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#1 Hal

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 10:06 AM

Hey folks,

Some of you may have noticed some random outages with the site lately. I have spoken to the host and they are indicating that the load on the server box is getting extreme for our current setup.

I have negotiated with them and have managed to wrangle out a deal where we basically get a processor and memory doubling for $35 extra each month.

As you all know the site runs on donations and even something like $35 each month deserves some consideration so I was wanting to solicit some opinions before I make a decision.

Other options would include:

1) Reducing the amount of audio on the site (though this is unlikely to help too much as it is mostly downloads of new stuff that is causing the strain).

2) Figure out some way to spread out the load, perhaps using throttling of download speeds on the server.

3) Reduce the amount of stuff that is going down the podcast pipe and force users to come to the site to get their downloads.

I am not happy with any of these ideas and think an upgrade might really be needed but I wanted to ask you guys what you thought and if you thought the time was right to try another Patron drive and see if we can get a few more onboard to offset the new costs.

We have not made out donations target in a good few months and while I try to let things build up in the Paypal account to cover stuff like this we did have a hard drive upgrade not so long ago that hit us pretty hard in the reserves so to speak.

Anyway, just wanted to be open with you guys - let me know what you think. Is the cost of Patronage too much, too little, not enticing enough? Should we start leaving some audio in the Patrons area so that only Patrons can get to it?

Ideas welcome. Thoughts welcome :)

Cheers
Hal :hal:
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#2 StirringSagacity

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 10:20 AM

If you left some audio in the patrons and waited a longer time between releasing to general that might help. I would be willing to pay 6 or 7 dollars as long as the audio releases continue to be regular. I'd be willing to make donations, I just don't pay enough attention to the little box and tiny text about how much money you need. I'm just glad you mentioned it to us. Thanks Hal.
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#3 StirringSagacity

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 10:21 AM

Double post
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#4 Pheonix

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 10:47 AM

Hal very generously allowed me to remain a patron for a few months without paying as I have had real financial problems, and I'd like to thank him for that. As soon as I'm fully moved, I'll start paying again. And I have no problem paying a few more a month.

Well, one thing you havent been doing Hal is listing the people who donated. If you cant see yoruself on the list why donate? I'm slightly joking, but I remember donating last year and that was the month you stopped and it was a bit iffy :D. The fact is people LIKE seeing their name in lights. :)

I know you dont like throttling the podcasts but (and I'm clueless here) if the podcasts actually don't draw people to the site, then they are not really helping support the site, If people don't come to the site they wont bother posting, donating or becoming patrons.

Of course activity on the site is down a bit too, though its picked up a little in the last month. People are generally depressed I guess.

But yeah raise the patron fee at least.
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#5 Nicholas

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 12:06 PM

I paid $25 for Georgi and I to see the latest Harry Potter, two hours where nothing actually happens. By contrast, I had a 5 month stint doing data entry that I would not have made it through without literally hundreds of hours of Warlords of the Accordlands going in my ears. That also cost me $25 across 5 months. I would pay more for patronage, it is worth it.

The Strand has some one off stuff coming down the pipe that I have no problem keeping for the patrons.
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#6 Guest__*

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 04:44 PM

I'm not sure how many patrons there are but how about a poll asking them how much they're happy to pay per month? That'll give some idea of what the patron market has appetite for.

I'd guess upping it to $6 or $7 per month would get quite a few votes. If only I knew how many patrons there were, I could AMAZE you all with my powers of multiplication to say what additional income that'd be per month! ;)

And now I'm going to be a bit controversial... Do any of the contributors pay per month too? There are quite a few of them you see.... No! No! Stop throwing stones! It was just a thought! I know they provide the lovely audio etc etc... :)

If it is the new material that's causing most of the issue when it hits the non-patrons' area then, in the absence of cash I'd suggest either drip feeding it more or rotating availability.

Or, and I'm going to be controversial again, if the problem is with the number of patron downloads, how about dividing up the patronage into sections? Why yes, for only $X per month you can be a patron for the Team Supreme channel (substitute name of favourite contributors here).

Or, maybe go for a push for new patrons after all! Nice and simple!

Please feel free to ignore any or all of the above! No offence will be taken. :)
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#7 Keener

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 05:29 PM

I would gladly pay more for my subscription
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#8 Lockhart

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 10:12 PM

I'm certain my funds should work for increasing the patron contribution to even $10 a month.

That being said, It'd be nice just to see more patrons period. Unfortunately I'm not sure the idea of withholding new audio would be very effective by itself in getting new patrons, because let's face it, there's enough released audio on this site someone completely new to be satisfied for years. Even myself, I'm currently working through warlords of the accordlands that I've had sitting on my harddrive for too long, and not really looking too hard at the latest releases atm.

Anyway, not a horribly useful post, but I love this site, I love what it produces, and I want to see it keep going. That's why I'm a patron, and I hope other people who feel likewise that haven't taken the plunge would consider doing so as well.

As an extra, note, I really really do like my patron rss feed and how it automatically downloads things for me and would rather like to keep it... :P
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#9 Carji

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 02:35 AM

I'd be happy to pay more a month, but an increase in price may cause some people to stop being patrons, or to choose not to become patrons.

It's a tricky situation. :P
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#10 Isis

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 03:33 AM

I don't know how many audios you release as podcasts at the moment but perhaps go for fewer. Although you don't run this site for the money (what there is) you do want to aim for as many people joining as Patrons as possible. So, perhaps keep more audio as Patrons only (possibly certain games or initial character creation, etc).
The podcasts should work to bring people to the site and then when they see they can get the 'special extras' they hopefully will become Patrons.

