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Old 05-04-16, 02:40 PM
  #57  
NeilGunton
Crazyguyonabike
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Albany, OR
Posts: 689

Bikes: Co-Motion Divide

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I'd like to thank everybody who has responded with good vibes. And the people who aren't so positive, well, you have your opinions and that's ok. It's a free world. I was annoyed at first, but I have had my opportunity to respond, which I did, and I know that there will always be some people out there who don't appreciate what I do. It is what it is.

On the donations front, which mdilthey commented on above, I will say that developing and running crazyguyonabike and topicwise has been a full time job for me for some years now. As such, I decided back in 2006 to make the site donation-driven. I wanted to keep it all voluntary, rather than charging people fees to register or post journals etc. And I didn't like the freemium model, whereby you get more features if you pay me. I like keeping it all free and simple and voluntary, because it just feels better to me. Also, it means I don't have to go around taking down people's journals if they don't keep up their subscription, or chase people up for payment, or whatever. It's also actually easier for me in terms of running the site.

I do have a home-grown ads system on the site, but I am terrible at soliciting business and haven't actively done so since the beginning back in 2006. Some of the ads don't bring in any actual money (e.g. the one for Co-Motion is up there because they gave me a discount on the two bikes I have had from them). I think eventually I will probably get rid of the ads, but for now I can use whatever cashflow they do generate. And, finally, you can always turn them off if you want, via the Options page which is listed right at the top of every page on the site.

So the donations has been going for over 10 years now, and it's been working fine, up to a point. The money helps to support me as I live, basically, helping me pay bills and just exist as I run the thing. So while the money that comes in may sound like a lot, I can assure you that I am not living the life of Riley here. In fact, all the money gets accounted for by bills of one sort or another - the current fundraising, for example, will be accounted for entirely by estimated taxes for the coming year, and credit card bills. Recently we have had some large bills related to car repair and veterinary services (we have rescue cats, and one of them, Headbutt, recently got very sick). As a result I now have a rather large credit card bill, currently still over $10,000, and the current fundraiser is to try to help me pay that down a bit. It's a once-a-year thing, originally (and still) to help me pay taxes around this time, but also to help me try to keep the credit card debt down to a manageable level. Since it's still all voluntary, nobody is being forced to participate or contribute, but it all helps me continue to exist.

People who don't like me talking about cat bills or whatever don't have to donate if they don't want to, and some people seem offended that every penny doesn't go to hosting costs etc. But I would just add that you can't reduce the "expenses" of running a site like this to the simple hosting and bandwidth fees. The site stays up because I spend all of my time on it, and my time means I am not working a "regular" job, and that means I have all those regular expenses that come with just, well, living. I have over 30 years development experience, and at this point in my career I should be making a lot more than $40,000 a year, trust me (for comparison, in 1997 I made $200,000 from working as a consultant for Goldman Sachs, the residual savings from which provided the initial first few years of funding for crazyguyonabike). Instead of pursuing that train, I decided to run this website for free for all you good people, trying to do something good for the world, and in the process a vet bill of $600 for a dental cleaning has come to fill me with horror. For most people, $600 might not sound like much, but it's a lot if you don't have it.

So yes, donating to crazyguyonabike is helping me pay vet and car repair bills, but that doesn't mean it's some kind of scam. You are helping me live, and my everyday life is developing and running this website that many thousands of people use, so helping me is helping the website. My life is pretty bare bones - I work at home, don't get out much, and I haven't been able to go on a proper vacation of more than 1-2 days for as long as I can remember, mostly due to money, and the fact that if I go away for even a few days without checking up on things, I return to find hundreds of emails and problems and whatever stuff people do wrong on the website that needs fixing (people tend to not be very good at categorizing their journals, for example - they often choose inappropriate categories and leave out essential ones, etc). So the site, while largely self-running in terms of functionality, requires a lot of constant care for the content, kind of like a garden. Some stuff is hard to automate.

Anyway, thanks to everybody who has contributed this fundraising season, and I hope to be able to get myself in gear to do great things in the next year.

Neil

Last edited by NeilGunton; 05-04-16 at 02:57 PM.
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