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FA Paid Accounts = Web Hosting?

conneich

Member
Idea that suddenly spurred into my head remembering back when FA allowed its user to, not very well, customize the way their user page looked. Then I was thinking of FA perhaps opening its server up to people that were willing to pay a monthly fee to use the servers as a host for their websites, then the two combined and... why not provide a paid registration for say, $5/m starting for any user willing to do this. The whole site will remain free, all content will be able to be viewed by non-paying members etc. These paying member though get added user page customization, and perhaps for a little more, have access to an FTP access to their own folder on the server to put their self-created HTML (and PHP mayhaps) files into the server to allow the viewing from the site. If the code for the user pages is written modularly, then adding the coding for displaying them on custom built sites would be a snap. You could even release the template files to the paid users for the gallery, journal, etc. pages for them to build off of. For the second, higher option, the user will not only be able to customize their FA pages for viewing by others, but will also be able to upload their own website pages and use their address (ie. http://www.furaffinity.net/user/conneich) as their personal homepage. I know there's bandwidth/hit software out there you can download and moniter the bandwidth/hits these user sites utilize and can charge an additional fee or something for when they over use their amount of bandwidth. Since this isnt really just something the admin/mods can just give the ok on Id like to hear Jheryn's opinion on the matter, and the reason it wouldn't work/would work. This would be a good way for FA to get more money a month towards server maintence while keeping the site completely free. Otherwise, take out the fee per month stuff and offer it for free! :D I just think this would be a great feature for the ones of us who could do the HTML editing. Of course a "panic" restore would have to be in place that would instantly restore the users pages to the original FA files if the user messes something up on their file and it screws up the whole layout, etc. or they just plainly give up and want the FA pages back they can just hit the restore button and everything will be back to normal. If you don't want to give users direct access to the server (even FTP access can be a security problem), the user can be allowed to submit their files to an admin for review before being posted into the server address for use.
 

Xax

Member
conneich said:
These paying member though get added user page customization, and perhaps for a little more, have access to an FTP access to their own folder on the server to put their self-created HTML (and PHP mayhaps) files into the server to allow the viewing from the site.
I fully support this idea.
 

lolcox

I'm kind of yell-y. Sorry.
To say this from a standpoint that is rock solid:

The idea is bloodystupidtheend.
It becomes harder and harder to sanitize the user experience if ~TomFurry decides to use the default FurAffinity interface, ^DickFurry to use some basic HTML and embed javascript that does things that maybe it shouldn't, and ^HarryFurry decides to go all out and install frickin' Joomla or something.

As users, you all need a sanitized experience, to try to ensure your safety.
Why do you think LiveJournal and its ilk scrubs JavaScript right out of your posts? :p
It's because back in the day, someone simply wrote a journal entry, embedded JS into it, and used it to sniff everyone's cookies.
Another person used JS to wait a random interval and then rapidly redirect the viewer to my love, the Goatse Man.

I'm going to put a giant
:thumbsdown:
on this proposal, and suggest that if you need a hosting package that lets you post your furry ... smut AND use custom code to boot (yay, WordPressWacintakiGallery2PunBB!), go see Gushi. $69 a year ain't bad at all. sdk referred you.
 

Pmoss

New Member
Though the customization of user pages may be a bit much i have always though that FA should offer some form of paid accounts. Obviously there should be a benefit for signing up for the service, and no blockage of content for the free accounts.. But maybe a speed boost, or larger icons, something to justify the expence...

and i guarentee i'd be one of the first to sign up.
 

robomilk

fruit bat at large
Has this dude heard of the return key?
 

Aquin

Haunted
Im not so sure it would work here. I mean yea, we donate, but i think theres quite a few folks who would be turned away by FA having an optional premium account feature. It COULD work, but its more on the admins list of things they have to do. Lets let them concentrate on things like brining the search back.
 

lolcox

I'm kind of yell-y. Sorry.
Aquin said:
Im not so sure it would work here. I mean yea, we donate, but i think theres quite a few folks who would be turned away by FA having an optional premium account feature. It COULD work, but its more on the admins list of things they have to do. Lets let them concentrate on things like brining the search back.

Which is made easier by having money.

However, the initial proposal here would not be the most ideal way of doing it.
 

Twile

Member
I wouldn't be opposed to having some sort of premium that you get by paying, however I'm *very* opposed to having people be able to customize their userpage that much. A consistent interface is crucial to a successful site design--even changing up the color scheme could be distracting.

The only thing I can think which could be effectively customized would be, say, the banner. You get to make your own banner of a fixed size and it must prominently display "Fur Affinity" on it, and upload it in a way similar to how user icons are currently handled. You pick your own banner and whenever somebody visits your gallery/userpage/submissions/etc, they see that instead of the default one. Charging some amount of money for this ability would offset the expense of having to send out dozens of different banners to everyone rather than the one, but more importantly it would give people an incentive to support the site.
 

Alchera

Member
I think it is a bad idea. So many sites have "Premium" crap already and when they do, they take features that were once available to all and put them under what must be paid. Secondly, customized pages? I'm going point at what happens when people are permitted to customize pages: MySpace.
 

