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Free Republic 3rd Quarter Fundraising Target: $85,000 Receipts & Pledges to-date: $13,600
16%  
Woo hoo!! And the first 16% is in!! Thank you all very much!!


Alternatives to donor based, ie, freepathon business model?
Click here if you wish to continue the donor based business model and free participation for all ^ | April 19, 2012 | Jim Robinson

Posted on 04/19/2012 1:22:35 PM PDT by Jim Robinson

I've checked with an ad agency. We can probably raise the funds we need to operate FR at our current level and at the current market price for online advertising if we run a banner ad at the top of every page and at least one rectangular ad in the above the fold body of the page and a couple rectangular ads in the sidebar. If that doesn't generate enough revenue, we can also run pop ups or pop unders and we can even run audio and video ads if need be. But of course, if we go full bore commercial, we'd have to insure strict copyright compliance with very brief excerpting of all articles to avoid lawsuits. And the agency would require that we install a filter to censor out any bad or unacceptable words in our posts.

Or, of course, there's always the membership model. We could setup a members only system where paying members get full access and non-paying members get throttled back, etc.

I don't like either of the above models and think we'd soon lose a lot of our readers and participants. Of course that may happen anyway if we can't fund it and if we cannot get our equipment problem under control, or if my refusal to vote for or support an abortionist/homosexualist/statist who has plans to install ObamaCare, er, I mean RomneyCare into all 50 states runs everyone off.

The donation model has served us very well since 1997 when we first started using it. It's very clean, uncomplicated and we attract participants who perhaps can't afford membership dues but do want to join the discussion and join our rallies, protests, prayer sessions, etc. And the advertising model would probably bring in the revenue, but it comes with strings attached.

I'm sure there are other ways and ways to combine features of various models, sell books, cds, gear, etc, offer no ads for paid subscribers, etc, even ISP services, but all of these also complicate matters.

I'm an old dog and I like to avoid new tricks, new complications, additional overhead, additional accounting, additional rules and regulations, etc, wherever possible. I like to stick to simplicity and with what works.

Thank you all very much for your continuing participation and support.


TOPICS: Free Republic; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: advertising; commercial; dues; fr; freepathon; freerepublic; jimrobinson; memberships; merchandising; noncommercial; zot
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1 posted on 04/19/2012 1:22:40 PM PDT by Jim Robinson
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To: Jim Robinson
If it ain't broke, don't fix it...

FR needs to be treated like the former Constitution ,as created by the Founders, should have been...

2 posted on 04/19/2012 1:29:30 PM PDT by SuperLuminal (Where is another agitator for republicanism like Sam Adams when we need him?)
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To: Jim Robinson

It wouldn’t bother me much, Jim. I train my eye to ignore
ads that always show up in the same place. After a while
I probably couldn’t tell you a single thing about one I
had “seen” only seconds before.

It’s a question really about your preference.
If it’s needful and keeps us rolling then hell yeah, it won’t bother me.

Personally, I wouldn’t bitch about it.
Might even get snarky at those who did.


3 posted on 04/19/2012 1:30:13 PM PDT by humblegunner
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To: Jim Robinson

Just an idea, Jim, and that is to have a membership wherein those who are “members” can choose (if they wish) to have that reflected in their Username somehow on the site.

That would allow people to recognize at a glance that any particular poster is financially supporting the site.

It wouldn’t be for better or unrestricted service, it would just be for prestige/pride/ego/bragging-rights.

Seems silly, but it might inspire others to become members themselves if they see how many regulars make monthly donations.


4 posted on 04/19/2012 1:30:45 PM PDT by Anitius Severinus Boethius
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To: Jim Robinson

How about members don’t have to see the ads, and non-members do?


5 posted on 04/19/2012 1:33:48 PM PDT by taxcontrol
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To: Jim Robinson

We have enough problems without opening ourselves to finicky, often arrogant outside influence such as advertisers are.

My vote is we stay the way we are. To “H” with advertisers.

We have to all chip in more I guess. We at the ranch are at $160.00 a year with our $40.00 per quarter contribution to the cause. We might be able to crank a little more.

The horses, and the donkey are getting old, and perhaps when they pass on we’ll be able to send more. Four of the cats, and one of the dogs is getting really old too. Yup, won’t be long we’ll be able to send more.

:)


6 posted on 04/19/2012 1:38:23 PM PDT by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists, call 'em what you will, they ALL have fairies livin' in their trees.)
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To: Jim Robinson
Whatever works to keep this site running. I have a monthly automatic donation which I'll probably leave in place even if you go with banner ads.

