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TheLoveBandit
18-02-2008, 16:43
Copied from the ANNOUNCEMENT:

Bluelight has historically been fortunate that all funding requirements were met by our generous benefactor (http://www.bluelight.ru/vb/showthread.php?t=365174). It was his stated intent to fund the site long after his lifetime, but due to the quick onset of his condition, we have been left without any assurance that his estate will provide for us. In order to sustain this site going forward, we are forced to find other funding sources. The breadth and scope of these will continue to evolve, but for now we have instituted a PayPal donation link. We are asking our members (and lurkers) to donate whatever they might be comfortable offering in return for the information and community they have found here. No donation is too small, or too large ;) , and we will continue to add other ways in which you can help us out as we go forward. Thank you for your support.



link---> OUR DONATIONS PAGE (http://www.bluelight.ru/vb/bl-donate.php) <---link

A few quick FAQs up front:

Where does the money go?
Bluelight has historically been staffed on a volunteer basis - this will not change. All Moderators, Sr. Mods, and Admins give their time freely in an effort to sustain the site and help it thrive. The actual account into which the funds will go is owned and accessed solely by the owner of Bluelight, johnboy. He also owns and operates Pillreports.com (shared on our server) and Enlighten.org.au, two of our sister sites.

Why Paypal?
Because it was the quickest and easiest to implement at this time. We are exploring other avenues to receive donations, and we will post them as they come online.

Why AlertPay?
Because Paypal blindly blocked our use of their services under their classifications of 'drug' or other possibly illegal activities. We know better, but they simply asked us to take our business elsewhere. Our owner, johnboy, has been able to set up an AlertPay account which should not suffer these types of account closures.

Why are the donations in Euros?
Our servers are in Europe, and while our member base is global, it simplified bill paying for our account to be set in monies that match the billing we receive. If you live outside of the Euro community, your credit card or account will get charged at whatever the conversion rate is at the time of the transaction. For those wishing to donate specific amounts of money in your own currency, we suggest using a conversion calculator (http://www.xe.com/ucc/) to determine the appropriate euro amount. (For example, currently $10 US ~ 6.53 Euros).....but the AlertPay allows you to enter your own amount in USD, AusD, or euro and will convert it to euro automatically (for a fee deducted from the donation, of course).

What other funding plans does the site have in mind, and when will they become available?
We have several ideas at work, but to express them here may rush them or cause part of the arrangement to become fouled up if they aren't properly put in place before public access is granted. We have a thread in SUPPORT (http://www.bluelight.ru/vb/showthread.php?t=367195) to encourage member suggestions and an open discussion of opportunities as well as why some ideas may not be pursued. However, all final decisions and implementation will be done by the owner and admin team, released as each plan is finalized. Your patience is appreciated.


Edited DEC '09 - updated link to donation page, scratched PayPal.

Edited MAR '10 - Balance update to donations bar, provide summary below (repeated in post #242 (http://www.bluelight.ru/vb/showpost.php?p=8243235&postcount=242) with more explanation), some monies are lost due to banking and currency conversion fees :

Donations by month in euro (total number of persons/donations that month):
DEC '09 - 170 euro - 3 donors
JAN '10 - 200 euro - 6 donors
FEB '10 - 200 euro - 7 donors
MAR '10 - 300 euro - 10 donors
APR '10 - 364 euro - 15 donors
MAY '10 - 335 euro - 15 donors
JUN '10 - 380 euro - 13 donors
JUL '10 - 370 euro - 13 donors
AUG '10 - 278 euro - 11 donors

DarthMom
11-03-2008, 17:11
hey guys :D

ok, just a quick opinion on donations. in the past, when involved in a large website for many years, after asking for donations a lot went downhill. personally, i love this site, and will donate funds to keep it going.

but i was thinking if it was my site, i would want everyone to know what the site really cost and keep a running public tally of how much was needed. along with a public report of the fund allocation.

there tend to be thoughts about whether or not those that run it are doing for altruistic or financial reasons. no matter how much most of us really do have faith in the bl gods, there will be others that simply don't. i believe that public accountability would lead to more donations. if we can actually see that this site is in the red 1000 bucks, you would see that number lower much more quickly than when we didn't have a clue.

for those who don't an expendable income, they will not want to share it with the thought that it would just be gravy at that time.

anyway, just a thought.

that being said, i hope the majority of bl does this site and alans memory a service and keep this place running. it has been a lifesaver, literally, for many.

