Since I posted this two days ago, the wiki has received over $150 in donations (we had a couple of surprisingly large ones!). This should be more than enough to register a domain name and host the site for a year (assuming bandwidth stays below 50 GB per month). A heartfelt "thank you" goes out to those who donated -- not only from me, but from all of us at the Homestar Runner Wiki.

As the site continues to grow, we may have to organize a second "pledge drive" anywhere from six months to a year from now. However, at this time I wouldn't feel right accepting any more donations. I will most likely refund anything I receive until we start the next donation period. --JoeyDay

The Problem

We all knew this day would come. The wiki has doubled or tripled my bandwidth every month since November 2003. The site is being hosted with a not-for-profit hosting fellowship co-founded by myself and my brother-in-law, and my site had originally been allocated 5 GB of bandwidth. I've since adjusted that number to 10 GB, and that's about all the bandwidth our company can spare unless we upgrade our reseller account. I expect the wiki to exceed even that amount within a month or two months. I'm discussing solutions with my brother-in-law, but it's looking as though I'll have to move the wiki elsewhere for hosting.

The Proposed Solution

I'm looking at going with [OnSmart Networks], where I can get 1 GB of space and 50 GB of bandwidth for $11/month and a $25 setup fee, or as low as $7.50/month and no setup fee if I can pay a year up front ($90.00). I would also like to purchase a separate domain name for the wiki ($10/year). Unfortunately, as a college student I can't afford to pay this much up front (I'm currently paying $4/month to host three sites), especially for a website I consider a hobby. I can't place banner ads or do anything to bring in revenue, since that would infringe on copyrights, and would be unfair to The Brothers Chaps (plus it would be annoying). However, I don't think there would be anything wrong with accepting donations to keep the site alive. If you'd like to donate to the cause (even $1 helps), please send money through PayPal to "paypal@joeyday.com". If anyone knows of a better host than OnSmart, I'm open for suggestions.

If I receive enough donations (or at least enough that I can afford to pay the difference) we'll make the move to a new host. If I receive too much, I'll simply keep the money in my PayPal account and apply it to future months. I promise I'll never use your money for my own needs. In fact, I'm keeping a public WikiLedger so everyone knows how much has been donated and how much has been spent. You can choose to make your donation anonymous, or you can have your name listed next to your donations. This will keep me accountable to you as members of our community.

Let me know what you think about all this.


Post Comments Below

How much time are we talking about here?

Understood. How much time are we talking about here? I mean, we would need to raise the money by what date? I'm sure we would be able to scrape together something. I'm behind you, man. -- Tom

Count me in too. I'll gladly fork over a coupla bones for a fellow believer. AgentSeethroo

Tom, the problem is I don't know how long we can hold out. My guess is end of May, if current trends hold. It seems to be exponential, meaning it's doubling or tripling rather than going up at a fixed rate. That makes things harder to calculate. I'm not going to hold everyone to the 90 bucks. We'll make do with whatever is raised. I'm leary to put up a deadline or a specific dollar amount. Whatever you feel would be appropriate to donate, let it be, but please don't feel obligated to donate more than you can just so we can reach a certain amount by a certain time. Thank you to both of you for your speedy support. --JoeyDay

The first donation, and the WikiLedger

Joey, I just PayPal'd you $10. I'd do more if I could, but as a fellow college student I'm sure you can relate. I hope it helps. (I just realized that I neglected to mention who I am in the PayPal message, so if you can't figure it out, swirlee@c*******s.org is me.) -- InterruptorJones

Thank you! I've added a WikiLedger to the main menu to keep track of donations. --JoeyDay

What if I don't use PayPal?

Yo...I mean hey...I mean...what's up? Anywho is there some other method of getting money to you? My paypal is a-jacked up. ~AgentSeethroo

Anyway we can snailmail you money?
-The Brothers E

I suppose you could send a check. Send me an email and I'll reply with my home address. This goes for anyone who can't use PayPal. I would post my address here, but I'm kinda paranoid about that kind of thing. :) --JoeyDay

Great! Now I know where to send my giant-JoeyDay-devouring-weasel! uhh...I mean check...
But seriously, I'll email you later. AgentSeethroo

I feel bad, but what if I simply can't donate?

