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Classic Wings Magazine Luftwaffe Resource Center WWII Naval Aviation Research Pacific
Final Cut-The Post War B-17 Flying Fortress and Survivors - 5th Edition


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:12 am 
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Hi all,
As most of you are aware, Photobucket has committed what amounts to corporate suicide. By doing things the way they did (breaking all the image links) that went from being a company that millions of people used, to a pariah that is in a death spiral and unless they change something, they will probably be out of business by years end. The question is why did they do it?

The core problem stems two decades into the past. The internet was the wild west and anything was possible, except a revenue stream. Back then you would pay $1 per hour or more to access the internet and nobody would have considered paying for content. Why would you? The moment someone tried to require you to pay you just went somewhere else where you could find essentially the same crappy content for free.

As the internet grew so did the depth and complexity of the content. Content providers would spend more and more time on their websites but they were still essentially hobbies. Then ads showed up. Ads allowed content providers to subsidize the rapidly rising costs of hosting their sites but except for the rare instance, nobody made a significant profit.

The warbirds Resource Group spent the first 10 years siphoning money out of my pocket, not generating any sort of surplus funds until 2006 or so. And then for the next five years the sites generated enough surplus to allow me to buy 2-3 warbird books a year. Not exactly a money making scheme and in truth it was never meant to be.
Unfortunately success can be a double edged sword. The more popular the site became, the more traffic was generated. This led to rising storage and bandwidth costs. Luckily the revenue generated increased enough that I could justify spending the time working on the site (I once figured out that if I paid myself I’d be making $0.57/hr) and investing in new software that helped revolutionize the upgrading of the site (especially the Registry). The income allowed me to justify the time I spent and hold off getting a second job (which would have taken all my time and left none for the site).

I started to dream that maybe I could eventually generate a sufficient income to maintain and expand the site full time and fund certain projects like Warbirds.TV, WIXcast, Vintage Aviation Registry and The War Memorial Registry and other projects.

In October of 2015 that dream fell apart. Two major events hit their stride and this is where the Warbirds Resource Group with 10,000+ users fell into the same problem that Photobucket with 100,000,000 users faced. The first was ad revenue tanked… I mean really died. In one month the revenue for the site dropped by 90%. Revenue continues to drop every month, though not nearly as dramatically as it did that fateful October.

Every content or service provider scrambled to change and I can say after ~20 months of effort, the old model is irrecoverable. You can see Photobucket’s efforts when they change how their images were served and how the code would drag you back to their site so you could be exposed to their ads. Unfortunately that line of thought failed to take in to account that the ad revenue stream is no longer viable. Visitors tune out ads and all the tricks and techniques are mere hospice care for a dying concept. Regardless of these tricks and techniques the second major event reached maturity.

Ad Blockers. Two simple words that will have significant impact on the future of content on the Internet. Ad blockers do exactly what it implies, they block ads. This essentially means that what meager revenue stream is left is reduced even further. This means that sites like photobucket are not viable. Photobucket has 53 employees to pay as well as massive overhead in regards to servers and bandwidth fees. Somebody has to pay for that.

For the Warbirds Resource Group and it’s family of sites that expense is footed by myself and the dozen or so subscribers who support the site (thank you guys for your unwavering support). For photobucket it means charging users $400 a year. Photobucket screwed up by their implementation of the new policy as well as the absurd charge. If they had gone for $4.95 a month they could have had a much better response and offered additional services for additional fees. They went there route and it will consume them. Unfortunately you will see this happen more and more to ad revenue based businesses.

If you’re still ready then it probably means you like our site. The Warbirds Resource Group isn’t going anywhere. The projects and expansion have been halted for the foreseeable future but the site will remain. I will never, I repeat never, put up a pay wall. Nor will I use pop up ads or misdirecting ads. I want to focus on a different source of support. We have always had voluntary paypal subscriptions and direct donations. We also have the Amazon ads and search bars and they actually do work well. A new option is patreon. This service allows people to support content providers of all sorts, allowing projects and endeavors that would not be possible otherwise.
I ask that you take a moment and consider directly supporting the site by one of these methods. If every registered member signed up for even $1 a month then the future the site, and our community would be bright.

Let me know your thoughts, good or bad, either in this thread or IM me. I want to know how you feel about this subject. Let’s create a polite and civil discussion about the future of this site and the internet as a whole.

And thanks for providing me with two decades of friendship and adventure.