<3

SA
11-03-2008, 18:05
DM, thanks for your thoughts on the subject. I'll chime in briefly while the announcement is still being assembled.

Regarding the site you referenced going downhill after it started asking for donations, I can similarly list countless sites which have led a very healthy existence and been able to expand under a continued donations campaign.

An idea of costs will likely come in the announcements. As well, I am sure we'll discuss other payment methods and revenue streams. T-shirts and souvenirs have already come up in discussion here and there.

Thank you for helping. :)

Madhatter4
11-03-2008, 19:25
I think that anyone who donates funds to Bluelight should have an (OPTIONAL) tag assigned to there username that states they are a paying supporter of this website.... THAT and ALL warnings should be ERASED from the record;)

DG
11-03-2008, 20:10
How do I donate in US dollars? Or is that not possible?

TheLoveBandit
11-03-2008, 20:18
How do I donate in US dollars? Or is that not possible?
It will convert automatically based on whatever the current exchange rate is at the time of the transaction. For example, if you submit 10 euros *right now* you will see a charge on your credit card or whatever for about $15.32 US Dollars, or $16.54 Aus Dollars, depending upon where you live.

If you just want to give $10 US, then you can use a conversion calculator (http://www.xe.com/ucc/) to figure out how many euros that is. Somewhat of a pain in the ass, but again, this is our first step and we'll try to refine the donation options over the coming weeks. (currently $10 US ~ 6.53 Euros)

Infinite Jest
11-03-2008, 22:09
I think that anyone who donates funds to Bluelight should have an (OPTIONAL) tag assigned to there username that states they are a paying supporter of this website.... THAT and ALL warnings should be ERASED from the record;)

Your first suggestion has merit, I think, and I've already suggested a discussion on it. On your second, I realise you may not have been 100% serious, but I would be very strongly opposed to letting someone break the rules just because they've donated. (If you go to Metafilter, they have a registration fee, but if you troll their site, you will still be banned).

Rogue Robot
11-03-2008, 22:58
Honestly, as cool as adding a little tag by someone's name showing that they have donated may be, it may make others who are unable to contribute (but would like to) feel as though it might be rubbing it in their faces.

Just a thought.

DarthMom
11-03-2008, 23:29
i kind of agree. it promotes elitism. i was kinda against the past bl mod status tags too for the same reason, though i never spoke up about it. i don't usually care about such things, and am usually a bit quiet in these topics, but since i spoke up about the donations, i feel i should put in my two cents the rest of the way also.

StarOceanHouse
12-03-2008, 01:02
I wouldn't consider it elitism since ANYONE can donate. And it doesn't have to be a lot.

36979999_acb
12-03-2008, 01:25
Please can we have some kind of meter to show how much money is required to meet the required level of outgoings?

e.g.

£120 ''
''
''
+
+
+
£0 +

where + = reached, I'm drunk don't blame me if this doesn't make sense

johnboy
12-03-2008, 01:34
I wouldn't consider it elitism since ANYONE can donate. And it doesn't have to be a lot.

Exactly. And we do need everyone to help. Without these funds Bluelight will go away. It is as simple as that. We were blessed before with the perfect patron and now we have to pull our own weight. Also consider that those who are developing this now have been planning for the day this would be necessary for about 9 years now. Give us the respect to know that we have considered many of these issues already.

I can guarantee you that many people who donate will insist that they don't get a title. Anonymous donations are common in this sort of thing. But some people want it, and if it encourages them, then so be it. People will always find a reason not to give. We need to give them some reason to give.

Have a suggestion on how to raise money? Then please give it, and more importantly follow thru on it with some action. But time spent shooting down other suggestions is not really helpful at all.

TheDEA.org
12-03-2008, 01:37
An idea of costs will likely come in the announcements.

Web hosting these days (even for a site with moderately high bandwidth requirements) isn't expensive. I'm curious where the money would be going to.

