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It's the last ever DU fund drive! What? Why?! [View All]

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Skinner ADMIN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-13-11 07:01 PM
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It's the last ever DU fund drive! What? Why?!
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Dear DUers,

Every three months for the last eleven years we have come to you with hat in hand and asked for donations to keep DU running. And every three months for the last eleven years, you have come through. DU continues to thrive and we are eternally grateful for your support.

So why are we no longer going to ask for donations?

The truth is that DU isn't the scrappy underdog that it was when we first started asking for your support. Back in those days you could see where your money was going. Our single server would crash constantly -- eventually we brought in enough money to buy a new one (we're up to seven now). Database errors took ages to fix because we couldn't afford to pay Elad, so whenever we needed him we'd have to call him at his job at the local health food store (true story) -- eventually we were able to pay him a full time salary.

But that was then, and for a long time now DU has been the largest liberal discussion forum on the Web. Since 2005 we brought in a good chunk of our revenue by serving ads to our visitors, which is why we haven't had to increase our 1,000 donation goal since we started doing fund drives. But as DU approaches its teenage years, we've decided it's time for us to grow up too and stop asking for handouts. We don't want this to be the future of DU.

Don't get me wrong -- we still need money. Running a website the size and scope of DU is no small endeavor. It costs a ton of cash to cover server storage, bandwidth, rent, legal fees, and everything else that comes with running a small business. This is a full time job for three people. But while you may think of DU as many things -- a community, a confessional, a place to organize, have fun, argue, make new friends and (of course) unite against the right-wing -- the Admins no longer want you to think of us as needing charity.

Many of you have probably heard that we've been working on a big new update to the site -- codenamed DU3 -- for some time now. At this point DU3 is not just on the doorstep but banging on the door and rattling the handle, and as part of the myriad changes we're making to the site we've decided to switch to a different fundraising model. On DU3 you will still be able to buy a star which will remove all of the ads from the site and provide you with access to special functions and features -- and you'll still be doing your part to keep DU running -- but we are ending our traditional quarterly fund drives. Instead, stars (and the benefits that come with them) will be available for purchase on a monthly or yearly basis for as little as $3.50 a month. And as always, those who choose not to purchase a star will still be able to post and participate free of charge.

This is our last ever fund drive because DU3 will be launched before the end of the year. And here's something important to know: anyone who is a DU donor when we switch over to DU3 will be grandfathered in to the new system and retain their donor star and privileges for one full year from the time they donated. So if you don't currently have a donor star, or if you already have one but would like to extend for a year at the price of your choosing, now is the time to donate.

Thank you all very much for your past, present, and future support as we look forward to providing you with THE best discussion forum on the Internets!

Skinner, EarlG, and Elad
DU Administrators

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