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HST Costs / Advertisements / Support Button

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:32 am
HST Members,

Since 2005 (actually 1999 or 2000, if counting various iterations, Russian hacker mishaps, etc.) I've had the great fortune and pleasure of hosting this unique website as a place for you all to learn from others, and share and archive your own valuable information on Sierra Nevada adventures. I regularly describe High Sierra Topix as "A Community Built By Its Members, For Its Members"; a design objective that fortunately has remained unchanged over our many years on the Web.

While the concept and my original goals have not wavered and will continue forward, what I didn't foresee was that so many people would give a crap about what I thought would make a cool website and continue to visit this place...

Each year our month-to-month traffic has increased by an average of 15-20% and our long-term traffic trend is at a fairly steep incline. During peak season we receive about 2-million page views per month. Of course, this is something I am happy about; but the downside is that it costs more money to host and run a high traffic website. The cost of this site has gone up by over 6X what we had been paying in the beginning. Hosting and domain registration together are now costing nearly $1100 per year. The free stickers add about another $100 to the annual bill. I am actively searching for cheaper hosting alternatives, however, transferring a database w/attachments website of this size to another host would present a number of technical challenges and require a large time commitment. To justify making such a move there will need to be a significant cost savings.

Administrators and Moderators are not compensated; I'm fortunate that they graciously donate their services to the cause.

You may have noticed various text and banner ads embedded throughout HST. Advertising was not a place I wanted to go, but was necessary to offset increased operational costs. Until recently I provided this site 100% out of pocket, but the wife grew tired of watching me donating my time AND money, and that's probably all I really need to say about that.

AdSense (AKA "Ad Choices") is an affiliate program offered by Google. How it works is that I get compensated for page/ad views, and even more for click-through, of the text links and graphical banners. As of right now, AdSense and the other ads (like REI) are providing decently. Since implementing AdSense I've been making an average of $1.71/day. My goal is to make a minimum of $600/year with AdSense, about $50/year through Amazon, and another $200 or so from the other ads. That would leave only a $275 deficit, which isn't great, but is definitely more manageable than $1100. I can explain away $275 to the wife (I think). :)

I've also added a PayPal donate button to the footer of each page. Page footer was the least obnoxious place I could think of to place something like that. The maximum donation I'm allowing from each member is $10. I've set this limit because I feel any one person shouldn't have to contribute more than that, nor do I want them to. I've already had a couple of offers to donate more, and I've declined each of them. Please don't try to donate twice, either. Although a nice gesture, I don't want to feel obligated to anyone or feel a need to change my approach to management of HST based upon what someone has contributed financially.

I'm not implementing this change in order to make money. Just trying to cover some of my overhead. So the next time you're planning on purchasing something from REI, Amazon, Sierra Trading Post, ect., consider helping the cause by clicking through one of our banners or links to these companies. If you're buying from them anyway, the cost is the same to you, only HST benefits by taking a small cut from the completed transaction. Unlike AdSense, I don't get compensated for click-through, only for click-through resulting in a completed purchase.

A (click-able) partial list of HST affiliate companies:

> Eastern Mountain Sports
> Ebay

> Fishwest
> Front Range Anglers
> Getzs
> GoLite
> Grand Trunk
> Jans
> KL Sport
> Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters
> Live Out There
> Moosejaw
> Mount Everest
> Mountain Gear
> Mountains Plus
> Panther Martin
> Patagonia
> REI / REI Outlet
> Rock Creek
> Saratoga Wine Exchange
> Sierra Trading Post
> Site5 Web Hosting - Official Hosting Service of HST!
> Summit Hut

> Sun and Ski
> Tahoe Mountain Sports
> Tailwaters Fly Fishing Co.
> Teluride Angler
> The Clymb
> Trek Lite Gear
> ULA Equipment
> Under Armour
> US Outdoor Store
> Vail Valley Anglers

Thank you for taking the time to read through my lengthy explanation of what's what. If any questions or comments regarding what's stated in this announcement, I would appreciate it if you could please post to the comments forum rather than PM'ing or emailing me.


Re: HST Costs / Advertisements / Support Button

Posted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:31 pm
Also, if you're providing a donation through PayPal, please, please, PLEASE include your username in the notes section of the donation so I know who you are and can personally thank you for your contribution. I've had a couple of donations recently that came from email addresses that didn't match user accounts. :(

Re: HST Costs / Advertisements / Support Button

Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 7:47 am
I've updated the linked list of affiliate companies. A few new ones, a couple have been dropped. Popular ones highlighted.