Mazey
12-03-2008, 01:38
so is the Bluelight site considered profit or nonprofit ?

fatallyflawed
12-03-2008, 01:46
i kind of agree. it promotes elitism. i was kinda against the past bl mod status tags too for the same reason, though i never spoke up about it. i don't usually care about such things, and am usually a bit quiet in these topics, but since i spoke up about the donations, i feel i should put in my two cents the rest of the way also.

disagree.

For the most part (or better part) of this community i see it maybe being like "wow, look all these people donated,maybe we can make the difference"

as for a tag....I nominate that we put the ribbon in honor of xtcxtc

DarthMom
12-03-2008, 01:59
chris1.5 don't mind your drunken stupor, your point is well made, and in my opinion, makes a lot of sense as i pointed out in my previous post. i think people would be much more inclined to donate if they know the amount needed.

DarthMom
12-03-2008, 02:01
Have a suggestion on how to raise money? Then please give it, and more importantly follow thru on it with some action. But time spent shooting down other suggestions is not really helpful at all.
i didn't see anyone shooting down suggestions on raising funds, what are you referring to?

SA
12-03-2008, 02:19
Web hosting these days (even for a site with moderately high bandwidth requirements) isn't expensive. I'm curious where the money would be going to.
May I ask you to elaborate on what exactly you deem inexpensive for a site this size? If you're running a hobby site and forum where you have hundreds (sometimes thousands) of members, but where no more than a dozen of those members are on at any given time, then yes, your site will be on a low-budget plan on a shared server. If your members start visiting in droves, however, your host will quickly (and I mean QUICKLY) tell you to get a dedicated server. Even then, your bandwidth will be restricted to a set limit (there is no such thing as "unlimited", no matter what they advertise) and should you push or exceed those limits, you'll either be paying dearly, or will be asked to move to another host. For reference, Bluelight's been running with ~400 people online on average and for the past hour or so we've been at roughly 700. I highly doubt a budget plan pipeline would handle those numbers, but feel free to check with your host. [edited to add] Please remember also that we can't pick and choose the cheapest servers anywhere. We are not hosted in the U.S. (or many other countries) due to the sensitive (in most countries) nature of the subject matter of this site. [edited to add further] I'll leave the breakdown of actual costs to those who are actually involved in the finances of the site, if they are so willing or deem it necessary.

As for the "I'm curious where the money would be going to" comment, I honestly thought that would have been rather obvious - to run the site, i.e. pay the hosting costs, as is stated on the donate page.

I'll walk away for now and let more people voice their ideas. Seriously though, these places, like most things in life, don't run on good will and peanut butter sandwiches. ;)

johnboy
12-03-2008, 02:25
i didn't see anyone shooting down suggestions on raising funds, what are you referring to?

The debate over titles/elitism has been had on this board a thousand times and I was more referring to what will inevitably happen to this thread, rather than what already has. Trying to encourage people to find reason to give, not dwell on reasons not to.

SA
12-03-2008, 02:32
Similar to the added titles, there could be added user features.

Not sure what yet, but it's something I've seen on other sites before so thought I'd through it into the pot here.

GenericMind
12-03-2008, 03:49
Reading journals or viewing the gallery could be a paid feature.

felix
12-03-2008, 04:41
please note: any off topic crap will be removed without notice or explanation. thanks. :)

pennywise
12-03-2008, 04:50
I'd like to once again float the idea of eventually offering some "gifts" for donating like they do with NPR. For instance, donate any amount over $30 and get a T-shirt (if you want one). If you can make the t-shirts for $5 a piece, then you still get $25 donated, and a lot more people will donate just because they want the shirt. Like I said, there are lots of people on this site that have the skills and creativity to come up with some badass shirt designs, and prob. some people who have the business and manufacturing connections to get the shirts made and people who would volunteer to get them shipped.

I know you couldn't do something like this until you raised enough money to get it started, but it's an idea for down the road. NPR and other people raising money do it, so it must work.

It doesn't have to be limited to shirts either. There are other options too.

swilow
12-03-2008, 05:18
so is the Bluelight site considered profit or nonprofit ?

What do you think man? Of course its non-profit. 8)

nycrosshairs
12-03-2008, 05:31
Damn thats quite a bit of doe. I remember when i used to have the domain hax0rs.com maybe like 10 years ago and that was when internet sponsors were out there like crazy with like 10 cents a click.