Just don't let them put those ads that expand at the top of the page after you've started reading then collapse after you've scrolled down to keep reading. Hate those.

FR forever.

7 posted on 04/19/2012 1:41:19 PM PDT by TangoLimaSierra (To the left the truth looks Right-Wing.)
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To: Jim Robinson

It cant hurt to try new things. If you need funds raised for something specific, you could run small, targeted fundraisers. Nothing says you cant go back to the old model if it doesnt work.


8 posted on 04/19/2012 1:42:25 PM PDT by mnehring
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To: Anitius Severinus Boethius; Jim Robinson
Just an idea, Jim, and that is to have a membership wherein those who are “members” can choose (if they wish) to have that reflected in their Username somehow on the site.

I've thought about that too, ASB! An excellent suggestion if I don't say so myself!

That being said:

Seriously folks, this is just embarrassing, the display of hypocrisy here. We're all for doing it ourselves, and when it comes time to pony up for what we've used and enjoyed, TOO MANY of us stuff our hands into our pockets, whistle and slowly sneak away.

$5 a month, REALLY??? IS THAT TO MUCH TO ASK???

9 posted on 04/19/2012 1:42:25 PM PDT by South Hawthorne (In Memory of my dear Friend Henry Lee II)
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To: taxcontrol
How about members don’t have to see the ads, and non-members do?

I could second that motion for "FreeRepublic Premium".

10 posted on 04/19/2012 1:42:55 PM PDT by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini--nevertheless, Vote Santorum!)
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To: Jim Robinson
I like to stick to simplicity and with what works.

Amen...I'm with you, Jim and the present system has worked.

11 posted on 04/19/2012 1:45:03 PM PDT by jazusamo (Character assassination is just another form of voter fraud: Thomas Sowell)
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To: Jim Robinson
Jim

I recommend a paid subscription not only for posters, but for anyone who wants to view any page.

Maybe $5/month?

Cheaper than getting the newspaper at your door.

12 posted on 04/19/2012 1:46:17 PM PDT by Mariner (War Criminal #18)
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To: taxcontrol
How about members don’t have to see the ads, and non-members do?

Personally, I think that and having your "handle" indicate that your are a contributing member would be a good approach.

Maybe another option would be to offer some sort of trinket (mug, t-shirt, etc.) that only members could purchase. Sometimes a little prestige goes a long way. Works for PBS (OK, maybe it doesn't work that well or they wouldn't be taking taxpayer cash).

Plus, I suspect paying members would be less likely to make zot-worthy comments, since presumably membership would be non-refundable.

Could also limit the ability to post new threads (or even to post comments) to members only, or put a per-day or per-month limit on those posts for non-members. Would also be a way to filter out DUmmies without blocking the ability for the public to read the site.
13 posted on 04/19/2012 1:47:00 PM PDT by chrisser (Starve the Monkeys!)
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To: Jim Robinson
I’d rather see it continue as it is Jim. I know it’s a hassle for you to run the Freepathon every quarter but there will be hassles with the other ways of support as well. At least this way there are no strings of control or pressure from outside entities. The paying membership approach is sure to drive some good contributors away or keep those who would have good input away.

I would suggest a one time private message to all who post acknowledging your appreciation for their participation and suggesting they contribute to keep the site online.

14 posted on 04/19/2012 1:47:04 PM PDT by CynicalBear
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To: TangoLimaSierra; onyx; trisham; TheOldLady; DJ MacWoW; JoeProBono; RedMDer; musicman; Lady Jag; ...

Thank you very much for your continuing support. Hoping most people prefer to just stick with what we have. It’s relatively clean and uncomplicated and thanks to our devoted FReepathon teams and our beloved FReepers, lurkers and donors, it actually WORKS!


15 posted on 04/19/2012 1:47:41 PM PDT by Jim Robinson (There's no crying in rebellion!!)
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To: Jim Robinson

Remember too, Jim, that most modern browsers have plugins and add-ons that prevent the display of ads and pop ups. I personally use Firefox with several such add-ons, and I never see advertisements anywhere.

If it’s a click-based advertising model, it might not be as profitable as you think.


16 posted on 04/19/2012 1:48:29 PM PDT by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
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To: Jim Robinson
My suggestion ...... stay the course. You've got a system that works 99.9% of the time and those few uncomfortable times it doesn't, like today, fades quickly from memory.