Twile

Member
Alchera said:
I think it is a bad idea. So many sites have "Premium" crap already and when they do, they take features that were once available to all and put them under what must be paid. Secondly, customized pages? I'm going point at what happens when people are permitted to customize pages: MySpace.

I'll agree that customizing pages can turn pretty terrible. Most people simply don't have the design sense to even pick a color scheme. I remember in the previous incarnation of FA people could pick colors and such for their userpages--it looked awful. Truly awful.

And taking away features to give to the paying users is a bad thing.

Then again, the site does need our support. If the features really, truly go "above and beyond" the needs of the site, such as custom banners as I described, without being so absolutely essential that non-users will feel bitter about it, I think some things could work. Browsing DeviantArt always leaves me feeling unsatisfied because they rub it in my face that I can't display pictures in my journals, nor have thumbnails with my recent submissions listings (which we at FA get for free!), nor can I use big thumbnails when browsing galleries, nor can I use polls, etc etc. Maybe it's also because DA feels like more of a business than FA, which is just thousands of furs who want a good place to stash their art and chat.

Either way I don't think people should so quickly dismiss the notion of tying donations with user accounts and offering a couple goodies to the people who help keep the site alive. Think creatively!
 

Alchera

Member
If for variety, perhaps the Administration could offer color templates instead of letting people choose their colors, all templates being a rather easy color on the eyes, like blues, grays, dark grays, maybe even a little cream or purples. But, that's it. However, everything is fine like it is; professional.


Not to mention, we just had a lot of people leave over recent issues. Premium offers would probably make even more leave, and as I predicted, so many people leaving has stressed the server. Notice we've had more problems since all those artists, at one time, removed their galleries and accounts? Let's avoid that again.
 

Dragoneer

Site Developer
Site Director
Administrator
We thought about it long ago, but decided not to go through with "paid hosting" or "premium accounts".
 

LeonaWindrider

New Member
Honestly I don't know how this site runs as it does without membership funds. It appears to me that it's only running out of the sheer hope that someone donates -- hence why the need for donations toward the server.

I notice that a lot of you seem concerned about getting some features taken away if a paid subscription is implemented, and that doesn't necessarily need to be so. I think a few of you may be speaking of DeviantArt, which started out allowing thumbnail views in your watchboards, as well as the ability to post thumbnails and pictures via html in your journals. There was a subscription mode at that time, but there were very little features to distinguish it from the free mode, so I never signed up. I just took what I got for free and couldn't care less if the people who ran the site were footing the bill.

When the features such as thumbnails in watchboards were moved to a paid subscription status, yeah I was bummed, but then I took a look at what they were also offering as part of the subscription. Journal customization is very very nice, as it allows me to customize a little piece of webspace which represents my company. I can feature other artists in my journal and spread the love as well. The Kitten of Do0M urges you to check it out.

I love Fur Affinity and the opportunity it provides me to hang in a community built entirely of people who understand where I'm coming from. I can post something without fear of getting a comment like "omg u lik furies? FREAK!" This alone is enough to make me want to open my wallet. Add to that the excellent platform it gives me to run my anthro-based business, and I'm pumped. But what's frustrating is the issues the need for a new server is bringing to the forefront, and what's even more frustrating is that the funds seem to trickle in. Why? I'm not sure, but I'm guessing it's many reasons, from a lack of understanding of the urgency, to young kids not having much else than their lunch money to donate. There might also be people out there with the idea that the $5 that they have won't do anything, or that it's not enough to bother sending.

I think a paid subscription would indeed help, and they needn't take away current options to make it worth our while. They also don't need to make the entire user page MySpace-ish. Because I agree with Alchera on that one...that's a train wreck waiting to happen. But I mean look at it this way. A lot of us are running business fronts through Fur Affinity, and using it to network. Why shouldn't I pay for this? What right do I have to complain about something given to me for free? Let the non-subscribers keep their thumbnails and let me pay FA $5 a month to make my journal pretty and the ability to use the search function. I don't see how people could be upset enough over my pretty journal to leave if they're being given something for free.

I understand that none of that can happen without the new server being in place, but that's really the point here.

~Kitten of Do0M
 

vashdragon

Member
Dragoneer said:
We thought about it long ago, but decided not to go through with "paid hosting" or "premium accounts".

Dang, and here i went writing up a suggestion for a completely seperate paid for web hosting service, when dragoneer has already given his answer. *Closes that window*

Oh well. Sepereate web hosting that has nothing to do with FA still seems like a decent way to make money. But then again, it probly wont be cost effective.
 

Twile

Member
LeonaWindrider said:
Honestly I don't know how this site runs as it does without membership funds. It appears to me that it's only running out of the sheer hope that someone donates -- hence why the need for donations toward the server.

[etc etc etc]

I understand that none of that can happen without the new server being in place, but that's really the point here.

~Kitten of Do0M

I think that some furs have to open their eyes and think about what exactly we have here. The fact that we have a DA-like site where we can post adult work, mature work, with a very low level of "eew, you're a fur, *flame*"-behavior, makes this site invaluable to me. Free is totally cool, but making sure the site is still here tomorrow takes precedence! It's a shame that we get people who almost look for excuses to leave.