I used to have popups that would have the sponsor show right up so every hit made me money (only did the popup for a week but wouldn't have it up all day just some random hours and made 600$). And i had around 1,000 hits a day.

Daisybabe
12-03-2008, 05:33
Does using paypal preserve your anonymity? More directly, since paypal has access to actual names and traceable info, there won't be any link from paypal account to a BL account?

I also agree with the idea of the journal and gallery being paid features. I would even take it further and make all non-harm reduction forums paid features. Or at the very least, create a special "donators" area.

Or what about memberships? Livejournal offers different features and access for each level of membership. Free users could have access to only the drug info forums, while annual/monthly members have total access.

Too bad we can't go old school and have a meetup that charged admission, with all proceeds going to the site. ;)

Infinite Jest
12-03-2008, 05:57
Daisybabe: if you're worried about personal ID, then log out of BL, then click on the Donate link - it will show up as "Guest" or "unregistered" or something :)

Infinite Jest
12-03-2008, 06:04
BA: comments noted, and certainly appreciated :). I think we'd prefer to keep that discussion private right at this second while we seek further information. We hope that things have happened as you you said, but they may not have. I've unapproved your post for now, nothing personal. Daisybabe, I edited yours where it referred to BA's.

TheDEA.org
12-03-2008, 06:05
May I ask you to elaborate on what exactly you deem inexpensive for a site this size?

$100-$200 a year.


Even then, your bandwidth will be restricted to a set limit (there is no such thing as "unlimited", no matter what they advertise) and should you push or exceed those limits, you'll either be paying dearly, or will be asked to move to another host.

Very true, although my host (http://www.site5.com/) hasn't blinked at 60 gig a month of transfers on about a $7 a month plan. (It's the videos.) A bigger issue might be the processor overhead of the script-based board; anybody know how power-hungry the software is under your loads?


I highly doubt a budget plan pipeline would handle those numbers, but feel free to check with your host.

Well, 'budget' is a matter of perspective. Obviously the $2 a month people aren't going to give you what you need. But you can get a lot of capacity fairly cheaply these days. A dedicated server shouldn't cost more than $100/month (which does add up to a lot.)


We are not hosted in the U.S. (or many other countries) due to the sensitive (in most countries) nature of the subject matter of this site.

I had my worries, but my site has been up for years and gone through several hosts without anybody so much as raising an eyebrow my way. Dancesafe covers much the same subject matter on their board as BL and they haven't had hosting problems in the US so far as I know. And of course, Erowid is US based. Heck, most of the hosting companies are in California; land of Hippies, gay pride parades, and a marijuana bush on every porch. :) Not really an anti-free speech region.


As for the "I'm curious where the money would be going to" comment, I honestly thought that would have been rather obvious - to run the site, i.e. pay the hosting costs, as is stated on the donate page.

But nobody's said what the costs are, or what will be done with any excess. Should I ever solicit donations myself, you can be sure there will be a little sign saying "First $100 per year goes to hosting costs; everything after that will be spent on porn and pizza." ;) I like to know where money is going, and I doubt I'm alone in that.

TheDEA.org
12-03-2008, 06:14
viewing the gallery could be a paid feature.

I think that would...well, suck. Taking away features from people who don't donate feels cheap and manipulative. I don't think many people will donate to get access to a minor feature, and artificially creating a division of haves and have-nots seems like it would erode the sense of community.


Of course its non-profit

Non-profit in the sense that people aren't currently profiting from it, or non-profit in the government sanctioned/regulated sense?

SA
12-03-2008, 06:23
DEA, with all due respect, your numbers are way off. Look, I don't mean to put your site down, but you're comparing raisins and watermelons. There are two users on your forums right now (one of them is me), 88 being the all time high. At that rate, your site can easily reside on a server with 3K neighbours and you shouldn't be paying more than $100/yr. May I suggest you visit some web hosting forums and compare what people are paying to host sites with the persistent and consitent traffic that you see here in the "who's online".

I'm cautiously optimistic that our own numbers and funding/expenditure details will be disclosed in the future (how and when, I can't say). I'm just not in a position to be doing so myself.

