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Our Operating Costs and Revenue Transparency

Julian

Jetboaters Fleet Admiral
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Yamaha
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2016
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We have 2 primary operating costs, the forum Software and hosting costs.

The forum software (XenForo) cost $140
Domain registration with privacy was $18.16

As for running costs the monthly cost for hosting at http://digitalocean.com is $12. That consists of $10 a month for the hosting plan and $2 a month extra for daily backups.
The domain name will cost about $10 a year to renew.
XenForo charges $40 a year for updates.

So our monthly cost works out to $16.17 per month.

At this time Bruce (who is handling our hosting) is graciously covering all these costs and is not asking for any donations to run the board. If these costs change dramatically we may investigate revenue options. IF we have to go that route. It will be discussed here, in the open, and members will have a say in what we do.
 

leeatmg

Jet Boat Junkie
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Chandler, AZ 85249
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Count me in for donations if and when needed.
 

Jim Robeson

Jetboaters Captain
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Count me in if you need something.
 

Volffas

Jetboaters Captain
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AR
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Very interesting.... Thanks for posting that information. I am a member of several other boards and I have never seen that information posted. Hopefully the operating costs will stay low even if/when there are TONS of members posting TONS of stuff everyday.

If needed, I would be happy to donate money or time. If you need an extra admin to help monitor things just let me know, I would LOVE to do it!
 

Cory

Jet Boat Junkie
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Lake Kiowa, TX 76240
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Yamaha
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2011
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Limited S
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24
Just an idea, on one of the other forums I belong to, we have a "sponsors" page. There was a small donation from the vendor to get listed on the page and we referred to the page any time someone asked where to get something. Win win, the small donations covered the operating costs and the vendors got some cheap really targeted advertising. We did the page on an annual basis.
 

Julian

Jetboaters Fleet Admiral
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Yamaha
Year
2016
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Boat Length
24
All great ideas, but at this point we are not soliciting donations or vendor contributions to maintain the site. If that changes, we will keep everyone appraised here, and we (as forum members) will decide how we want to cover any expenses. All costs and donations will be published and accounted for.
 

itsdgm

Jetboaters Admiral
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Rancho Santa Margarita, California
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Yamaha
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2007
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AR
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Thanks Julian for keeping us informed and thanks Bruce for picking up the tab. We all owe you guys both. I'll buy the first round!!! Let me know if you're ever in town. Thanks again for all the hard work.
 

Bruce

Jetboaters Fleet Admiral
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Royal, AR
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Yamaha
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2007
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23
@Volffas, the current costs include sufficient storage and processor capability to handle a forum that is larger than our community has every had.

I believe our CPU usage peaked at 5% yesterday. Our file storage is all SSD and daily backups are included in the cost.

Saying that I look forward to sufficient growth to need to upgrade the server!
 

biglar155

Jetboaters Captain
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Fredonia, WI
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Yamaha
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2009
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SX
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23
Holy cow. That's cheap like an XM radio subscription! VERY interesting. Lots of boards (and I'm not just talking about back at the "other house") ask for a lot of donations. I'm wondering why that is? Or is it that this site is using the newest and coolest stuff out there which makes it easier to maintain for the moment?

At that price, if 10% of the membership were willing to sponsor a month, we could go nearly 3 years between donations and still be in the green.

Either way, I'd be willing to help out if cash is ever needed.
 

jawsf16

Jetboaters Captain
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NA
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I too was shocked at how inexpensive the costs were, other than time and labor obviously. Forums are definitely making some serious cash out there...
 

Scottintexas

Jetboaters Admiral
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Corinth, TX (DFW)
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2007
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AR
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What is the time involved to administrate a board? I understand during the start up there is alot but after a month how much time is required to keep it going, stopping spammers or hackers, etc..
 

Julian

Jetboaters Fleet Admiral
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The most time intensive activity is keeping up with reading the various threads and making sure members are getting answers. Next up comes adding modifications and handling upgrades. Spammers can become a hassle, it depends on the ability of the software to handle them. We've not had a single spammer get through, but we aren't super popular yet. They will begin targeting us more when we get towards the 1000 member range (then they are more interested in breaking in to get the data). Even then, all it does is slow down the new member approval process.

Once we are up and running, with a decent set of moderators, each person would really only need to read 1/2 hour a day (if we had say 6-10 mods and admins). That would give us broad coverage to handle new member requests if we are forced into a manual approval process. Other than that, we'll get the occasional "I can't remember my password and changed my email" type questions, which should be limited, followed by how to questions, which members can answer too (if posted publicly).

