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Is Free Republic a Fraud? Is it time for Free Republic to go away?
Free Republic | 11/28/01 | Jim Robinson

Posted on 11/28/2001 7:31:29 PM PST by Jim Robinson

Free Republic has had one helluva run over the last five years or so. We helped impeach one president and helped get another into office. We've been active in demonstrations and protests in nearly every city across the nation. We've participated in conventions, petition drives, activism campaigns and projects for dozens of conservative causes.

We've grown from a tiny web site with a few hundred posters and readers from the time of inception in 1996, to one with tens of thousands of participants today. Along the way we've made lots of great friends and, unfortunately, also made lots of bitter enemies.

We've grown from a small web site that I could manage myself on a part-time basis to a huge monster that has totally consumed all of my time and resources plus nearly all of John's time, plus the time and resources of many dedicated FReepers who volunteer or contribute large amounts of their own time and money.

The site is now consuming all of a 10 mbps dedicated line with two servers and we're still growing, and it consumes large amounts of money to keep all this running. In the early years, it only took a few thousand dollars per month to keep Free Republic on the air, but it is now costing over $20,000 per month to cover all expenses.

The major costs include approximately $8,000 per month for bandwidth, 3,000 for systems management and programming services, 7,000 for management, operating and administrative services, plus two or three thousand per month for miscellaneous office expenses, telephone, communications, repairs & maintenance, travel & lodging, postage, rentals, insurance, legal fees, accounting fees, etc., etc.

We anticipate a reduction in bandwidth costs next year as we renegotiate our contract (the market price for bandwidth has fallen recently), however, that will be more than offset by an expected increase in costs of our legal expenses. As most of you know, our pro bono attorney has left us and we've hired a new attorney to continue with our case, plus we have the suit against eschoir to pay for. My projections are that our regular monthly expenses for next year will be running in the neighborhood of $22,000 per month, or approximately $264,000 total for the year. This means we will need to raise approximately $66,000 per quarter.

Talking about making enemies, we've got several ex-FReepers and other detractors who are claiming on their anti-freeper web sites that I am ripping off the donors and that Free Republic is a fraud. Now, Free Republic is what it is, and it is definitely not a fraud. It is a conservative news discussion forum that encourages participation in politics and activism projects. It is not being billed as anything else. We are not selling or promising anything. And I am being up front about our operating costs. The costs of running Free Republic are what I've stated above and they are necessary to keep FR on the air. I do not have the financial wherewithal to operate this site without your help. If the majority of the FReepers feel that these costs are out of line or too much to bear or that Free Republic is no longer wanted or needed, then we will either cut it back or shut it down or do something altogether different.

I've also been criticized about not making our financials public. Well, the reason I do not want to do this is that I have been sued, both personally and as Free Republic, LLC. The people suing us want to bankrupt us and shut us down. They subpoenaed our financial records, but we refused to turn them over. The judge agreed that the plaintiffs have no right to the information, thus I have no intention of making any more of it public than I absolutely have to, until this lawsuit is resolved. You all know the amounts of money we raise if you follow the fundraising threads. It is all above board and out in the open. The totals posted by BadJoe are usually pretty close to the actual cash received and the amounts expended are pretty close to the amounts projected. No one is getting rich here and no one is being ripped off. The funds raised are being used for the purposes stated, and that is keeping this website on the air and that's it. Nothing fraudulent about it. Those who want to help fund us freely do so with nothing expected in return. Those who do not want to contribute do not have to.

There was a thread running this morning where people were making all kinds of accusations about Free Republic "hiding the truth" or whatever. These accusations are being made by Chuck Allan and others and fall along the same line with the accusations being made by some of the earlier banees or AFers including Mojo, Inspector Harry Callahan, Arator, keep U.S. Sovereign, TKEman and others. Some of these people are existing FReepers and some are banned. I am going to reinstate Mojo, Inspector Harry Callahan and Arator's accounts so they can join Chuck Allan, TKEman, K.U.S.S. and whomever else wants to get involved, and I invite them to come onto this thread and make their accusations public. As long as they do not go onto other threads and make a nuisance of themselves, I will let them have their say.

Like I said above, if it is time for Free Republic to go away so be it. Those who want to keep it going speak up. Those who want it to go away, tell us why. But if those who want it to be gone lose out in the debate, then I'd say they should just go away themselves, or, in the very least, shut up and quit whining about it.

