Snider Board Pledge Drive

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Eric's Fat Brother
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Snider Board Pledge Drive

Postby Eric's Fat Brother » Mon 24 Mar, 2008 03:00 pm

To whom it may concern:

As you may or may not have noticed, we have unfortunately found ourselves in the position -- yet again -- of paying a lot of money for a web host that,you know, sucks. The downtime has been unacceptable, and it is the equivalent of a part-time job for me to keep the blasted thing up and running. Complaints to the web hosting company have been met with apathy; I am not exaggerating when I say they don't care even a little bit whether we are satisfied with the service we are paying them to provide.

Here's where things get tricky. Hosting for our sites (which include this message board and EricDSnider.com) costs somewhere between $75 and $300 a month. It used to be cheaper back when we did "shared hosting," which means a company throws your site on a machine with 200 other sites. The problem with those is that you are kind of at the mercy of those 200 other sites; if one of them has a bad script, or gets hacked, or whatever, your server can be affected. So we will never go back to shared hosting.

We are currently on a VPS (Virtual Private Server), which is not bad. In a perfect world, we would be on a fully managed dedicated server from RackSpace, but that's where the $300/month number came from (it might even be a little more, but that's the number that rings a bell). Realistically, we are looking at $75-100 a month.

So I am announcing the 2008 Snider Board Pledge Drive. If every regular on this board pitched in $10 or $20, we'd be well on our way to paying for a year of hosting. If a few pitched in more, we'd get closer. (That's basic math I'm doing. Do not try this at home.)

If you want to pitch in, you can use PayPal to send money to me. My PayPal address is snidog at jeffjsnider dot com. I will keep you all posted on the money totals here in this thread. Let me know if you have any questions (you can email that same address or the webmaster@ version).

UPDATE: I am just going to leave this thread at the top of the forum forever, and I have changed the name from "2008 Pledge Drive" to "Snider Board Pledge Drive." We will need hosting again next year, and the year after that, etc., so there's no point making people wait until it's an emergency to donate. So if you want to make a donation, PayPal it over and just make sure to mention in the notes that it is for hosting. I'll let all that stuff just sit in my PayPal account until I need it for hosting. Thanks.
Last edited by Eric's Fat Brother on Tue 08 Apr, 2008 11:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Karenins_SuperSon
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Postby Karenins_SuperSon » Mon 24 Mar, 2008 03:12 pm

You probably got my payment notice before I could post this.
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Eric's Fat Brother
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Postby Eric's Fat Brother » Mon 24 Mar, 2008 03:13 pm

Yes, yes I did! We have our first pledge!
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Audrey
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Postby Audrey » Mon 24 Mar, 2008 04:00 pm

I'm in as well. I've gotten at least 20 bucks worth of giggles out of the board over the years. Thanks for all you do to keep it up and running.
If you smile at me I will understand, 'cause that is something everybody everywhere does in the same language.

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Postby Momma Snider » Mon 24 Mar, 2008 05:21 pm

And here I thought Eric and Jeff were my two kids who were through asking me for money!

But of course I'm in. Assuming I remember to go to PayPal when I leave here.

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Postby quidscribis » Mon 24 Mar, 2008 07:33 pm

We're with slhost.com with a VPS. We got in with a special deal (it looks like it could be a permanent deal - pay half a year in advance to get half price and double the disk space), so we pay only $20 a month, and we've had very few problems. They seem to be pretty responsive whenever we do have a problem and they resolve things pretty fast. We don't have highly trafficked sites or high load servers, though, and we have a half dozen sites on our VPS.

Just, you know, in case that helps.
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Susannah
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Postby Susannah » Mon 24 Mar, 2008 10:17 pm

I pledge $10, but it'll have to wait til payday this weekend. :)

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Lowdoggy Dogg
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Postby Lowdoggy Dogg » Tue 25 Mar, 2008 07:13 am

I thought running internet sites made you independently wealthy!

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Jason Leslie Wright
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Postby Jason Leslie Wright » Tue 25 Mar, 2008 08:13 am

Lowdoggy Dogg wrote:I thought running internet sites made you independently wealthy!
Only if it's a site that sells things. When Eric was selling Snide Remark Subscriptions we was making a couple of million dollars a year but then he decided that he'd rather be poor and give it a way for free.
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AdamOndi
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Postby AdamOndi » Tue 25 Mar, 2008 08:32 am

Does this mean that you are going to interrupt the most interesting and enjoyable threads every five minutes with another pledge drive begging session? Or is that only a PBS thing?

