July marked our third anniversary on the net.Â In that time we've had a
lot of fun. It's hard to look back sometimes and realize that we've been doing
it for that long.Â Probably relatively few of you remember us from back
then - an ugly, one page broadsheet with a parquet background. Ugh. Now we're an
ugly multi-page site - progress is a beautiful thing.
We've tried hard in our time on the web to do a few things - include a lot of
people in the site, have a place where civil discourse was possible between fans
of rival schools,Â keep a lively site which is updated frequently, and
despite clearly having a bias, we try to be fair.
We've also been very lucky in that this site has been subsidized to a
remarkable degree.Â If you've been reading for awhile you will remember our
comical moves from server to server.Â A good while back we went to
Mindspring for a time.Â We highly recommend them as an ISP - they are very
good and generally do precisely what they say they will do, which is to provide
rock-solid connections and a useful support system.Â They do that, and very
well. But when we were hosted by them, briefly, we ran up an astounding bill,
and that was, gee, probably two years ago now, and we've grown a fair amount
since then, so it would be a good bit higher now.
At that point James stepped in and offered to host us, gratis.Â He had a
permanent (he thought) connection to the internet as a result of a business
arrangement. Without going too far into it one part of the compensation was a
lifetime server connection, for nothing.
In this case, lifetime was about 18 months, as the co-location facility was
bought out by another company.Â Internet time is fast, but
this is ridiculous! Anyway, it hadn't been entirely free - we had begun to pay a
small fee to finance the server, which we had to do since a) it didn't end up
being free, and b) we were generating most of the traffic.Â So over the
holidays, James will be taking the site down, probably on Christmas Eve and
Christmas Day, and bringing it back up on a new server, but from here on out
this site will have to pay for itself, because there is no way we can afford to
pay for it.Â We are also putting up our own dough for a new server, which
James is working on now. It should be powerful enough to handle anything we
throw at it, but like everything else, it's not free. The reality of economics
has come home to us in an undeniable way.
So starting on or about January 1st Y2K willing, DBR will be supported by
advertising.Â Â The three of us, Julio, Boswell and James, have
discussed this at length over the fall and winter, and really saw no alternative
if we wanted to maintain the site.Â Our sponsors have been incredibly good
to us and very supportive, and we can't thank them enough. Nor can we ask them
to endlessly pour more of their money into this site, because it would take a
lot more to do that, and this ain't PBS.
We take this step with very mixed emotions.Â We have never looked at
this site as commercial, though we have tried to maintain it as professionally
as possible.Â We have been approached a number of times about possible
arrangements and have turned them all down.Â But with the recent
developments, we really have no choice.Â We have carefully investigated the
situation, exploring every possible concern we might have, and anyone else we
could think of, and we think we have a reasonable chance at keeping the site
alive and true to our vision.
What does this mean to you? Probably not that much.Â We linked the
bulletin board banner recently so that it wouldn't be too jarring to have an
image there. If you have your resolution set at 640x480, you might want to bump
it up to a finer resolution.Â If you have Windows 95/98, you can right
click on a blank spot on the screen, choose properties,Â and when you see a
box that says display properties, pick settings (it may be slightly different on
different versions) and slide the bar to the right. You can experiment with
different resolutions and see which is best for you. It'll ask you to test it,
and make sure not to change it without testing (trust us - you don't want to do
that).Â If it's acceptable, then keep it. This will let you see the site
the way it should be seen, rather than in a cramped window, and there's really
no reason why you should have such low resolution anyway, unless your computer
is ancient.Â Mac users, we don't know. If you know and want to send it to
us, we'll post it.
Beyond that, things will stay largely the same.Â We'll continue to keep
our sponsors updated on the front page for as long as we have made
commitments.Â We have written them and told them that we will either send
their (future) sponsorships back or send them on the the Children's Hospital
(sponsors, if you haven't checked your mail, you should have some from us.
As we said, we have very mixed emotions.Â On the one hand, the site is
important to us - we built it from scratch, more or less by accident, and we
treasure the friendships we have made. By far that's the best part of doing this
site.Â We take pride in that, and we take pride in the accomplishment
On the other, it takes time and effort to keep it goingÂ and this would
be the logical time to claim burnout and give it up.Â We have half-jokingly
discussed putting the whole site on e-bay and auctioning it off. Maybe we could
get a cruise out of it or a satellite dish or something, who knows.Â But
we'd rather do it ourselves.Â It's fun, it's educational, and there are an
awful lot of nice people we've met we would never have met otherwise.Â We
hope we can keep our idea of what a Fan's site should be like alive for a long
time to come. Thanks for indulging us.