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Author Topic: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...  (Read 8825 times)

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Steelheadchaser

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Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« on: 11/06/17 08:57 AM »

Folks,

It's no secret that we have less Supporting and Premium Supporting Members than in times past. A whole lot less.

We also have virtually no advertising revenue ($75/yr from one vendor).

Our web hosting alone is $1500/6 mo., a figure far in excess of our revenue.

I just sent SYNRG a paypal payment for $1500. It is mostly on my visa. I had to use the money earmarked for the production of the 2017 PSP Challenge Coins, which I will end up putting on my credit card as well.

Bottom line is that I can no longer subsidize the club with my bankcard as I have been doing for some time now. We have a bit less than four months of hosting left before they send me another bill for $1500. At that point I will have to let the site go dark unless something drastically changes, such as a combination of more revenue and less hosting costs.

I am open to ideas, including the sale of the site to someone that would like to have a go at it. 

If anyone has some ideas please contact me at steelheadchaser@hotmail.com

Thanks,

-SHC
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Vaeagleav

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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #1 on: 11/06/17 10:35 AM »

That would be a shame to see this great site go dark!
I can only imagine the feelings going through you since running this site for so long.

Maybe a Gofundme page could be started for donations or maybe something like emergency fund raiser GTGs on a state or regional level, even having one region try to out raise funds of another in a fun way of course? That might mean a more active brochure tagging effort on all of our parts to try and bring back membership levels and activity.
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ronthehandymanga

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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #2 on: 11/06/17 11:08 AM »

What I think the National GTG should really be for is the funding of the club and the site rather than for some charity in the town that the planner setting up for the GTG and the glory of it.
This site has helped alot of people over the years and I have given my share of money to keep the lights on and would really hate to see it go but like you said the support and viewership are down and that shows in the post count.
I have no other input to give other than stated and I'm looking forward to others comments.

Ron.
 
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redheadedrod

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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #3 on: 11/06/17 11:59 AM »

Um why the heck are you spending $1500 for 6 months when you could get a server that you pay less than $200 a year? Yes it is a shared server but having a dedicated server is CRAZY to have for a site like this. You can find MANY shared servers for under $70 a year and have the ability to have much more content that this site has now.

I don't understand WHY your spending that much. Even a dedicated server could be had for $200 a month which would be a whole lot less than your paying now. And there is NO reason to have a dedicated server period. Even if there was a store front and a bunch of other stuff here it still makes no sense to me.

I could even add it to a server I have that is seriously underutilized that is already paid for for until February of 2019.

The latest version of this forum software is readily available on the host I use and the forum could be imported into it.

I am considering getting another server for a major project I plan to undertake and I will be paying less than $10 a month for it initially.It won't be until the project is making serious money and using serious resources that it would make sense to go to a dedicated server.

If your not willing to go to a shared server at a cost of well under $100 a year I would like to ask what would that reason be? Especially for a group like this it just makes better sense.

What is the benefit, honestly, of having a dedicated server over a shared server?

I suggested this before and it is obvious no one has even considered it if we are still talking about it. With a shared server that $1500 would have paid for more than 20 years. I don't understand, so please explain to me WHY you don't want to move to a shared server at a considerable less cost? Things like limits on bandwidths or storage just don't exist with shared servers so I don't understand why you won't move to one. I honestly want to know why not. As a person that tinkers with this stuff I really would like to know the reason behind not moving.

Rodney.
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Hugz

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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #4 on: 11/06/17 02:44 PM »

What I think the National GTG should really be for is the funding of the club and the site rather than for some charity in the town that the planner setting up for the GTG and the glory of it.
This site has helped alot of people over the years and I have given my share of money to keep the lights on and would really hate to see it go but like you said the support and viewership are down and that shows in the post count.
I have no other input to give other than stated and I'm looking forward to others comments.

Ron.
 
Ron I love like a brother, but I nor a few other organizers I know put on  GTGs for the glory of it at all.
Especially for the large GTGs, Itís Mostly because NO ONE else will dedicate the time needed to set something up.
Case in point. The reason why this years event was in October was because no one else was willing to take the time needed to set something up in the summer.  I was approached to combine them since I was wanting  to return to Tybee to see the area and friends again.

