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Personal Sponsorship Appeals - Please Try Another Approach

Posted by Scott Braley  
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Scott Braley January 12, 2018 08:54PM
Can I just say how creepy I find the "personal appeal" fundraising tactic? I get that you need to raise funds, eternally. Please don't use this route. It isn't a personal appeal, unless one of the admins has suddenly decided to drop me a line. It's a robocall, like all the other spam I work to block. The yellow "Donate now" banner ad is ok by me - the "personal appeal" is a huge turnoff.

Especially weird since it keeps asking me to sponsor the currently unsponsored locality of "Germany" ... eesh.

Cheers,
Scott
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David Von Bargen January 12, 2018 09:56PM
So what approach would cause you to donate to mindat?
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Peter Andresen January 12, 2018 10:06PM
Shut mindat down for one week, then donations will come... ;-) (Please never do!!!!)
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Scott Braley January 12, 2018 10:16PM
What an odd and disturbing response.
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John Montgomery January 12, 2018 10:50PM
I'm amazed how few people sponsor a Mindat page!! ... and so I can understand why the administrators are trying new ways to encourage sponsorship!!
I'm fine with any means the administration deems necessary in order to keep Mindat afloat.
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Alfredo Petrov January 12, 2018 10:55PM
I was fine with the so-called "personal" appeal myself. It actually encouraged me to sponsor a few pages I had intended to do anyway but had been putting off due to terminal procrastination. So it worked, with me ;))
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Larry Maltby January 12, 2018 11:06PM
You make an interesting point Scott I partially agree with you. Here is what I think. Mindat is worth a donation. This is a well-managed website with a well thought out goal. The database is already statically valuable in many areas and as the database grows the margin of error will decrease. Management along with some highly skilled programmers continues to add great tools to work with. I have thought for many months now that I should donate.

Here is what happened. I didn’t want to do anything financial over the internet! My son and daughter-in- law think that I am an old foggy. They are right; I am an old dog that can’t learn new tricks. I started looking for an address so that I could donate by check. Mindat wanted me to open a new E-mail account (outlook express). I didn’t want to do that either but I finally broke down and opened the account. I sent a message asking for an address to mail a check. I looked for an answer for three months and it never came. Then I started thinking Is Mindat ready to receive checks or will my check set in some in-box for months waiting to be cashed? I sent the check two days ago to the address that finally appeared on the yellow banner at the top of the page. Now I am wondering if the bombardment of personal fund raising messages will stop when the check is cashed. The personal requests for donations may be helpful for a limit of one week but I doubt that the constant bombardment will be effective.

I hope that this all works out. I think of Mindat as the Olympics of mineral collecting, it knows no political boundaries. It is unique for the number of professionals that are willing to discuss mineralogy and geology with us armatures.
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Keith Compton January 12, 2018 11:14PM
I didn't mind it

I certainly like the little yellow bar at the top of the page.

Perhaps any personal sponsorship should occur only as you log in.

People these days want everything for free.

I hear you Peter but if that happened many of us would turn to drink !!!!!! We don't want to go to the dark side.

I am always surprised that mineral clubs and like associations are largely non-existant as sponsors.
It wouldn't take much for these clubs to sponsor a nearby locality or state mineral etc. Virtually all clubs have some surplus funds and such sponsorship may encourage their own members to also sponsor.

I am sure that many mineral club members use Mindat. Why not use Mindat as a means of promoting their own club association and promote activities in their area. It could be quite a promotional tool.

I could go on and on but I think that needs a separate thread ... -:))
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Matt Neuzil January 13, 2018 12:18AM
What do you mean personal appeal? I'm confused.
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Jon Aurich January 13, 2018 04:23AM
I think that people who give photographs of their personal collections to the vast Mindat archive would also be considered a great donation.
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Jon Aurich January 13, 2018 04:29AM
Since this is a non profit site, it would probably be advantageous to have a grant writer send out numerous letters to local and higher governments around the world, with the broad appeal of this site, I would think that it could generate enough donations to keep it comfortable.
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Doug Daniels January 13, 2018 04:43AM
Well, I could name one "higher government" that likely wouldn't donate, since Mindat deals with scientific facts and data. Not gonna name the entity. Nope. No way. Can't make me say.
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Jolyon & Katya Ralph January 13, 2018 09:19AM
It's actually been highly successful for us.

The way it works is that it targets people who use the site extensively but haven't sponsored a page. The more you use the site, the more likely you are to get the message.

Now, if you sponsor a page, the red boxes go away for six months.

No-one is exempt from these other than those who have bought a sponsorship - even I get these red boxes all day long as I'm working. I figure if I can deal with them as I use mindat then you can too.

