Success, Infrastructure, and Support

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  February 25, 2011 — 18 Comments

For a short period today this site was down, the account suspended by our hosts at A Small Orange. The suspension wasn’t because I had done anything wrong, or because ASO (or anyone else) had nefarious intentions, but because The Wild Hunt is just getting too large to operate comfortably on the shared server hosting model most smaller sites run on. The ever-growing stream of traffic triggered an automatic shut-down so that we wouldn’t also bring several other sites down. I was lucky, because someone inside A Small Orange (Jen, who used to run Drak.net) called me personally, helped get the site back up, and suggested options to help keep it up.

Unfortunately, those options aren’t cheap. The Wild Hunt is now at a point where dedicated server space is needed to avoid future shut-downs. That means a very substantial chunk of change had to leave my reserves today, about triple what I normally pay per year to host this site. That cost may inflate if the account level I’m moving to isn’t sufficient. I have no qualms about doing this, I think what I do here is important, and from the conversations I have with individuals at festivals and conventions, so do many of you. However, it does raise questions about support and sustainability, and I’d like to briefly discuss them with you.

The Wild Hunt isn’t the first web site to run into these issues, several years ago The Witches’ Voice ran into very similar problems and luckily found the community ready to step up, producing waves of sponsors that keep things running to this day. What my experience today taught me is that The Wild Hunt is at the cusp of a wave of Pagan media that will soon get large enough to need support beyond what their personal incomes can provide. It is part of the reason why I started a yearly pledge drive, to build an infrastructure of support that can grow into a model other sites and services can someday emulate. Though this process is just beginning, I’m encouraged that so many of you are willing to fiscally support Pagan media services, and I’m given great hope that we can collectively build a new media foundation that endures.

The money donated to The Wild Hunt not only pays for this site, it also helps defray costs when I travel to events like PantheaCon (which will be generating several stories for this site), and makes my life dedicated to Pagan journalism somewhat sustainable. However, as costs rise, so will support if I’m going to keep The Wild Hunt open, ad-free, and independent. So If you missed out on donating during the Winter Pledge Drive, or would like to chip in towards my new hosting bill, now’s the time.

You can either make a one-time donation:


Or commit to making a small monthly donation:

 

Monthly Donation
Option 1 : $5.00USD – monthly Option 2 : $10.00USD – monthly Option 3 : $15.00USD – monthly Option 4 : $20.00USD – monthly

In addition, if you are a part of a Pagan organization, and would like to become an underwriter of this site, joining groups like CUUPs, Solar Cross, The Brotherhood of the Phoenix, and others, please contact me for details.

As much as the events of this day have been surprising, the silver lining to it is that it was caused by a Pagan news site experiencing ongoing growth and success. That in of itself points to a bright future. I hope you’ll join me in helping to build one that’s sustainable.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • Mary Henderson

    I honestly think you should offset whatever costs you can by monetizing the blog. I couldn't believe you hadn't didn't already have ads when I started reading. I don't find banner ads to be intrusive on pages as long as they aren't the kind that expand or move. Not to mention those ads would help offset the cost (absence of income?) of your readers who cannot afford to donate on a regular basis, if at all.

    • http://military.pagannewswirecollective.com Lori Dake

      No! Boo! I respect Jason and The Witches Voice for the no-ad policy and wish places like The Huffington Post wouldn't be such sellouts. (Their ads are terribly random and crashy-like, and with the sale to AOL… grrrrr!)

      What I think Jason should do instead is self-publish and sell a Print on Demand book, perhaps copying and pasting some of the most important articles he's ever covered (including an ereader format at a reduced cost). Oh, or perhaps a coffee table book comprised of photos submitted from readers for free. (Good for people who can't afford to give monetarily.) That would be fun, and what Pagan doesn't like books? :)

      Doing a POD book would be a fund-raiser folks would happily contribute to, and he would keep all the net proceeds. And, I like POD, because no excessive trees are cut down for books to sit idly in a warehouse someplace.

      • http://erynn999.livejournal.com Erynn

        I'm with you. Ads may not guarantee someone caving to the commercial overculture, but they certainly do offer an unfortunate opportunity for problems to crop up. What ads would even be appropriate? Random ad generators based on keywords come up with some of the most horrifying stuff.

        • http://military.pagannewswirecollective.com Lori Dake

          No kidding! I've seen Big Busty Ladies ads show up for breast cancer fund raising. :(

          • sjthornton1960

            Jason, thanks so much for what you do. I'm backing my thanks up with a monthly donation. Hope everyone else does so.

          • Jason Pitzl-Waters

            Thank you!

          • http://www.dianahurlburt.wordpress.com Diana B. Hurlburt

            I don't comment often, but I read regularly and am glad to support such an excellent venture as The Wild Hunt. It is nice to take the money I used to give to my Christian church in tithing and give it to something I can wholly support.

  • Ursyl

    Route other than PayPal for donating? We got sick of all the phishing that went with PP and prefer not to use it.

  • Jason Pitzl-Waters

    Drop me an e-mail and I'd be happy to give you an address if you'd rather send a check.

  • http://quakerpagan.blogspot.com/ Cat_C_B

    We are waiting on a major financial status change; we should know within a week how it is going to go. So the amount of our pledge will have to wait until then, but I will return and make it as soon as we have word.

    The question is not whether to support TWH, but how much we can afford to.

  • Lillitu Shahar Kunning

    Growing pains! A mixed blessing!

  • Ursyl

    Thank-you. Just checked, see the link.

  • Peg Aloi

    I for one really appreciate that this is an ad-free blog and if the community's donations can help to keep it so I will continue to donate.

    And if someone has computer access, they probably can afford a small donation. I mean, if even HALF the people who read this site regularly, say, once a week, donated five dollars a year, I imagine that would do it. Jason could perhaps confirm that speculation.

    That's the cost of a pint of beer at a bar, or five small bags of fries at a fast food restaurant, or a Sunday newspaper, or large popcorn at the movies.

    But pagans can be remarkably myopic when it comes to claiming they can't afford things.

  • Jason Pitzl-Waters

    If half the people who read the blog donated $5 per year, I'd be making a respectable earning.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lynna.landstreet Lynna Landstreet

    You might want to check into Dreamhost – specifically, the Dreamhost Private Server VPS plans (http://www.dreamhost.com/r.cgi?12390), which are pretty affordable and allow you to scale your memory/CPU/etc usage according to your needs and pay for just what you actually need/want. It's worked out pretty well for my sites thus far…

  • https://www.facebook.com/people/Philipp-Kessler/1205709474 Philipp Kessler

    Jason, we would be happy to share this information on our podcast and maybe win you some extra support.

    -RevKess of Pagan-Musings Podcast

  • Jason Pitzl-Waters

    Anything helps! I'm alway happy for any support folks want to give.

  • http://b.rox.com/ Editor B

    This site's been invaluable to me. My family's been in quite a financial crunch, but I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't throw a little something down. So, I did, and I encourage others to do the same.