View Poll Results: Income options (Please read thread)

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  • I prefer the yearly nominal fee subscription.

    5 16.13%
  • I prefer the permanent donation.

    22 70.97%
  • I think you should keep things as they are.

    2 6.45%
  • I don't have an opinion in this matter.

    2 6.45%
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Thread: Low Overhead Guild Funding - Your thoughts?

  1. #1
      Robbie is offline
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    Post Low Overhead Guild Funding - Your thoughts?

    Hello Esteemed Guild Mates,

    I've asked my CLs this question a LONG time ago, and the result was more of a "whatever you think best" and I've not asked it to my current new staff, so I instead decided to ask it of all of you.

    I want to preface this with the following: *THE SITE IS NOT IN FINANCIAL TROUBLE* I don't want you to think the site needs to be saved or requires you to contribute to participate.

    Anyways, my hosting bill came in. And while it was not unpayable, it was more than I expected during the holiday season. Ad revenue is not reliable or steady enough to be considered, since the last ad check paid for the yearly subscription to vBulletin upgrades.

    What I do want to ask though is what do you all think of some low overhead financial options for the site. Here's the options currently on the table:

    • A paid subscription level. This basically gives a site member the option of signing up to the site for a small fee that is good for one year of subscription level access. The benefits of said subscription level access are to be determined still, but I hope to make it at least worth the yearly subscription rate. General site access will ALWAYS remain free.
    • A permanent donation button. This gives anyone the option of donating money to offset the cost of upkeep and support of the site at any time and of any amount, and also doesn't involve any kind of additional membership benefits. Things remain the same, other than potentially recognizing donors with a tag of some sort.


    I use the term "low overhead" because some of the options presented in the past discussions would require extra business licenses and legal checking, and overall interest protecting overhead which while I'm not opposed to eventually, I'm currently not prepared to handle. I'd like to use the low overhead method to gather enough funding to move the site to the next level, which would involve a higher level of dedicated hosting, and more business oriented capabilities, such as publishing, advertising, sub domain hosting, media hosting, etc.

    So I now turn to the vote. I leave this in your hands to determine what I do here, and when you click the vote button, make sure that you are aware that this site will ALWAYS remain free and I don't intend to ever take that away from you all because I am honored and humbled daily by this community. I'm not asking or begging for money at all, and as I said before the site as it is currently is not in any financial trouble. However, I feel that a source of income could help the site grow above and beyond what it is currently.

    Also feel free to discuss.
    Robbie Powell - Site Admin

  2. #2
    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    I'd have no problems paying an annual fee, however I think you will find members not all that excited about paying anything, here. I have no problem and recommend putting up a permanent Donation button, that just makes sense.

    I have tried to think of other ways for the Guild to make money.

    One idea, (I was waiting to see the results during the December challenge - to see how many people are actually interested in the idea,) I would be willing to offer a printing service, where maps created for monthly challenges or other specifically CG related maps are available for print from Gamer-Printshop.com and that $1 or $2 of the proceeds for each map print will be paid to the Guild each month. This could include both large format and multipage color PDF printing.

    But then I didn't want to overly insert myself into Arcana's business - I wanted to see how the December challenge went, before I made this suggestion, but since the question has been officially "aired" - I'm offering.

    I have no idea, how many would order, but knowing that ordering a map helps support the guild, people would be interested to a degree.

    I still think the Guild needs to create sellable publications for fantasy mapping. Say, gather all the tutorials together, create fill-in tutorials in any areas we haven't covered and create say, the Fantasy Cartographers Guide to GIMP - make it available as a PDF book with 100% of proceeds going to the guild. Include all the best GIMP created maps and make this a coffee table book!

    Perhaps contact some graphics application developer and try to create a packaged - buy this graphics app and receive a collection of tutorials and/or map objects ready for use (gather all pertinent map objects from the site...)

    Just more ideas, for you Arcana.