And yes, the suggestion to shut mindat.org down occasionally in order to highlight how desperately we need funds to survive has been discussed within the management from time to time - yet I also hope we don't have to do this.

If mindat.org does shut down it won't be because we're doing it deliberately, it's because we can't afford to pay our expensive hosting bills.

Just remember that before you next complain - someone has to pay these bills, and if it's not you, then you're relying on the generosity of other mindat.org members to pay for your access.

Jolyon
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Jolyon & Katya Ralph January 13, 2018 09:22AM
Jon Aurich Wrote:
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> I think that people who give photographs of their personal collections to the vast Mindat archive would also be considered a great donation.

We are always grateful for this, but don't forget storing your photos adds to our operating costs and doesn't do anything to help us pay the bills!

Jolyon
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Jon Aurich January 13, 2018 10:02AM
Have you talked to a grant writer ?
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David Von Bargen January 13, 2018 11:17AM
"NSF's FY 2018 Budget Request is $6.653 billion, a decrease of $840.98 million (-11.2 percent) over the FY 2016 Actual investment. This funding will support approximately 8,000 new research grants, with an estimated funding rate of 19 percent for research grant proposals submitted to NSF."

A big question to answer is why they should support mindat since it is freely available now. You might stand a better chance if you were starting from scratch.
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Uwe Kolitsch January 13, 2018 11:44AM
How high are the annual (or monthly) hosting bills?
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Roy Starkey January 13, 2018 11:54AM
Jolyon - The reminder system does not seem to be working. My sponsorship of the Beinn a' Bhuird page has expired and I received no reminder (now sorted). Can I suggest that you review this and make sure that the "willing few" do receive a reminder a few days ahead of the expiry date of their page sponsorship?

I recall raising the issue of sponsorship a few years ago, much along the same lines, but cannot locate that post / discussion thread.

Are you able, please, to share with us some simple statistics? How many "members" does Mindat have registered? How many of these sponsor a page?

I too consider that a bit less than £1 a week is a fair contribution to a resource which is undoubtedly beneficial to mineralogy in general and the collecting community in particular. The reluctance of users to "put their hand in their pocket" is not unique to Mindat, but I would have thought that most people would be sorry to see it die.

Come on folks - we're talking about ten cups of coffee in Starbucks or Costa - do it today!

Cheeres

Roy

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Jolyon & Katya Ralph January 13, 2018 12:26PM
> How high are the annual (or monthly) hosting bills?

The hosting bills are just a small part of our expenses but are over $500/month.

> Are you able, please, to share with us some simple statistics?

Mindat.org currently has 38,466 registered users and 224 sponsored pages, which is less than 1% of users registering a page.

> The reminder system does not seem to be working

We have always had problems with the reliability of automated emails sent from the server arriving in your mailbox. If this was easy then you'd get 100 times more spam mails than you do now. One way to help is to ensure you 'whitelist' the account that the mail is being sent from to ensure your mail software doesn't classify it as spam.

Jolyon
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Jamison K. Brizendine January 13, 2018 12:50PM
It could be worse, at least the fundraising banner isn't a strobe effect that flashes different colored lights...

The way it works is that it targets people who use the site extensively but haven't sponsored a page. The more you use the site, the more likely you are to get the message.

Now, if you sponsor a page, the red boxes go away for six months.

No-one is exempt from these other than those who have bought a sponsorship - even I get these red boxes all day long as I'm working. I figure if I can deal with them as I use mindat then you can too.


I have two sponsored pages and I occasionally receive them. Maybe it goes into effect after I renew the pages?

However, one thing I do want to ask is if the personal appeals only targets localities? I have never gotten a banner asking me to donate for a specific rock or mineral page.

If the current method of personal appeals seems to be bringing in funds than I see no reason to discontinue it, unless as David V. B. already mentioned, somebody has a better approach, which is where the original topic started. (I don't have an alternate approach so I cannot comment on that...)

Finally, Roy the thread you mentioned is here: https://www.mindat.org/forum.php?read,6,333236



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2018 12:51PM by Jamison K. Brizendine.
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Roy Starkey January 13, 2018 01:59PM
Thanks Jolyon.

So, if we could get just 224 people to sponsor one page each, we'd cover the server costs for considerably more than one year.

Thanks for finding the old thread Jamison - https://www.mindat.org/forum.php?read,6,333236 - it seems that it is still relevant, three and a half years on.

Roy
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Christian Auer January 13, 2018 02:00PM
Jolyon & Katya Ralph Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Jon Aurich Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I think that people who give photographs of
> their personal collections to the vast Mindat
> archive would also be considered a great
> donation.
>
> We are always grateful for this, but don't forget
> storing your photos adds to our operating costs
> and doesn't do anything to help us pay the bills!
>
> Jolyon


Having uploaded about 7000 pictures this answer makes me a bit feeling guilty. So better not upload pics??
Nevertheless I also sponsor a page ...

