debts* are paid.

    Why?

    When this forum started we used a standard "shared" hosting package costing us around 50 a year - fine for non-interactive sites and anything with low traffic. As the forum grew it started crashing, and so we looked into new options - we tried another shared host, but we had the same problems, and so we switched to a couple of Virtual Private Servers (vps) costing us around 30+ a month. Again, similar problems, although not as bad as before.

    Even during quieter times we get up to 3 million hits per month; this forum is valued by members and a resource to non-members all around the world, and it would be a shame to lock that down. That's not including the bandwidth used by subscription emails or notifications etc.

    About three or so years ago we upgraded to a fast server with lots of processing power and RAM, costing us around 45 a month+VAT, with telephone support, regular backups and based in the UK for better response time - it rarely crashes and it's typically stable and the best it's ever been. The guys are vbulletin experts and know their shit.

    So while we occasionally hear people say "I can get you a better deal", or "that sounds expensive", jumping ship now we have a reliable company isn't going to happen any time soon - there's too much of a risk of going backwards.

    Since 2005 we have invested thousands of pounds into this site, largely paid for by donations (not including the original investment in setting the site up), but regardless of this the site still owes me (Paul) a little under 600 (down from 800). This is because, over the last ten years, when donations were low, I made up the difference out of my own pocket and never recuperated it. I'm unwilling to invest anymore of my own cash until I'm square, I've spent too much.

    Donations pay for the site.



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    help - and in order to keep this site afloat we need a minimum of 60 a month.

    This covers the costs of the hosting and domain registration and the percentage Paypal takes for processing the funds, but no more. Anything above that will eventually clear the debts, but not if we have a bad month, then it's back to playing catch up again.

    The current minimum one-off donation is now 7, but you can set up a subscription donation for 5 per month which can be cancelled at any time via your paypal account.

    We have over 16000 members on this site, and if everyone donated we would never need to ask for money again.


    In summary...


    • Making a donation does not exempt anyone from the rules of the site.
    • Making a donation helps a lot and stops worrying about ongoing costs.
    • Money goes to renewing domain names, upgrading software, hosting, adding features as they're needed, software licenses and anything else to do with the site running costs.
    • Hosting on a high speed server costs us over 640 per year and that's without software updates, domain registration etc.
    • Software upgrades and new features add more to this. For example, the gallery cost us 50+ everytime we did an upgrade, if we ever want to bring back features (such as the chatroom) they too will cost us similar or higher prices - last time around, upgrading the software that runs the forum cost us in the region of 200. The next upgrade will cost us 140 and we are currently overdue for one.
    • We have spent several thousand pounds since the site began in September 2005 and we still only just scrape through.
    • In the future, we may incur extra costs, like developing mobile apps etc. For instance, apart from the dev costs, the fee would be $100usd a year just to run an app on the Apple app store and $25usd for Android
    • We do not profit from donations to this website, but unfortunately paypal does take a small percentage because we use a premium verified account - there's nothing we can do about this; all merchant banking systems take a percentage of the money transferred
    • Please consider that, if we were employing someone to run this site for 8 hours a day on minimum wage they would have earned over 139000 by now (Based on 2016 minimum wage rates).
    • When this website started (in the days before social media), we invested a lot of money believing the site would flourish. Because donations have been slow in forthcoming, this left approximately 800 (now 600) worth of arrears. Failure to hit the donation target increases these arrears
    • We rarely hit our monthly running costs (see arrears above) - even when we have a good month it covers the previous month.



    Affiliates

    Around this website you will see affiliate links to
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    , and I may add others at some point - using these links will set a cookie on your computer and thus a small percentage of your purchases through these stores will be passed our way. This doesn't bring in a lot, but again it helps.

    Paid membership ideas

    This is an egalitarian website, and as such so we don't wish to restrict people because of a low income. Again, we may have to go down this route at some point, but it's against our wider principles to do so.

    Advertising

    I have resisted paid advertising because it's a pain in the arse to manage and would take the website out of the hobbyist domain and into the business domain - it's not completely dismissed it, in fact it's becoming more likely, but I'm holding off for as long as I can.

    Alternatives to Paypal?

    No; it's too much hassle trying to run merchant accounts and set up payment processors - this website is run as a hobby and as such we keep it simple as possible. Implementing any other system would be too time/effort consuming at present and cause us problems with processing fees, tax etc.

    You do not need a Paypal account to make a donation...


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    Newcomers bonuses

    If you are a newbie seeing this post, a donation to the running costs of this site will give you access to all the forums that are currently restricted by post count.
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    for more information.

