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IMPORTANT: The forum is (not) closing down!

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  • aslasl Member Posts: 5
    If it is around 50€ / month, I suspect that some dedicated server like at OVH or Online might do the trick, especially if the software is opensource  ?
  • SumoLegoSumoLego Member Posts: 15,229
    edited October 2015
    I'm interested to know if @Huw has explored any of the suggestions.

    I am very worried about the Forum going away!
  • LostInTranslationLostInTranslation Member Posts: 5,572
    @Huw is away displaying at a Lego show in Birmingham this weekend so I doubt he'll have much time for looking into the options right now but I'm sure he's got a plan to save the forum!
    Save the forum! (having a BTTF flashback) 
    eggshenkiki180703hkcrazy88snowhitie
  • aldreddaldredd Member Posts: 203
    $500 / month is outrageous.
    I have no problem at all with ads / subscriptions (preference would be a subscription for no ads, else ads), but feels to me like they're holding you to ransom knowing how popular the forum is.

    I self host a blog with a UK based hosting company called krystal. I have a pretty basic package (few thousand hits per month) but their service is outstanding even for small fish like me - and even their priciest business package is  only £90/month. (I pay £60/year, and hardly touch my CPU / DISK / RAM usage allowances)

    https://krystal.co.uk/hosting/business/

    So $500 / month can't be hosting costs, and it's not licensing cost (if it's open source) so must be them bundling it as a support package / setting up costs - and the question is, is their support worth that much? Lots of bright technical people on here who I'm sure would always be prepared to chip in.
  • aslasl Member Posts: 5
    I found this at Online (french hoster I know quite well, very good support, excellent hardware and network):

    http://www.online.net/en/dedicated-server/dedibox-lt

    40€ / month, plus VAT. (48€ / month then ?)

  • AleyditaAleydita Member Posts: 952
    aldredd said:
    I self host a blog with a UK based hosting company called krystal. I have a pretty basic package (few thousand hits per month) but their service is outstanding even for small fish like me - and even their priciest business package is  only £90/month. (I pay £60/year, and hardly touch my CPU / DISK / RAM usage allowances)

    https://krystal.co.uk/hosting/business/

    Any host offering 'unlimited' anything is hiding some very real limitations on resource usage. It's simply not possible to host unlimited unique websites on one account when there are limits on resource usage, particularly when there are probably something like 50 or 100 accounts on one server competing for the same CPU and memory. These sorts of accounts are great until you start getting any sort of traffic. If you have a very busy website then you need to be showing resource usage logs to a potential new host, and have them guarantee the package they're offering can cope with your needs.
  • MrShinyAndNewMrShinyAndNew Member Posts: 283
    Aleydita said:

    If you have a very busy website then you need to be showing resource usage logs to a potential new host, and have them guarantee the package they're offering can cope with your needs.
    Seconded. Hosting is only cheap for people who don't need much hosting. 
  • hkcrazy88hkcrazy88 Member Posts: 163
    I'm down with ads, and even subscriptions to see the forum ad-free. I love the forum and would be very sad to see it go!
  • bobabricksbobabricks Member Posts: 1,842
    edited October 2015
    I feel like we should be blaming this over capacity of views on the "Predictions on Discontinuing Sets and their Secondary Market Value" thread with 16.2 million views and 27800 comments... there's gotta be at least a big chunk there.
    TarDomoandheAdeelZubair
  • TarDomoTarDomo Member Posts: 515

    ^ Agreed. To be honest I don't read it anymore as it's impossible to follow it if you're not logged in 24/7. There are simply too many comments. Instead of crazy long threads, which are such non-helpful for new members, they should be divided into smaller topics. Then everyone wouldn't click the same thread. SW fan would click the SW one, City collector the City one and so on. Less clicks and information would be easier to find. There's always the other side of things. Then we would have a lot more threads.

    BTW how many people read threads they are not really interested in? You don't have to click every single thread every time there's a new comment!

    bobabricksKevin_Hyatt
  • kiki180703kiki180703 Member Posts: 1,063
    TarDomo said:


    BTW how many people read threads they are not really interested in? You don't have to click every single thread every time there's a new comment!