Freepers that continually access the posting benefits of this site and can afford to contribute should do so ....... pronto!

17 posted on 04/19/2012 1:49:18 PM PDT by Old Badger (Don't bother me! I still like Palin because she will tell like it is! (Newt too!))
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To: Jim Robinson; All

Your Monthly And/Or Quarterly
Donation To FR Is The Fuel
That Keeps It Running!!

Sponsoring FReepers are contributing
$10 Each time a New Monthly Donor signs up!
Get more bang for your FR buck!
Click Here To Sign Up Now!


18 posted on 04/19/2012 1:50:48 PM PDT by musicman (Until I see the REAL Long Form Vault BC, he's just "PRES__ENT" Obama = Without "ID")
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To: humblegunner

You, snarky??


19 posted on 04/19/2012 1:51:53 PM PDT by Osage Orange (The MSM is the most dangerous entity in the United States of America.)
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To: Osage Orange
You, snarky??

That was the nicest word I could come up with for it. ;-)

20 posted on 04/19/2012 1:54:02 PM PDT by humblegunner
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To: Jim Robinson
Jim,

Whatever works best for you, I'm on board.

However, I might recommend that vanity posters pay a small fee of $5 per vanity thread they start.

No fee, of course, for monthly contributors above $10/month.

21 posted on 04/19/2012 1:56:01 PM PDT by Night Hides Not (My dream ticket for 2012 is John Galt & Dagny Taggart!)
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To: Jim Robinson

I vote for a $10 per month membership. All others see ads.


22 posted on 04/19/2012 1:56:39 PM PDT by New Jersey Realist (America: home of the free because of the brave)
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To: SuperLuminal

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it...

- - - - - - -

Is 22% in 19 days really working?


23 posted on 04/19/2012 1:57:05 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Jim Robinson

Are there any like me who donate plenty but still the freepathons make us feel somehow bad? I don’t like that they are so long — I don’t like that some don’t even feel guilty because I feel guilty during them even though I contribute enough.

Maybe membership with stars on our bellies would get every regular freeper to pony up? Sounds silly. But I’d always allow free participation. This is how we get the insiders and famous here, for full anonymity.


24 posted on 04/19/2012 1:57:32 PM PDT by Yaelle
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To: taxcontrol
How about members don’t have to see the ads, and non-members do?

That is an interesting idea.
25 posted on 04/19/2012 1:58:21 PM PDT by PA Engineer (Time to beat the swords of government tyranny into the plowshares of freedom.)
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To: Jim Robinson
Your house boss, run it the way you see fit.
I will add that I kind of like it the way it is.

-Cajun-

26 posted on 04/19/2012 1:59:06 PM PDT by The Cajun (Palin, Free Republic, Mark Levin, Newt......Nuff said.)
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To: Jim Robinson
Well....I'm adverse to seeing you take on advertisement. Because of the control you give up.

That said...I don't pay much attention to advertisement anyway.

I'd just as soon...see the non-paying FREEPER's pony up...$3 a month.

FWIW-

27 posted on 04/19/2012 1:59:12 PM PDT by Osage Orange (The MSM is the most dangerous entity in the United States of America.)
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To: Jim Robinson

How ‘bout Ads, with an option to pony up a subscription for Ad-Free...


28 posted on 04/19/2012 1:59:47 PM PDT by Keith in Iowa (Willard Romney, purveyor of the world's finest bullmitt. | FR Class of 1998 |)
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To: Night Hides Not

However, I might recommend that vanity posters pay a small fee of $5 per vanity thread they start.


Worst idea yet. I despise that vanity posts are disapproved of. It gives legitimacy to Our Enemy the MSM. Why should their stories always get top billing? I wouldn’t want everyone’s gardening issues clogging up the site, but FReepers come up with some great political opinions.


29 posted on 04/19/2012 2:02:06 PM PDT by Yaelle
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To: lightman

Then members should pony up to improve and keep this site going strong. I am member 5 hundred and something, give with paypal each month so I don’t have to worry about the fund drives


30 posted on 04/19/2012 2:02:58 PM PDT by boomop1 (term limits is the only way to save this country.)
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To: Jim Robinson; RedMDer; trisham; TheOldLady; DJ MacWoW; JoeProBono; musicman; Lady Jag; ...

God bless you for putting this out for our membership.

As a member of your FReepathon Team, please know that I am willing to keep Free Republic just like it is: completely member funded and totally independent of ads and outsiders!

