Announcement Monetizing Squat the Planet (1 Viewer)

Would you spend money on this support system?

  • Yes! I'd love to shove a burrito in your face ($10/mo)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    32
  • Poll closed .

Matt Derrick

Nomadologist
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Admin
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Walla Walla, WA
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youtube.com
edit 5/11/19: i've decided to return to our previous one-off donation system as described here in this post. thanks to everyone for their support and helping find the best way to support myself and stp.

Hey folks, let's have a little chat. A chat about money, StP, paying the bills, and (possibly) you and I both helping each other out in different ways.

Believe it or not, StP was started in 2001! Although it didn't take it's message board format until around 2006 or so, StP just passed it's 18th birthday. Holy shit, right? Nearly 20 years of me running this crazy place... it's kind of hard to imagine.

And all during that time, StP has been completely ad-free; and as long as I still have a say in it, it's always going to remain that way. Ads are annoying as fuck, and I don't ever want to see them here. So, I have happily paid the costs of running StP out of my own pocket for most of it's existence. I have no regrets about that whatsoever. The community around StP has paid me back tenfold in the friends I've made, the experiences I've had because of it, and the opportunities it's opened to me.

I don't think it was until around 2012 or so that I put a real, proper donation button on the website. Since then, there have been very few months where we didn't make the $50 a month goal I'd set, and we'd occasionally even double that, which always makes my day.

The base operating costs of StP are somewhere around that goal of $50/mo. It's hard to quote exact costs without spending several hours going through bank statements over the past year, and that's just not my idea of fun. So let's just say that I know for sure the server costs run about $25/mo, and the other $25 I usually put towards paying for additional 'addons' (smaller pieces of software that add extra functionality, like the gallery, atlas, library, etc). StP is currently using 63 addons, some of which are free, but many of which are paid for. Short version is that the website would be a much more boring place without these addons that provide extra features.

Many of these addons need to have their 'licences' renewed every year if we want to keep getting updates and support. These updates are pretty crucial to making sure everything continues working correctly and making sure the website doesn't get hacked or something equally terrible. I couldn't tell you exactly how much these licenses are currently costing me, as they're spread out all over the year (i.e. they don't all renew at the same time each year). I would put the ballpark cost at around $500 a year.

So, taking server costs at $25/mo x 12 = $300 + software fees at $500, that totals about $800/year. Give or take.

So there's a little bit that comes out of my own pocket, and that's fine. I have no problem doing that. But... actually running StP is a part time job (20+ hours a week) at a minimum, so everything doesn't go down the shitter and this place ends up looking like 4chan. I am extremely grateful to the @Staff that volunteers their time to help in that task, without them I would probably be a fucking vegetable in a psych ward somewhere after collapsing under the work load.

Anyways, I'm also getting old. This year I'll be turning the big 40, and after doing StP for nigh on two decades, I'm not longer afraid to admit, I'm a little tired. Tired of putting together everything from server level nginx configs to amazon AWS email forwarding to tweaking CSS so images appear properly... etc etc. There's just so much going on behind the scenes here that it makes it very, very difficult for one person to accomplish and stay on top of.

Combine that with the fact that I (occasionally) need to hold a job and pay bills, feed myself, etc... and that my gainful employment is usually computer related, that equals a LOT of time in front of the computer that I would frankly rather be traveling seeing the world hanging out with my friends, or just doing something that isn't staring at a screen. I mean, really, we're talking about 60-70 hours a week when you combine the 'job' of running StP with having a 'real' job that keeps me fed.

Now I know this all sounds horrible, but I do in fact do it to myself, and for the most part, I try not to complain. I also know that I've gotten overworked and I need to start pulling back a little bit and exploring other projects for my personal mental and physical health (namely, the youtube and homebase projects, which I will get around to explaining in another thread).

So, here we are. If I stopped StP working on StP cold turkey, it would probably still last a long time, years even, as long as the server bills were paid. Eventually though, I know things would fall apart, and that would be the end of StP. Neither I nor any of you reading this probably want to see that happen, so I'm compelled to keep coming back and working on it day after day, even putting off IRL things that probably should have priority.