    *raises hand sheepishly* I do...
    I do too... high five! *wink*
    messyBumblepants
  • SumoLegoSumoLego Member Posts: 15,229
    Didn't we try that before?  
    Bumblepants
  • SumoLegoSumoLego Member Posts: 15,229
    Missing five very necessary topics:

    Predictions on Discontinuing Sausage and it's Secondary Market Value

    Predictions on Complaining About the Next Modular and Complaining About Ubiquitous Police and Fire Station Playsets 

    Predictions on the Mammoth Hoth Playset that has yet to Materialize

    Complaining About Re-Treads, and Accepting We're Going to Buy them Anyway

    Predictions on UCS SW Sets and What Sets 'Count'
    VorpalRyuCoolguy5000kiki180703messybobabricksRainstorm26andhesnowhitieAdeelZubair
  • ACWWGal2011ACWWGal2011 Member Posts: 534
     vote no on subscriptions. All thatd make me do is abandon this place. And moving forum is something that I don't like either. I used to visit an animal crossing website all the time, diamond luster, but then they changed it to that really lame generic board layout and I left the site. Then the site officially got flushed about a month ago and that was about 2 years after the switch.

    As far as would it matter if it shuts down, who do u mean? If you mean would it effect me personally, I'd have to say no since about the only reason I come here is for about 5 or 6 forum topics.

    As far as would it effect others? My guess is yes short term but long term, they'd find other options
  • MrGudzMrGudz Member Posts: 210
    I have to agree. There is no other option like Brickset!
    SumoLego
  • ACWWGal2011ACWWGal2011 Member Posts: 534
    ^What other options? There is no place like Brickset. 


    To me, it seems like the things that draws people into Brickset are News, catalog, trading/selling/buying and forums. News can be found on at least 4 other sites, I've lost track of the number of other sites ive heard people talking about that have a catalog system, there's at least 2 sites for T/S/B'ing and there's no less then 4 other sites that forums can be found on for lego discussions.
  • kiki180703kiki180703 Member Posts: 1,063
    edited November 2015
    ^ Yeah, but the other forums don't have the best community ever and most importantly, they don't have @Huw , @Pitfall69 memes and @SumoLego love of sausage! :o)
    SumoLegoTheBigLegoski
  • Jern92Jern92 Member Posts: 890
    Adverts are ok. I don't think I can afford a subcription fee really. One of the reasons I like this is because it's free (and I'm saving money for Lego)
    kiki180703TheBigLegoski
  • Rainstorm26Rainstorm26 Member Posts: 1,013
    SumoLego said:
    Missing five very necessary topics:

    Predictions on Discontinuing Sausage and it's Secondary Market Value

    Predictions on Complaining About the Next Modular and Complaining About Ubiquitous Police and Fire Station Playsets 

    Predictions on the Mammoth Hoth Playset that has yet to Materialize

    Complaining About Re-Treads, and Accepting We're Going to Buy them Anyway

    Predictions on UCS SW Sets and What Sets 'Count'
    You forgot Predictions on whether Market Street is a true Modular. 
    SumoLego
  • SumoLegoSumoLego Member Posts: 15,229
    SumoLego said:
    Missing five very necessary topics:

    Predictions on Discontinuing Sausage and it's Secondary Market Value

    Predictions on Complaining About the Next Modular and Complaining About Ubiquitous Police and Fire Station Playsets 

    Predictions on the Mammoth Hoth Playset that has yet to Materialize

    Complaining About Re-Treads, and Accepting We're Going to Buy them Anyway

    Predictions on UCS SW Sets and What Sets 'Count'
    You forgot Predictions on whether Market Street is a true Modular. 
    Yeah, we have that one covered.  I also considered the overall horribleness of the other Factory sets included in that discussion.

    And I don't really have that much of an affinity for the Lego sausage, it's just a reoccurring coincidence.  My passion is the round 1 x 1 tile printed cookie that I first noticed in the Rapunzel Tower.
    Coolguy5000
  • BrainsluggedBrainslugged Member Posts: 2,249
    How about the Amazon Kindle model? Ads by default, but you can pay a small subscription to get rid of them.
    SumoLego
  • CCCCCC Member Posts: 20,526
    How about the Amazon Kindle model? Ads by default, but you can pay a small subscription to get rid of them.
    Or just use an ad blocker for free.
    andhe
  • AleyditaAleydita Member Posts: 952
    CCC said:
    How about the Amazon Kindle model? Ads by default, but you can pay a small subscription to get rid of them.
    Or just use an ad blocker for free.

