State of the NEASG 2014 - some transparency time
since 2010- neasg.org's hosting, software licensing, data conversion/transfer/storage, updating, overages, DNS, and associated maintenance fees have run between $400-$500 per year, which I have covered out of my pocket (usually out of the left overs from Spring Offensive since the annual renewal period is June) and done so without complaint, reward, recognition, or expectation of support. Some years we have often received a generous consideration from Army Barracks, which has helped.
To be clear- neasg is and always has been non profit.
Neither the staff nor myself make any money from this, and will not do so.
we believe passionately in a local, impartial, full-airsoft-spectrum, player-oriented, airsoft community- and are willing to pay the way ourselves to keep it that way.
However, with a few issues converging at once it became apparent last year that the cost was too great to bear repeatedly-alone-and-in-perpetuity; so we opened up a donations link.
at that time, neasg's server hosting, software, and renewal costs came in at almost 400$
After Army barrack's donation, that left us with a debt of
that I covered from Spring Offensive 5 returns.
Since we opened the donation link last June, we have received 295$ in donations.
(Special thanks to Rat, Conan, Blackhawk, Jolly when he paid me for a gift and then rolled that money into the site, Jfoe, Omego, gsfnbc and of course JHAWK- who has been a super donor this year.)
leaving +75.*(see below)
Meaning we just paid back 2013's hosting, have $75 left over, but are short of 2014's by a large margin.
While my life circumstances have improved, and several of you have been very generous, the fact is that at this rate, we will miss hosting fees again this year.
Lets look at some facts-
In the last year, in addition to the forums we added
*social bookmarking functions to more easily share neasg content elsewhere,
*an interactive map,
*a wiki (feel free to start adding stuff!)
*the calendar where much of our traffic goes,
*maintained the forums,
*added a twitter acct (though its barely used at the moment)
*deleted 30,000 spam accounts,
*blocked spammers and scammers,
*set up a 1-post, 5-audiences autofeed for event runners to get their word out to the largest number of people possible,
*and are near complete on mobile apps, even though the site is already mobile capable and mobile friendly on every device tested.
We have also approached every field and event runner in the northeast and asked them personally to come back, support the local community, listened to their concerns, and in most cases addressed them to resolution. Most are waiting on the fence to see if their existing audiences are accepted/welcome/using this site. If you frequent a location that has not used this site regularly, feel free to write up an AAR about your experiences, share some media, etc.- if you like a place, write about it and support them.
As a result of these efforts, Despite the age of facebook, the site usage is WAY UP; almost at 2009 levels.
*Our ALEXA rating went up 10 million spots (from 13m last summer to 2m by new years) and is growing every day-
*with more content/post per day,
*more shared links, (sharing links from neasg to facebook and othe social bookmarkers)
*more [non-spambot] users,
*and a TON of more readers (non-spambots, and oddly enough mostly to the calendar; so you event runners still not putting your events up on the calendar, you are missing out on tons of free exposure by not engaging this audience.)
And we have done this without taking any agreements that undermine our objectivity and editorial neutrality, which will remain the case.
But there still is an issue of money.
So we have taken the following steps to make neasg.org fiscally solvent, to improve the online community, as well as the in person community, which ultimately is the most important.
1) we still have the donation link up above the chatbox. Anything you wish to offer is welcome. If you donate 20$ or more, you will get one of the special patches described below.
2) we are soon to be selling swag, with all proceeds going to maintaining the site.
*neasg patches (2x3 velcro, flag size/shape) are inbound in the next few weeks.
the remaining 75$ from donations was used in purchasing these patches, setting up the design, and shipping them.
It was a $648 order, with the remaining $573 covered out of my pocket.
The initial order includes-
200 -multicam palette patches at 10Each- picked up at supporting fields, retailers, or ordered online
200 -woodland palette patches as 10Each- picked up at supporting fields, retailers, or ordered online
50 -special TBA patches, $20-online only
50 -special TBA patches, $10 each, limit of one per person, available online only, and only if you meet certain conditions.
Once the patches pay for themselves, the rest will go into site support services and enhancements, and any excess of that will go into reorders.
3) you will also begin seeing a new banner ad in rotation shortly. (a few agreements are in the works, but I want to discuss this one because there is a vocal minority that is uncomfortable with the idea)
it will be in rotation in the same place as the current banner, and not change the graphics, appearance, etc of the site.
Originally, I was offered a commission for each click-through sale.
I declined as I felt this was contrary to the free/open/unbiased/non-profit community values of neasg.
After negotiation, in exchange for a banner ad (in rotation, no different from our existing one)
you the end user will recieve 5% off your airsoft peak sales when you click through that banner and use coupon code "5%neasg"
Yes, they are in china.
No they are not local.
but no, they will have no undue influence on editorial content,
and yes they are offering you a discount.
Furthermore, when you buy from them, they will generously match that discount, which will also go towards site maintenance. If you haven't noticed, very few local retailers are actively supporting this site. So the fact a foreign retailer is actively doing so speaks volumes. We encourage you to look at their wares and make a decision on your own.
4) More to follow-
we are working out additional agreements, and in all cases, the community will remain free, player oriented, non-biased, free from undue editorial oversight, and open for everyone to use, from casual gamer to milsimmer. At all times, anything that comes in will go to the site and not us- and at all times we are trying to get deals that benefit you directly as possible.