_________________
Scott Rose
Editor-In-Chief/Webmaster
Warbirds Resource Group - Warbird Information Exchange - Warbird Registry - MilitarySciFi.com

Be civil, be polite, be nice.... or be elsewhere.
-------------------------------------------------------
This site is brought to you with the support of members like you. If you find this site to be of value to you,
consider supporting this forum and the Warbirds Resource Group with a VOLUNTARY subscription
For as little as $2/month you can help ($2 x 12 = $24/year, less than most magazine subscriptions)
So If you like it here, and want to see it grow, consider helping out.
And if your doing your holiday shopping on Amazon, consider using the Amazon links on the site to start your shopping, it doesn't cost you anything and helps the site out.
Thanks to everyone who has so generously supported the site. We really do appreciate it.
SUPPORT WIX


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:24 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2009 11:19 am
Posts: 316
Location: Goderich, Ontario
Great post Scott and very informative. I just got my 2nd threatening email from Photobucket regarding my hosted images. I had used PhotoBucket for 10+ years to host images for my forum posts until I made an Imgur account a few years ago and have found them far easier to use. I will not miss Photobucket's annoying intrusive ads and clunky slow interface that rarely worked.

Have you set-up a Patreon yet? I would be happy to kick in a few bucks a month as I already have several YouTube creators and podcasts I support on a monthly basis.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:44 am 
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My first ISP was NetZero. I used to adjust my monitor so their ad banner was out of view. once they started charging, there were a lot of alternatives and I went elsewhere. I didn't have much brand loyalty for something I didn't have to pay for I guess.

The initial benefit of cable TV was that you paid to avoid commercials. Now that they have commercials I typically DVR what I want to watch and fast-forward through the ads.

I'm not an impulse buyer, so none of these ad campaigns really spur me to act.

I am a WIX subscriber because I appreciate the forum and Scott's effort over many years. As a subscriber you can upload (small) photos directly into your posts. That's what I do! Hopefully Scott will be able to maintain that feature. Probably the more paid subscribers the better.

:D


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:11 pm 
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No complaints here. I only visit the WIX Hangar a couple times a week, as I mostly hang out on the wix facebook page. There are boards I haven't been on in years. If anything I would like to see a semi-regular refresh of the forum. Maybe simplify the boards into just a few. I don't have the time to check every board. There is just a ton of information here and its very overwhelming sometimes and hard to read everything with working two jobs.

I would suggest charging everyone $12 a year for access to the forum. Nothing wrong with trying to make a buck, especially since most of the revenue would likely go towards keeping the site running. I'd pay $12 a year. That's a lot better deal then subscribing to a warbird mag for $50 when I can get SO much more information from WIX.

I would also like to comment that it seems to me the enthusiasm has been lost on wix. I don't see as many posts here and people just seem to be tired out about things, and its just not on wix. It definitely sucks how we lost some key members from passing on. It still hurts me to no end in losing people like The Inspector, mudge, jeff funk, etc.

There needs to be some motivation going here. :drink3:

_________________
us-aircraft.com "History and Modeling Page"
http://www.us-aircraft.com
-------------------------------------------------------
My main aviation interests are:
-ww2 in the Pacific, in particular 1941-1942.
-The underdogs, and lessor known aircraft and histories.
-The Cold War.
-Collecting aircraft parts and Memorabilia.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:17 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 4:43 pm
Posts: 4045
Location: Haverhill, MA & Johnston, RI
Thomas_Mac wrote:
Great post Scott and very informative. I just got my 2nd threatening email from Photobucket regarding my hosted images. I had used PhotoBucket for 10+ years to host images for my forum posts until I made an Imgur account a few years ago and have found them far easier to use. I will not miss Photobucket's annoying intrusive ads and clunky slow interface that rarely worked.

Have you set-up a Patreon yet? I would be happy to kick in a few bucks a month as I already have several YouTube creators and podcasts I support on a monthly basis.