Seriously, though. I really appreciate what you do to keep this board going, Jeff. So when payday comes around on Friday, I will shoot a little cashola your way.

Now where's my tote bag?
Check out our blog [url=http://adamandlisahansen.blogspot.com]at this link[/url].

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Eric's Fat Brother
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Postby Eric's Fat Brother » Tue 25 Mar, 2008 08:36 am

The tote bag question, while a joke, is a good one. Eric and I were actually discussing the question last night of whether there is anything we could offer for donations of a certain amount. Obviously, if it's something that costs us a bunch of money, then it defeats the purpose. One thing I had thought about was giving out @ericdsnider.com email addresses to people who donated a certain amount, but I don't know if there'd be any demand for that. Can any of you think of anything we could provide that would entice you to up your donation?
Jeff J. Snider
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Jason Leslie Wright
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Postby Jason Leslie Wright » Tue 25 Mar, 2008 08:40 am

Why don't you make some Eric D. Snider merchandise and put it on Cafe Press. It's free and then you can add huge markups. I'm sure a lot of people on here would be willing to pay $50 for a t-shirt...or even a new Tote Bag.
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Momma Snider
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Postby Momma Snider » Tue 25 Mar, 2008 09:51 am

I could send everyone some of The Brownies, but since it would cost me somewhere around $5 for postage, that would end up being pretty expensive for me. A tote bag or a t-shirt or a cd or something would last longer, anyway.

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Karenins_SuperSon
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Postby Karenins_SuperSon » Tue 25 Mar, 2008 10:08 am

A personalized Eric D. Snider spoken ringtone/birthday greeting/computer logon sound/new mail notification?

An authentic Eric D. Snider soup spoon, used by Eric D. Snider!

Oh, the possibilites are endless.

Seriously, though, some of the "more funner" stuff would be Eric D. Snider quotes on T-Shirts, coffee/hot cocoa cups, etc., but I'm not sure what the production costs are for those.
Her lips were saying "no," but her eyes were saying, "read my lips."---Dr. Niles Crane

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KMD
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Postby KMD » Tue 25 Mar, 2008 01:13 pm

I just want to pipe in and say that I have used Cafe Press before, and they charge ridiculous prices for their stuff, leaving very little margin for someone to make a profit, and then the quality of said overprice item is downright lousy. I'd much rather donate to Eric/Jeff and get a warm fuzzy feeling that I helped support a website that I follow regularly, instead of receiving Cafe Press "crab".

That is all. Now I must donate and back up my words with actions (and cash).

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Jason Leslie Wright
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Postby Jason Leslie Wright » Tue 25 Mar, 2008 01:20 pm

What's been wrong with the quality of items that you've received from CafePress? I have 9 or 10 things from there and i've always found the quality to be pretty good...except on the value brand t-shirt that they offer. They're pricing is probably about as good as you can do with the way they have their business setup. Most companies that provide custom merchandise charge setup fees for each logo and then a cheaper per item price. If Eric were to just buy t-shirts with his quotes and sell them, it would probably be around a $50-$60 setup fee per shirt design and then $3-$6 per shirt depending on the quantity and quality of the shirt. It's a huge upfront investment and ultimately he's have to sell a lot of shirts to make up the setup fee. With CafePress they waive all upfront costs and setup fees and just charge a rate of $10-$15 per shirt plus they handle everything. You give them the picture and they mail you checks.
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Card
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Postby Card » Tue 25 Mar, 2008 01:37 pm

I think Eric should sell himself. I mean, remember how all of the Portland Snidefest people really wanted to go to a movie with Eric when he reviews it? Well, maybe you should have some sort of an auction for people to get to go to a movie with him when he reviews it.

And also... so do I just log onto PayPal, and is it self-explanatory on how to send the money? I have only ever used PayPal in conjunction with this site.

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AdamOndi
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Postby AdamOndi » Tue 25 Mar, 2008 01:37 pm

Hmmm. I don't know. Did you guys get any good swag at SXSW? Do they hand out swag at SXSW?

T-shirts could potentially be fun, if they are nifty. But then, they would probably be expensive enough to make them cost prohibitive. After all, custom T-shirts are only really cheap in huge quantities.