    It is possible to hide the entire forum for users who employ an Ad Blocker.
  • tecjamtecjam Member Posts: 255
    edited November 2015
    ^^ While something like this may work for most users, one can simply allow the 1 ads.js script in adblocker for the one site (for anyone that knows how to configure adblocker), so this would not be a solution imo and it won't solve the bills you face by keeping your forum hosted on vanilla.
  • XefanXefan Member Posts: 1,148
    edited November 2015
    Huw said:
    But it's still trivial to work around that and ad-blockers will increasingly do so as standard if it becomes commonplace. Fighting ad-blockers is futile, because as a web site owner you'll never have enough control over the client machine to come out on top. If the end user wants something displayed differently or selectively to what you try and send down the pipe they'll always be able to do that, in part, the technology was even designed that way.

    If you do choose the ad route, then the only real option is to accept that not everyone is going to net you ad revenue and that has to be factored in to the viability of that option as a solution.
    TheBigLegoskiandheCam_n_Stu
  • CCCCCC Member Posts: 20,526
    Aleydita said:
    CCC said:
    How about the Amazon Kindle model? Ads by default, but you can pay a small subscription to get rid of them.
    Or just use an ad blocker for free.

    It is possible to hide the entire forum for users who employ an Ad Blocker.
    Yes and where will that lead - more revenue or less? If any website does that type of thing to me, I either (i) leave or (ii) refuse to click or buy through any of the adverts. Here, there is the added danger that if the user experience in the forum gets screwed around with, then the user might stop buying stuff through main site links as well. For example, I tend to click through one of the amazon buying links on the front page when buying at amazon, whether or not I am buying lego, as I know every little helps. Chances are I have picked up another site's tag in the past day so making sure I click through on the brickset one doesn't take long and I know it helps. If I was forced to display adverts on the forum or the forum was completely hidden because of it when I was trying to block adverts, I don't think I'd feel so inclined to take those extra couple of clicks. The income from me would then go down (unless it is pay per display rather than pay per click) as I wouldn't click on adverts in the forum and I would be less likely to click on links through the homepage. I'm guessing it is not pay per display as most companies that used to do this seem to have disappeared long ago (bucks4banners, betterthanbanners, matched, etc).

    TheBigLegoski
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    Many sites have a number of things that don't work particularly well on some platforms. Trying to be clever with users who are trying to be clever with you increases the chances of some things not working as intended for others too. Bad will is easier to earn and longer-lasting than good will.
    binaryeyeTheBigLegoskiXefan
  • AleyditaAleydita Member Posts: 952
    edited November 2015
    I'd probably implement it out of spite though - you're providing your users with a valuable resource and the response from some of them is "I'm going to block one of your sources of revenue". Balls to them, that's not good will, it's called sponging or leeching! I switched from ads to donations on one community I run and thankfully we ended up with more cash than we knew what to do with, which is why I'd recommend ads plus paid removal for those who don't want them.
    Stvoyager04
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    You can say whatever you like to your users, and it doesn't matter. When they say it you, it does.

    The thing is that you have no idea why people block things, or whether they always do it. If they are, currently, in the middle of nowhere, using dubious kit, there are countless good reasons to block anything unwanted. Or if they're using somebody else's resources. Or whatever. Back "in civilisation", things may be different. But if you arbitrarily decide that it's not good will and make the site unusable, they they are quite likely to find they don't need to use it. Ever.

    This forum doesn't work particularly well on a mobile device. If I thought that I would have to endure it like this for than a few more days, I wouldn't bother. Later on, I probably still wouldn't bother. Then the question about blocking a revenue stream becomes irrelevant.

    When you start talking about leeching, you also have to consider what you are providing, and where that is coming from. A forum derives its value from the posters - without them, you have nothing. If you want to make money from them, then who just who is leeching? It's all a very fine balance, and its very easy not to consider how other people may view the situation.
    dougtsTheBigLegoskiCam_n_Stu
  • CCCCCC Member Posts: 20,526
    edited November 2015
    ^^ remember the forum is not an isolated site. Those Amazon links on the front page could equally well be posted in the forum too. If they were, I'd not bother using the front page ones. Less money from the front page, more money from the forum. Forum users are no more leeching than users of tools on the front page. The forum doesn't make money since there are few revenue sources posted here. The front page does because that us where the relevant money making links are posted. I doubt Huw will post how much is made from general untargetted adverts vs links to Amazon, Lego, etc. But it would be interesting to know how much comes from general adverts rather than the Amazon type links.