As final conclusio (before shutting down) I would accept a monthly fee. Everything costs in life, at least some time.
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Kevin Conroy January 13, 2018 02:05PM
Has the management team considered posting a budget report to show how much it costs to operate mindat, and to show how the money is split?
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Mario Pauwels January 13, 2018 02:43PM
Why not thinking off other ways to raise money.

For example; now the members home page is free for everyone. Some members use there homepage, and others don't. Why not create something like a 'premium' membership where members who want can pay a annual fee or contribution for some extra tools they get in return to personalize there own homepage, lay out,...

That way the the so called 'basic' memberships like we know them now could stay free for every user, but if they want members can also sign up for a 'premium' membership with extras.

Just one idea, but the possibiliets are endless.

Best regards,
Mario Pauwels
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David Von Bargen January 13, 2018 03:09PM
We are looking at other ideas. Another sort of premium membership would be to have a separate server for those folks so they would have faster access to the database.
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Donald B Peck January 13, 2018 03:31PM
David, that is an interesting thought. It is not that I find the current system annoyingly slow . . .it isn't to me; but there are times when it is unavailable. I presume due to heavy traffic.
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Jakub Plasil January 13, 2018 04:51PM
Jolyon, you meant hosting bills including the management of web pages or without? It seems to me as quite lot of money just for hosting (!). Anyway I was about donation, but to be honest, I do not like the way how it is "advertised" as well.

Cheers Jakub
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John Stolz January 13, 2018 05:09PM
Given the current uproar over "net neutrality", I'm surprised anyone would be in favor of throttling access speed to the site based on the type of membership account they have.

Kevin Conroy's idea is one that probably deserves some thought. On the pro side, that might enjoin one to "take ownership" of a type of expense, and fund it. On the con side, it might stop the support of those who believe the site is not being managed "efficiently" according to their criteria assuming they would support the site it it were being run efficiently in their eyes

As a point of interest, I only occasionally use the site and have sponsored a mineral, but I'm sure it has expired and yet I have not received a reminder to renew. And yes, I manage my spam.

Certainly is a lot to consider
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Gary Weinstein January 13, 2018 06:42PM
Maybe the banner DOES need to flash and change color. You could bring back the mineral valuation thread and charge $5.00 per item. Same could be done for the ID page. I have charged customers in the store for years to tell them what they have found, since they can't do the research themselves. This is how we pay the rent.
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Kevin Conroy January 13, 2018 07:40PM
My suggestion about posting a budget report was mainly to let everyone know how much per year it costs to keep this site going. The money split breakout would reveal how the money is allocated on the various portions of mindat operation. It just seems to me that folks would be more likely to donate/sponsor if they knew how their funds were used, and how much they are needed.
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Mark Heintzelman January 13, 2018 08:51PM
Don't you think less than I% is miserably low? I'm not sure how anyone can bring themselves to suggest "other options" with a number like that staring us in the face. Depending on how great the need is now, you might want to implement a "time out" scheme, where heavy users will need to sponsor a page to open up unlimited time access. A time limit set somewhere so that casual traffic will not be hindered and new users less than likely to meet that buffer. I would hope those who care enough to contribute images and data, also care enough about mindat's survival not to get bent out of shape about this.

Nothing's for free, right?



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2018 08:52PM by Mark Heintzelman.
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OLIVIER MEVEL January 13, 2018 09:17PM
Personally, i use Mindat almost everyday. And i'm PROUD to sponsor a locality page. Everybody who sponsors a page has a personal empathy towards this locality (or mineral). Every mineral collector has personal affinities towards a dear collecting place or a special mineral. Go on and sponsor a page ! It's just 14 cents a day !
For example here are iconic localities that are waiting for you : Namibia, England, Les Farges mine, Chessy copper mines, Rogerley Mine, Grand canyon, Herkimer Co., Mibladen Mining District, Mars (planet)!, etc...
i share you a "free" photograph of Groix island that i sponsor and that isn't in the mindat database. Enjoy and let you browse the other pictures of this famous "Groix" locality worldly known for "glaucophane" mineral.
Cheers
Olivier

Pointes des Chats, Groix Island, Morbihan, Brittany, France.
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Becky Coulson January 13, 2018 10:11PM
Mark and Olivier and Roy (and several others!),
I agree - that 1% sponsorship rate is dismal, and I wish that readers would tell Mindat their reasons for NOT sponsoring a page - not so others can be judgemental, but so we can understand why more pages are not sponsored. What would it take?

