Donations. Now don’t soar all over me like that, I know it’s been proposed before, but I have a different spin on it. I am aware of all of the worries about people who donated making demands and the like, but try this one on for size. Blind donations. The Reader sets up a SDMB fund. It states that it will ONLY accept unatributed money orders. You send a check, they send it back. Dopers that are well off would prolly send much more than they would pay for a subscription. I myself would prolly kick in $100 or so. Student dopers or those for whom money is tight could send nothing, or a couple of bucks. My experience has been that even those dopers claiming poverty would find a few bucks to send if it’s voluntary. I would be willing to bet that they would get MORE money this way then if they went to subscription.
As to the previous objections to this idea, by only accepting annonomyous donations, nobody can later say “Hey, you can’t ban me, I gave “X” dollars”, or words to that effect, there would be no proof. Everyone knows the Reader is for-profit, I doubt anyone would try to write the donations off. As to the idea that the Reader would somehow “look bad” for doing so, well, that’s just silly. This site provides a valuable web presence for the paper, it’s just not cost-effective. I run my own business, if I could find a way for my clients to subsidise my advertising, I’d jump on it in a heartbeat.
I say try it. If it dosen’t work, well, go to subscriptions. I bet it will work very well, however.
As has been mentioned before, it’s iffy for a for-profit corporation to accept donations. I had proposed long ago that the Reader simply set up a non-profit whose sole job is running the Board, and let that accept donations, but I never heard any response.
It seems to me that they could just sell Straight Dope pencils for about $1 each, people could order one, pay $20 or so, and say “keep the change”. Then, they wouldn’t be taking donations, they’d be selling pencils.
Maybe this has been discussd and shot down already, but why couldn’t I send a $100 for a banner that advertises for “mouthbreather’s monkey extermination”? (It’s a business that is just in the developmental stage, but I want to get the word out on the streets.)
Better yet, we could sell Cecil for $100 a day. I, for one, would be willing to donate $100 to the cause! To selflessly give of myself. I wouldn’t be doing it for me, of course, I’d be doing it for the spirit and preservation of the SDMB. Yeah.
If Mrs. Adams objects, we could always pim- uh, I mean “rent” her out too.
Jeez, I think selling vanity banner ads is a GREAT idea. With all the rampant egos around here, they’d sell like hotcakes. I know I’D click on a banner for (say) Fenris’s greatest threads or the SD Peoplepages, and I might even buy one for my comic strip if I ever get it up and running.
I’m sorry, but what benefit is there in this system? I see none.
a) Revenue is completely unpredictable.
b) Revenue is less than standard models. And believe me it will be. There’s a reason that no major software vendor sells things as shareware. Try to envision a world where Microsoft gives you software and you pay if you like it. Hell, you pay extra if you want others to have it as well. Shine on, you crazy diamond.
c) Pay to play will immediately rid us of trolls; donations will not.
Re: A+B. Bill you’re not a very astute judge of human nature, are you? Sheareware is a straw man. People will ALWAYS pay more for what they want than when they are required to. If it goes to subscription, I’ll pay my 20 or 50 bucks and grumble about it. If they ask for donations, I’ll send $100 or more and be happy about it. Realize this guiding principle of life and you’ll be a happy, happy man. MOST people are ALWAYS better than you cynics give them credit for. IIRC, there as a town that eliminated parking meters in favor of “honor boxes”. People like you said to brace for a total dropoff in parking revenue. You know what happened? Parking revenue doubled. Such is human nature.
Perhaps my second post isn’t the time to be suggesting stuff, but let’s do it anyway.
The CR seems not to like taking donations, doesn’t seem to want to set up a non-profit making affair to run the SDMB, but is concerned about the money the boards take up.
Many, many, people on these boards are keen to let them continue and include as many people as possible.
So would it not be possible for you, the regulars, to set up some form of not-for-profit company which pays the CR for the use of the boards.
I’m saying that you ‘rent’ the server, pay for the bandwidth, pay something towards Jerry the tech-god, and someover head for power, physical space, mugs and such.
Then the CR is getting a fair deal - not donations - and you the regulars, get to sort out where the money comes from as you see fit.
Therefore allowing donations, but without compromising the CR or the board.
As to raising the money - or guaranteeing it’ll be there - these may cause problems, but since the CR seems to be considering junking the whole idea if it can’t be made to pay then they might listen. Particularly since there seems to be such resistance to a straigh Pay-To-Post system.
Well that’s all I wanted to stay, feel free to do with it as you will …