Of course, none of this is your fault; but it brings me to the main subject of this thread and what I would like to get the community's input on.

Trying to make things sustainable for both of us

For a while now, I've been trying to find ways to make running StP a little more 'sustainable' for myself but also keep things going and making sure StP remains being as useful to people as it is. And with that in mind, I'd like to try something that I hope you'll be willing to support me on.

I've been thinking for quite a while how I could use Patreon to garner support for the work I'm doing on this website (and future projects under the StP name) but it's a different platform that doesn't talk to our software at all currently. So I'd probably end up in a situation in which you'd become a patron on their site, but still have to wait for me to upgrade your account over here, and in general it would be a bit of a pain in the butt. So, still taking in account the principles of Patreon, but using the software we have here on StP, I've designed a system that I hope you'd be willing to support me on, while also getting a fair amount in return for your support of this project.

I don't want something for nothing

Just to be clear, I'm not asking for a hand out (i.e. internet spanging), or a GoFundMe to pay for my travels without you getting anything (or very little) in return. My biggest goal in doing this is creating a fair exchange to you for your support of the StP project. I also want to make it clear that none of this is set in stone yet. What I'm looking for is your input as a community member to tell me if I'm A) doing the right thing and B) doing it in the right way that is most fair to both the community and myself.

So, if you'll take a look at the page here:

Account upgrades - https://squattheplanet.com/account/upgrades

You'll see I've designed a Patreon-esque system of support involving three levels of participation. You'll get more benefits (or 'perks') for giving more money:

screenshot-squattheplanet-com-2019-04-24-18-23-32-png.50118_Monetizing Squat the Planet_Website Announcements_Squat the Planet_7:07 PM


The title of the third category is a placeholder/joke, I'm not actually asking you to buy me a golden shopping cart. If you have any clever ideas for that third category, I'd love to hear them.

Before we start, I want to make it clear that StP WILL ALWAYS BE FREE. No paygates, no ads, no bullshit. Everything mentioned here is purely extra perks you get because you want to support me, and none of it is necessary to participate in the StP community.

What website perks do we get?

As you can see from the image above, most of the perks are extra permissions you'll get for using the website. I will explain any you have questions on in detail in this thread and I will also be building a help page for each one explaining how it works or how to use it. A good example is the 'edit posts for up to a week' permission, where you'll be able to do just that up to 7 days instead of 48 hours like non-supporter accounts. This will be a pretty heavy reworking of the permissions system of the message board, so I will be documenting it in detail as the changes are made so everyone knows what does what.

Do we get anything else?

The main difference here is that the 'burrito' and 'shopping cart' categories have actual physical goods you get for each month you're signed up. In the burrito level you'll get a set of 5 StP stickers that will change every month (I'm in the process of designing 10 more stickers in addition to the two designs we already have).

Similarly, in the 'shopping cart' level, you'll get both the 5 stickers AND a custom-made postcard that will change every month. My plan is to take ridiculous/interesting/silly pictures wherever I am in my travels, turn one of them into a post card each month, and send those out to my supporters at that level. I will also write a little blurb about my travels on each one, and I promise I won't just write the same thing on each one! So you're kinda becoming a one-way penpal with me :)

What's with the monthly subscription?

Well, obviously that is being done in the hopes that you'll decide to continue supporting my work on the StP website and upcoming projects. If you do not want to make a monthly commitment, you can discontinue the subscription from your paypal account, including immediately after finishing the transaction. You will still get the full month long account upgrade you paid for, and still be able to use any forum permissions and receive any physical goods you were promised for that period.

You will be able to upgrade, downgrade, or discontinue your support at any time.

I don't have a credit card and/or a PayPal account!

I know, I know, there's not much point in having those if you're living under a bridge (or similarly poor situation). I'm completely open to barter, physical cash, you buying a prepaid card and sending me the number, etc... I'll work with you. Even if you don't have shit and just need an account upgrade for some reason, send me an email explaining why you need it, and you never know... you might be surprised what happens.

So I only get it for one month? In the previous support system I got it for a year!