I am by no means wealthy, but a $50 per year sponsorship is not a huge amount and I use Mindat almost daily. It is like having a library, a mineral museum, a world atlas of localities and the help of experts at my fingertips, to say nothing of how I learn new things daily and "meet" fascinating people via the message board discussions. I have a very modest budget for my mineral hobby - and Mindat is easily the wisest expenditure.

Many people have contributed tremendously with articles and excellent photos and descriptions of minerals, localities, etc. I thank them and admire them and realize that Mindat is so great because of their efforts...but yes, money is also required to keep all those entries on line. For the sake of those who really do struggle financially, I hope that Mindat never limits or excludes their usage of the site.
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Larry Maltby January 13, 2018 10:39PM
Mark,

There is an unintended consequence with your proposal. As I stated above, I sent a check using the yellow banner at the top of the page. It was not a lot of money; I have been retired for 23 years on a fixed income, but it was more than the amount to sponsor one page. I don’t think that I should be penalized because I have not sponsored a page. I simply chose another method to donate. I mention this because if Mindat automated your proposal I and others would be penalized. I don’t think that was your intent.

P.S. Becky, I did explain why I did not donate up until now. (See above) The yellow banner solved my problem.

Larry,



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2018 10:53PM by Larry Maltby.
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Paul Brandes January 14, 2018 12:00AM
I'm not totally sure how I would feel about paying to have my unknown specimen identified through a website based solely on a photo. We all know how hard it is to ID things based on a photo to begin with, but heaven forbid we got something wrong and someone paid for misinformation; how would that look concerning our reputation?

With Mindat being a worldwide site, I can imagine how difficult it is to raise money to support and operate. Fortunately, users are able to sponsor a site they enjoy and feel like they are giving back. Like Becky, I can't say that I am wealthy, but I do manage to sponsor five pages at $50 a crack. I do this because not only do I use Mindat daily, I also am a major contributor to the site and feel that my work and efforts, while very much appreciated, in the end do not pay the bills. However, not everyone can do this and I fully can understand some of the reasons. On the other hand, I listen at various shows how people say they love Mindat and couldn't live without it, but let's think about the fact that most decent specimens these days are $50+; how hard would it be to forgo one (just one!) specimen purchase per year and put that money towards a website many people would agree is an integral part of their collection?
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Mark Heintzelman January 14, 2018 12:18AM
Larry,
I'm sure "the system" can be tweeked to include all financial contributors, regardless of the manner they do so.

I understand fixed incomes, surely the well deserving and otherwise contributing members in that situation ought to be granted a request for a pass on this if they really can't participate. I'm not a big budget collector living in my ivory tower, so I certainly appreciate that people do have various levels of "essentially mandatory" financial constraints. Keep in mind, that we've had this "at your discretion" option for many years and the results are far from positive, even essentially inadequate from what I am gathering. Something has to give to help motivate sufficient support, and it seems to me the basic "bread and Butter" expenses ought to be coming from simple "bread and butter" solutions, like increasing the dismal rate of sponsorship.
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Peter Tarassoff January 14, 2018 01:00AM
A practical question. How does one sponsor a page? The "donation form" doesn't mention anything about how much it costs, nor does it provide any directions for doing so.
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Doug Daniels January 14, 2018 01:13AM
FWIW, I just signed on for the $20/month for 2 years option that was offered. Not much, I know, but I have been using this site for a while now, and it's about time I contribute something. Of course, when I win the local lotteries and the Publishers Clearing House (it's a U.S. thing....), I'll be making a big donation. Til then, at least a little help.
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Keith Compton January 14, 2018 01:33AM
Peter

Re Where to sponsor a local or mineral

Just go to any location that you want to sponsor, or to a mineral page and on the top right of the page is a sponsor question (unless already sponsored)

Click on that link and then pay up !! -:))

Yes I know it's obvious but it could be mentioned somewhere on the donation form as an alternative. ie with a donation you just get a receipt, whereas with a sponsorship you also get your name up in lights - ok not realy big lights -:))

Cheers
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Jyrki Autio January 14, 2018 09:03AM
Jolyon

Could you show us the effect of banner campaign and this conversation in sponsorship rate?
I use this site a lot and together they affected the way I think about mindat vs. being without this wealth of information.
I prefer voluntary pay simply because money doesn't grow in trees in all parts.
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OLIVIER MEVEL January 14, 2018 11:11AM
It will be interesting to have access to a google world map of all sponsored localities, regularly updated. It would be fun to click on geo-dots to look at those localities and learn about why those collecting places have been elected by members. Moreover after one year when the dot disappears on the map it will be time to renew the sponsorship !
Olivier
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Jolyon & Katya Ralph January 14, 2018 11:47AM
> Could you show us the effect of banner campaign and this conversation in sponsorship rate?