    Please note that donations are processed manually, so may not happen the second you hit the "submit" key.

    Thank you
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    Any questions or ideas, please discuss below
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  2. #2
    Not Quite a Noobie
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    I am willing to make a wee one off donation but need to wait til next month
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    sorry I am on wee low income
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  3. #3
    the devil's avocado Moderator Paul's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by hippyhippo
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    I am willing to make a wee one off donation but need to wait til next month
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    sorry I am on wee low income
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    I've only just spotted this, and thank you.

    As I've always said, if people are skint then there are far more pressing issues to tend with than a web forum - donations are appreciated, and while I might put the pressure on when we struggle, they should never be considered obligatory for people on low incomes.


    Meanwhile we're doing kind of OK (said tentatively). This month has been slow thus far and we need to keep the momentum going, but the previous three months were much better, so thank you everyone.
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  4. #4
    Heavenly Creature Roamer's Avatar
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    I think we should all have a whip round tonight to show our appreciation.
    Can't be easy dealing with the likes of me.
    Anyone who pokes up with me for more than a month is worth a fiver.
    Don't spend it all at once!

    Thanks for getting me through & not banning me
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  5. #5
    Heavenly Creature Roamer's Avatar
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    Since when was a fiver never enough
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    I've paid my 7.00
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    Special treatment from now...

    Its worth that much for the therapy
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  6. #6
    Not Quite a Noobie Electrikgypsy's Avatar
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    I'am fortunate enough to be able to live completely off grid without petrochemical transport at my base in Mid-Wales, free of any government attachments. Although on a miniscule cash income I think this forum offers a unique resource to those striving to live in a cooperative "green" fashion which the likes of FB just can't match. So I'am prepared to forego bought in cash products from time to time in order to support it with cash.
    I must remember to log in to Ebay via here in order to help with this. I of course will find it on the web by using the "Ecosia" search engine who use 80% of their profits to plant trees :-
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  7. #7
    the devil's avocado Moderator Paul's Avatar
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    I'm just going to create a little boundary here following a few deleted posts.

    This is a thread for discussing forum donations and to answer any questions - it's not a laugh and jokes thread, it's not a place to moan about moderation. In fact it's not a place to moan about anything or be negative in any way at all (there are other places for that).

    There is no obligation to donate, donating doesn't give you special powers or privileges or allow you to bypass the rules, and it certainly doesn't pay my rent. But it does help the forum to survive - which is something I'm not prepared to dip into my own pocket for again as it's happened to often and I'm unwilling to deal with the stress.

    I am grateful for anyone who does donate, it takes the pressure off me and helps the site - but if you don't wish to do so (or you cannot afford it or think it's too expensive) then carry on using the site for free and I won't think any less of you for doing so.
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  8. #8
    Heavenly Creature
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    Originally Posted by Paul
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    This is a thread for discussing forum donations and to answer any questions - it's not a laugh and jokes thread, it's not a place to moan about moderation. In fact it's not a place to moan about anything or be negative in any way at all (there are other places for that).
    May I enquire in a positive way why you have raised the minimum donation amount to 7? It is by no means a negative reflection upon this forum that many people, particularly oldies, have very limted incomes and may have felt comfortable with donating a smaller amount, but may baulk at the "increase", which if I'm right will reduce your income, the opposite of the very positive goal of supporting you which we wish to achieve.

  9. #9
    the devil's avocado Moderator Paul's Avatar
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    I answered this the other day
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    but will copy my response here for clarity, it's the bit in red that's important.
    There used to be a wide range of post count limitations - some forums had a 5 post rule, others were 100 posts ... these limits were to keep members safe because of the personal information some of them contained, and to keep the forum safe because of legal issues around drugs etc. Before this rule we had previously experienced a few serious issues with member safety being compromised.

    Linking them into donations and equalising the count gave an option to bypass this rule, in return for leaving a paper trail - i.e. a paypal address that could determine the authenticity of the user. Not perfect, but not bad either.

    The other thing is, because I own the software and everything is in my name, and I manage all the hosting, billing and everything, it is kind of up to me to determine and assign value - which includes a degree of responsibility toward protecting member privacy.

    Basically, this website is almost 11 years old, which has given me plenty of time to see how people use it, and get some idea of people's lifestyles and ability - I know who donates, I know who donates regularly, I know who donates occasionally and I know that some people never donate, and that's OK as long as we stay afloat.