    Maybe it is worth @Huw putting an Amazon link on the forum with a different tracking ID, so he can see how much of that traffic comes from forum users rather than front page users.

    The front page could equally well be charged for. Don't want general ads? You pay. Got more than 10 sets in your collection, you pay. Got more than 100, you pay double. Use search queries? Only if you're a paid up member. Would it make the site better? I doubt it, just fewer members.
    dougtsCam_n_Stu
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,087
    edited November 2015
    I'm not saying I'm going to block the forum to ad block users, I just answered the question as to whether it's possible.

    I use AdBlock myself and would not be without it. The only site I've found that detects it and makes a fuss is https://www.mixcloud.com.
  • FauchFauch Member Posts: 2,679
    edited November 2015
    People don't like ads. the more you spam them with ads, the more money you make. makes sense...
    on some websites there is even more space used by ads than for the site actual content O_O
  • kiki180703kiki180703 Member Posts: 1,063
    edited November 2015
    ^ Wow! Just wow! :o)
    SumoLegoBumblepants
  • AleyditaAleydita Member Posts: 952
    Nobody asked the question Huw, I made the point that it was possible. I didn't even suggest it was necessary, but I personally wouldn't give a second thought about any user who deemed it their right to deny a website they derive value from, from actually monetising their use in order to pay for its existence. So what if some users spit the dummy out and bugger off, plenty other users will remain and more will join. The community exists because BrickSet exists, not because a handful of users choose to grace it with their presence.

    Wowhead.com introduced a Premium membership where you could view the website without adverts in exchange for a small fee. Theirs was my first experience of this but I've seen it rolled out at a few other places, and I've been happy to pay for many of them. Hell, most of us pay for cable or satellite TV, and still put up with adverts in order to watch it! Same goes for newspapers and magazines. Why would someone be happy to suffer ads in those things but then demand an ad-free resource online? I use Ad Blocker myself but I turn it off for websites I know and trust. If they start having bad ads like pop-ups, sounds or redirecting, I would enable it again.
  • LegoboyLegoboy Member Posts: 8,827
    ^ Yeah, but the other forums don't have the best community ever and most importantly, they don't have @Huw , @Pitfall69 memes and @SumoLego love of sausage! :o)
    I'm going to be sick.   ;)
    kiki180703SumoLegoTheBigLegoskihkcrazy88
  • curiouscurious Member Posts: 36
    edited November 2015
    It doesn't sound like many here follows tech news. There have been a number of malware campaigns this year that have compromised ad networks to infect users.

    http://arstechnica.co.uk/security/2015/04/faked-flash-based-ads-on-huffpo-other-sites-downloaded-extortionware/
    http://arstechnica.co.uk/security/2015/08/my-browser-visited-drudgereport-and-all-i-got-was-this-lousy-malware/

    In addition ISPs are beginning to experiment with ISP level ad blocking.
    http://arstechnica.co.uk/business/2015/05/eu-carriers-plan-to-block-ads-demand-money-from-google/

    Chrome also now blocks flash ads because of the security issues, the annoyance factor, and as a way to increase battery life of mobile devices.
    http://arstechnica.co.uk/information-technology/2015/08/google-chrome-will-block-auto-playing-flash-ads-from-september-1/

    Ad blocking use is continuing to rise in response along with the privacy issues (facebook, google etc tracking via their share buttons etc), as well as ads just being annoying. It goes without saying I block all ads without exception, the way ad networks operate is inherently insecure and they can't be trusted. Its likely that ad revenues will continue to decline although increasing your own site views might counteract this for awhile.

    I've noticed a number of sites begin offering optional subscriptions and when their ads are blocked they display begging messages asking for a subscription to try to nudge users. I assume it picks up some users but I've declined most so far, although I would subscribe to brickset (its pretty essential for me, the other sites were all fairly disposable). It seems like this will long term become the model for many websites. Paywalls don't work because you need people to get invested in the site before they are likely to pay. Quite a few newspapers have had to drop paywalls.

    I'd suggest trying to come up with some subscription only features. Some offer https access, private forum areas, user badges/decoration, ability to vote, database api access (to brickset.com), shopping alerts etc. Competitions/giveaways, discount codes. 