I have never used a tote bag in my life, so that wouldn't work for me, either. We could always put together a "Nerds of The Snider Board" calendar. You know, edgy pictures of the various board members hunched over in front of their computers, composing witty retorts...

Edited to add: Or you could try to convince KareNin to make nametags for the people who donate. Although, those of us who attended the PNW Snider Meetup already have them.
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KMD
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Postby KMD » Wed 26 Mar, 2008 08:33 am

Jason Leslie Wright wrote:What's been wrong with the quality of items that you've received from CafePress?


Note: My experiences with Cafe Press were several years ago, maybe they've improved since then. I'm doubting it though, I think they've just become more well known.

I know I've mentioned my husband's webcomic on here a few times. When he started getting "big", fans started requesting merchandise, specifically t-shirts, and we looked into it. There's basically 2 avenues, 1 is going to a local print shop, meet with them several times to figure out what you want on your shirt, where it should be positioned, you pay by the color, so you end up changing your graphics around to reduce the amount of colors, doing a small print run of 144 is expensive, but do-able. XL, XXL and XXXL are even more expensive, and we had special requests for those sizes. And then you wait for a while for them to print them, and when it's all done, then the distribution side is your responsibility. It's a huge hassle, along with the problem of "Where am I going to store all this stuff?" and you never know exactly how many of each size to order. So, it's a pain in the rear. Option 2 involves Cafe Press, where you just upload an image, position it where you want it, don't worry about how many colors, or sizes, or any of the distribution, just sit back and (theorhetically) watch the cash roll in. So, we went with Cafe Press. Before we opened the store to the public, we ordered some shirts for ourselves, with different designs, and tried them out. We quickly found out the quality of the shirt is poor. Very thin cheap material, and back then they only offered white as a shirt color. Then the colors in your graphic didn't always turn out the way they should, and yes, my husband is an expert at color stuff, he knows the color you see on your monitor is different than in print, he made the adjustments necessary, I just don't know the specifics. But we got a shirt with a green "Fred" that was definitely turquoise. When we started wearing them, we found after a few washings the colors faded horribly. But we thought, hey, if this is what the fans want, then OK, we'll offer it. Then we found out that when you add a dollar to the base price Cafe Press already assigns to it, the price of the t-shirt is so much, no one actually buys them. Getting a large group of people to pick a single image (or even a couple images) that they will actually fork over the cash for is tough, you get a lot of lip service, and no real cash. And then Cafe Press raised their prices, when people were already complaining they were too expensive anyway. So, for our last 2 t-shirt designs we went option #1 and went to a brick and mortar store, with Hanes Beefy T's, in heather gray and black, "Ladies fit" was a more fitted shirt, not just a cut-ff t-shirt that Cafe Press called "Ladies". and yes, there was a lot more hassle, but the merchandise we offer fans now is quality stuff, and prices are reasonable. We were willing to put up with all the hassle for good stuff, instead of quick, easy and lousy.

Side note, we also ordered coffee mugs from them, which were the only things that were of decent quality. Then they stopped offering them. We still have ours, it gets a lot of use. The bottom of the image has started to fade, but that's got to be at least 7 years old now.

Oh, more recently, I ordered a shirt from a Cafe Press store for my sis-in-law, because it is incredibly hard to find anything that says "Aunt" on it, and is her size. I found one there and ordered it, they shipped it, and she never got it. And Cafe Press refused to do a darned thing about it. So, customer support, not so much.

I'm not saying Cafe Press doesn't have it's place. I'm just saying, don't think it's a money making venture, because the amount you make is paltry, compared to how much they make off you, and the quality of their merchandise (used to be, maybe still is) poor.

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KMD
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Postby KMD » Wed 26 Mar, 2008 08:51 am

OK, that diatribe makes it look like I REALLY have VERY STRONG feelings against Cafe Press, and I do not. I'm just really wordy.

Change of Subject: Jeff, if you are looking for new hosting, may I suggest Slicehost? My husband just moved his comic over there, and he's had his blog, a few other small sites, and his Dad's campaign blog there for a year, and it's ridiculously cheap. I think he got one of the higher end machines, he gets a lot of traffic, and it's running him $75 a month. Plus, tech support has been great, they respond quickly, and notify him ahead of time if they need to take machines down and such. The downside, they give you a box and say "Here, go make it yours." You pretty much have root access, but you are responsible for installing everything on there, short of the OS. If you are super controlling of your machine (like my husband is) and know Linux, this is great. If not, then it's probably not for you.


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