Another 'pimp my Patrons' run couldn't hurt either.
Going in another direction, how's the site advertising work out? Is it possible to get some more gaming-related companies interested in advertising on here? I'm not talking about plastering the site in banners: they annoy the crap out of me like everyone else, but this site has a pretty good through-traffic of gamers which should appeal.

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#11 PaulofCthulhu

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 04:26 AM

I can fully sympathise. It's a tough situation. As sites become more popular costs are going up (as have ours recently).

To relate some experiences from Olde Yoggie. We also have a Patron scheme, but we now offer it at two levels: $15 per quarter and $25 per quarter (for those folks who simply wish to contribute a little more).

We do have both delayed (e.g. 3 month lead time) and exclusive Patron-only content we release as we can, as a form of "thank you" for the support, and that format seems to work OK. Recently we've been able to offer extra features as well like custom avatars, personal photo galleries, file attachments and additional discounts at our online store for Patrons.

Times are tough at the moment. Advertising revenue is essentially non-existant, even with Google Ads unless you're the size of BoardGameGeek or RPG.net. If Hal's anything like me, he will have tried every-which-way to have made advertising work already.

Maybe, in the first instance, offering a two tiered level of Patronage could be a way forward? When you decide to change the site software other facilities could follow? I don't think anyone would begrudge RPGMP3 having Patron-only content/facilities considering the vast amount of freely available material there is.

It is a truism that sites like this only continue because of the wonderful support of patrons and donators. Certainly Yoggie would have disappeared years ago without such direct and much appreciated support.
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#12 riddles

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 08:50 AM

I seem to remember back in the dim and distant time that became a patron that it was $5. That was possibly 5 years ago. Perhaps just going up to a $6/month would be enough to cover costs in this instance? It's possibly a price rise that is a little overdue by now...

My £0.02

PS Just realised I'm not a patron over on Yog-sothoth (I'm sure I used to be!) Rectified! :)
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#13 Terry

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 09:02 AM

I'm more then happy to pay more per month, lord knows I get enough use from it. :D Anything to help keep the site up and running.
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#14 Daniel

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 12:38 PM

I'm pretty in favour of us Contributor groups helping ease the costs -- its not ass if we do a great lot around here and we do get free hosting. This doesn't have to be a lot, but even if the group is required to pay the same as the Patrons -- so $5/Month (?). Given how many groups there are that should easily cover the additional costs.
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#15 Guest__*

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 03:01 PM

Maybe an answer is for patrons to pay more per month if they want to but keep the patron minimum at $5 or $6 per month, then couple that with keeping more goodies in the patrons area for longer. Patrons reviewing their monthly direct debit amount (with some of them nudging it up a bit) might be enough. The problem for me with donations is that I just don't think of them when I log onto the site as I'm looking for relaxation/escapism/whatever when I do that. With a direct debit I only have to think about it when I set it up then I can leave it running for a bit.

Something also to ponder might be an annual summary for patrons showing e.g. Number of patrons, average monthly direct debit, total donations, I.e. A description of the money in. Then the same for the money out, e.g. New server cost, monthly costs etc. Not go overboard but just to give an idea. This might help patrons come up with good suggestions at times like this.

As ever, feel free to ignore some or all or none of the above!

A last thought for this post. Are there any tax breaks for community /hobby groups in the States? Might be worth looking into. Might even be worth making it a company if anyone knows about that. But, ahem, I don't so I'll stop right here! :) :D
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#16 Lockhart

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 10:18 PM

I'm also curious about whether taking some of the completed sets of recordings off the site and turning them into community supported torrents might help ease the load? I know there was a mention that alot of the load is because of new audio releases, but might it still help?

I mean, when a new person comes along and wants to download all of the WLD, that has to put a little dint in the server that a torrent could alleviate no? I know I'd seed as much as I could.
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#17 Carji

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 10:33 PM

Another alternative might be to just have the site contributors pimp out being a Patron a little more?

If alot of the listeners just use the RSS feed, they may not even realise there is a patronage system on the site. It doesn't get mentioned that much in audio anymore.
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#18 BigJackBrass

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 04:04 AM

I'm pretty in favour of us Contributor groups helping ease the costs -- its not ass if we do a great lot around here and we do get free hosting. This doesn't have to be a lot, but even if the group is required to pay the same as the Patrons -- so $5/Month (?). Given how many groups there are that should easily cover the additional costs.

Hal has been very generous over the years in allowing members of the contributing groups access to the Patrons' area of the site. It's a nice perk and of course it can also help to generate discussions and participation in the various threads generated by the games.

The main potential problem I can see with requiring contributors to pay a fee is that the relationship with Hal then beomes more formal. The groups would be effectively using a service rather than contributing to a fan site; and as such the obligation on Hal to post files on schedule and address technical issues also become more formal.

As it happens I do pay to be a patron, although I did not always do so and certainly couldn't have afforded it when I first joined the site. Like anyone else, the members of contributing groups should be encouraged to become patrons and to recommend RPGMP3 to others - it's all about participating in a community - but I do see some pitfalls to requiring them to do so, the details of which might almost form a separate discussion.
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#19 Guest__*

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 06:45 PM

Good points there BJB!

To be honest, I'm most liking the simple (and I think good!) idea of having a short "If you like this podcast, why not consider becoming a patron?" advert at the end of each podcast.

Yoggie did one with the Ladies of Yog-sothoth which I thought did well. Lots of other podcasts have similar "footers" saying, "If you liked this, we'd love some feedback at email address X etc".

I suppose it would be a nightmare adding such an advert to old material, but if most of the traffic was for new material then that wouldn't be such a problem.

So in short, yeah, ditch all my ideas and go with the good, straight forward one! :D
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#20 Alexandrian

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 01:26 PM

Seems I'm late in the game here, but I too would gladly pay a higher subscription cost if it helps our community.
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