  • SumoLegoSumoLego Member Posts: 15,229
    Xefan said:
    But it's still trivial to work around that and ad-blockers...
    The ability to work around ad-blockers is insignificant next to the power of the force.
    dannyrwwToc13
  • SumoLegoSumoLego Member Posts: 15,229
    Huw said:
    Well you'd think so, wouldn't you, but in the last month the ads on the main site shown to non-members have been clicked on over 7000 times...
    Does that sound like a solution?  I think that sounds like a solution.
  • XefanXefan Member Posts: 1,148
    Aleydita said:
    Hell, most of us pay for cable or satellite TV, and still put up with adverts in order to watch it! Same goes for newspapers and magazines. Why would someone be happy to suffer ads in those things but then demand an ad-free resource online? I use Ad Blocker myself but I turn it off for websites I know and trust. If they start having bad ads like pop-ups, sounds or redirecting, I would enable it again.
    If it makes you feel any better I don't pay any attention to adverts in magazines and and on TV either, I usually use the ad break as an opportunity to go to the toilet, or to fetch a drink. That said, at least adverts on TV and in magazines don't subversively track me, or risk giving me a virus.

    But you then ultimately declare yourself a hypocrite, a sponge and a leech as you put it on some websites.

    Really, ad blocking is a growing thing precisely because ad networks have been the sponges and leeches for so long, using people's bandwidth without their authorisation to push down everything from unwanted ads that shout at them through their speakers, to ads that hijack the rendering area and break the site until you click them, to malware, to simply tracking you and logging your habits often without you ever even knowing.

    If you feel that you're owed money by everyone that visits your site, then don't make it public - stick a paywall on it, otherwise you can't whine when people use it without netting you any income. It's like putting up a public display of a film you just made in a town centre and then whinging that passers by dared to stand and watch some of it without paying you. Obviously if you wanted income from everyone viewing it you should've shoved it in a cinema where viewers have to pay for entry, not right in the middle of a public high street.

    Brickset is where it is because Huw has done a fantastic job of working with his users and not against them, and it would be incredibly foolish to change that now.
  • aldreddaldredd Member Posts: 203
    edited November 2015
    Xefan said:
    Aleydita said:
    Hell, most of us pay for cable or satellite TV, and still put up with adverts in order to watch it! Same goes for newspapers and magazines. Why would someone be happy to suffer ads in those things but then demand an ad-free resource online? I use Ad Blocker myself but I turn it off for websites I know and trust. If they start having bad ads like pop-ups, sounds or redirecting, I would enable it again.
    If it makes you feel any better I don't pay any attention to adverts in magazines and and on TV either, I usually use the ad break as an opportunity to go to the toilet, or to fetch a drink. That said, at least adverts on TV and in magazines don't subversively track me, or risk giving me a virus.
    Don't be too sure about that! SKY (maybe others) knows a fair about you (based viewing habits, whether you have children, what you tell them etc), and have had a system in place for about 12-18 months whereby they do show targeted TV Adverts for channels within their control
  • XefanXefan Member Posts: 1,148
    aldredd said:
    Don't be too sure about that! SKY (maybe others) knows a fair about you (based viewing habits, whether you have children, what you tell them etc), and have had a system in place for about 12-18 months whereby they do show targeted TV Adverts for channels within their control
    Then it's lucky I'm not a Sky subscriber. If Sky know anything about me then they're in flagrant violation of the Data Protection Act :)

    To be honest I'm not actually bothered by tracking if it's to my benefit (i.e. for product improvement research) and with my agreement. I take offence to it when it's done without my knowledge, to profile me, and to sell that profile onwards.
  • iso3200iso3200 Member Posts: 2,065
    Looks like the forum topic name has changed - for the better :-)
    bobabricksprincedravenSumoLegokhmellymel
  • KirstyL21KirstyL21 Member Posts: 27
    I live in South Africa and am not able to support Brickset through purchases on Lego and Amazon (no one will touch SA with a barge pole (so I've been told) so no one ships to us at the arse end of Africa) - so the only way I would be able to help would be through a subscription or watching ads for the cause. I do this with the YouTube channels I am subscribed to in the hope it helps the channel owner. The majority of my visits to Brickset are to update my database, look at sets and their parts, get news updates and general lurking on the forums. I don't always login to the forum - I just browse. I would be happy to pay for the use of the database. Perhaps you could consider a database fee on one level and a small extra for using the forum.  Just my 2 cents worth - I would be honored to help if you will take my money. 
  • Lego_Nerd98Lego_Nerd98 Member Posts: 235
    I wouldn't mind ads at all. Also, some users might want to pay you to advertise their Lego Ideas projects or something....I know I would!
    curious
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