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Found 1 result

  1. This message is to give advance notice that I've decided to put advertising on AtariAge. It's not an easy decision, and I've always been against putting ads on AtariAge, but this policy is slowly putting me in the hole due to the increasing costs of hosting the site and it's time for me to turn that around. Anyone using the internet is no stranger to advertisements on just about any website that gets a reasonable amount of traffic (and many that get very little traffic at all). AtariAge has grown a fair bit since its early days in 2001 when the site initially launched. Back then, the site ran on a single server, and the costs were relatively benign. Fast forward to today and AtariAge now runs on three dedicated servers, one for the web server, one for the database server, and a third development server that also provides free hosting for a number of classic gaming sites (such as atariprotos.com, ataricollector.com, atarimac.com, videogamevariations.com, xegs8bit.com, and more.) Hosting alone for AtariAge is over $600 a month. There are various recurring software costs as well, such as for the Invision forum software (about $300 a year), store software, plugins and themes used for the forums, third-party services such as Cloudflare and CleanTalk.org (spam filtering service). And this doesn't even begin to speak to the huge amount of time I spend running the servers, making sure they are kept up to date, upgrading software, answering emails and PMs, and so forth. Initially the AtariAge Store was conceived as a means to help pay for the hosting. But the store is basically a job in its own right. It's very time consuming to build and ship games, and releasing batches of new games requires a large chunk of cash up front (I'm spending a small fortune at the moment preparing to release 10+ new games for PRGE). Given the time I spend working on building and shipping games, I'm certainly making a very low hourly rate. I feel the prices for games in the AtariAge Store is pretty reasonable given the quality of the games and printed materials and the time that goes into their production. I could always raise the price of games in the store, but I don't want to drive people away from homebrew games. I also spend a good amount of money and time preparing for any shows I attend, most notably the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. Even though there's a nice surge of sales due to release of new games at PRGE, I'd likely have those same sales in the online store without having to attend the show. But it's nice to get out there and introduce more people to AtariAge and the large homebrew scene across various consoles. And to see all the AtariAge members who attend the show and visit the booth. This is something I'd prefer to continue doing, even though it is a drain in resources (time and money). So, back to ads. I'm leaving a good chunk of change on the table by not having ads on the site. Forum subscriptions help a small amount, and I greatly appreciate everyone who's signed up for a subscription. But it's not a significant amount overall, especially relative to the hosting costs. Also, I spent roughly $3,000 total on the recent forum upgrade and server move, and this is outside the normal hosting costs. A good portion of that was having a fourth dedicated parallel server I was using for working on the forum/site upgrade, and it's that new server that became the current web server you're using to visit AtariAge (the old server was retired after the switch). But other costs included paying professional designers/developers to create the custom AtariAge theme for the forum, as well as various custom plugins to replace modifications I made to the previous version of the software (such as the ability to indefinitely edit posts in certain forums). Ads will be placed on the main website and the forums. I'm not going to place ads in the store, since it seems a bit overboard to have ads in a store where you're selling items (I'm looking at you, eBay!) Ads will appear below the header, mixed a few times with content on the page, and at the bottom of the page. More ads will be shown to guests than to those logged in. Subscribers will not see ads on the forum, but you'll still see them on the main site (there's no login associated with the main site, so no real way to filter those out). There will be no obnoxious pop-up ads, no ads that cover a good portion of your screen, no video ads, and no ads that autoplay audio. I will use revenue from the ads to help make AtariAge better in several ways. One of the first things I'd like to do is hire professional developers to revamp and expand the main games database. This is something I've wanted to do for some time, as that area of the site is woefully out of date and very much in need of updates. But I simply have not had the time to do so. I also want to upgrade the store to completely new software, and as part of that upgrade, allow digital purchases of homebrew games for authors that want to offer that as an option. I'd be able to hire developers to make improvements to the forum software beyond what's already done. This could also help finance projects such as getting new cartridge shells made for the 2600 and other systems. And this may allow me to setup an AtariAge booth at more shows across the country, versus just one or two shows a year as I've been doing for a while now. I wanted to give everyone a heads up that this was coming, rather than the appearance of ads being a surprise. I welcome any feedback on this issue and look forward to your thoughts. Thank you, ..Al
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