The basic running costs of the new site will include hosting, the annual domain renewal, and other cloud services we don’t want to host or handle ourselves.
Hosting:Digital Ocean — $10 per month for the forum and $5 per month for the news site. It may be possible to get away with $5 and $5, but Digital Ocean is not allowing me to easily downgrade our current package after the recent price cuts (it doesn’t let you decrease your drive space even if you’re not using it, for some reason). I’ll have to do it the hard way.
An alternative to self-hosting the news site (for $5 p/m at Digital Ocean), is to use Ghost’s “Pro” managed service option which for MyGaming as it stands today will start at $39 per month, billed annually.
Similar managed services are available for Discourse, should we wish to consider that.
Domain + basic DNS:
.win: $25.88 per year, $9.98/year on special right now.
.co.za: R75 per year
DNS / DDoS protection: CloudFlare, Cloudfront, Google DNS? (undecided)
SSL certificates: Let’s Encrypt — for now, free
E-mail sending: Elastic Email — within its free tier, for now.
Discourse (and every forum, really) needs a reliable mail sending service to work, so I went with the best one I could find that was recommended by the Discourse devs themselves. We could use this same service to send newsletters and other e-mail updates in future.
G Suite (Google Apps / Gmail): $5 per user per month
All the techies out there: if you know of solid, affordable, local variants of these services, please let me know and I’ll check them out.
The Digital Ocean link above is a referral link that gives you $10 of free credit when you sign up. Once any referral spends $25 with Digital Ocean, I get $25 to put towards our hosting. I’ll try and use programmes like that throughout MyGaming 2.0 to help cover costs.
Because I am still permanently employed by MyBroadband, trying to get advertising deals for MyGaming 2.0 presents a bit of a conflict of interest. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and my salary will be providing the stable income I’ll need to ensure this site stays up. This is just a statement of the way I see it — working for MyBroadband may make it difficult for me (and just me) to secure advertisers for this site.
Running ads on a site also presents technical, design, and labour challenges. I’d like to brief everyone who is interested in this issue some more, but for now I’m going to skip the details — ads are a possibility, but it all depends on the types of deals we can strike.
Once the community is at a certain size, it may be worthwhile to create and sell some merch. Cross that bridge when we get there?
Patronage and donations
Patreon and cryptocurrency donations are a great idea, and are the first thing I’d like to experiment with. While Patreon is a generally great platform, I would as far as possible like to build things in such a way that we remain in control of our own destiny. Lots of creators who rely on platforms like YouTube and Patreon to get paid have been burnt in the last year, reaffirming my belief that the centralisation of the web is something to continue to be concerned about. Coinhive with voluntary in-browser crypto mining is also an option.
I run http://hostingweb.co.za/ and may be able to organise free hosting for the site. The biggest problem with that is that we aren’t in control of what we are getting and what do we do if the host decides it doesn’t want to support us anymore.
I have my own Windows server. However I’m not sure if Discourse can run on it. Otherwise you are welcome to host on it.
Funding wise I’d prefer Patreon over in-browser crypto mining. If we can get enough supporters however that is the big question.
@SIGSTART, how about this. My own personal company can sponsor the money for the hosting and domain name (it’s crazy expensive for a .win!) but then I get a banner on the forum. And I can put anything on the banner that I’d like. Within reason of course. For as long as I sponsor the hosting and domain name I get the banner.
Regarding the finances, one thing that would absolutely be vital is to be diverse in the stream of revenue the site generates. Relying too much on ads, or crypto, or Patreon will add risks to the sustainability of the site. This is what some of the bigger YouTube channels had to learn with the whole Adpocalyps. I would say we should try all of those ideas to finance the site, why not? Perhaps even organise IRL events and stuff once we are much bigger (hopefully)
What I like about Coin Hive is that it can be completely opt in. I don’t want to use people’s resources like that without their express permission. I’ll read the white paper and try and see exactly what they do, though. The fact that Oyster uses Ethereum is sweet.
It’s a pity. Coin Hive isn’t the problem… places like The Pirate Bay using it to quietly mine Monero without telling visitors were the problem. Now it’s been blanket-banned because some schmucks tried to get rich quick.
There’s a lesson in there about developing technology, I’m sure. I wonder how things would have turned out if Coin Hive made it impossible for its script to run without some kind of acknowledgement or interaction with the user.
Patreon would be cool. Wouldn’t be keen on the crypto using my resources.
Merch is a good idea. Stickers, always stickers
Ads, wouldn’t google ads work? I don’t know enough but every site out there seems to be able to use them.