Well, I have to thank Scott for starting this thread, because yesterday was our best day ever for sponsored pages, with 17 registered.

From 12th November to 11th December we had a total of SIX page sponsorships.

From 12th December (when the new campaign started) to 11th Jan we had 81 page sponsorships.

Now, I'm not a marketing expert, but I suspect a 1,350% increase would be regarded as a success.


> It will be interesting to have access to a google world map of all sponsored localities, regularly updated

Good idea!
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David Von Bargen January 14, 2018 02:27PM
"Given the current uproar over "net neutrality", I'm surprised anyone would be in favor of throttling access speed to the site based on the type of membership account they have." - We are not talking about throttling speed to our users. There are some people who use mindat for their profession or business to whom time is money. It would allow those people the opportunity to access information on mindat in a shorter period of time. It would help the general user since the main server would have less load on it.
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Jason Evans January 14, 2018 02:32PM
The personal appeal has given me the final push to donate, by sponsoring a mineral page.
What it boils down to is how often do you use Mindat and do you appreciate all the features it has, if you think it is worth donating to keep using it then there should be no issue.

I have been a member since 2007 and use the site on a almost daily basis, I have uploaded 626 images so far, I have made good friends through Mindat, had help identifying some of my minerals, I use Mindat to catalogue my collection and generally learnt a lot more about minerals and the localities they can be found.

For these reasons I have been considering donating, the only thing holding me back was I am not exactly flush with money and I did not know what a reasonable amount to donate was, the recommended amount of $20 a month for 2 years seemed a bit much for me , especially if that was going to be taken as a single payment, which I would assume it is unless you have to set up a direct debit.
On the other hand, in my opinion, to keep Mindat running I think the lowest amount that is asked $25 is not enough, I suppose I could have just donated $50 which I think is reasonable, and I didn't really consider sponsoring a locality or mineral page because, to be honest i was't exactly sure what that meant, I thought it might be that only experts on those particular localities or minerals could do that, or if it was meant for for people to advertise their business.

So when the personal appeals started appearing it gave me the encouragement I needed to do it, because then I knew that you didn't have to be an expert or have a business, anyone can sponsor a mineral or locality page. What was interesting is that it only seems to ask you to sponsor a locality page, at least it did with me and it seemed that it was aimed specifically at me because the first locality it offered was a locality in Wales, and being Welsh I do have a fondness for Welsh mineral localities!, the second one was to sponsor Cligga mine in Cornwall, and that is a site I have collected on twice and have uploaded images so is that a coincidence or is it by design?

I decided I wanted to sponsor a mineral page not a locality, I think sponsoring a page is just a bit more fun than just making a donation, I don't gain anything from having my name on that page, other than the fact I am now the charoite king. But at the same time I think sponsoring a page is a good idea because if it's a simple donation nobody else can see that people are making donations so might not be inclined to do so themselves, where if every page they look at they can see someone has made a donation it might just encourage others to follow suit.
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Jolyon & Katya Ralph January 14, 2018 02:38PM
John Stolz Wrote:
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> Given the current uproar over "net neutrality", I'm surprised anyone would be in favor of throttling access speed to the site based on the type of membership account they have.]

This has nothing to do with net neutrality.

Net Neutrality is to ensure your service provider doesn't restrict access to a site that you have permission to use.


It's a bit like saying I have a key and I can lock my door and prevent people I don't want coming into my house, but what I don't want is for someone else to also have a key to my door, and to lock the door to stop my friends coming into my house without paying THEM.
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Scott Braley January 14, 2018 03:22PM
You're welcome?

That's half of net neutrality. The other half is paid "fast lanes," which is exactly what you're describing.

I'm glad you're getting the sponsorships you need. I still find the methodology creepy and intrusive, but hey, whatever makes money, right?

How to get me to donate in general:
1) sell me things. I buy a lot of t-shirts and baseball caps for various causes.
2) open your books. Too many horror stories about charitable orgs abusing their finances.
3) re: sponsoring a locality - give me a 1-liner "this is my favorite site," "I've been coming here since I was a kid," "check out the fluorites," whatever. I'm nobody in the general collecting world and I'm not in business - my name on the "sponsored by" is meaningless. The chance to say a couple words would make a difference.
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David Von Bargen January 14, 2018 03:46PM
"The other half is paid "fast lanes," which is exactly what you're describing." - We don't provide the pipes to get the info from the server to your computer so we don't have any ability to control how long it takes to transmit the info to your computer.
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Ed Clopton January 14, 2018 04:05PM
This may have been suggested before: In the spirit of letting those who are using lots of resources help pay their own way, how about the afore-mentioned "premium membership" including free Mindat hosting of one's personal collection catalog?
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Matt Neuzil January 14, 2018 04:39PM
I should have donated and sponsored last year before Trump raised the standard deduction :D :D :D
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Jolene Buttolph January 14, 2018 04:46PM
I've only been on the site for a couple of months but this is the cheapest place I've ever seen for photo storage. Do you know it costs $20 per month to have storage space in the Cloud for photos?

