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  #1  
Old Sep 24, 2009, 06:36 PM
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Default Funding VGMdb

We've been recently discussing some changes to how we fund VGMdb. Since these changes have an impact on the site, we feel that it is important to include all of you in the discussion.

At present, VGMdb is funded privately, with the full expense divided between 4 regular contributors and a small number of occasional contributors. Expenses are roughly $200 per month barring the occasional software license upgrade. This hasn't been unmanageable divided by 4, but we're at a point now where we'd like to see that number reduced as it adds up to quite a bit over time.

We have entertained ideas of moving to some cheaper hosting, but to be honest it's a big pain to move the site and we've been treated well at Servint. Our plan may be slightly Cadillac-ish, but the backup and uptime guarantees are very nice, and the specs give us plenty of room to grow.

The other option we've been considering is joining one or more affiliate programs with websites that sell VGM CDs. Through such a program, a vendor will pay a small commission on purchases by customers who arrive at their site from a link on our site. I've seen this approach used by other sites of our ilk, and I think it has the potential to cover a portion of our expenses without being overbearing.

However, this would mean advertisements, and that's something we've avoided for our first 2 years. I'm proud that we've remained ad free for so long, and this decision isn't something we take lightly. The ads mentioned above would be limited to some "buy this album at xxx" links on the album pages, and maybe something small on the front page.

We're not looking to profit from VGMdb, so we only need to cover some of the monthly nut. Thus we won't have to go with anything more intrusive than what I described. We're definitely never going to allow the typical internet banner ads on here as long as I'm still alive. Likewise, we will never do anything that sacrifices our independence.

So, we've already enrolled in the Play-Asia affiliate program, and have started getting things set up. I don't want to push the start button until we've heard some feedback from our users. Our success is built upon the team of experts who have assembled here, willing to contribute their knowledge so that we all benefit from it. We don't want to enter into any arrangement that would jeopardize the trust that you have in us.
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  #2  
Old Sep 25, 2009, 12:34 AM
LiquidAcid LiquidAcid is offline
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I think it's a great idea to link to shops that sell the albums. Also pretty handy if you want to find out if an album is still in print and available.

I currently have such info stored in my wishlist, but of course that's done manually and I have to update the infos from time to time.

So ads which link to VGM shops are totally fine with me. If this does extend to a linkbox for each album, where you can see which affiliate shop does sell the album - even better!
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  #3  
Old Sep 25, 2009, 02:07 AM
Zorbfish Zorbfish is offline
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I'll gladly donate $10-15 a month to not see this added (more in the future if I can find a stable job).
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  #4  
Old Sep 25, 2009, 05:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel View Post
The other option we've been considering is joining one or more affiliate programs with websites that sell VGM CDs. (...)
However, this would mean advertisements
I wouldn't consider directly linking to albums buy-able online advertisement but actually a feature highly missing at the moment. If that can be combined with affiliate programs with the respective online shops the better I'd think. (Just for the record, I'm not talking about flashy banners and the likes but normal text links.)

Last edited by Datschge; Sep 25, 2009 at 05:13 AM.
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  #5  
Old Sep 25, 2009, 06:46 AM
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i don't mind. advertisements seem fairly inevitable on a site like this anyway, and i am surprised they haven't appeared sooner... just no popups, or anything else that makes browsing the site unpleasant, which i'm certain you weren't even considering anyway. i'm sure there's a happy compromise that can be reached with regards their placement in the design... i have no worries, if it means vgmdb has a secure future!
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  #6  
Old Sep 25, 2009, 08:11 AM
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I don't mind advertising at all if it's done like on Chudah's Corner and on RPGFan, nice small little picture links saying "Buy this from VGMworld/Play-Asia". And seems that CDjapan does have somekind of affiliate program also.
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  #7  
Old Sep 25, 2009, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidAcid View Post
I think it's a great idea to link to shops that sell the albums. Also pretty handy if you want to find out if an album is still in print and available.
I agree to that, this kind of advertisement can actually be helpful and informative, and the content has to do with the site, so... nothing wrong with it.
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  #8  
Old Sep 25, 2009, 02:19 PM
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This is probably my favorite site on the net, so any plan to bolster its longevity is okay by me. As others have said, having Play-Asia links to related CDs just makes sense. If we start getting links to Viagra or Shamwow, then we'll get out the pitchforks.
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  #9  
Old Sep 26, 2009, 05:09 AM
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I don't mind it either, actually I would like to see some more interaction between the various online shops and vgmdb, would help to track down the CDs.
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  #10  
Old Sep 26, 2009, 09:31 AM
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Thanks everyone for all the feedback.