Thanks,

Jim


TOPICS: Activism/Chapters; Announcements; Breaking News
KEYWORDS: bushbabeslist; enviralists; hughhewitt; jimroblist; opuslist; usocanteen; zionist
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To: DCBryan1
Might weed out the disruptors too.
51 posted on 11/28/2001 7:42:22 PM PST by BOBWADE
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To: DCBryan1
$5/month (to begin with) for posting priveleges would be well worth it.

Then credit members with free months for every new member signed up.

52 posted on 11/28/2001 7:42:37 PM PST by semper_libertas
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To: Jim Robinson
Please keep it alive, Jim. You're needed out "there" and here at home, on FR. And I agree, you ARE the Rush Limbaugh of the internet. PHOOEY to the dorks who keep criticizing. I'd like to see THEM do a better job.
53 posted on 11/28/2001 7:42:39 PM PST by Bradís Gramma
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To: Jim Robinson
This is the best site on The Internet. I've contributed money in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

Keep up the good work.

Bart.

54 posted on 11/28/2001 7:42:57 PM PST by blackbart.223
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To: Lady GOP
Try this one instead.

Put your do$$ars here.

55 posted on 11/28/2001 7:42:59 PM PST by eloy
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To: Jim Robinson
You would be better off banning the "porn caucus" and Christian bashers, and letting the tin foilers stay. If people want to preach porn, they can go to the dem sites.
56 posted on 11/28/2001 7:43:05 PM PST by Hacksaw
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To: Jim Robinson
It might now be the time for FR to charge a membership fee, and I admit this as one of the poorer FReepers. I have recently decided to give $5 a month and I kept to it so far (like I said- I'm poor). I have the next payment in my pocket BTW.

It might be time to charge, say, $12 per year for membership and still ask for donations to cover the rest.

Maybe have a basic 'free' service (although besides Freepmail, I'm not sure what could be segregated that way). Its probably come to the point that FR has to make a decision about its finances, as sad as that might be. You can run ads (expect that would be hard), charge membership, curtail postings sizes and such (sorry JohnHuang2).

Something does need to be done.

57 posted on 11/28/2001 7:43:14 PM PST by GeronL
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To: Jim Robinson
The most intelligent, contentious, thought-provoking, downright hilarious, comforting, galling, addictive place on the entire World Wide Web "go away"?

Good lord! FR is more than a site, it is a true community -- friends and relations sharing their lives within the big life of the world. The place is genius, is what it is, and it is too perfectly good to do anything but grow.

Thanks so much, Jim.

58 posted on 11/28/2001 7:43:20 PM PST by JennysCool
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To: Jim Robinson
I'm In
59 posted on 11/28/2001 7:43:38 PM PST by Unicorn
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To: Jim Robinson
Put me in a padded cell. I'll be going into convulsions.
60 posted on 11/28/2001 7:43:43 PM PST by Incorrigible
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To: Jim Robinson
Damn liberals want to take you down Jim, keep fighting, we will support you. The more successful you are the more enemies you have. Welcome to the club.
61 posted on 11/28/2001 7:43:45 PM PST by WileyCoyote22
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To: BADJOE
Freepathon starts Saturday.

$80,000 or bust. : )

Bump

62 posted on 11/28/2001 7:43:48 PM PST by Exigence
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To: Jim Robinson
Let the market work, Jim. One of my Christmas wishes for myself is to be able to pay you a monthly. Hope it comes true this year.

I challenge all SASters who frequent FR to also find a way to make a monthly donation to FR.

Without Free Republic, there would be no Second Amendment Sisters, and Rosie & X42 would have found a way to take your guns!


63 posted on 11/28/2001 7:43:49 PM PST by Hotline
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To: Jim Robinson
I am flabbergasted to find out the great expenses you incur to keep this place going. I'm sure it will be an eye-opener to all those who use and enjoy this site on a daily basis. Time to open those wallets, folks,and let the moths fly out! FreeRepublic is essential to keep conservatism alive on the net and in real life. Everyone should contribute whatever they can to keep FR going.

Jim, thanks to you and John for valor above and beyond the call of duty. You've been willing to stick your necks out to support freedom, liberty, free expression, and decency, often at great personal sacrifice.

Free Republic must never go away. Tell us what we have to do, and we will do it.

You have my complete support. Not one of your detractors is man enough to take your place. You and Free Republic are an irreplaceable force for conservatism in America.

May God bless and prosper you always!