I have to agree that itís a great idea of using the club as the Charity but in the few years Iíve been around the club this have never come up before.
Several national GTGs havenít had a charity nor any type fund raising and they were still great GTGs.
There are reasons why most choose to work with a charity at the larger GTGs.
Most feel that itís a good thing to give back to the community that we are visiting.

Also most donations that are generated for the charity are from proceeds related to a raffle. Over 90% of those items are from other companies that understand that their donations are being used for said charity.
Now if the site could be setup like say a non profit (which it obviously kind of is since it doesnít make one) then maybe someone could convince those companies that their donations would be used to keep the site going.
Are donations from sponsors needed absolutely not but then how does one raise money to give to the site? 

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ckeene

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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #5 on: 11/06/17 05:54 PM »

Wait a time wit patience...
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ca2kjet

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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #6 on: 11/06/17 08:08 PM »

I must echo redheadedrod's sentiments. As a technology professional, I'd love to know what kind of storage, bandwidth, processing demands this website is requiring and what it is you're paying for. Would love to look at SYNRG's website, but it doesn't appear to be working (for a hosting provider, that's embarrassing!). Lay some deets out their for the community to see, and maybe we as a community can work to find or even provide the solution.
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redheadedrod

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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #7 on: 11/06/17 11:22 PM »

Just rereading my message.

Sorry for repeating myself through the message.

If you can post the information about the site and what it is actually using that would give us a great look into what can be changed.

Some sites make sense to have on a dedicated server and if your paying $1500 for 6 months that is $250 a month. Going with a plain Jane Linux based shared server you can get unlimited bandwidth, unlimited disk storage and the latest version of the forum bulletin board for around $5 a month. And you don't loose anything from a dedicated server. As I have repeatedly said, I just don't understand the friction against going with a much cheaper solution.

We lost MP3Car this year due to similar reasons. They were paying $500 a month for a dedicated server and really didn't need to be. For the traffic they had they too could have switched to a shared server for roughly $5 a month. The Plant manager where I worked used to have a dedicated server in his house until he found using shared hosting was much simpler and he handled some pretty big customers that way.

I would hate to see this club fold up and disappear because we had to stay on a dedicated server instead of moving to a more reasonable location.
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2003 Cladded Black Z71 - PC installed otherwise mostly stock.
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All on high and FTDRL (BCM friendly version)

MS03 2500

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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #8 on: 11/07/17 11:24 PM »

Folks,



Thanks,

-SHC


I sent you a message can't you at least acknowledge it
« Last Edit: 11/07/17 11:30 PM by MS03 2500 »
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redheadedrod

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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #9 on: 11/08/17 07:25 AM »

I do want to mention that I greatly appreciate all that the people who run this club do. It takes a lot of time and dealing with different peoples personalities etc can take a toll. While I may disagree with some people and how they do things in the end we are all here to support our passion for our vehicles. Please don't take any negativity in my messages as a bash or complaint. I am just trying to do my part to understand the problem here and help to resolve it. No reason SHC should be putting those resources and energy into this when it shouldn't be necessary. We certainly don't want to burn out anyone or create any animosity for anyone.

In every club, especially for a club like this with a vehicle not being made any more. There comes a time when some things don't make sense to continue doing the same way. I guess I am just trying to help sort out if that is the case here and offer up a much more palatable option.

I would be willing to setup a test site on my server or possibly host it there if it comes to that. I have a shared server I am not really using right now that is paid for until February 2019. It only has a front page (drupal) right now and using it as a host for one of my classes.  I can do pretty much anything with this site and its only $70 for 2 years. I can serve up to 6 web site URLs on it so I certainly have the room with unlimited bandwidth and unlimited storage.

The hosting site I use supports SMF 2.0.14 at this time so we could move to the latest version of the forum software at the same time.
 
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ygmn

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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #10 on: 11/08/17 01:39 PM »

Yes a lower server bill would fit the need greatly but SHC and I are not capable of doing this and have been looking for a dependable geek for some time... someone who can commit the time and energy keep the server and forum software going...

So those with GEEK/TECH/SERVER ideas please send me proposals....
Please, in Laymans terms not geeky terms.
Show me examples of what you propose

Need experts for web page design, forum software skills etc.