I was surprised that there seems to be a great deal of not just acceptance, but enthusiasm for links on the albums pages. Here's an example of what it looks like so far:

http://vgmdb.net/SecretSquirrel/Example.gif
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  #11  
Old Sep 26, 2009, 11:08 AM
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Example looks pretty damn good.
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  #12  
Old Sep 26, 2009, 01:40 PM
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yes, indeed. However I would like to see an option to add a url if you find it somewhere else ;D
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  #13  
Old Sep 26, 2009, 10:08 PM
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I didn't want to comment right out of the gate since I have some bias as a donor ;}, but I really like the affiliate links. Makes it easy to know if an album is still in print, and gives easy access to making a purchase!
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  #14  
Old Sep 27, 2009, 01:45 AM
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Maybe call it "Available for sale at" or "Available at/through" (like a service) instead "Purchase at" (like an advertisement). Also the font size should stay consistent (but I'm sure that's more due to the example being photoshopped, right?).

And I agree with Lucy, easily adding new links should be possible for at least all sites for which affiliations exists. Adding the affiliation part to the link should be easy to automatise in such cases.

Last edited by Datschge; Sep 27, 2009 at 01:48 AM.
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  #15  
Old Sep 27, 2009, 04:06 AM
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I made some font and text adjustments. How does this look?

http://vgmdb.net/album/602

The affiliate submission form could be made public; I just wasn't sure whether it should on a philosophical level, but we'll see. We'll have to code up some tools to manage the public submission if we do.

The trick for staying current will be keeping up with the links as new albums are added (and removing old dead ones as the albums go out of print.)
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  #16  
Old Sep 27, 2009, 04:41 AM
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This is perfect.

Maybe a small tutorial for adding the links could be helpful.
Especially if it's available for all users
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  #17  
Old Sep 27, 2009, 04:47 AM
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Looking great, however I'd suggest to align the text to the middle of the tiny logo image instead the bottom (adding CSS vertical-align:middle to those logos should do just that) for it to look more polished.
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  #18  
Old Sep 27, 2009, 05:07 AM
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I made the icon a centered background image of the link itself.
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  #19  
Old Sep 27, 2009, 08:33 AM
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You managed to implement advertisement that's actually useful (I didn't know such a thing was possible) and located in a visible place without being annoying. That's quite the feat.
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  #20  
Old Sep 27, 2009, 08:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel View Post
However, this would mean advertisements, and that's something we've avoided for our first 2 years. I'm proud that we've remained ad free for so long, and this decision isn't something we take lightly. The ads mentioned above would be limited to some "buy this album at xxx" links on the album pages, and maybe something small on the front page.
I think "buy this album" links would be a great idea even by itself - I am reaching the age where convenience is more important than price, and if I could buy an album almost directly from its database page, it would be a huge convenience! As long as these links were purely textual - I have all banners on "block" and removing specific sites from blocking is more effort than I am willing to spend.
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  #21  
Old Sep 27, 2009, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gigablah View Post
I made the icon a centered background image of the link itself.
The link seems to extend a bit to the right, beyond the text.
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  #22  
Old Sep 27, 2009, 06:23 PM
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Actually links fill the whole width of the box. But the look is perfect now!
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  #23  
Old Sep 28, 2009, 12:05 AM
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I like the idea also it looks great and useful for ebuyers.
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  #24  
Old Oct 3, 2009, 03:45 PM
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I know that yesasia also has an Associate Program if you want more options.
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  #25  
Old Oct 3, 2009, 05:44 PM
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Thank you for the suggestion. I actually just applied for that one today.
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