I know, and I'm sorry. It's just not realistic for me to offer that kind of length on upgrades anymore if we go forward with this support system. Unfortunately, I will also be removing all lifetime upgrades from our previous donation system.

What are your thoughts on this?

So I'm probably forgetting something, but I'll post it later as this is getting pretty long as it is. Let me just say that I am completely dependent upon your input right now. If you think this is a TERRIBLE idea, please let me know and I will take it into consideration. As I mentioned before, none of this is set in stone, and if everyone picks up their pitchforks in protest, that's okay. I am willing to walk away from this idea entirely. My main concern is that this is fair to both the community and myself so we can keep things rocking here into the foreseeable future.

I'm hoping that you'll choose to support me in this way so that I can work a 'real' job just a little bit less and use that valuable time to make StP more useful and interesting as we go forward.

I'm very interested in hearing your thoughts, so please share them by replying to this thread. Also, if you have any ideas for permissions (think of these as 'super powers' you'd like to have on the website) to add, or ideas on that third 'shopping cart' category, let me know!
 
Last edited:
Click here to buy one of our amazing custom bandanas!
OP
Matt Derrick

Matt Derrick

Nomadologist
Staff member
Admin
Joined
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Messages
8,997
Current Location
Walla Walla, WA
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youtube.com
oh, one other thing is that im considering further perks/physical items if you're subbed for a length of time, like 3 months (digital copy of my book) 6 months (physical copy of my book) or maybe additional patches, pins, etc... but these are just vague ideas at this point.
 

quad8

Nowhere bound...
Joined
May 6, 2014
Messages
603
Age
36
Current Location
Brunswick, Georgia
It's no problem to run Google ads if you want, but when they detect something called "invalid click activity" or similar, they will literally rob you of all advertising revenue you earned. One guy was robbed of a five-figure ad revenue before, then he sued Google and won. Google may have filed an appeal, but whatever verdict out of that is unknown.
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2016
Messages
3
Current Location
Bathurst nsw Australia
Hi Matt

I'd be totally happy to chuck you a fiver a month to help run the show. I see it as a sweet deal or the users really, we get a silly amount of value out of the site. Thanks for everything you do! We appreciate both what you do for us, and that you need to have time to yourself too.

Rock on brother

-Sarah, Australia
 

Older Than Dirt

Wanderer
Joined
Mar 5, 2019
Messages
268
Age
60
Current Location
Upstate
This does not seem like a bad idea, since those who are broke continue to get everything of value needed to use the site, and those who can afford to pay get not really essential but kinda cool things.

I suggest combining the deserved love for the Golden Shopping Cart, with Comrade Gypsybones excellent suggestion, and adding an additional "Golden Showers" tier above (or below) the Golden Shopping Cart level.

Or you could make make the cart a Platinum Shopping Cart, since Platinum Showers are not really a thing (except for the few folks who prefer being pissed on by those with a severe vitamin B deficiency).

It could be like American Express Gold/Platinum/Black cards, except for dirty hippies and punks, bums, homeless people, and hobos, and of course bourgeois dabblers like myself.
 
OP
Matt Derrick

Matt Derrick

Nomadologist
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Messages
8,997
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just to let folks know, a few people have already subscribed at the $5 level, and while that's great, it wasn't my intention to 'promote' this campaign just yet, because the 'perks' aren't quite set up yet. i'm more looking for input on how to sculpt this into the best support system i can right now.

so, just for those of you that did already subscribe, just know that i will have the perks set up this week, and if i manage to fuck that up I'll send you some free stickers :)

also, @croc noted that it would be fair to give the Lifetime Supporters from our old system at least a few free months on the new system when I shut the old system down; so I will do just that! lifetime supporters will get 6 months of free 'buy me a beer' level starting this week (when I finish getting the new system set up).

thank you for the support so far!

maybe we will keep the golden shopping cart...

one thing i did forget tho, was that I was going to put up a poll to gauge interest in each category. i've done that now, so if you have a moment to vote on it, check it out at the top of the thread!
 

William nilly

Lurker
Joined
Apr 22, 2019
Messages
4
Current Location
Nashville
I just found this, and I think it's an awesome resource and a brilliant idea. I just moved to Tennessee and I'm at an absolute financial bottom, but this is worth contributing to. Who knows, maybe soon I can. Thanks.
 