I'm really sorry JoeyDay, I would send you about $15 dollars but my mom says that I shouldn't give money to people I don't know, plus she probably thinks that it is not worth it. She doesn't know how it feels to be part of this community. ~ Pomx2

Im with Pomx2, Cant send money, i don't really have much, besides about $15 is all I have in my wallet right now, no savings account either. Sorry, i would help if i could. -TheDoggy

Oh man, Joey. I wish I could help, but being a mere 12 years old, I have no PayPal account. I'd love to donate to you, but unfortunatley I can't. -- liato

Yeah, I'm only 11, but I really think that this is one of the best websites on the web, and if I could, I'd give you all the money.- Jack Selby

I'm only 11 too, but I have over $260, but my mom won't let me send any. Sorry Joey.
- FireBird

Your mom can't stop you!! It is a free country!! It is your money...stand up for your rights, buy a stamp and envelope and live free my fellow American. And start telling your mom how to spend her money to let her know how it feels. -- Deathmonger.

Nothing personal... but don't listen to Deathmonger, you really ought to listen to your mom! (The wiki has enough money to last nearly two years, a big thank you to those that donated). As has been said previously, the real contribution is the information that you guys keep posting. Keep it up, and don't feel bad about whether you can donate or not. -Stu

i would like to donate but im broke -hehehomestar

I would donate, but I really need to save up for university next year. Plus I'm still a minor. -Dark Grapefruit

Um.... I'm ten. The most that I even could donate would be my two dollars that I found on the street. I REALLY wish that I could help, honestly. -Lord Karkon

I ain't got no money. And Im only 14. Dang.
~Arrohed Aria

To everyone expressing an inability to donate, for whatever reason: I'm glad that you guys would like to contribute, but I'd really rather not take any donations from people who feel too broke to contribute (no twisted arms here), or who are under 18 (don't want concerned moms calling me). The best contribution you can make is to keep editing pages and making the wiki a great place to hang out. We need good writers just as much as we need funding. --JoeyDay

Why can't we just throw up some banner ads?

I'll donate some if my parents will let me, but I'm curious as to how much of each month you could get back by having banner ads. If enough, perhaps WikiPolls could be utilized in the decision. If there's a divided opinion, would it be possible to have an option in prefrences for banner ads or not? -- Warmaster129

I believe JoeyDay is concerned about getting sued. Even just having screenshots and transcripts of TBC's work on this site is technically a violation of the Homestarrunner.com ToS (see Legal), but since it's just a fansite there's little chance that JoeyDay will be hearing from TBC's lawyers. But as soon as there's the possiblity of making a profit from this site (which could easily be construed as making money for free off of TBC's hard work), we're just asking for legal trouble. Is that accurate, Joey? -- InterruptorJones

That's exactly right, InterruptorJones. I'm worried that if I start selling banner space, we'll get shut down pretty quick. The last thing I would want to do is make profit from the Brothers Chaps' work. It's a noble idea, but ultimately I think donations will serve the site better. Warmaster129, see my comment above for more information about whether or not you should donate. The last thing I want to do is upset anyone's mother. :) --JoeyDay

If it were me I would look into google text ads. Them are very inconspicuous (non-annoying), and I'm pretty sure I've seen them adorning other fansites. I think it makes sense to do something like that to cover hosting costs anyway since many low-cost/free hosting providers (geocities, tripod type places) put them on your pages from the get go.

Regardless I wish ye luck :)
- - MetaStar [Metastar's fansite]

Please read the comments about 6 inches to the north concerning why ads aren't really an option. -- InterruptorJones

Well I read that, I'm just saying that these ads might be more acceptable. It's pretty passive, from a simple source, and could probably be added to the ledger. It also wouldn't be much different than signing on with a free provider who would put the ads on anyway.

