So what's it cost to run FurBuy? About $250 on a good month, and around $350 on a bad month. There are some various factors involved, but assuming an average of about $300/mo is reasonable. This is what we'd need to collect to keep the site running on it's own legs every month as it stands, however you may have noticed some slow responsiveness from FurBuy of late due to an increase in our daily traffic. While that's excellent news, it also means that in order to keep FurBuy running fast and smooth we'd need to upgrade the network bandwidth of the site, and the next tier of speed costs an extra $200/mo to get to. So that would raise the monthly cost of running FurBuy to $500 - one more thing to consider.
How would Contributing Memberships work? The idea is to sell "memberships" to users of FurBuy's site which would help us and offer some additional or improved features to members. The price we've been thinking about is $1/mo in minimum increments of 12 months, coming to $12/year and being the minimum contribution. Extra or improved features would include more disk space for uploading images (from 2MB to 10MB), allowing the use of larger images (1000x1000 max instead of 800x800 max and size limit of 250k per image instead of 150k), the use of more Hot Items than non-contributing members (who would then be limited to one, members would get three or four), and other features we have not yet fully implemented or exposed on the site (such as Seller Spotlight, Usertags, Auction Reports and more). Becoming a contributing member would also prove your identity and intention on the site and add to our security in making FurBuy safe and friendly for everyone. I feel this is a fair and reasonable price that most folks can afford to pay, and it would only take 300 users to make FurBuy as it runs right now work (that's less than 10% of our verified users).
How would ad banners work? Honestly we've gotten little to no interest in advertising on FurBuy. It's something we've been trying to get off the ground for several months now, we even have the system in place and fully tested, ready to go. Our ad banners have full tracking of impressions, actual views and click-throughs as well as reporting options for those who like numbers on how well their ads are doing. We'd be looking at charging nominal fees for ads, roughly $5/mo for small homepage ads and $10/mo for full-size footer banner ads.
So I'm curious what folks think, and if they'd be willing to contribute to FurBuy's future success through one or both of these programs, and any ideas or feedback people have about them. Bear in mind that even if we implement these programs, every currently available feature in FurBuy would remain free and available to every single user on the system. Please feel free to comment on this journal. If you'd prefer to speak with me directly, I'm on every major IM system during most times of the day and night, my IM info is in my LJ profile and on my FA userpage.