Older Than Dirt

Wanderer
Joined
Mar 5, 2019
Messages
268
Age
60
Current Location
Upstate
It would be kind of worth it to take ads for a month or two, just to see what late capitalism will try to sell to folks largely defined by having no money and being not real into buying stuff, or paying for stuff.

Cheap camping gear maybe, but what else? Freight train logo hats? Kits for beating drug tests? Don't think they can advertise malt liquor on internet.
 

coltsfoot

Newbie
Joined
Sep 20, 2017
Messages
28
Current Location
downeast maine
You definitely deserve it Matt. You've put in so much and so many people have gained so much from the site.

Personally I probably couldn't afford to pay monthly because it's random when I have cash and when i don't. But I'd love to hook it up when I can.
 
D

Deleted member 25142

I deleted myself
Im totally fresh on this page, just signed up a few weeks ago but I allready like it so much. Im allways reading the travelstories and other stuff and its really inspiering me to go travel, just need to save up a little bit of money first. Anyway, Im willing to donate a little every now and then to acsess this forum but please- no subscription, thats just the same as monthly bills and I think most people in this comunity is trying to avoid regular bills. Add some donate-buttons and I will do it every now and then.... or add some adds, I could take some adds I guess.
/hobonoa
 
OP
Matt Derrick

Matt Derrick

Nomadologist
Staff member
Admin
Joined
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Messages
8,997
Current Location
Walla Walla, WA
Website
youtube.com
so far in the poll i've noticed most people have voted for doing a one time donation every once in a while instead of a subscription/patreon style model.

i'm curious if anyone cares about the stickers/postcards? is that not enough incentive to get you to support StP monthly? genuinely curious. I'd like to get some folk's input on this since if you think it would be better to just use the donation model (like we had before), I'll gladly move back to that system.
 

Jerrell

Rambler
Joined
Aug 27, 2017
Messages
250
Current Location
South of Branson
In the future I'd be down to do a recurring thing, but right now I just have too much coming out of my acct while also trying to save back some for emergencies and vehicle repair type things.

I like the idea though and think the stickers/postcards thing is pretty cool.

I'd rather see the community supporting StP than bring in ads.
 
D

Deleted member 25142

I deleted myself
Hi Matt, Its a fantastic place You created here, and I understand that You put in unimaginable hours into it and ofcz You want something for it,, thats natural. I noticed there is 13000 members here,,, thats quite a lot, why dont You charge 10 dollars/year to stay a member? That would give You 130 000 dollars/year if everyone payed. That should be enough I think. Add to that some supportbuttons and sales of Your bandanas and pins and books and stuff... I will start to support You now by buying a bandana and the book, do You ship to sweden?
Thankfully
/hobonoa
 

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About us

  • Squat the Planet is the world's largest social network for misfit travelers. Join our community of do-it-yourself nomads and learn how to explore the world by any means necessary.

    More Info

Support StP!

Donations go towards paying our monthly server fees, adding new features to the website, and occasionally putting a burrito in Matt's mouth.

Total amount
$10.00
Goal
$100.00

Monthly Goals

  1. Paying the Bills
    $10.00 of $50.00
    The first $50 in donations go towards paying our monthly server fees and adding new features to the website. Once this goal is reached, we'll see about feeding Matt that burrito.
  2. Buy Matt a Beer
    $10.00 of $75.00
    Now that we have the bills paid for this month, let's give Matt a hearty thank you by buying him a drink for all the hard work he's done for StP. Hopefully his will help keep him from going insane after a long day of squishing website bugs.
  3. Feed Matt a Burrito
    $10.00 of $100.00
    Now that the bills are paid and Matt has a beer in his hand, how about showing him your love by rewarding all his hard work with a big fat burrito to put in his mouth. This will keep him alive while programming new features for the website.
  4. Finance the Shopping Cart
    $10.00 of $200.00
    Now that the bills are paid and Matt is fed, perhaps it's time to start planning for those twilight years under the bridge... if only he had that golden shopping cart all the oogles are bragging about these days.

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