64 posted on 11/28/2001 7:43:52 PM PST by Palladin
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To: anniegetyourgun
You are right...it's been so nice without the "children" around....
65 posted on 11/28/2001 7:44:17 PM PST by WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
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To: BADJOE
Double my monthly. Get back to me if you need more information, and thanks for all your hard work here.
66 posted on 11/28/2001 7:44:40 PM PST by cayuga
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To: Jim Robinson
Hey I have an idea. How about you limit the bandwidth to lurkers. You set a cookie then throttle them back. If they want a bit more access they have to register. Then if they participate a lot they can start paying for more bandwidth.

For me, I'd be happy with a slow connection that timed out or only let me in for 10 minutes every X hours. Or some crazy formula like that. Then if something came up like the impeachment deal or Florida tries to steal the election--then I'd gladly pay for more service that month. And obviously you can set up better deals for those that pay yearly.

67 posted on 11/28/2001 7:44:45 PM PST by for-q-clinton
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To: Miss Marple; Lady In Blue; PhiKapMom; Teacup; Irma; Howlin; GUIDO; Southflanknorthpawsis...
FYI
68 posted on 11/28/2001 7:44:50 PM PST by deport
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To: Jim Robinson
I cannot see how you could be 'ripping anyone off' when the money is freely donated and there is no promist of a free toaster or anything to make people think they are going to get a 'gift' for joining. It's not like anyone is forced to contribute. I only wonder if I am contributing enough to cover the costs associated with my personal use of your site, since I'd like to make sure no one else is picking up my tab! And I'd like to make sure there is some extra change in the kitty for newbies to join in.
69 posted on 11/28/2001 7:45:03 PM PST by piasa
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To: Jim Robinson
Why not sell ads? As popular as this place is, it seems like one ad at the top of every thread should bring in a ton of cash. Is there something about a LLC that forbids that?
70 posted on 11/28/2001 7:45:14 PM PST by DouglasKC
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To: Jim Robinson
"Great Spirits have long encountered fierce opposition from mediocre minds."

-Albert Einstein

71 posted on 11/28/2001 7:45:18 PM PST by IncPen
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To: Jim Robinson
Funny how freedom works. Nobody makes you post. Nobody makes you read. Nobody makes you contribute. But I have and will continue to do all of the above.

Jim, I'd like to see FR grow as a broad-based, freedom-loving, conservative activist organization. Among other things this could assist in raising the funds necessary to maintain and grow this site. FReegards.

72 posted on 11/28/2001 7:45:25 PM PST by Faraday
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To: Jim Robinson
wow, your monthlies are higher than I imagined ... I'll just have have to double my monthly donation, and hope it helps a bit.

Seriously, I would be in a major news deficit without this site. I know I have friends, and brothers, here that I would miss, so whatever I can contribute, I will glady give.

Semper Fi

73 posted on 11/28/2001 7:45:27 PM PST by fnord
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Comment #74 Removed by Moderator

To: Jim Robinson
Jim, I hope you will keep the site going just as it is. Certainly most of us do not believe we are being ripped off by you, or anyone else affiliated with this forum.
You have done a great service to the conservative cause, there is no other website that even begins to compare.
Those who are saying all of these things do not represent the majority of Freepers!
I will guarantee that the yeahs will out shout the nays.
Thank you for all you have done to promote the conservative cause! Those who do not like it, may leave, but don't take this forum from the rest of us because of them! Please!
75 posted on 11/28/2001 7:45:36 PM PST by ladyinred
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To: denydenydeny
Can I pay you to ban Arator again?

Hey, you just might be on to something there!

Also, maybe FR can charge a fee for each vanity thread, or any thread that starts with Cheese, Moose, TouristGuy, Ted Nugent or George Carlin.

76 posted on 11/28/2001 7:45:50 PM PST by LJLucido
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To: Jim Robinson
This site is the best on the Net. Go to a pay-per-use format. I support you now and will continue in the future.
77 posted on 11/28/2001 7:45:51 PM PST by Umanbean
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To: Jim Robinson
Ack! No FreeRepublic? No-no-no-no-no-no!!!!! This is the ONLY place on the web for the very latest breaking news. This is the only place where we can sound off about events and public figures. I've met some fantastic people through FR, and feel I make a contribution in my own small way. I can't contribute much now (in fact I've only been able to afford one donation so far), but I have faith that the future will be brighter.

Please keep FreeRepublic up and running!

78 posted on 11/28/2001 7:45:55 PM PST by LeeMcCoy
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To: Jim Robinson
Tell me where to send you a monthly check Jim.
79 posted on 11/28/2001 7:45:59 PM PST by BERZERKER
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To: DouglasKC
Selling internet ads doesn't bring much revenue. No one clicks them.
80 posted on 11/28/2001 7:46:02 PM PST by Sir Gawain
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To: Jim Robinson
FR has changed my life Jim. I'm no longer afraid to tell others (mostly liberal in-laws) what my views are. After all, they've always felt free to tell me theirs.