    GP
    Last edited by Gamerprinter; 11-26-2008 at 10:18 AM.
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  3. #3
      Robbie is offline
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    Honestly, I've been considering offering some kind of affiliation with you for a while now...especially since the whole Gamer-Printshop concept and this site got off to a bad start initially anyways (the whole spam thing back when I was sensitive)

    I definitely like the idea of offering your print services through the guild if you think thats justifiable...the guild cut might be well worth the amount of biz it funnels your way...I hope so.

    In the short term though, the publishing aspect would require a level of legal/business support that I can't afford without some initial investment from members. Which is why I'm starting this low overhead initiative.

    Lets talk off-site about printshop affiliation. I'll email you.
    Robbie Powell - Site Admin

  4. #4
      torstan is offline
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    I voted for the donations button because I think the easiest option at this stage. If a message is posted in the news section when the hosting bill comes around I know that it would remind me to throw a few dollars in the pot for the value I had got from the Guild this year.

    From that base we could then discuss a membership fee but that is entirely based on the benefits you get. If you will always be able to get the current services of the site for free, the subscription solely depends upon the extra benefits that would come with it. I'm interested to hear what ideas are around for that.
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  5. #5
      RPMiller is offline
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    I have always said, and stand by the Donation button. It is easy to implement and for people to use. It removes a lot of the "elitism" that can spawn from "member only" privileges as well. I think with the number of folks that are getting paying gigs from the site they would be more inclined to toss a few bucks of their profit our way if it wasn't mandatory, at least I would hope that was the case.

    Just thinking outside the box here - perhaps one of the privileges of a membership could actually be access to a "Paid Requests Forum" so if you really wanted to earn some additional money you would have access to the requests that are paying. Of course that could alienate our Industry Pros, and personally I think they are some of our greatest assets so perhaps that's not such a great idea...

    Honestly, I'm really hard pressed to think of something that I would want to charge a membership fee for unless it was some sort of materials or something that is outside the scope of the forums.

    Hm... here's another "outside the box thought". What about Cafe Press merchandise? Arcana you already have some really awesome artwork that is both Cartographic and RPG related. What about setting up a store and selling CG merchandise and/or your artwork stuff? I think if people knew that it was for the site and was giving them a value added something in return for their money that might generate more revenue than a donation button or membership.
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  6. #6
      NeonKnight is offline
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    Put me down for donation, and let me know how I CAN donate. I donate every quarter to pay for my gaming clan's server, so the concept of paying for things that benefit me is not foreign to me.
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  7. #7
    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPMiller View Post
    Just thinking outside the box here - perhaps one of the privileges of a membership could actually be access to a "Paid Requests Forum" so if you really wanted to earn some additional money you would have access to the requests that are paying. Of course that could alienate our Industry Pros, and personally I think they are some of our greatest assets so perhaps that's not such a great idea...
    One problem with this is that many of the Map Requests placed in that forum are (unpaid requests), so unless a separate forum for unpaid maps is made available, paying for access to unpaid jobs, is not so enticing.

    Perhaps Industry Pros could be exempt from paying so as not to exclude them, but I think the Industry Pros would be more willing to pay a nominal fee than other members here.

    Just thoughts on your idea, RP.

    GP
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  8. #8
      ravells is offline
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    I'd go for a donate button (people who donate get an icon). Once we work out what the potential extra benefits to membership might be, we revisit the membership idea. I think a tie-in with GP's printed products would be a great idea also. The cafe-press idea is a good one too, although only if we only have to pay for it if there is an order and there is no periodic flat rate subscription fee that needs to be paid to them even if there are no orders.

  9. #9
      RPMiller is offline
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    Of course. I figured that was sort of a given. Probably should have expounded on it a bit more. As part of the membership idea a separate area for members was mentioned in a previous discussion so I took that for granted that the requests would be placed in that area. This of course would mean that requests would have to be submitted through a different mechanism than just posting in a forum which makes them less likely to be posted in the first place as the requester would than have to be given some sort of access to the request - probably through PMs or something.

    Regardless, I don't think it is practical or would work out very well. Like I said, not such a great idea...
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  10. #10
      loydb is offline
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    Donation button.

    I dislike the idea of tiering participation.

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