I know that our FReepathons are taking a longer than in the old days, when our THONS would only take one week, but in those days our financial needs were at the amount of our Monthly Donor donations = $40K!

Whatever y’all decide, will be A-OK with me. I would prefer to keep us completely independent, but if that’s not possible, then go for the least intrusive.

Pop-ups are the pits!


31 posted on 04/19/2012 2:03:28 PM PDT by onyx (SUPPORT FREE REPUBLIC, DONATE MONTHLY. If you want on Sarah Palin's Ping List, let me know.)
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To: Jim Robinson
I like it the way it is, but I ain't going nowhere if it changes.

I have heard it said that $5 per month per user would cover things well. Come on people, get up off of it. Donate monthly.

32 posted on 04/19/2012 2:03:44 PM PDT by rightly_dividing (Newt 2012)
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To: Jim Robinson
I'm with you, Jim. I love this site as it is, in all its visual simplicity, elegance and serenity.

Thank you for your incomparable vision and uncompromising conservatism.

33 posted on 04/19/2012 2:04:00 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: onyx

Technical question - how do I change my monthly subscription amount?


34 posted on 04/19/2012 2:06:02 PM PDT by Mygirlsmom ("Your money or your life" has been the Dems unwritten motto for a long time)
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To: Osage Orange

It costs almost $2.00 to process a donation.


35 posted on 04/19/2012 2:06:36 PM PDT by onyx (SUPPORT FREE REPUBLIC, DONATE MONTHLY. If you want on Sarah Palin's Ping List, let me know.)
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To: mnehring
"Nothing says you cant go back to the old model if it doesnt work."

Except we'd already be bankrupt by the time we find out it doesn't work. We have zero surplus capital, but do have plenty of debts that must be paid on every month. We don't live hand to mouth, but we do live quarter by quarter. We have no financial cushion to fall back on and cannot afford to experiment and lose.

But I thank God for what we have and what we have accomplished as a group anyway. We were never supposed to have gotten this far. Just a group of amateurs and disgruntled citizens banding together on a simple little website to protest against Clinton's abuses. Miss him yet? He was scandal a day, but almost a comical character compared to Obama. Now we're having to fight outright Marxist/communist totalitarian tyranny in our White House!!

Damn the LEFTist bastards!! They'll have to pry my keyboard from my cold dead fingers!!

36 posted on 04/19/2012 2:07:28 PM PDT by Jim Robinson (There's no crying in rebellion!!)
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To: rarestia; Jim Robinson
Remember too, Jim, that most modern browsers have plugins and add-ons that prevent the display of ads and pop ups. I personally use Firefox with several such add-ons, and I never see advertisements anywhere.

Same with me,don't even see adds on facebook.

I'm for sticking with what ya got but it is your site,your decision.

37 posted on 04/19/2012 2:07:53 PM PDT by mdittmar
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To: Mygirlsmom; Jim Robinson
Technical question - how do I change my monthly subscription amount?

Sweetest you, Jim can better answer your question. Thanks very much, Mygirlsmom!!!

38 posted on 04/19/2012 2:09:05 PM PDT by onyx (SUPPORT FREE REPUBLIC, DONATE MONTHLY. If you want on Sarah Palin's Ping List, let me know.)
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To: rightly_dividing

One dollar per month would cover everything if 10% of our readers would reliably put it up.


39 posted on 04/19/2012 2:10:05 PM PDT by Jim Robinson (There's no crying in rebellion!!)
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To: Jim Robinson
As a new found fan I think the ads are up to you. I'd put up with them, but I'd sure hate to see a FR boycott in the news someday. Please however, if it is at all possible, stay away form the membership model if it means that non payers can't access the news content of the sight. I'll do my best to put my money where my mouth is and keep the current plan working; but if I had to pay every month I'd probably leave. Yes I know its “worth it” I know I should be guilty for saying it. but a mans got to eat and he's got to buy gas to get to work. I'm not trying to freeload.
That's my two cents.
40 posted on 04/19/2012 2:10:40 PM PDT by Idaho_Cowboy (Socialism: Just Say No!)
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To: Jim Robinson

How about starting an overlapping model where you implement ads along with the fundraiser and roll in ad revenue like you roll in monthlies?


41 posted on 04/19/2012 2:12:28 PM PDT by mnehring
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To: Mygirlsmom

Please send me a freepmail message with your new amount and I will update it for you.

Thank you very much!!


