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And Now, The Spring Fundraiser

$15,106.47 so far!
It's time again for our fundraising drive, and this time, it's a bit more
critical. Our expenses have spiked sharply this season and we find
ourselves at something of a crossroads.

Let us lay out where we are and where we'd like to go from here.

Our traffic has gone through the roof. We are breaking traffic records
on a regular basis. To illustrate this, we first topped one million page
views a couple of seasons ago when ESPN linked us off of their site. At
the time, it was unimaginable and it didn't happen again for a long time.

Lately we've been getting 1 million+ days on a regular basis and are within
shouting distance of a 2 million hit day. If Duke makes the Final Four, knock on
wood, our traffic is going to melt the server. Chances are you won't be
able to get on (and neither will we for that matter).

Our current server configuration simply can't handle the load. Our
burst traffic at times is enough to saturate six T-1 lines. That's
just mind-boggling.

In order to
accommodate this phenomenal growth, we have to invest in additional
hardware. We will need two new servers and a hardware firewall. This
is going to run somewhere around $10,000.

We have also had significant bills for exceeding our bandwidth, and with the
addition of Al Featherston's columns, we have a very pleasant but additional
expense.

In addition, we have talked to several other very fine writers about possibly
contributing. If we can afford to do that, our content will rival that of any
site anywhere which writes about college basketball. We would love to do that,
and we know you guys would eat it up.

To sum it up, while the growth in traffic blows us away, and the expenses are
daunting, we also have a chance to vastly improve the site and to make it better
than we ever dreamed it could be.

We honestly don't know if we can keep it going on donations. Our
experience so far is that a fairly small number of people are paying for
everyone else, which is exactly what happens with public radio and television,
but if the pool of contributors remains static, and the growth continues, well,
the math is pretty obvious.

So if you haven't donated previously, please consider doing so now.

Our alternatives to the PBS model we have been using are to a) find
advertisers (we are adding a field to the Write Us page for advertising/business
opportunities, b) go to subscription content, c) sell the site (we could
get a good weekend at Myrtle Beach!), or d) decide the funding has become
too difficult and shut it down.

In a perfect world, what we'd like to do is to keep DBR entirely open, get
great contributions from great writers, and push the quality of basketball
writing past that of the major commercial sites: call it DBR 2.0.

We're not completely sure how to get there, but the chance to radically
improve is upon us.

As in the past, we'd like to suggest that you consider what the site is worth
to you.

  • a dime a day? That works out to 36.50
    per year.
  • a dollar a week? That works out to 52
    dollars a year.
  • .50 cents per day, the price of most newspapers? $182.50
    a year.

Some of you had also suggested specific levels of giving, so we'd like to add
those as well:

Other than that, we would say let your conscience be your guide.

For those of you who would prefer to send a check, you can send it to this
address:

Duke Basketball Report
5310 South Alston Avenue, Suite 210
Durham, North Carolina 27713

If we do end up going to subscriptions, please make sure that we get your
name and contact information. Anyone who has donated would be
grandfathered in to any subscription system.

We don't know where all of this is leading, but we do know hta that we're
glad you are along for the ride. Thanks again! You guys are great!