Look here for some stats about useage and page hits. etc.
http://www.chevyavalanchefanclub.com/cafcna/index.php?action=stats


Attachement directory size limit is set to I think 10GB
We have over 135000 attachments & over 6700 avatars stored there.

I know the forum datbase is huge

Help is what we need to keep the lights on.




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ca2kjet

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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #11 on: 11/08/17 03:11 PM »

My background is web design and development but my career has shifted such that I am now an IT director. So hopefully I fit that "GEEK/TECH/SERVER" person. With that said, after reading the first post and realizing the importance of this forum to so many, the personal impact it has had on me with the ownership of my own Avy and the dire situation this forum is in, the thought of taking over this project and giving it new life as well as providing a "safe haven" completely self funded has come at me hard. I was hesitant to really come out and state this, but I am seriously considering that position.

This is why real details of the server load are the most important to know. You can have all the bandwidth in the world and all the server space in the world, but if the actual LOAD on the server is too much you may quickly find yourself racking up costs due to too much use of the shared processing power (in regards to shared servers).

I'd love to find a way to greatly reduce costs, improve the site, spiff it up a bit and host it in a shared server environment. I'm hoping to find out more details on all this as I may have and be able offer a hosting solution, as well as picking up the torch if that's necessary. At the moment, this is all just early thinking... I'm tossing it out there... maybe I'm losing my mind  :P

Attachement directory size limit is set to I think 10GB
We have over 135000 attachments & over 6700 avatars stored there.

Is that 10GB the size of photo attachments, avatars and banners?

I know the forum datbase is huge

How big are we talking? 1GB? More, less? Efficiency of the database and forum software can make a huge difference when it comes to server load, so I wonder what kind of condition the database is in.


[UPDATE]

I don't see this website being bandwidth excessive, but more CPU/memory intensive. So after doing some research and crunching numbers...

It looks like this forum can be averaging anywhere from 30,000 to 200,000 page views per day (depending on the month) and bouncing between 2 million to 7 million per month. With that kind of demand and the fact that this website is a forum which means database driven with many queries on each page load, I wouldn't recommend a shared hosting solution.

However, I believe dedicated is overkill, unless you got money to burn. What I would recommend is a VPS (virtual private server). As quick examples, common providers such as DreamHost or Bluehost offer managed VPS plans around $30-60 a month. I'm sure there's many other providers out there who offer roughly the same price range.

Some "higher end" providers such as MediaTemple offer managed VPS but with tiered bandwidth. As much as I like "unlimited" bandwidth, those always freak me out because there's still a limit that the provider can just hit you with if they don't like what you're doing. Oh, and not to mention, many hosts screw you on unlimited space by limiting the number of physical files on the server.

Lots of hosting providers out there, lots of options, but a managed VPS would be my recommendation.

By the way, anyone have specs on average monthly bandwidth?
« Last Edit: 11/08/17 05:55 PM by ca2kjet »
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ygmn

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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #12 on: 11/09/17 03:56 AM »

My background is web design and development but my career has shifted such that I am now an IT director. So hopefully I fit that "GEEK/TECH/SERVER" person. ......

Send me a PM please to discuss further....

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Steelheadchaser

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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #13 on: 11/09/17 10:01 AM »

I sent you a message can't you at least acknowledge it

Sorry for being so tardy. Check your messages
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MS03 2500

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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #14 on: 11/09/17 10:46 PM »

After a few messages with our 2 admins does anyone else besides me want help support the club.

We will not do admin stuff, that's up to them but we can offer ideas to improve the club.

Things like adding more perks to becoming supporting members or Site Sponsors.

I would really like to keep the lights on here and not having the site full of ADs like so many other sites.

Post here or send me a PM if you want to help.
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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #15 on: 11/10/17 08:54 AM »

Count me in, I'm willing to help out. I want to see this club go on and on..
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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #16 on: 11/10/17 09:03 AM »

After some thought there are a few things that need to be addressed besides just funding.
Several have posted that the supporting memberships are way down. This is going back a year plus at least. That I can remember. Why is that?? Why have people stopped giving?

