I've decided to be a little more transparent on the project's financial status in an effort to try and get us in the green, and to make sure we can cover our hosting costs moving forward.
To this end, the mu:zines available funds is now displayed in the sidebar on the contributions page (and also this blog post), and in the site header.
Financial breakdown (as of November 2016)
|Outgoings: || || |
|Hosting costs: ||-£80.00||(Paid until early 2018) |
|Purchases: ||-£367.69||(Additional issues, scanners; not including p&p) |
|Misc || || |
|Postage/packing: ||-£95.41||(combined purchases and sales) |
|Income: || || |
|Magazine sales: ||£162.10 || |
|Donations: ||£235.00||(from 9 people) |
One of the more sizable costs was the decision to buy an almost complete collection of E&MM (up to that point, I did not have a single issue of E&MM). This was after I'd already decided to not buy any more issues for the site (I'd spent enough already!), but it was such a good opportunity I decided it was worth it. Happily enough, after buying the collection, and scanning the issues, I was able to sell them on and make the purchase price back, so that worked out well for everybody.
I've also managed to get some very good deals in used scanner purchases from eBay, getting £600+ worth of scanners for about £60 or so. The scanner story is a fairly long one, but some successes include the main A3 scanner I use I picked up as a "untested/not-working" item for the princely sum of £20.
The domain is paid for up until early 2018, but that's a small cost of maybe $10/year, and it was bought some years ago, a long time before the site launched - I haven't included these past costs here. Also not included are software purchases at this time even when the primary use for those tools was this project.
So what do we need money for?
Hosting fees are the largest cost. We don't need a huge amount of bandwidth (at this time), but we do require a reasonable amount of disk space - currently, the site uses around 5GB, but this will keep growing as we add content - given that we currently have about 1/6th of the issues live we're ultimately aiming for, in time we're going to be shooting for about 30GB, which means bigger hosting plans. Our current "Medium" plan is 15GB of disk space with 150GB bandwidth, which should be fine for a few years. The plan runs at $100/year, but I managed to get a 50% off deal when upgrading the plan, and took advantage of this by purchasing two years of hosting at that discounted rate. The hosting plan renews in April 2018, so we'll need enough funds to cover this at that time. When I can take advantage of more of these kinds of deals to save on hosting costs, I will.
(It would also be great to get a yearly SSL certificate, too.)
With those costs covered, any additional funds will let us potentially make small magazine collection purchases for the site where it makes sense. Many mags on eBay etc are horrendously over-priced and will basically never sell, starting at £10+p&p per issue and going to up to as much as £100 for a single issue (!). It's extremely unlikely I will buy any of those for the site. However, from time to time, collections or single issues become available at reasonable prices, and with a surplus in funds we'll be able to pick those up for the site to fill any gaps that our existing contributors can't already provide.
Why no advertising revenue?
I don't want to run generic, or even audio- or music-related advertising. It clutters the site, makes it distracting, makes it load more slowly, requires some effort to admininster and given we are such a niche, is unlikely to generate much revenue anyway. We are a fairly low-traffic, but highly-valued resource, and as such, I'd much prefer it to be funded by donations than by advertising.
(There are also additional problems caused by the monetising of content that isn't owned by me, regardless of how much effort is involved in providing it. It's just not a smart thing to try to do.)
At the same time, I don't want the resource to go away if it can't cover it's own costs - hence the funding drive, and the increased visibility of the financial status on the site.
And while I don't want to run ads, I'm more open to targetted sponsorships, or site supporters where it makes sense, if the site is the better for it.
Can we sell magazines to cover costs?
Well, in short, not really, because nobody wants them.
If anything, people want to get rid
of their collections (and having access to this stuff online makes it easier to justify this). Yes, there are people out there with good collections, and some of those people may buy the odd issue to fill some gaps, but very few people want to buy (or start) collections of issues these days. Having monitored how these magazines get listed and sold on eBay for some years, I'm reasonably familiar with the patterns.
I did list a whole bunch of early SOS at good prices as an experiment, and only sold a few, and the listing fees cost me more than I made back. So it doesn't seem worth the effort. (If you do want to buy any issues we have at reasonable prices, please contact me.
Skip to the end...
We are quite a unique resource - not many projects to archive old content online have done so in as compelling and complete way that we have. It's very time intensive (especially for one guy!) but the content is valuable enough to warrant doing this. If you value what we have done, and want to support us in the future, please help us out in terms of missing issues or monetary donations. It really does make a difference, even if you can only spare a few pounds.
> You can do that on the Contribute page, here.
For those who have donated already, you've covered about half of our outstanding costs up to now, and for that I'm hugely grateful. If we can get a few more of you supporting us, we can solidify our future and move forward to the goal of completing this stuff.