Ads, Patreon and the income we need to survive

Some of you may have noticed that we recently enabled ads on Rentry, and this was not a decision we made lightly. We'll get straight to the reason - running Rentry is expensive. Our goal is to reach a point in which we're no longer running it out of pocket. To break the reasons behind the expenses down:

The servers. This is a constant and rising cost, especially as we look to upgrade and multiply them to mitigate recent DDOS attacks (which we never found out the reason for). We'd like to soon introduce automatic server switchovers soon too, to immediately reroute traffic in case of an issue or attack, which in itself will cost as much as a powerful server per month. Cloudflare is an option too, but sites like Rentry can't be cached properly, so Cloudflare would make it load a little slower and we're fond of the fast load speeds.

The admin work. Half of this is comprised of our anti illegal content efforts as we manually review tens of thousands of posts a week that contain keywords too borderline to make an automated decision on (Rentry gets around 200k new pages per week for reference). For example, many of you are very descriptive of the things you don't like in your DNIs, so we look over thousands of them a month to ensure somone malicious isn't creating a page with a link to something horrific.
When we're done with this each day, we then respond to every one of the many emails you guys send us, plus all of the Twitter messages and comments. We've also recently introduced a new URL claim system and have already processed over 4000 claims within the past week.

The dev work. We put huge effort in to our illegal content detection and we're proud to claim that we have the best detection of any paste site. We base this off the research we've done into other sites, some of which clearly don't even bother. There's a good reason most paste sites don't last long, and it's rare to see one survive as long as Rentry, who will soon celebrate its 7th birthday. We're fully commited to another 7 years and beyond.

The accounting. Running a site like Rentry as a personal project is dangerous, we get copyright complaints daily and a world of other potential legal issues that arise from hosting pages created by random people online. To mitigate this we have a registered limited company, which owns Rentry and protects us from potentially being made personally liable for something and losing our worldly assets, most importantly our family homes. While everything we do is within the law and we should have no reason to worry, before the limited company this was something that always hovered over us. (Even if you're in the right, defending yourself in court can cost hundreds of thousands). Running a limited company can cost a few thousand per year in accountancy fees and licenses.

Patreon

Since we turned on the ads, some of you have kindly told us that they would support a Patreon in place of ads. We're open to exploring this as an option but just want to be sure that we'd get sufficient support, it'd be awful to trial this and then have no choice but to revert back to ads. There is also one further issue that we need to make you all aware of, as it's not quite as simple as just switching to Patron:

There are actually two communities of people on Rentry and they have almost no overlap. If we had a recent posts page this would be very clear.

Community 1: The bio/art/expression crowd (you guys)

Community 2: Link sharers (people using Rentry to combine and share links to other places)

The issue is that Community 1 will be the only ones that contribute to a Patreon. Community 2 will simply ignore it. We know this from our experience and connections with other similar sites. We really don't think it's fair that you guys should fully subsidize and pay for these link sharers, when they consume a huge percentage of the resources. They are the source of maybe 75% of the whole of Rentry's data and take up almost all of our illegal content admin and dev time.

There is one silver lining to the link sharers however - ads don't bother them.

Potential Solution

We'd like to therefore propose a solution to this and we're going to ask the community to feed back to us before making any decisions.

We introduce an ad free, Patreon supported Rentry for Community 1 only. We have to be creative in the approach to this, as we don't have user logins. Our current idea is that we could have a 'secret' visible on the free version of the Patreon page, which lets you disable ads for yourself and for your posts and everyone who visits them, which could be as simple as providing a hidden message on your posts:

SUPPORT-RENTRY-PATREON

Or to make it invisible:

[comment]: <> (SUPPORT-RENTRY-PATREON)

This follows the assumption that the majority of Community 2 don't find this secret. Most of them don't speak English or interact with things like this or use the same site for too long, so there's a good chance this will work out as expected.

Please let us know your thoughts on these polls:

Should Rentry Create A Patreon?

https://strawpoll.com/7rnzmawjLyO

Should Rentry Implement The Proposed Solution To Patreon & Ads?

https://strawpoll.com/wAg3A20r1y8

Introductions

It's occured to me that we've never been introduced and I've sat as a nameless person behind Rentry. My name is Matt and I'm the main dev of Rentry and have recently also been handling all of the admin work, including responding to all of your queries.

Other News

In order to stabilise properly, we're looking to soon hire a community and admin manager.
November and December are globally the best months for ad revenue due to Christmas. We've therefore earned a bit more than we need this month, and would like to give some back to the community. Watch our Twitter for some annoucements coming soon! Also, if you have a Rentry Discord, be sure to let us know, we'd love to drop by!

I hope this news sits well with you all, I look forward to hearing your feedback. You can email support@rentry.co or DM us on Twitter, @rentry_co

Merry Christmas everyone!

- Matt

Update 1: Someone pointed out that there are intrusive ads on the poll site. We just paid for a month of premium on there, should be solved now!

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Pub: 18 Dec 2023 17:10 UTC
Edit: 19 Dec 2023 00:51 UTC
Views: 75055