Sorry, but ads will not work because of the legal issue. It really does not have anything to do with being passive or not. Again, read JoeyDay's comments starting with "That's exactly right, InterruptorJones." (I'll bet you wish you heard that more, eh Jordan?) -- Tom

ok. So.. Again, I have read the comments. Incidentally, it hurts to be blankly rtfm'd like that, and in turn I invite you guys to read the h*r terms of service when you have the time. What it says is that h*r copyrighted materials are solely for personal, non-commercial use.
What I am saying is that putting passive ads on the wiki to pay for bandwidth would not change how non-commercial or personal the wiki is. (By "passive" I mean in contrast to "selling" ad space, which would be a commercial endeavor.) The wiki is a supplemental resource. We enhance people's interest in h*r by providing background information. I'm sure the Brothers would hate to see us killed off by simple bandwidth problems, and they certainly wouldn't do us in themselves unless we were causing them headaches somehow.
I don't think our having low-key advertisement would cause them any headaches. We're not selling defective cheat dolls. We're not selling anything at all. Neither are we mirroring their content farther away from the gift shop. All we're about is rallying together and organizing the fans and the info. Thus, we're no more likely to be sued or shutdown with ads then we would be without them.
In conclusion, I'm fully aware that someone will probably write back with "Joey said no ads, there's no room for discussion, now go crawl back under your rock" and/or "Please take the time to read a page before you comment on it". But, as long as Traffic has negative consequences I'm going to feel like a freeloader every time I participate here. Every time I view a page or maintain some content or see what's new it is draining Joey's wallet. That's what pesters me into suggesting an alternative; not some form of selective illiteracy.
Thank you

I do see what you're saying MetaStar, and I agree that the Chaps aren't out to get us. We are a fan site, and since they don't advertise they rely on people like us (through word-of-mouth) to drive traffic to their site.

I see it kindof like Public Television, though. Those stations do everything they can to avoid putting up commercials. Everybody hates pledge time, but if you're a pledging member you get a feeling of ownership that can't be matched any other way. Google AdSense ads would make me feel like a slave to the website. I think this is why the Chaps have never advertised. They want their site to be free of distractions and fun for everyone to visit.

If we start to do site hosting on a yearly payment cycle, I think it would be fun to organize a once-a-year pledge drive. I'm sure those who have already donated did so because they hold a certain sense of pride about this place, and now after donating, I'm sure they feel a special sense of ownership. That's what's so great about a wiki. I didn't create it, you all did! We should all feel pride in what we've created together.

Regardless of whether or not the Brothers Chaps would shut us down, do we want this special place to be cluttered up with ads that would drive our (and ultimately the Brothers Chaps') traffic away? What better way is there for all of us to feel a part of this than giving a little back? Is $5.00 or $10.00 a year too much to ask? --JoeyDay

When you put it that way.. :)

By "passive" I mean in contrast to "selling" ad space, which would be a commercial endeavor.
Not to beat a dead horse, but it's important to note the inherent contradiction here. So long as we're recieving money in exchange for putting ads on this page, we are selling ad space. Just because we're not making a profit or because it's not commercial doesn't make it any different; you can rephrase it any way you like, it's still selling ad space. Incidentally, I agree with you that this page is only going to increase public enthusiasm about the H*R brand and in the long run probably increase TBC's personal income -- but regardless of how nice TBC really are, we must assume that their IP lawyers aren't anywhere near as nice (they've shut down sites in the past) and will take issue with the fact that we're recieving money for a site the content of which consists mainly derivative works of their clients' IP. -- InterruptorJones

Now that I think about it, MetaStar has some good points about the difference between ripping off the Brothers Chaps, and making a little money to stay alive. Here's an excerpt from a Wired News interview:

WN: Do you do any kind of PR?

Matt: That's the coolest part. We've never done any kind of advertising. Word-of-mouth has done its thing. Certain bands would link us on their site and we were Shockwave's site of the year a couple of times. Things like that get it into a mainstream Internet audience.

WN: What's with the new "legal stuff" section of the website? Are you going corporate?

Matt: We had people ripping our stuff off, selling bootleg Homestar stuff on the Web, so we've had to do that to protect ourselves. It doesn't mean that we are legitimizing and we're gonna have a TV show -- it's so we can stop people from taking money out of our pockets. Somebody was making bootleg plush Cheat dolls, which looked awful, and we shut them down. It's flattering that we're getting to the point where people are ripping us off, but we have to put the legal crap in place to protect ourselves.

As has been stated before, The Brothers Chaps are probably happy to have us around because of the traffic we are driving to their site. We aren't ripping them off in any way. From the horse's mouth, they didn't put the legal stuff up so they could tear down every fan site like ours, but so they could protect themselves from rip-offs.