The difference is that now I have the facts and education provided by FR to back up what I have felt all along. They have neither, only their "feelings" which we all know change by the minute.

My husband says he enjoys hearing what I've learned from spending so much time on this forum and that I'm so interesting to talk to when I talk about politics. Of course I never go to bed at the same time as him anymore, he's not real happy about that ; )

He even finds himself quoting me to co-workers and is amazed when they say "Wow, I've never heard that before" or "I never thought about it that way".

I would be lost without my fix of FReep every day. Because of FR I've become more politically active and have protested for what is right and what I believe in, before I found FR I truly (sad to say) hadn't given a lot of thought to what I believe.

I don't EVER want FR to go away. I'm grooming my kids to be FReepers some day.

I will be putting another check in the mail this week to help FR to stay alive.

Thank you for all you do Jim and John, I hope to meet you some day. I can't imagine what a tiring, thankless job you have. You are doing a GREAT job, keep it up.

MKM

81 posted on 11/28/2001 7:46:02 PM PST by mykdsmom
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To: Jim Robinson
Keep up the good work.I know projects like this can keep you behind the 8-ball.Mine, building a TV network for gun owners, working with Johhny Roland has done that to me.Never give up.Ed Hubel
82 posted on 11/28/2001 7:46:04 PM PST by hubel458
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To: Jim Robinson
JR - What a mean, rotten thing to do. I have trouble enough sleeping and then you go and give me something else to worry about.

Seriously, if expenses exceed revenues/donations, charge people. I have made donations, but would be happy to pay a reasonable monthly fee.

How's $1,000,000? (Just going by what it's worth to me!)

83 posted on 11/28/2001 7:46:37 PM PST by PackerBoy
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To: Jim Robinson
FreeRepublic, as far as I'm concerned, is the most worthwhile site on the web. I've often thought it might be nice if it charged a small amount like a nickel per post.

That way, nobody could claim the Robinson brothers were ripping anyone off. Not that I think they do-- I would venture that most of those who make such claims have never contributed a plug nickel to keep this board.

The enemies you've made mostly read like a Who's Who in Scatology and you can be proud of the list. Every now and then, someone gets bounced off the board who shouldn't or gets their tail feather ruffled. Rather than working it out like civilized people, unfortunately some of them prefer to go ballastic. This isn't your problem, it's theirs.

A wise old Oriental gentleman told me:

He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, for they have made an enemy needlessly in their own mind.
He who takes offense when offense is intended is an even greater fool, for he has given their enemy satisfaction.

That having been said, let me say that the greatest value of Free Republic is research-- many of the original web-sites take down their articles after only a few weeks or even days. We have some very knowledgeable people on this board whose brains aren't easily picked anywhere else.

84 posted on 11/28/2001 7:46:46 PM PST by Vigilanteman
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To: Fred Mertz
We won't let you go away Jim

you got handcuffs??

85 posted on 11/28/2001 7:46:52 PM PST by GeronL
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To: Jim Robinson
KEEP FR SITE UP & RUNNING!

Thanks, Jim, for all you & yours do.

FReegards,
RebelTex

Rebel Flag Texas Flag

86 posted on 11/28/2001 7:47:04 PM PST by RebelTex
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To: GeronL
What is wrong with JohnHuang2? I love his posts.
87 posted on 11/28/2001 7:47:07 PM PST by VA Advogado
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To: Jim Robinson
I wonder Jim, if we all made a pact not to ever visit or pay attention to the naysayers, I'd say they would simply eat away at each other. You can count on my support of Free Republic, in spirit and wallet.
88 posted on 11/28/2001 7:47:12 PM PST by Registered
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To: Jim Robinson
Keep this site running. It's been too successful against the liberal DemonRATS. That's why it they hate FreeRepublic so much. If it takes a monthly fee to run it, then so be it. And thanks for this terrific conservative site! On to more conquests!
89 posted on 11/28/2001 7:47:16 PM PST by StormEye
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To: Jim Robinson
Keep it going, BUT ( you knew there was going to be a but, didn't you ? LOL ) , bring it back to where it used to be. What do I mean by that ? Bring it back to being a POLITICAL form, and not something that is closer to a chat room. There is NOTHING of political, nor cultural value, in thread after thread of why Harry Potter is Satan, and Christians who read / allow their children to read the books, are going to burn in hell. Threads about which music FREEPERS have lifed fromthe net, doesn't constitute political action, news, nor anything else, that is stated as a goal of this site, either. I can continue with the list ; however , I think that you know what I am talking about.