I guess I have a totally different mentality from these people. When I get something for free that I really like, my eventual reaction is "Man! I wish they offered a premium version, because then it would be even better! For example, I use and love Picasa2 on a daily basis--it's my most frequently used program other than Firefox and chatting software. And if they offered a version you had to pay $20 for, that just means it would be that much better. With your and everyone's $20 they would be able to put more effort into making it a great product. Sure, donations are nice, and everyone gets to reap the benefit, but the sad fact is that when there are more people you feel less social responsibility. If someone gets hurt, you're a lot more likely to help out if you're the only one around, because when there's a group of people they all think "There are so many other people, one of them will take care of it".

Bleh. I guess I'm just ranting now. But if at any point in the future, someone says "Hey, you should add this feature" and the response is either "We thought of that, but it takes too much bandwidth" or "We tried that but it took too much processing power", I've got 2 words for you. Premium Accounts. Is the search feature too hardware-hungry to allow tens of thousands of users to use it? Offer it as a premium account feature. 1000 people get it at a measily $2.50 a month (which is 4 times what they each paid to see Eragon or whatever that movie everyone thinks is terrible is), and after a month or two, you can buy a whole new server which could probably handle more work than the premium accounts added on (although as the money would be paid beforehand, you could actually get the extra hardware just in time for the work load increase).

Just some food for thought. While there are a thousand ways you could horribly implement premium accounts (images resolutions capped at 600x600, no thumbnails in the message center, filesize caps, etc etc) that doesn't mean there isn't at least one set of truly "above and beyond" features that wouldn't make everyone bitter. Keep your minds open :3
 

Rhainor

Rawr.
Twile said:
...(interesting viewpoint)...

And if everyone (or at least more people on the interwebz) thought that way, it would be cool. Unfortunately, however, in reality offering a free level of service and a for-pay "premium" level of service with more functionality tends to foster a "haves versus have-nots" mentality.
 

Twile

Member
Rhainor said:
Twile said:
...(interesting viewpoint)...

And if everyone (or at least more people on the interwebz) thought that way, it would be cool. Unfortunately, however, in reality offering a free level of service and a for-pay "premium" level of service with more functionality tends to foster a "haves versus have-nots" mentality.

Then the admins can do what they do best. Administrate. They can make a forum topic which explains simply, "For people who want to donate, we want to say thank you. If you're willing to help support the adoption of high-end features which cannot presently be offered, then you'll be the first ones to get them." They did it with cub art--explained the legal issues, moral issues, etc. There was a huge shitstorm over the final decision because child pornography is a very questionable thing for most people, but I don't think they'll have such a backlash against this. Then again, the idiocy of people never ceases to amaze me.

This is like a coupon for a free ice cream. Just because they give you the option to pay an extra 25 cents and get an extra scoop on your free ice cream doesn't change the fact that you're getting a wonderful treat for absolutely no charge whether you choose to pay or not.

The thing that makes me sick to death about all of this is that people already pay money for tons of bullshit but don't want to support FA. How many furs out there play WoW and cheerfully pay $15 a month for it? Or what about dropping $5-15 for a 2 hour movie with some popcorn? When it comes to these things, they'll pay without complaint. But when a fringe interest group website/community asks a fraction of that, they turn their noses up in disgust. You can get Guild Wars online for $0 a month, or you can do WoW for $15. You can see a crappy camera-recorded version of a movie, or you can see it yourself for $5-15. Why can't you get FA for $0 a month or FA+ for a couple bucks? Bah...
 

lolcox

I'm kind of yell-y. Sorry.
Twile said:
The thing that makes me sick to death about all of this is that people already pay money for tons of bullshit but don't want to support FA. How many furs out there play WoW and cheerfully pay $15 a month for it? Or what about dropping $5-15 for a 2 hour movie with some popcorn? When it comes to these things, they'll pay without complaint. But when a fringe interest group website/community asks a fraction of that, they turn their noses up in disgust. You can get Guild Wars online for $0 a month, or you can do WoW for $15. You can see a crappy camera-recorded version of a movie, or you can see it yourself for $5-15. Why can't you get FA for $0 a month or FA+ for a couple bucks? Bah...

Numerous wins and internets for you. :)

WoW, WoW, WoW.
 

Rouge2

Member
I agree about it being a bad idea, plus most of the functions we have now would be removed and made for subscribers only, like DeviantART.
 

lolcox

I'm kind of yell-y. Sorry.
Rouge2 said:
I agree about it being a bad idea, plus most of the functions we have now would be removed and made for subscribers only, like DeviantART.

Piehole, kid. Shut it.

Do you have any factual data from the FA staff that proves this would happen?

If not, you're doing that out-of-neck talking thing again... :)
 

Rouge2

Member
DeviantART did it. Members are limited to the barebones of the site, while Subscribers gets a lot of new features, like Polls, Images in Journals, and Buddy List.
 

Arshes Nei

Masticates in Public
...a waste is a terrible thing to mind...

I recall that FA said that the features on the site now wouldn't have been removed or moved to a subscriber only feature, but more advanced features would be added for those who subscribed.
 
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