After having said all of this, however, I think I'll stick to my guns about the Public TV thing (ads are simply annoying!). Even if there was a good chance the Brothers Chaps wouldn't shut us down, I just wouldn't feel right putting up ads. I once heard a story of a man who wanted to hire a bus driver to drive kids up and down a mountain to and from school. The route had several places where the side of the road was up against a sharp cliff-edge. The man interviewed three gentlemen. He asked each man, "How close do you think you could you get to the white line without going over the edge?" The first man replied, "Oh, I've had my tires right up against the line and I was just fine." The second man replied, "I've had my tires halfway over the line and never had a problem." The third man said, "I don't know how close I could get, since I usually try to stay as far away from the edge as possible." I'll leave you to guess which one he hired! I, for one, would rather stay as far away from the line as possible and not push the issue. --JoeyDay

This reminds me of H*R.net

Urk, it's almost like h*r.net all over again, god bless, joeyday. --AlphaZodiac

That's exactly what I'm afraid of! --JoeyDay

Pardon me, but what DID happen to H*R*.net? I never got the 411- Jack Selby

H*R.net was one of the greatest homestar fanpages ever created, it had bloody everything, but the forum was what realy made it incredible, god... I miss those guys...
Long story short, though, they ran out of bandwidth and died.
Also, on a lighter note, H*R.net has recently been showing signs of new life, I'll be so glad when it comes back...

Do we really need a wiki?

Just to ask, do we really need a Wiki? You can go to [Proboards] and get a forum for free! We can put all our stuff there and then sign up there! But it is JoeyDay's decision. JoeyDay, what would you like to do?>_ -TheDoggy

Personally, (this is just my feeble opinion here), I think transferring all of the content to a forum would be a nightmare. Besides, I believe would ruin the entire user-friendly interface of this wiki.
How about canvassing other h*r fansites for donations? I believe this wiki is an invaluable reference for the h*r community and we can't lose it. - "Douglas"

[Insert requisite humble-opinion statement here.] I can't imagine a forum working at all. Firstly, in a forum there are very few people who can edit posts: the person who made the post, and the administrator(s). Secondly, this site has literally thousands of links, and it's difficult to link on a forum: You have to type in a complete URL, and each thread is identified by a number, whereas on a Wiki all you have to know is the name of the page. Forums are designed for threaded, timely discussion. This Wiki, on the other hand, is mostly informational, though we have WikiChat for discussion. But the information isn't time-dependent lilke on a forum. I just can't see how it could work. -- InterruptorJones

As I said in WikiIdeas/NewSite, I've used fan forums before, but it seems to me that it's impossible to find anything. Try searching for the easter eggs in your favorite sbemail lower than 50. They'll be buried on the hundredth page of the site updates section. Also, as InterruptorJones and Douglas stated above, it would be impossible to link topics and organize them in the same way our wiki is organized. It's easy to find stuff here. Do forums even do transcripts at all? Fan forums can be fun for discussion, but they don't work well for creating the type of knowledge-base we have here. That said, I'm fairly certain we'll be adding a forum to the site once we have a domain name and hosting space. A forum would make a nice addition to the wiki by facilitating opinion polls and discussion about how our documents should be organized. One argument against Proboards: free sounds pretty good, but there's always a catch. My guess is that if we started pulling down 10 GB of bandwidth every month (which we might hit this month) they would cancel our service. I also read on their site that advertisements will appear on every page. As we've already beat into the ground in the thread above, I'd rather steer clear of any ads. --JoeyDay

Personally, I don't think forums will work, even if we did make a great one with dedicated mods and all that stuff, www.homestarrules.com has had an effective monopoly ever since dot net went down.

Yeah, your probably right! But, use a google search for like...Free Wiki. I found a few good ones. -TheDoggy

I don't mean to keep shutting you down, TheDoggy. These are all great suggestions. We probably could find a good free wiki host, but again, they would probably force us to have ads, and once we reach a certain amount of bandwidth, we'd get shut down pretty quick. There's simply no such thing as a free lunch. We just need to bite the bullet and pay for some quality hosting. Many thanks to people who have already donated, to the point that quality hosting will be possible. --JoeyDay