I looked at all of the members and the number of photos they have yesterday which took me a couple of hours. Most of the huge collections do not pony up for a page that can be seen, if they pay something elsewhere, good. But photos are huge and probably are the main cost of your server bill. I hope you have some kind of income stream from all of those photos to offset the amount of money you pay to store them.

I've also read most of the message board posts over the last couple of weeks regarding keeping the site up and running cost wise (can't help it since I'm a CFO). My advice is to start charging $10 per year to be a registered member and reduce the cost of page sponsorship to the same price. This would help with those on a fixed income and reduce the number of join up's that never use the site that seem to be choking your membership rolls. I also worry that you have duplicate memberships which indicate you may have duplicate photos being stored. But that may not be, it is hard to trouble-shoot a site just from the membership rolls.

It would be also a good idea to include a column in your membership rolls that indicate the level of donations from each member received in the current membership year. Having this information for all members to see encourages 'keeping up with the Joneses' and will help increase income.

People, no matter how much they like a site, will not pay to stay unless they are required to. It's just human nature

I hope my comments are helpful. I would not want to see this site fail.
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Larry Maltby January 14, 2018 08:06PM
I tend to agree with Jolene on this.

I keep thinking about how much the insight of the Mindat professionals means to me. That along with the fact that I subscribe to two mineral magazines (cost, about $150 per year) leads me to believe that a registration or subscription fee is not a bad idea. I like the mags but I spend a lot more time on Mindat and regard it as a much higher value. It’s on line! The future is online international participation.

I do understand that the success of a fee would be a gamble and it requires a lot of thought. One way to estimate the participation would be to analyze the subscription levels for all of the mineral magazines worldwide etc. It would also retard the participation of beginners, but that could be compensated for by a free six month trial membership, to continue, the fee would be required. I regret saying this but the number of poor quality photos may be reduced and that could be a good thing. The data base would be more about quality and less about numbers and the cost of storage would be reduced. Someday these issues will have to be faced. (What about going back to the I MB size limit on photo files?)

Larry,
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Mark Heintzelman January 14, 2018 08:11PM
I don't have a problem with charging a smaller membership fee, as long as general access remains free for a period of time/use every day (we need the traffic to "show off our stuff" and potentially generate new users). My thoughts are that when a user realizes the utility and the value of the site and it's services and information, their use will likely increase and they will eventually hit the "time out" ceiling on daily free usage. At some point, it's up to them to decide if the service is valuable enough to help support it financially and get full access . . . no waiting around for more free access time.

It is true, I don't have any statistics or numbers to crunch to "guesstimate" whether many smaller membership fees or fewer but larger sponsorship fees would provide the best results. All we do know is that after several years now, kind requests for support have still not generated sufficient results. We really do need something simple and reliable to cover the basics. Putting a lot of effort into raising funds even for basic survival likely puts a huge strain on mindat's management as a whole.

As you say . . "it's human nature".

In the meantime, I've decided to sponsor an additional mineral page. "I am now the Lord of Clinochlore, Do not trifle with me"!

MRH



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/14/2018 08:23PM by Mark Heintzelman.
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A. Mathauser January 15, 2018 07:38AM
Matt Neuzil Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I should have donated and sponsored last year
> before Trump raised the standard deduction :D :D
> :D

I didn't know it's political site, not rock/mineral, interesting.
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Jolyon & Katya Ralph January 15, 2018 08:35AM
> That's half of net neutrality. The other half is
> paid "fast lanes," which is exactly what you're
> describing.

Again, no it's totally not. Any site can decide to limit their bandwidth to a user based on what level of account they have. This has been going on since the internet started.

We're not planning to do to this - just to be clear - but it has NOTHING to do with net neutrality. The paid 'fast lanes' you talk about are fast lanes defined *and charged* by the ISP not by the service operator.

