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  • How do huge forum sites support costs of hosting vbulletin?

    Hi admins of forums that have 300-500 concurrent users, how do you guys support the hosting costs of vBulletin? I do understand that if these many # of users have to be supported then obviously hardware/bandwidth costs will go up. My question however is how do you guys recoup monthly costs of hosting on dedicated servers with such nice specs (as eva2000 mentioned in another post)? I noticed no adverts in the sites that have these many concurrent users. Where is the money flowing in from? Heck I would love to host a forum with 500 users concurrent but the costs involved are just too much for me presently. Bye.

  • #2
    Some of us own our own servers.
    Some of us run our own servers.
    Searching the net for affordable hosts as well.
    Dedicated servers etc.

    Some run ads.
    Some have "sponsors' on their forums
    some work an extra job.
    Some walk the neighbors dogs or babysit
    Some scrounge the garbage cans for empty soda cans and bottles.
    Some accpet donations by the users.
    There are only 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary, and those who don't

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    • #3
      You forgot "Some search for change in the couch cushions after guests leave".

      Making money to support your site is a very interesting questions. Different sites have different methods. Building the site is only about 1/10th of the battle. Building the income flow and the marketing is the rest. You may be better off looking at sites dedicated to helping you make a profit to find the answers.
      Translations provided by Google.

      Wayne Luke
      The Rabid Badger - a vBulletin Cloud demonstration site.
      vBulletin 5 API

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by wluke
        You forgot "Some search for change in the couch cushions after guests leave".

        Making money to support your site is a very interesting questions. Different sites have different methods. Building the site is only about 1/10th of the battle. Building the income flow and the marketing is the rest. You may be better off looking at sites dedicated to helping you make a profit to find the answers.
        Personally, I find that trying to support a site by doing it "online" (ie banners, ads, sponsors) is a waste of time, and donations only come from those who want "some perks" for giving you money. And with the way the net is today, not many ads/banners/sponsors/donations are making much money

        Me i just make the extra "cash" by helping others in the "graphical" needs (site layouts, logos, tshirt designs).
        There are only 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary, and those who don't

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        • #5
          Originally posted by WizyWyg


          Personally, I find that trying to support a site by doing it "online" (ie banners, ads, sponsors) is a waste of time, and donations only come from those who want "some perks" for giving you money. And with the way the net is today, not many ads/banners/sponsors/donations are making much money

          Me i just make the extra "cash" by helping others in the "graphical" needs (site layouts, logos, tshirt designs).
          Depends on the site. We make very good money off our sponsorships, affiliate programs and booksales in the SitePoint Forums.

          Our #1 selling spot sells for a flat $2000 a month. It is the only spot we consistantly sell month after month. Our current sponsor is getting finishing their 4th month there.

          One slot has been used to promote our vBulletin affiliate package which brings in around $300 a month.

          The other two slots sell for between $500 and $750 a month.

          Our ads are successful because we give a lot for thier money. They each get
          • a graphic (128 X 30) on the index page which is over 100,000 page views a month.
          • a rich HTML ad that goes on their sponsored forums, above the fold.
          • a 15 X 65 character text ad in two issues of our community Newsletter (8,000 subscribers)
          • an optional 4 X 16 character text ad that goes out in all outgoing emails related to their sponsored forums.


          What they don't get is a number of page views. We don't do CPC ads or CPM ads. They are sold in blocks of time only. It works for us. I don't know if it will work for everyone. To make things work for you, you need to build in value and make the advertiser realize they are getting value.
          Translations provided by Google.

          Wayne Luke
          The Rabid Badger - a vBulletin Cloud demonstration site.
          vBulletin 5 API

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by wluke


            Depends on the site. We make very good money off our sponsorships, affiliate programs and booksales in the SitePoint Forums.

            Our #1 selling spot sells for a flat $2000 a month. It is the only spot we consistantly sell month after month. Our current sponsor is getting finishing their 4th month there.

            Big difference for a community (Sitepoint) that deals with helping people design for the net and advertising, etc, than a board that is just for "fans" or people seeking to be with other people who share their same interest.

            Go to the many vbulletin site that are dedicated to Role Playing, video games, etc, and you wont find much of anything related to making money to support their boards.


            And for someone just starting out, ads and banners are not going to help you one bit.
            There are only 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary, and those who don't

            Comment


            • #7
              I realize that, which is why I stated it may or may not work for everyone.

