So after reading Torq's thread about Thinking Big, I've let my mind wander. I know that hosting this site costs money, and I recall reading old threads wherein Arcana was asking for donations to pay for software (I think). More recently, there have been a couple comments regarding ways to harness the collective power of the Guild, Torq's thread being the most recent.
Why doesn't the Guild enter the fantasy publishing field--at least as a publisher of pdfs?
I realize that the pdf market is a tricky beast, but my own experience shows (as does Terrainmonkey's) that a small pdf with some decent maps and good production value can make a small (but real) amount of money. (I'm sure that those of us who roleplay are probably aware of Enworld's Burning Sky adventure arc as an example of a similar site entering the market.)
I propose a pdf, or series of pdfs, or several different product lines of pdfs, that use maps and other materials from members of the Guild, gathered into a coherent format, and sold on RPGNow.com or any of the other sites out there there sell pdfs. It can be structured such that there is one "project manager" and several contributing cartographers/writers. Once on sale, the PM gets a small percentage of the profits, each contributor gets a small percentage, and the Guild (whose name is plastered across the front) gets a certain percentage. The Guild (who, I guess, I really mean Arcana) uses the money to pay for the site upkeep and hosting. Another advantage is that money now exists for the Guild to expand in other ways beyond merely just the forum site that we have now.
Success (at least at the beginning) does not mean making a lot of money (which isn't realistic anyway). Success of this venture in my mind is measured by our ability to limit out-of-pocket expenses for administrators in keeping the site alive and running (and growing) while creating products that we ourselves would buy if we weren't involved in their creation whose production values we can be proud of.
I have a lot more to say on this subject, but I'll stop now to hear what others think.