Thanks for the feedback Thomas, I have indeed created a patreon which can be found here https://www.patreon.com/warbirdsresourcegroup

_________________
Scott Rose
Editor-In-Chief/Webmaster
Warbirds Resource Group - Warbird Information Exchange - Warbird Registry - MilitarySciFi.com

Be civil, be polite, be nice.... or be elsewhere.
-------------------------------------------------------
This site is brought to you with the support of members like you. If you find this site to be of value to you,
consider supporting this forum and the Warbirds Resource Group with a VOLUNTARY subscription
For as little as $2/month you can help ($2 x 12 = $24/year, less than most magazine subscriptions)
So If you like it here, and want to see it grow, consider helping out.
And if your doing your holiday shopping on Amazon, consider using the Amazon links on the site to start your shopping, it doesn't cost you anything and helps the site out.
Thanks to everyone who has so generously supported the site. We really do appreciate it.
SUPPORT WIX


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 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:22 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 4:43 pm
Posts: 4045
Location: Haverhill, MA & Johnston, RI
Nathan wrote:
No complaints here. I only visit the WIX Hangar a couple times a week, as I mostly hang out on the wix facebook page. There are boards I haven't been on in years. If anything I would like to see a semi-regular refresh of the forum. Maybe simplify the boards into just a few. I don't have the time to check every board. There is just a ton of information here and its very overwhelming sometimes and hard to read everything with working two jobs.

I would suggest charging everyone $12 a year for access to the forum. Nothing wrong with trying to make a buck, especially since most of the revenue would likely go towards keeping the site running. I'd pay $12 a year. That's a lot better deal then subscribing to a warbird mag for $50 when I can get SO much more information from WIX.

I would also like to comment that it seems to me the enthusiasm has been lost on wix. I don't see as many posts here and people just seem to be tired out about things, and its just not on wix. It definitely sucks how we lost some key members from passing on. It still hurts me to no end in losing people like The Inspector, mudge, jeff funk, etc.

There needs to be some motivation going here. :drink3:


Thanks for the feedback Nathan. I find the facebook WIX page to be fun but lacks the depth the forums do. As for charging $12, I'll never make it mandatory, but I appreciate the voluntary subscriptions. :)

Your right on the motivation front. That will be high on my priority list.

_________________
Scott Rose
Editor-In-Chief/Webmaster
Warbirds Resource Group - Warbird Information Exchange - Warbird Registry - MilitarySciFi.com

Be civil, be polite, be nice.... or be elsewhere.
-------------------------------------------------------
This site is brought to you with the support of members like you. If you find this site to be of value to you,
consider supporting this forum and the Warbirds Resource Group with a VOLUNTARY subscription
For as little as $2/month you can help ($2 x 12 = $24/year, less than most magazine subscriptions)
So If you like it here, and want to see it grow, consider helping out.
And if your doing your holiday shopping on Amazon, consider using the Amazon links on the site to start your shopping, it doesn't cost you anything and helps the site out.
Thanks to everyone who has so generously supported the site. We really do appreciate it.
SUPPORT WIX


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:26 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 4:43 pm
Posts: 4045
Location: Haverhill, MA & Johnston, RI
bdk wrote:
My first ISP was NetZero. I used to adjust my monitor so their ad banner was out of view. once they started charging, there were a lot of alternatives and I went elsewhere. I didn't have much brand loyalty for something I didn't have to pay for I guess.

The initial benefit of cable TV was that you paid to avoid commercials. Now that they have commercials I typically DVR what I want to watch and fast-forward through the ads.

I'm not an impulse buyer, so none of these ad campaigns really spur me to act.

I am a WIX subscriber because I appreciate the forum and Scott's effort over many years. As a subscriber you can upload (small) photos directly into your posts. That's what I do! Hopefully Scott will be able to maintain that feature. Probably the more paid subscribers the better.

:D


Thanks for your long term support!

I might have some things in the works in the ad front. I might have a way to minimize the ads for subscribers, I don't want to get rid of all of them but subscribers would only see those ads that are more Community supportive (like the classic wings and Hidden Warbirds Ads) and less generic ads.

I've increased the size of allowed images and you are correct sir, the more subscribers the bigger the maximum size will be :)

_________________
Scott Rose
Editor-In-Chief/Webmaster
Warbirds Resource Group - Warbird Information Exchange - Warbird Registry - MilitarySciFi.com

Be civil, be polite, be nice.... or be elsewhere.
-------------------------------------------------------
This site is brought to you with the support of members like you. If you find this site to be of value to you,
consider supporting this forum and the Warbirds Resource Group with a VOLUNTARY subscription
For as little as $2/month you can help ($2 x 12 = $24/year, less than most magazine subscriptions)
So If you like it here, and want to see it grow, consider helping out.
And if your doing your holiday shopping on Amazon, consider using the Amazon links on the site to start your shopping, it doesn't cost you anything and helps the site out.
Thanks to everyone who has so generously supported the site. We really do appreciate it.
SUPPORT WIX


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:35 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2004 7:49 pm
Posts: 1532
Location: West Lafayette, Ind.
I just subscribed and that was long overdue. I wasn't aware that the ad revenue had dropped so significantly and would have stepped up and subscribed much earlier had I known. I guess I haven't done a good job of reading site news.

