I’d be really interested to know the answer to this…
I know that blenderartists has now been adopted by a for-profit company with the pledge that the community remain free to all users and will retain the community atmosphere that has made it so popular and that dates back to the elysiun days. The current admins are doing a truly admirable job of moving the site forwards and deserve the recognition for their efforts.
Blender is open source (this does not need to be said here, but I believe this is worth mentioning in the current context of funding and support). Being open source does not mean that everything happens without charge. It’s my oppinion that although blenderartists is a community site, maybe it could be improved through donations and possibly provide a source of income for the Blender Foundation.
My motivation for this post is that I was actually wanting to donate 10 euros to the upkeep of blenderartists and could not find a way. I guess I’m feeling a bit philanthropic right now. I just donated to VLC and to the Blender Foundation directly, but I’m the kind of person who wants to know where my donations go.
It’s a bit of a shady area making non-profit donations to a dependent site of a for-profit company, but if the finances for the site were to be properly audited and presented then I could cope with this compromise. Recently a few advertising issues have come up (none of which actually bother me…), but if blenderartists could be in part funded by donations then this might be a good thing if it were to reduce advertising.
I’m thinking maybe donations could be accepted and if the half-yearly donation pool grew to a surplus of say £500 (where is the euro button???) then £200 could be transferred to the Blender Foundation, keeping the surplus sufficient to keep the site up for 6 months (£300?).
I have no idea what the actual running costs of blenderartists are, but I imagine they are not insignificant given the large user base and administration workload. The above figures should be considered as being merely a example of the possible distribution rather than actual figures. An account to guarantee the uptime of the site seems sensible as does a strategy for sensibly distributing any surplus after administration costs.
I can see possibilities for community-voted projects for the surplus to be donated to, and if there is no clear winner then the Blender Foundation could recieve the surplus. Of course, if there is a shortfall then this could be made up for by increasing advertising.
This would probably need some thought and the various pros and cons would need to be debated and considered by the current administrators and the community as a whole but, given that the admins are currently gaining revenue from advertising, the idea of revenue should not be taboo. I understand that this would lead to an increase in the complexity of the site administration, but if this complexity were to be balanced by income then this could be of benefit to everyone.
This is just a few thoughts off the top of my head, but I think there is potential here.
What do you think?