TheDEA.org
12-03-2008, 09:01
At that rate, your site can easily reside on a server with 3K neighbours

I'm probably the only site operator on earth that discourages people from using the forums. :) (There's a note in the first forum that tells people to come here or to Dancesafe.) I basically set that system up as a place where I could easily add and store items that didn't quite fit into the main architecture of the site. It's an attic, not the draw of the site. *shrug*


I have no idea if the specific hosting package I use could meet Bluelight's needs; I wasn't claiming that it did. I do know that bandwidth itself can be had very cheaply, and I've yet to hear of a drug related site having trouble finding a willing host. (Well, certain...ah...'chemistry' sites aside.) At worst, there are plenty of affordable (under $100/month) dedicated server companies in the US, and they're even less inquisitive about what's being hosted on a dedicated machine.

36979999_acb
12-03-2008, 10:29
Last time i looked BL uses 1TB a month b/w... It can't be hosted in the U.S. for obvious reasons. The CPU overhead is too large for those normal hosting deals... Basically I think BL has the best package hosting deal right now than it would anywhere else.

It requires two hefty machines to not fall over 1 DB and 1 Apache. So if you think about what you'd be paying in U.S. terms we're talking about $300+ * 2 per month. I believe bl has a better colo deal than that right now.

Mazey
12-03-2008, 11:51
so swilow would writing a check from my busness to Bluelight be considered a tax deduction ? I give the local non-commerical radio station $500 a year and i can write it off.

SynAmnesia
12-03-2008, 12:00
Have you thought of a way to make anonymous donations that don't leave a money trail? Pay pal keeps track of where their money goes to.

Have you ever thought of having a way to accept money orders or something like that can be truly be done anonymously. (I wouldn't mind people on the site knowing I donated, but I certainly don't want my credit card company or paypal to know I donated.)

I don't trust pay pal's ideas of morality and privacy with that. I heard that they are run by the same people that run myspace, and have defintely created problems with people ordering adult toys and such in the past. Drugs are often more taboo than sex, I could see them creating a huff about this (and although this site is meant for harm reduction--I am pretty sure that the christian right and the anti-drug lobbiests don't see it that way). I certainly wouldn't want any donation I would make through this site going through my paypal account and onto my credit card. eekk.

johnboy
12-03-2008, 12:23
How many more ways can I say "More donation options are coming"?

Some people wanted to donate straight away, so we built the paypal option. We are working on every other possible form of donation but these take time, and in some cases money. Which leads me to


How much money do we need? Is Bluelight non-profit? Can I claim it on my tax?

All of this is linked. I can tell you our server costs but that is not all that we need. Is Bluelight non-profit? Bluelight isn't anything. It is a gentlemen's agreement that now has to grow up.

We need to encorporate in some form so that we can pay our bills. Until now Alan paid from his company directly to oour hosts. Now we need to form some entity to both collect the money and distribute it. This, of course, takes time and money. And if we do it well it will make us money, and put less of the burden on the users.

Take the last question there, tax status. We have it on good advice that we can start the process towards becoming a charitable organisation that will allow us to take donations that are tax deductible. This involves lawyers, so naturally money is required, and yet more time. But it would mean that Bluelight would be self perpetuating and everyone wins.

I've been thinking over these issues for about 7 years now, before Alan offered to foot the bill. Since he did we have always been lazy in bringing any of it to action, and the suddeness of his death has been both a shock and a wakeup call.

I know people are trying to help with these suggestion but I would ask of you all a little trust that we, the admins, have the site's best inteterests in mind and that even if we may not be able to answer a question straight away it is seldom because we havent' considered it. There are so many moving parts right now it is scarey, but we will get there

So use the donate link above, or don't. It is up to you. More forms are coming, and lots more information as well.

johnboy
12-03-2008, 12:25
Oh and we're not prepared to debate the technical side of things. We are hosted in the way we are for very good reasons. Enough said.

tambourine-man
12-03-2008, 13:37
When alternative donation methods become available, I'd suggest that you give people the opportunity to use a debit card, as opposed to a credit card. Either that or the ability to create a low-yield standing order. Just a suggestion.

zephyr
12-03-2008, 14:29
I made a donation just then, the exchange rate is pretty shithouse, but fuck it!

Got paid today, don't use my spending money for drugs anymore, so have a bit to spare.