I've been a member here since I was a young teenager. The discussion and news available here is better than any warbird magazine. I don't use the resource websites nearly as much as the forums, but I would gladly pay a nominal subscription fee if it keeps the site afloat. I'm here mostly to learn rather than post and this is a great community to learn from. Thanks for everything you do to give all of us a place to share our interest.

The Photobucket fiasco is puzzling. There's no way that business model is going to be sustainable, especially with less pricy, or free (and I would argue better) photo hosting sites out there.

Here's hoping net neutrality or any rulings on it don't throw a wrench into the viability of keeping this site up ...

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:44 pm 
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As an aside, I think the option to attach images with a subscription is an awesome perk. The third-party hosting sites are always a pain with posting on forums and I think that's why images from major warbird shows don't get shared as much here anymore. It's much easier to post to Facebook - and I think the way the WIX Facebook page functions in that regard makes it a nice complement to the discussions here. Now that I've subscribed and can attach images directly to a post, I will be much more likely to share photos from museum visits, airshows, etc.

I NEVER go to Facebook for the discussion, mostly because I hate receiving the notifications and I don't think it's proper venue to have those types of discussions. I do think it is a worthwhile companion to this site however. Perhaps the evolution of this site can make the photo posts migrate back to forums more, but maybe it won't work that way. I don't think I have an answer for that one.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:31 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2009 11:19 am
Posts: 316
Location: Goderich, Ontario
Scott WRG Editor wrote:
Thomas_Mac wrote:
Great post Scott and very informative. I just got my 2nd threatening email from Photobucket regarding my hosted images. I had used PhotoBucket for 10+ years to host images for my forum posts until I made an Imgur account a few years ago and have found them far easier to use. I will not miss Photobucket's annoying intrusive ads and clunky slow interface that rarely worked.

Have you set-up a Patreon yet? I would be happy to kick in a few bucks a month as I already have several YouTube creators and podcasts I support on a monthly basis.


Thanks for the feedback Thomas, I have indeed created a patreon which can be found here https://www.patreon.com/warbirdsresourcegroup

Done! I am glad your first post also mentioned ad-blockers as I also made a point to disable mine when visiting WIX.

As far as forum improvements go...Would be curious for everyone's thoughts on integrating the photo gallery section into the WIX hangar? I feel most photo posts go onto WIX anyways and those that go into the gallery get minimal traffic. Part of what brought me here in the first place was browsing the great photo posts.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:27 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:40 pm
Posts: 237
Location: Auckland, NZ
Thanks for setting out the background Scott.
While I can understand that PB had to do something, their implementation has been appalling and counter-productive.

I've added you to my Patreon - don't forget to tell Patreon that you have done something each month!

While I use Flickr, I haven't been actively recommending it for some time, as I would be completely unsurprised if their prices/services changed drastically in the near future.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:03 pm 
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I'm in; and Scott, hurry up and design the WIX t-shirt... :P

Phil

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:15 pm 
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Scott WRG Editor wrote:
I might have some things in the works in the ad front. I might have a way to minimize the ads for subscribers, I don't want to get rid of all of them but subscribers would only see those ads that are more Community supportive (like the classic wings and Hidden Warbirds Ads) and less generic ads.

I've increased the size of allowed images and you are correct sir, the more subscribers the bigger the maximum size will be :)


As I mentioned, I always find a way to work around the ads. I don't find the generic ones on the WIX to be the least bit objectionable. Please keep them (for me) if it generates more revenue.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:35 pm 
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I haven't been able to log onto my PB account since they started sending the blackmail demands.. So they want me to pay them money, but make it impossible to do so (if I were so inclined, I'm not)

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:35 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:25 am
Posts: 214
Will donate soon, soon as I get my PP account juiced up a bit.
Got kicked off ebay a couple years ago, that was my main source of paypal funds.

I used to use PB extensively when I sold on ebay, I found that linking pics to auctions was far more versatile than uploading.
I think I paid $25 a year or something ,,, Then after I got kicked off ebay I barely used the PB account and when I noticed my PP account was auto charged, I took them off.

Not long after I was bombed with spam from them trying to entice me back, so much so that I had to put an ISP spam filter on them to block their constant begging.
I figured from that they must be on hard times, but didn't see their total fail coming.

http://postimg.org must have a huge surge of patrons, hopefully they'll survive.


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