    I can also compare the demographic for one-off donations and regular donations, and from that it is fairly easy to see that the majority of small donations were newcomers with very few posts, if any - a bit early to tell at the moment, but by increasing this to 7 it seems to have encouraged more posting.

    It's easy to attain 40 posts, and for most people it's relatively easy to make a one off donation should they wish to sidestep this count. For anyone who wants to contribute regularly, well it drops to 5 anyway and can be cancelled at any time.
    With the above in mind I will review this as things progress, but I am mindful that since I raised the minimum one-off donation we've paid the bills on time consistently for the last three months - something that often failed to happen before, thus leaving me out of pocket.

    If people wish to donate a fiver, or any other amount, then simply use the direct paypal address (donations @ ukhippy.com) - it's all appreciated, but this will not be automatically added to the ticker bar and not override the 40 post access restrictions.
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  10. #10
    Amateur photographer EnglishLens's Avatar
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    I would have donated, but I will not use or support PayPal for historic reasons.

    It might be worth you looking at PayM as an alternative. This is a free bank to bank transfer I believe. I joined the scheme, but haven't yet used it.
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  11. #11
    the devil's avocado Moderator Paul's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EnglishLens
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    It might be worth you looking at PayM as an alternative. This is a free bank to bank transfer I believe. I joined the scheme, but haven't yet used it.
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    This, or something similar to this, has been suggested before - but it means revealing my phone number, or faffing around with a new number and linking it into my personal banking.

    Paypal is convenient - it links in with the website to keep track of progress and I can pay the bills directly from paypal so I don't need to move money around. It keeps the running of this website convenient and separate from all my other living / working expenses.

  12. #12
    Radiant Being Sootyfoot's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EnglishLens
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    I would have donated, but I will not use or support PayPal for historic reasons.

    It might be worth you looking at PayM as an alternative. This is a free bank to bank transfer I believe. I joined the scheme, but haven't yet used it.
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    Ping it the cash to someone you trust. Let them PayPal it..or does that not work for you?

    Those Mountains that you're carrying, you were only supposed to climb.

  13. #13
    the devil's avocado Moderator Paul's Avatar
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    I just need to add that I have no payment protection if a paypal donation gets reversed (and this seems to happen at least once a month).

    If anyone does make a donation, please make sure you have funds to cover it. It makes things complicated when I need to juggle other people's unmanageability.

    Thank you
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  14. #14
    Heavenly Creature Lightbringer's Avatar
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    Where's the PayPal link?



  15. #15
    Heavenly Creature Lightbringer's Avatar
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    Found it... donated what I could
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  16. #16
    the devil's avocado Moderator Paul's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EnglishLens
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    It might be worth you looking at PayM as an alternative. This is a free bank to bank transfer I believe. I joined the scheme, but haven't yet used it.
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    Do you know if this can be used without revealing my phone number?

  17. #17
    Heavenly Creature Lightbringer's Avatar
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    Maybe you could post the PayPal link on all the newbie posts saying that a donation would be grateful :?



  18. #18
    the devil's avocado Moderator Paul's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Lightbringer
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    Maybe you could post the PayPal link on all the newbie posts saying that a donation would be grateful :?
    All newbies see a link at the top of the page (I think) that vanishes after a few posts.

    Unless they're using tapatalk, which is a different kettle of tofu completely.
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  19. #19
    Heavenly Creature Lightbringer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Paul
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    All newbies see a link at the top of the page (I think) that vanishes after a few posts.

    Unless they're using tapatalk, which is a different kettle of tofu completely.
    Ahh yeah I'm on Tapatalk and nothing shows. I only remember when you comment on here
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    try to comment on here every Friday so I remember to donate if I can
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  20. #20
    the devil's avocado Moderator Paul's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Lightbringer
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    Ahh yeah I'm on Tapatalk and nothing shows. I only remember when you comment on here
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    try to comment on here every Friday so I remember to donate if I can
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    Number #469 on my list of things to do: Work out how to encourage donations via the tapatalk app
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  21. #21
    Heavenly Creature Lightbringer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Paul
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    Number #469 on my list of things to do: Work out how to encourage donations via the tapatalk app
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    Bless ya, I'll start hounding all the threads with the link
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  22. #22
    Just made a donation to the running costs, happy to help out.
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  23. #23
    the devil's avocado Moderator Paul's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by garv1s
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    Just made a donation to the running costs, happy to help out.
    Thank you
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  24. #24
    Breeeeathe BigNich's Avatar
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    Donated 😊 Hippies are an endangered species 😃✌🌱🌏💚
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