              However the trick is how I said, figure out what gives value for both the advertiser and the member and you will be able to make money. Maybe not enough to live on, heck I can't live off of SitePoint Forums Income, but you can make money. You just have to think of the right angle.

              Now don't get me wrong if it is a hobby and you can afford to pay out of pocket and you are ok with the added benefit of giving the members no advertising then that is fine as well. However I think even the smallest site owner can come up with ways to cover server costs. If they can't then they are purchasing too much server for their needs.

              Take your site for example...

              I would expect to find ways to purchase animation related items there. Either through affiliate programs (amazon.com/bn.com) or a virtual store (vstore.com). These take no capital to setup except your time and could bring in a few bucks every month. Are you going to get rich off them? Most likely not but you can cover costs.

              As you gain in traffic, an auction section either using eBay's affiliate program and highlighting their auctions or using something like phpAuction to maintain your own can bring additional income. Highly targeted towards your members you would have an advantage over eBay because stuff would be easier to find.

              Like I said before you just have to think up the right angle to present your products. Think realistically and don't listen to the news too much. News agencies don't report good news because it doesn't bring viewers. Their angle is to only give the worst they can find... Doom and Gloom sells. What is your angle? Think about your intended audience, actually think like them and you will figure out what they want.
              Last edited by Wayne Luke; Sat 26 Jan '02, 5:42am.
              Translations provided by Google.

              Wayne Luke
              The Rabid Badger - a vBulletin Cloud demonstration site.
              vBulletin 5 API

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by wluke
                Take your site for example...

                I would expect to find ways to purchase animation related items there. Either through affiliate programs (amazon.com/bn.com) or a virtual store (vstore.com). These take no capital to setup except your time and could bring in a few bucks every month. Are you going to get rich off them? Most likely not but you can cover costs.
                I've signed up with Amazon affiliates and you wouldn't believe the "ire" I've met with people who dont want to deal with them (and the amt of spam I received in the acct that I signed up with them made me decide that they dont want me to "help" them anymore- i've only used that email acct with them, so its VERY easy to determine that they "sold" my email address without my permission).

                Been with ebay since the begining and have seen it deteriorated to a cesspool of people who are more willing to buy bootlegs than to buy legit copies. Legit dvd's (which I would only deal with) are in scarce supply on ebay compared to 1000's of bootleg HK DVd's. Not a place to make money. And not to mention all those who only copy stuff from tv and pass it off on ebay...how is a "legit" selle supposed to compete with that?

                I've tried it all on my older site; where it got nearly 10,000 visits a month (for a fan site) and made all of $1 per month from it. Barely enough to cover anything.

                I just think that right "now" unless your site is informational (like SitePoint) or provides a major service, people aren't willing to "help" you out.

                Its a lonely business, but the "traditional" way to make money is the best way to go, and use "ads" to supplement you (if its only $.20 a month)
                There are only 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary, and those who don't

                Comment


                • #9
                  We don't have that many users/custumers, but are on a dedicated server as well (1,5 AMD, 1GB Ram) and have to pay a lot of money (for a student) as well.

                  We do not use advertisement at all, only 1 banner and a text link in the footer which points to our host.
                  That way we got the 1 GB Ram for free

                  Apart from this we are splitting the cost through our team which are 12 guys at all and so we can afford the costs even if we become much bigger ...
                  http://www.first-board.de

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I started OptiBoard in 1995 as both a hobby and a way to give something back to the eyecare industry I've worked in for over 20 years. After slowly building through word-of-mouth referrals, OptiBoard is now the most popular and visited community of eyecare professionals online.

                    In recognition of this, a major lens manufacturer came to me with a sponsorship proposal almost three years ago. Since then OptiBoard has always received fairly generous sponsorship fees from up to three sponsors at a time.

                    Can this success be duplicated? Not easily, I'm afraid. First you need to firmly establish yourself as one of the leading people in your chosen line of work. This takes many years of hard work and dedication. Next, you need to have the foresight and patience to establish a significant online resource for others in your field. Then you need to nuture and protect it until it becomes one of the leading sites in this field. And through all this, you need to be prepared to work diligently for many years before you see any return on your investment of time and money.

                    In short, it's not always quick or easy to turn something like this into a money-making venture. Don't expect things to fall into your lap. It takes time, hard work, patience and luck!
                    Steve Machol, former vBulletin Customer Support Manager (and NOT retired!)
                    Change CKEditor Colors to Match Style (for 4.1.4 and above)

                    Steve Machol Photography


                    Mankind is the only creature smart enough to know its own history, and dumb enough to ignore it.


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