Yes, anyone not interested in these things CAN ignore them. Since you have posted how much bandwidth costs, I am posting this reply, as a suggestion on how to cut costs , and still keep FR vital, important, and on line.

90 posted on 11/28/2001 7:47:27 PM PST by nopardons
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To: Jim Robinson
Jim:

I for one can't express what Free Republic has meant to me over the years. I am very grateful to you for going to all the trouble and heartache that you have gone though to keep this site on the web. I LOVE YOU.

Paul

91 posted on 11/28/2001 7:47:32 PM PST by The Real Deal
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To: Jim Robinson; lawgirl; JohnHuang2; kattracks
Like I said above, if it is time for Free Republic to go away so be it.

I nearly had a seizure when I read this. . .

Someone mentioned Free Republic being like Paul Revere and that's just how I see it. Except Paul Revere goes by several names, JH2 and Kattracks just to name a couple.

92 posted on 11/28/2001 7:47:33 PM PST by 2Jedismom
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To: Jim Robinson
Well since you put it that way...sheesh. So we have sleepers at FR. Ok then. Everyone gets knocked down 10 bucks on the spending list for Christmas and my donation this Jan for the year is doubled. Simple as that. Anyone have an issue with this site can come take it up with me and my 10,000 other family members here.

FreeRepublic...We Have Assumed Control...We Are In Control.

93 posted on 11/28/2001 7:47:46 PM PST by My Favorite Headache
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To: Hillary's Lovely Legs; riley1992; one_particular_harbour
Urgent ping!
94 posted on 11/28/2001 7:47:48 PM PST by LJLucido
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To: Jim Robinson
The gutless poseurs who are banned from FR, or, worse, those who stay here, and who go to Anti-Freeper sites to trash Free Republic should have no say in the future of your creation. I'm one of the meanest SOB's on this site, and I know enough to avoid getting banned.

We've got a war on, and the family you've created is more important than ever.

I'll up my ante to stay in this game. It's the only one worth playing.

95 posted on 11/28/2001 7:47:57 PM PST by sinkspur
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To: Jim Robinson; zeaal
Is there anyway to develop a monthly pledge system whereby we all make monthly commitments to xxx dollars and send that in or have it placed on automatic withdraw? Thank you Jim! 30 posted on 11/28/01 8:39 PM Pacific by zeaal

Yes. Select "Donate by secure credit card" on the FR HomePage, and choose "monthly" as your gifting selection. I have used this arrangement for... more than a year now, at least... and have never had a single problem with the monthly credit card debiting-arrangement.

If you can commit even $10 a month to FreeRepublic, this will cover $120 per year of Jim's Costs.

Of course, if you feel that FReeRepublic is worth more than $10 a month to you... feel free to give more.

Best,
The Orthodox Presbyterian

96 posted on 11/28/2001 7:48:14 PM PST by OrthodoxPresbyterian
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To: Jim Robinson
Either go none profit and charge dues for posting privilages like DCBryan1 said or start selling Ad space. Fox wouldn't buy because we all already watch but CNN and others might buy trying to woo some new watchers lol.
97 posted on 11/28/2001 7:48:20 PM PST by is_is
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To: anniegetyourgun
Sorry to hear that. These are not your friends, but your enemies.

Maybe some donations could be had for banning certain posters... make people outbid their 'enemies' in order to reinstate their account.

A Banning Auction... ; D

98 posted on 11/28/2001 7:49:24 PM PST by piasa
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To: Jim Robinson
Jim:

I'll give you my donation in person on Saturday.

99 posted on 11/28/2001 7:49:29 PM PST by The Real Deal
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To: Jim Robinson
The most inviting way I have found for getting me to pay for anything is to have a YEARLY, not monthly, payment of say $15 to $35. I have given several times before, but doing so, and the thousands of other things I have to do every year, gets burdensome. I would have no problem shelling out $35 each year, as I have given far more than that already and have no regrets. This site is worth it, even with our current moderator “issues”. As someone else already said, this site is the “Rush of the Internet”, and that is not a stretch by any means. Besides, maybe paying for it may allow the site to be a little more private, while being completely inviting to the public, and allow a more flexible content.

As far as the detractors, give 'em a raspberry, this Internet thing must be working.

100 posted on 11/28/2001 7:49:46 PM PST by PatrioticAmerican
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