Why arenít there more site sponsors?  What can we (the club) change to get more?
There sure does sound like theres a lot of daily traffic so there has to be a better way.

If we resolve all the tech issues and costs what are we going to do about the Av Family and the sites future?
 
Just like anything we need to have some idea of what our direction.  
How do we move forward?
How do we revitalize things to keep active users active and attract other users either new or old?

The site is a huge resource everyone says, but a resource just sits on a shelf like any other book. The site needs to be so much more than just a resource.

What we have done in the past has finally caught up with us and maybe things need to change?

Where are things a year or say 5 or even 10 years  from now??
If we canít answer that then whatís the use of putting a bandaid on our problem.  
« Last Edit: 11/10/17 02:25 PM by Hugz »
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Vaeagleav

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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #17 on: 11/10/17 10:07 AM »

Lot of great points Hugz!

My thoughts on the decline of membership and sponsors etc. Is that since the AV is no longer made and it has moved in "status" from a new and exciting vehicle to "just transportation" to most people. I'm sure many former members have bought new vehicles and moved on.
Also since it's no longer made it draws less attention on car lots and aftermarket parts suppliers so there is less parts available that fit except for the more universal parts that are shared by the Suburban or Silverado.
I have no experience in web design or website administration but I feel this site could morph in several ways, either a social media site where the friendships and camaraderie take precedence and the type of vehicle doesn't matter as much or we do stay more specific and slowly dwindle away as the numbers of owners decline over time. Then we do become a resource site for those newer owners trying to fix problems of the older AVs.
Maybe if the site expands to a Chevy Truck fan club website with sections for AVs, Suburbans and Silverados it would bring fresh blood onto the site and encourage more social activities and sponsors?
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2004 Z71 Silver Birch before that.

MS03 2500

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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #18 on: 11/10/17 10:11 AM »

Thanks Randy you are in. :thumbsup:

Hugz maybe the direction is something we can do. The admins are trying actively to get the site fixed.
« Last Edit: 11/10/17 10:33 AM by MS03 2500 »
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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #19 on: 11/10/17 12:22 PM »

Rock Auto's monthly newsletter has the forum of the month. Have we asked them about listing our site there?  I don't know if it requires advertising on the site to be listed.
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MS03 2500

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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #20 on: 11/10/17 12:44 PM »

I was thinking something like that also frito, for only 75 bucks a year most vendors would not turn it down.  I'm sure no one has even tried to contact them.

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2003 2500

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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #21 on: 11/10/17 03:52 PM »

FYi...
some issues are
active membership is declining....
Posts and new threads are declining.
Page views are declining...

New members is declining and those who sign up seems to only log in once or twice.

people are just less active...

But I can say the SPAMMERS have not given up





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MS03 2500

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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #22 on: 11/10/17 05:40 PM »

That is to be expected since Avalanches have not been produced in 4 years, most newbs log in to ask a question and come back again to ask another question.

I think the best bet is to make it better experience members that have been here over 2 years and get them to support the club.
« Last Edit: 11/10/17 05:44 PM by MS03 2500 »
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2003 2500

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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #23 on: 11/11/17 08:10 AM »

Thought I'd put together some graphs to make it easier to see the forum's stats.

Ouch! These two graphs show how much the site is dying. "Everything that can be said, has been said"



Did this site get (and maybe it still is) hit with fake accounts?


There appears to be more people online. Maybe members who are just looking for reference material? And what the heck happened in Jan 2006!?


Page views keep going up. Guessing this site is used way more for reference material now. (FYI - It drops in Nov 2017 because the stats are incomplete)

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Vaeagleav

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Re: Club Funding, or Rather the Lack of It...
« Reply #24 on: 11/11/17 09:11 AM »

Interesting charts ca2kjet,
Some of your questions could be answered if there was a way to break down page views or new topics according to the section that they occur. Ex: if majority of new posts or looks occur in the Problem section vs. the GTG sections then people are using the site for research not social activities.
I still think social section is declining due to things such as no real tagging efforts to get new members, decline of local or regional GTGs , older enthused members selling their AVs and some members using Facebook or other ways to socialize.
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2008 Z71 Silver Birch 
2004 Z71 Silver Birch before that.
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