Long answer, but bottom line, spread the load out, and its easy.
 

Bruce

Jetboaters Fleet Admiral
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@biglar155, @Scottintexas

Most existing forums are running on virtual servers (shared servers) as JYB does. YJB's host charges $135 a year which is typical. Larger forums often have dedicated servers that start around $60 a month. I am using YJB as a reference since it is a forum that we are all familiar with.

Our forum server is hosted at DigitalOcean: SSD Cloud Server, VPS Server, Simple Cloud Hosting. Digital Ocean is one of several companies offering "Cloud" servers where instead of having a specific physical server you have a server instance running inside a cluster of physical servers. Hardware failure of one or even several of the physical servers will not effect the availability of our forum. I have used similar technology for my business for over a decade and started using Digital Ocean last year. The Thursday night before our launch, I upgraded our server from one processor to two. The upgrade process was completed in less than five minutes including backup up to another one of my servers before the upgrade. Amazon's AWS is the biggest example of a cloud hosting provider. I believe that more forums will transition to cloud hosting as they understand the increase in uptime and decrease in cost. The only downside is storage capacity but I expect Digital Oceans offerings to increase in size as we do.

Older forum software such as the 2007 era phpBB 3.0.2 used by YJB have little or no spam filtering. This can be clearly demonstrated by the 18,000 registered accounts that have never posted. I understand that staff on that forum typically spend more than 30 minutes a day filtering out spammers. They enforce a requirement to have your initial posts approved before they are seen.

We are using two spammer blacklists, one based on IP addresses and a second based on usernames. The username filter has caused slight delay in a few users signing up so we may eliminate it in the future. As Julian just pointed out, we have been lucky to have not had a spammer get through. Although we have many try to sign up every day. We also report failed attempts by spammers to sign up to our forum back to the blacklists.

I have spent less than 10 hours installing and configuring software for this forum. Although I have put much more time into content, greeting and recruiting.

I imagine that much more time would be required if you were not familiar with the software involved. I have had to learn, and am still in the process of learning, the XenForo forum software and how to install add-ons for it. My first add-on installation was not successful. But after the second or third install I realized why the first had failed. Our server is running the Linux operating system, the database backend is MySQL and much of XenForo is php code. I have used and administered these products on daily basis for over a decade.

As our forum matures, I believe that we will be able to simply moderate the forum, with the hardware and software behind the scenes requiring little more than perhaps a monthly update of security patches and new features.
 

biglar155

Jetboaters Captain
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@Bruce

Thanks for the thorough reply! That's neat stuff.

I've got a bit of exposure to Virtual Machines myself as we use them on the Shop Floor Automation/Controls side at my company. They really are fun to play with and allow a TON of flexibility. (We use a basic version of VSphere.)
 

Lspeedss

Jetboaters Commander
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Powhatan,VA. 23139
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Thanks for making this possible. Let me know how I can help.
 

octavio3311

Jetboaters Captain
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Brookfield, Ct
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Yamaha
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2013
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X
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I would be more than happy to contribute. Just let me know!

Thanks for all your work to get this site going!
 

farrelltravis

Jetboaters Commander
Vendor
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Norman, OK
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I just LOVE that this is so transparent, open, and ready for anyone to read. Thanks so much for keeping this open to the public!
 

justason

Jetboaters Admiral
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We have 2 primary operating costs, the forum Software and hosting costs.

The forum software (XenForo) cost $140
Domain registration with privacy was $18.16

As for running costs the monthly cost for hosting at http://digitalocean.com is $12. That consists of $10 a month for the hosting plan and $2 a month extra for daily backups.
The domain name will cost about $10 a year to renew.
XenForo charges $40 a year for updates.

So our monthly cost works out to $16.17 per month.

At this time Bruce (who is handling our hosting) is graciously covering all these costs and is not asking for any donations to run the board. If these costs change dramatically we may investigate revenue options. IF we have to go that route. It will be discussed here, in the open, and members will have a say in what we do.

Thanks for sharing. $16 a month is a great ! The original outlay of $158 is VERY GENEROUS. thank you Bruce !
thank you Julian/Mel and Bruce for that Leap of faith !!

I'll gladly contribute by cash or boat gas, or hopefully a lunch/beer someday !
 

mattmila

Jet Boat Lover
Messages
13
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Yamaha
Year
2013
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SX
Boat Length
19
I applaud that Bruce is covering the monthly cost of this wonderful website. It is not the only cost, but his time (plus Julian's) is also valuable. I think we should have a donation button in the near future. If too much money is coming in, he can ask us to hold off donation until he needs more money.
 
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