In memory of Alan. Poor old dude.

felix
12-03-2008, 14:47
When alternative donation methods become available, I'd suggest that you give people the opportunity to use a debit card, as opposed to a credit card. Either that or the ability to create a low-yield standing order. Just a suggestion.
aye, i would definitely be up for that.

steady income is where it's at. :)

p.s. well done zeffers ;)

Whatchamacallit
12-03-2008, 17:10
I like the ribbon for xtcxtc for donations. It's a pleasant recognition of who has kept BL alive and who will keep BL alive. Also it's a nice reminder of the person he was and what he stood for.

Terrible time for USD to EU conversion right now. And don't see it getting any better. Matter of fact just read on another forum that some NYC merchants are beginning to accept Euros.

Currently as of this post;

1 EUR = 1.54622 USD

SA
12-03-2008, 18:16
A couple more options which will eventually be added to the main "donate" page, but which we thought we'd post here for now for others to take advantage.

For those who expressed concern over seeing "bluelight.ru" on their receipts, the following additional Paypal email address has been set up: [email protected] . While being directly connected to the site, it should prove generic enough for those with the aforementioned concerns.

For those with reservations against all things Paypal, a Moneybookers account has also been set up: [email protected]

Thank you. :)

felix
12-03-2008, 18:28
^ if people use a credit or debit card to donate to that address, what will it show up as on their bank statement? :)

SA
12-03-2008, 18:30
Abaasy, if I'm not mistaken. johnboy can confirm when he passes by.

pennywise
12-03-2008, 18:43
Oh and we're not prepared to debate the technical side of things. We are hosted in the way we are for very good reasons. Enough said.

That's what I was thinking. While I could understand some people wanting to know specific figures and how their money is going to be spent, I don't see debating over technical decisions such as server and hosting questions as constructive or worthy of time or energy. I'm sure that those running the technical and financial side of things have considered all their options and found the best and most cost-effective solution. I trust that they are smart people who know what they are doing, and have considered all options. They would have to be, considering how long and how well the site has been run.

As far as I am concerned (for the little it is worth) they all have my complete trust as well as respect. Just tell me what we need and I will do the best I can to help out.

Rogue Robot
12-03-2008, 18:49
disagree.

For the most part (or better part) of this community i see it maybe being like "wow, look all these people donated,maybe we can make the difference"

as for a tag....I nominate that we put the ribbon in honor of xtcxtc

I like this better.

I was just offering a different insight, tbh. I don't think that personally, but many people might.

There's a difference between moderators/admin./etc. and people who donate to the site.


Reading journals or viewing the gallery could be a paid feature.

I agree with this. Though I don't use this site for journaling or gallery, many people do. Many journal sites or the likes offer paid accounts (something like $10 a year) for upgrades such as a gallery.

tambourine-man
12-03-2008, 22:01
I seem to remember Alan mentioning once, the possibility of charging people for additional gallery space.

indelibleface
12-03-2008, 22:44
I'd like to once again float the idea of eventually offering some "gifts" for donating like they do with NPR. For instance, donate any amount over $30 and get a T-shirt (if you want one). If you can make the t-shirts for $5 a piece, then you still get $25 donated, and a lot more people will donate just because they want the shirt. Like I said, there are lots of people on this site that have the skills and creativity to come up with some badass shirt designs, and prob. some people who have the business and manufacturing connections to get the shirts made and people who would volunteer to get them shipped.

I know you couldn't do something like this until you raised enough money to get it started, but it's an idea for down the road. NPR and other people raising money do it, so it must work.

It doesn't have to be limited to shirts either. There are other options too.

Erowid does the exact same thing -- I wouldn't mind seeing this done at BL.

edarrin
12-03-2008, 23:38
^ That and some advertising. If you could get some people pay to advertise their products on here. Legal (grey-area in places) advertisers. Stuff like lab equipment or something. Would fit the harm reduction philosophy as people would be able to handle/process their drugs safely at least.


Some of the bodybuilding websites have hook ups for filters and such for cheap (as well as a lot of other interesting trinkets). Just an idea. Maybe someone knows other sponsers. Another avenue to take is some select nutritional supplements or something of that nature.

A combination of donations and a couple of advertisers may be a way to sustain and perhaps grow.

.02

GenericMind
12-03-2008, 23:54
I'd have to say I'm against allowing any type of business dealing in paraphenalia or lab equipment to advertise here.