It's important to understand exactly what net neutrality is so that everyone understands how important it is, and what a terrible decision it was to scrap it. (Sorry for going political, but every website owner feels the same way about this)







>
> I'm glad you're getting the sponsorships you need.
> I still find the methodology creepy and
> intrusive, but hey, whatever makes money, right?
>
> How to get me to donate in general:
> 1) sell me things. I buy a lot of t-shirts and
> baseball caps for various causes.
> 2) open your books. Too many horror stories about
> charitable orgs abusing their finances.
> 3) re: sponsoring a locality - give me a 1-liner
> "this is my favorite site," "I've been coming here
> since I was a kid," "check out the fluorites,"
> whatever. I'm nobody in the general collecting
> world and I'm not in business - my name on the
> "sponsored by" is meaningless. The chance to say
> a couple words would make a difference.
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Jolyon & Katya Ralph January 15, 2018 08:35AM
> That's half of net neutrality. The other half is
> paid "fast lanes," which is exactly what you're
> describing.

Again, no it's totally not. Any site can decide to limit their bandwidth to a user based on what level of account they have. This has been going on since the internet started.

We're not planning to do to this - just to be clear - but it has NOTHING to do with net neutrality. The paid 'fast lanes' you talk about are fast lanes defined *and charged* by the ISP not by the service operator.

It's important to understand exactly what net neutrality is so that everyone understands how important it is, and what a terrible decision it was to scrap it. (Sorry for going political, but every website owner feels the same way about this)

> I'm glad you're getting the sponsorships you need.
> I still find the methodology creepy and
> intrusive, but hey, whatever makes money, right?

I'm sorry that you find it creepy and intrusive. But there's absolutely nothing creepy about it. It recommends localities based on edits you have made and photos you have uploaded - all of which is part of the public record. Google does far worse every day with their advertising in using *private* information, which we don't.

> How to get me to donate in general:
> 1) sell me things. I buy a lot of t-shirts and baseball caps for various causes.

We already do this primarily to help subsidise our expenses at shows, but the danger is that if people buy a t-shirt *instead* of sponsoring a page, we're going to be seriously out of pocket.

> 2) open your books. Too many horror stories about charitable orgs abusing their finances.

This is coming.

> 3) re: sponsoring a locality - give me a 1-liner "this is my favorite site," "I've been coming here since I was a kid," "check out the fluorites,"

This is a good idea. I'm working on this section at the moment so this may very well happen



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/15/2018 09:13AM by Jolyon & Katya Ralph.
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Scott Braley January 15, 2018 04:54PM
Jolyon & Katya Ralph Wrote:
> > I'm glad you're getting the sponsorships you
> need.
> > I still find the methodology creepy and
> > intrusive, but hey, whatever makes money,
> right?
>
> I'm sorry that you find it creepy and intrusive.
> But there's absolutely nothing creepy about it. It
> recommends localities based on edits you have made
> and photos you have uploaded - all of which is
> part of the public record. Google does far worse
> every day with their advertising in using
> *private* information, which we don't.

*shrug* I've said my piece, you've listened and disagreed. This particular campaign is a negative to me, not to others. Proceed as you will.

> > How to get me to donate in general:
> > 1) sell me things. I buy a lot of t-shirts and
> baseball caps for various causes.
>
> We already do this primarily to help subsidise our
> expenses at shows, but the danger is that if
> people buy a t-shirt *instead* of sponsoring a
> page, we're going to be seriously out of pocket.

And I've bought them to support you.

> > 2) open your books. Too many horror stories
> about charitable orgs abusing their finances.
>
> This is coming.

Groovy.

> > 3) re: sponsoring a locality - give me a 1-liner
> "this is my favorite site," "I've been coming here
> since I was a kid," "check out the fluorites,"
>
> This is a good idea. I'm working on this section
> at the moment so this may very well happen

It would make a difference to me. A lot of the site descriptions are very technical, it would add a nice personal touch.
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Donald B Peck January 15, 2018 04:55PM
I like Jolene's and Larry's suggestions. but I would not recommend a membership enrollment with a period of free use, followed by use on subscription. Rather, I recommend two tiers: one free, and one subscription. A large part of the value of this site is that beginning enthusiasts, and even the simply curious, can access and use the site. Especially, the young might not afford a subscription, and we want them to keep using mindat. I haven't considered how I would partition the tiers, but I am sure something equitable could be worked out.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/15/2018 04:57PM by Donald B Peck.
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Joshua Chambers January 15, 2018 06:44PM
Following on from the other's ideas...I think most people on here (including me) who use Mindat regularly would be happy to pay a small fee a year for a 'premium' membership; perhaps $10 as Jolene suggested. This premium membership would allow you to edit and add data such as locality information and photos to the site. The basic, free membership would allow you to post on the messageboard and browse the database. This a good idea? Could this be a possibility?

