Cost of the SDMB

What is the cost of upkeep and bandwidth for a message board like this in a year?

Since this has been sitting here for a while, I’ll just say that you’re unlikely to get an answer concerning this board specifically. Several other members run message board sites, and IIRC they have provided figures in the past, but the administration of this one has not seen it fit to provide us an accurate knowledge of the cost, how much bandwidth this board uses, the number of hits, number of active members, and so on, in the past. Perhaps this policy will change.

Well, there is this thread from 2004 How Much Does It Cost To Run SDMB?

It’s the same sum, in dollars, as the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

Three dollars?! :eek: Wow, they must get some hella discount at the local computer store.

Damn, does the question mark, or the exclamation point come first? It looks wrong either way.

Please forgive me for using the word “hella”; I’ve never done so before. It just bullied its way into the sentence.

The Chicago READER is privately held, and does not normally give out information like this, even if they have it separated. After all, the website is used for other READER activities, and ditto the manpower used to maintain the website. Generally, READER managment feel that such matters are confidential. TubaDiva is closest to these things, and I presume she will respond in more detail.

Actually Dex my dear, you’ve answered for me but since I’m here I’ll reiterate:

The Chicago Reader is a privately held corporation and does not as a rule disclose financial information. So any such question generally cannot be answered. This is true for all parts of the far-flung Chicago Reader empire and not just the Dope.

So being an administrator you don’t even have a very general idea of how much it costs? I’m not looking to audit the Reader’s exact expenses here, I’d just like to hear a ballpark figure.

Don’t confuse tubadiva being an administrator on this message board with anything to do with the business side of The Chicago Reader. It’s probably akin to asking a flunkie scooping your cone of ice cream at Baskin Robbins what the cost/gallon is for Rocky Road to the parent corporation.

[sub]Sorry tuba, didn’t mean to make you look more insignificant that you/we really are. :slight_smile: [/sub]

Then perhaps Ed Zotti could stop by and cast some light on the question. Surely there’s someone involved in board administration who isn’t completely in the dark about how much it costs to run a message board.

They (meaning some of the administration, not all of the mods) aren’t in the dark. As I said, they’ve just not seen it fit to illuminate us with the information. I don’t think you’re going to get the answer you’re looking for here.

Then why did samclem just say that TubaDiva is? Like I said, I’m not looking for very detailed financial information.

He didn’t say she didn’t know, he said she didn’t have “anything to do with the business side…” To me that means she doesn’t make decisions involving the money, not that she’s completely in the dark about it.

In the linked thread, moderator bibliophage apparently once knew a dollar amount for something. For that reason and others, it would surprise me very greatly if Tuba did not know even so much as a ballpark figure. It would surprise me a great deal more if Ed, another admin, didn’t have more information than that.

Whether they know it, and whether they’re allowed or choose to reveal it are two different things. The answer to the latter has consistently been “no.”


You got me.

It is my opinion that not all of the administration is in the dark about how much money it takes to run this board. See my above post for further clarification.

And now that I have done a little research…

In this post of the thread, “What’s going on with the Straight Dope business model,” Ed Zotti says:

Number of subscribers…traffic statistics…knowledge of profit…knowledge of sustainability of subscription model…

And in this post of “Is there something wrong with the boards tonight?”

Traffic stats, pageviews, processing power, investments in the board, subscription renewal planning, discussion of capital investment needs.

Please note I didn’t say ALL the mods/admins know things, I specifically said some of the administration. Ed qualifies. Also, I don’t particularly have a dog in this fight: I don’t particularly care if we get the information or not. It would be interesting, sure, but I don’t feel a need to have it. I just wanted to correct the notion that the entire board administration is in the dark.

Speaking as an administrator of users on “enterprise-grade” servers, roughly $20,000 a year is peanuts, absolute dirt-cheap, held together with old gum Ed Zotti finds under seats on the El, and wouldn’t even begin to cover payroll, much less software licensing, server purchase or lease, bandwidth, electricity, and the building housing the server.

It’s a miracle that they’re able to keep this thing running for so little.

It’s also easy for people to confuse a noble and largely successful attempt to run the SDMB as a normal business enterprise with sticking some message board software on an old PC running a free Linux distro in the corner of your home office and putting it on your home DSL. The software might be the same, but the servers, connections and infrastructure are definitely not what you’d have at home.

I typed out a big ol’ history-laden answer, but I don’t think that’s really what you want to know.

Long story made short: We started out being buddies hanging out on a free message board and over time this has turned into a business of sorts. When it was all free and volunteers and etc we knew all the answers and could share what we knew – little as it was – with the community.

It’s still volunteers for day to day administration and moderation but it’s not little and it’s not free. We can’t tell you what you want to know because mostly we don’t know ourselves. The volunteer staff that handles front desk duty at the SDMB is not in the loop for Reader business considerations; they don’t ask us to those meetings and we don’t get the memos, neither.

We usually find out when you find out.

So anyway, why do you want to know?

I’m just thinking of paying for a registration and was interested in where the money goes.

After the hookers and blow, there’s not much left.