Starting today, VirtualR accepts donations to help covering the expanding costs of running this site. This was a very difficult decision for me as I was always proud to be able to refuse donations but the recent developments have given me no other choice.
As many of you will already have read in the Twitter posting below, the site will soon be moving to a more powerful server as it has outgrown the current platform again. Until March 2009, the site ran on a shared hosting account costing me less than 50€ a month. These days a long gone, the site now requires servers with multi-core CPUs and loads of RAM to stay up during load hours. As you can imagine, the monthly costs of operating this service have steeply inclined as well.
Adding to the problem is the used blogging platform. While WordPress is a very powerful and feature-rich system, it’s notoriously resource-hungry when it comes to high-load situations. That’s why my long-term goal is to move the site to a more professional blogging platform that is more suited to high-traffic sites such as this one, giving VirtualR a more solid foundation. Migrating to a whole new system goes way beyond my technical skills though, meaning I will have to get professional assistance to get this done.
Until now, my advertisers have been solely responsible for keeping this site alive, the advertising revenue is more and more unable to keep up with the rising costs though. The current number of banners on the site are pretty much the maximum I´m willing to do, I don’t want VirtualR to become one of those sites where you have to look hard to find the content between all the advertising.
There are no other sources of revenue as I refuse to accept payments from any company in exchange for positive endorsements as I strongly believe that VirtualR must stay completely neutral to be a valuable service to the community. I never want to get into a situation where I have to positively cover some arcade racer or anything else that I feel does not fit the community just because it pays well.I´m not on the payroll of any developer or companies with a business interest in this community, advertising is never hidden in content but strictly limited to the banner spots you can clearly identify as such on the site.
As all of this limits my choices to make the money that is required to keep the site alive, I have decided to accept donations as many of you have been asking about that in the past.
I`d like to point out one thing clearly: There will be no benefits for donors or any kind of limits for everyone else. Whether or not you donate, VirtualR will stay the same free place it used to be. I don’t want to pressure anyone to donate in any way, you´re free to enjoy the site without ever donating a dime. But if you feel that truly independent sim racing news are worth to be supported with a few bucks, I´ll humbly accept your donation below.
Thanks a lot for reading through all this, I felt the need to explain my decision in detail. I´m still somewhat uncomfortable with the whole situation so I would appreciate it if you could leave some of that brutally-honest feedback VirtualR readers are known for 😀