Just an idea

Josh
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Michael Hatskel January 15, 2018 08:15PM
Membership fee of $10 per year should not be a big deal. I consider it another club membership -- many of us are members of one or more minerals clubs.
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Jolyon & Katya Ralph January 15, 2018 08:30PM
So. just to be clear. When I launched this site I was very clear that mindat.org was free to use and would always remain free to use.

As much as it would be simple to charge a subscription to use the site, I have no intention of going back on my word. People contributed (and continue to contribute) with the expectation that their information entered will be openly available to all. I will not disappoint them.

Now, charging a "membership" fee that gives extra privileges and status, maybe faster approval for photos, maybe some other benefits, that's not necessarily a bad idea (but again, not one I'm actively pursuing), but we will NOT charge for access to the site. That's not our way of doing things!

Instead we will continue to gently and politely remind you all that donations help keep us alive. We've been going now for 17 years so I think the basic concept is good :)

Jolyon
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Kevin Conroy January 15, 2018 08:50PM
I feel we should not have any membership fees. I should mention that I'm not a manager, or affiliated with Mindat in any way except being a registered user like the vast majority of folks who use this site. I believe Mindat is an intellectual entity focusing on minerals, and its existence is partially dependent on the generosity and contributions of its users. When I say "contributions" I mean all kinds: financial, work, specimens for auctions, whatever. Like any organization, this will only be as good as what folks are willing to put into it. It's up to you to voluntarily do the right thing.

The comment about "partially dependent" refers to fees already being collected. Much like many mineral shows, a good portion of the expenses are being covered by dealers/advertisers. I'm sure you've noticed the ads on Mindat's pages. Those aren't free! See: https://www.mindat.org/directory_upgrade.php


Lastly, some fuel for thought... From the bottom of Mindat's home page:
"Mindat.org is an outreach project of the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
Copyright © mindat.org and the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy 1993-2018, except where stated. Mindat.org relies on the contributions of thousands of members and supporters. Mindat.org does not offer minerals for sale.
Mindat.org is affiliated with the Friends of Mineralogy. Their mission is to promote, support, protect and expand the collection of mineral specimens and to further the recognition of the scientific, economic and aesthetic value of minerals and collecting mineral specimens."


From the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy "who we are" page (http://www.hudsonmineralogy.org/whoweare.htm")
"What is The Hudson Institute of Mineralogy?

The Hudson Institute of Mineralogy is a not-for-profit research, cultural and educational entity chartered by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York in 2003. In addition to its not-for-profit status, the Institute applied to the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. This application was approved in 2004, and as such, donations to the Institute are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Our Mission Statement:

The Hudson Institute of Mineralogy is dedicated to the discovery, study and preservation of mineral species and their history, and to increasing public awareness and appreciation of the mineral kingdom through outreach and education. Our primary outreach effort is the widely known-website: www.mindat.org.

Our People:

The members of the Institute's Board of Directors are drawn from the scientific, educational and business communities. Some of them, like founder Tony Nikischer, are involved in mineralogy in some capacity, while others are simply concerned citizens with expertise in other fields. In addition, the Institute's original Science Advisory Board was made up of Dr. Pete Dunn of the Smithsonian Institution (retired), Dr. George Robinson, former curator at the Canadian Museum of Nature and retired Curator of the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum, and Professor of Mineralogy at Michigan Technical University, Andy Roberts, Chief X-Ray Mineralogist at the Canadian Geological Survey (retired), and Dr. William B. Simmons, Professor of Mineralogy and Petrology at the University of New Orleans (retired). The Directors and Science Advisors serve the Institute without remuneration, and an army of worldwide volunteers keep Mindat.org current."



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/15/2018 10:36PM by Kevin Conroy.
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Don Saathoff January 15, 2018 10:07PM
Jolyon, I'm one of those individuals who tend to avoid confrontation - I tend to ignore the pedants, moaners and groaners and the like. But, I find this thread leaving me both angered & embarrassed. I USE Mindat probably only five or six times per month but I VISIT Mindat daily....I learn something every time I visit. There is not another site on the web as easy to navigate, as full of good data or as helpful. As my mothers uncle used to say; "waddya want fer nothin, yer money back?".

In the US we have the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) which delivers into our homes via the television quality broadcasting and honest news reports - even a good number of BBC shows FREE
and its funded publicly. Granted that during their fund drives several times a year we have to put up with interruptions to what we're watching.....SMALL price to pay!!

SO,

I hereby publicly pledge $100 per year as my meager contribution to this fine organization. Because of my financial situation I cannot make it in one lump sum but won't be hurt by 20% per month. I challenge all other "frequent flyers" to do the same.....

Don & Cookie Saathoff
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Steve Hardinger January 16, 2018 01:51AM
Don, I rely on Mindat for my business, and have sponsored several pages for a few years now.
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