42 posted on 04/19/2012 2:13:06 PM PDT by Jim Robinson (There's no crying in rebellion!!)
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To: Jim Robinson
The entry level question about advertising is how it would affect FR’s legal status. Would it violate the rules FR agreed to to settle any lawsuit over posting published material? Get us into gray areas in that respect?

43 posted on 04/19/2012 2:15:01 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which “liberalism" coheres is that NOTHING actually matters except PR.)
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To: Jim Robinson
or if my refusal to vote for or support an abortionist/homosexualist/statist who has plans to install ObamaCare, er, I mean RomneyCare into all 50 states runs everyone off.

It's not your refusal to support Romney that's the problem.

It's your zotting everyone who says they are going to vote for Romney over Obama that's the problem especially since many of them are long-time residents here and have been loyal and generous donors.

Now, I don't like Romney. Come Tuesday, I'm voting for Gingrich. Then what?

Let's say Romney winds up being the nominee as is highly likely. You expect to have a thriving political site with discussion banned of either Romney or Obama this election year?

If Obama wins I think it's over for this nation. If Romney wins I think we are going to come back especially as how his coattails will bring in a lot of good people at the local level -- assuming of course that people who think like you (and me) don't stay home.

It's not about personalities or individuals anyway. It's about ideas and our ideas are on Romney's side.

So yes, I'm voting for Romney. Feel free to zot although I'm not asking for one.

Forget the advertising as I don't think people will be coming here with discussion banned regarding the presidential election.

If you want to save this site, what I'd suggest is you do a mea culpa and invite the Romney people back. You don't have to say you're going to support him, just that your not going to zot discussion of the guy.

44 posted on 04/19/2012 2:16:22 PM PDT by Tribune7 (GAS WAS $1.85 per gallon on the day Obama was Inaugurated! - - freeper Gaffer)
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To: Jim Robinson
Jim.
I am sorry I only donate $10 per month. I was hoping to double it last year but instead of a pay raise I got to keep my job. Others in my company did not and now my taxes have increased even though my income has not.

I would not complain if you allow ads but I worry that the advertisers may try to throttle FR and some of our posts. Although most of our language is fine I fear the “hard” elimination of some words may lead to the elimination of certain topics to placate advertisers who have proved themselves cowards when it comes to any sort of controversy. If FR becomes too reliant on the ad sales it could lead to the demise of our free association on this site.

Our Country is sliding towards the edge of the cliff and I think FR’s open debate is what is needed more than ever during these times.

Just my two cents. Take care.

45 posted on 04/19/2012 2:17:36 PM PDT by OldMissileer (Atlas, Titan, Minuteman, PK. Winners of the Cold War)
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To: Jim Robinson
It will be 12 years since I signed up here in October. I am used to the site and know how to use it relatively well, so I am averse to having it changed.

But of course, I'll go along with whatever you decide.
46 posted on 04/19/2012 2:19:52 PM PDT by TheOldLady (FReepmail me to get ON or OFF the ZOT LIGHTNING ping list)
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To: onyx

Whaaa? I did not know that. Guess I’ll have to add two bucks to each donation. Does that include processing each automatic monthly donantion? Does a Pay Pal donation cost $2 to process as well?


47 posted on 04/19/2012 2:19:53 PM PDT by EdReform (Oath Keepers - Guardians of the Republic - Honor your oath - Join us: www.oathkeepers.org)
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To: Jim Robinson

It’s all up to you, Jim....I like it like it is.


48 posted on 04/19/2012 2:23:49 PM PDT by MEG33 (O Lord, Guide Our Nation)
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To: mnehring

Yes, it could be done. But again, we subject ourselves to the online ad market (advertising rates go up and down with the economy and sometimes tank completely) and there are no guarantees that they can sell enough ads for our account anyway. We also subject ourselves to the demands of our advertisers, put our forum at risk if we are competing with our sources for advertising revenue, puts more legal pressure on us, and lots of readers will simply take steps to avoid the ads altogether which will crimp us even further. Afraid we’ll end up having to do both or several combinations of all the above forever. Hoping we can just continue to keep it simple and remain non-commercial as we are.


49 posted on 04/19/2012 2:24:21 PM PDT by Jim Robinson (There's no crying in rebellion!!)
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To: Jim Robinson

I’d be OK with whatever you decide to do.

As always I’m open to producing FReeper gear as long as the proceeds go to FR.


50 posted on 04/19/2012 2:26:40 PM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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