I just noticed your post above. Let me now respond to you and whomever else might have similar questions/concerns.
|This costs. We're here instead of our other 'home' because of cost. What is your position on advertising?
You're right, Apheared, this does cost. And as it gets bigger, it'll only cost more.
I had absolutely no plans before the last HeadWize outage to start another permanent forum. But after it went down, I got a bit web-lonely (I'm sure many here know exactly what I mean). I am not
in the business of starting forums -- in fact, this is my first forum since an old Sharp Zaurus PDA WWWBoard forum I started in 1996 or 1997 (can't remember exactly when). But the uncertainty about when the forum would return was agonizing for me, as someone who's very much into our hobby (and as someone who was used to posting as much as I did). What provided me with as much worry was the future of HeadWize as its growth continued (and it was growing quite quickly). Without fundamental changes to the approach, I was worried that we were not looking at the last of the outages, and that continued use might likely mean throttling down the activity and/or growth somehow. So I tossed around the idea in my head of creating a new forum home that was ready and positioned to grow as needed, and essentially unchecked. Do not misunderstand me, this isn’t an issue of pointing fingers or blaming anyone. I think the community took on a growth rate -- in terms of activity and signups and the resulting bandwidth and resource utilization -- that surprised pretty much all of us.
|Also, if the terms & conditions outlined by our illustrious leader are met, will you logo the site with the HW theme, or do you intend to keep this a stand alone resource now? (dem's alot of domain names)
This begs the question Why did you not just provide these resources for HeadWize?
I happen to be the co-owner of companies that generate enormous amounts of web page views. I also co-own a rather busy business site web hosting concern. As such, there are cost savings available to me due to preexisting larger economies of scale that can be passed on -- we're talking about bandwidth and rack space. Cost savings or not, this still will cost quite a bit of money to run.
Costs so far have been out-of-my-pocket. Obviously, I can not continue that course indefinitely. But to undertake the commitment of building a community that can support the scaling up that the headphone community will likely demand -- I wasn't going to do it without the autonomy to do what is necessary to recoup the costs of operation. To do so would be to risk creating an environment limited by what I'm willing to spend out-of-pocket, which, in the long run, wouldn't allow much growth. To do so would almost certainly result in palliative therapy instead of making a serious attempt at a permanent cure. For these reasons, the autonomy to do what is needed to recoup costs is an absolute must.
Do I want to make a business out of it? No. Do I want to approach it in a business-like manner? Absolutely. A forum like this will be a growing cost center. It's easy sometimes to lose site of those costs when you’re not directly incurring them, but let me again state what Audio Asylum (probably the biggest audio forum on the web that started only as far back as 1999) needs to support its growth (which isn't unreasonable to expect for a headphone forum going forward given what we've witnessed already). Audio Asylum currently consumes around 60% of a T1. They just signed up for a dedicated T1 at a co-lo datacenter. They run a multiple-server configuration, having just obtained another Dell 2450 server. It is important to also keep in mind that they're still
going to grow beyond that even. Now, to plan for the likelihood of such growth, can you see why the approach has
to be at least a bit business-like? Audio Asylum is supported by its members and by commercial sponsors. My intent is to do much the same here. Me and a couple of my volunteer employee programmers are already coming up with ways to develop innovative interfaces to allow us to welcome the needed commercial support while not undermining the integrity, neutrality and impartiality of our forums.
Which brings me to your last statement:
|Seems a great way to steal users/eyeballs, throwing up a proxy forum site. Complete businesses have been built on "it's just temporary!"
Again, I'm not in the business of starting forums. And I'm not in the business of monetizing forums. And I'm not trying to make a business of this. And I’m not trying to steal users and/or eyeballs. I am, however, going to do whatever is necessary (within reason) to give us a stable home that we can count on for a long time to come, and even if we're growing the whole way.
We have no choice but to embrace a certain pragmatism given the realities here. The forums are a big technical and resource responsibility. What I'm offering is the greater ability to scale up, as far as it needs to go, and doing all I can to make the provisions for that now. In terms of costs, yes there are costs, and I'm willing to help keep them down as far as possible because this is not a business for me. Would we consider taking in forms of advertising that would not degrade the experience or integrity of the HeadFi Forums? Absolutely, yes.
I will be completely honest in saying that this forum is not intended to be temporary.
I hope this addresses your questions and concerns, but, of course, feel free to comment or ask more questions.