I rarely tell this story, but I did have a rather lucrative offer for exclusive advertising on the forum from one of the big boys about 5 years ago - without going into real numbers, it likely would have lead to a low 5 digit figure that was tempting. But I thought about my initial ideal of lending credibility to the site by making and keeping it non-commercial and then crossed my fingers that people who are capable of donating to help support the forum would find the donate button in the tool bar above.
Sadly the dump in the economy has reduced the contributions, and rightfully so - people's family always come first - but I say with pride that we have enough funds to do what may come about with donations made over the last 7 years.
Mind you we have never reached "Knock you socks off dollar figures" in the forum bank account, but we have ALWAYS had enough money to pay the bills, like domain registration, backup storage server space and Ventrilo Voice Chat - and we still have a few hundred dollars in case of emergency. This has been a Godsend to have a few bucks JUST in case. I often wonder why most other forums choose the easy way out and sell out to the Google's and other advertisers out there, although forums can get big, with hundreds of posts daily, an incredible amount of private messaging and general bandwidth that reaches many many gigabytes monthly, still I know from keeping the books here, others could do it too. To us, it is an honor to offer you this service STRICTLY at the generosity of the members!
But I would be inept if I did not mention that www.zunibee.com
has given us all the server space we need to successfully run the forum for several years now, not to mention: make website space available to members who choose to use his servers to host their own beekeeping web sites at a ridiculously low fee. I can not thank him enough. Without his kind donation of server space for the forum, keeping the forum in the black would be much much harder to do.
I was asked many times to express to the members IF we needed funding to keep afloat, and "here on our way" to year 8, I feel comfortable that IF needed, members would donate anything they could to help us do what we do best "Help make better Beekeepers through friendly and open exchange". Just knowing that we have people here, friends and members I haven't even gotten to know closely, we will always be around to spread the word and teach beekeeping to the world. As mentioned, Beemaster Forums is my legacy to the world - it is something I take great pride in and something that wouldn't exist without all you incredible posts and replies - I thing many forums lose touch with the members, here that is very hard to do, you are the core of the forums uniqueness - Bravo!
Thanks for the kind words, and yes the opportunity to commercialize the site was offered, but then - it would be THEIR SITE and NOT OURS. I would never let that happen, Beemaster Forums will always be a commercial free and family friendly forum, where fighting will not be allowed, but friendship will be encouraged with every post. Thanks so much!