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The Barrow-Wight 05-13-2003 04:39 PM

The Downs Needs Your Support
 
THE STORY OF THE FINANCING OF THE BARROW-DOWNS

The Barrow-Downs opened in 1998 as an extension of my enthusiasm for Middle-earth. Since that time, it has become a haven for fellow Tolkien fans who share a desire to discuss the lands and peoples of Arda. The site has always existed for those purposes, and my goal has always been to make the site bigger and better. The Downs is run for pleasure, not profit, and over its long and enjoyable lifespan I have had to come up with several ways to keep it open.

In the beginning, when the site was still small, I gladly paid all of the costs from my own pocket. The hosting fees were not high, and it was a fun and enjoyable hobby that kept me entertained for hours on end, so there was no need to ask for aid. After a while, I was approached by eUniverse.com and agreed to allow them to host The Downs for free. This not only relieved me of paying for the site’s upkeep, but it even managed to generate a little extra revenue, which in turn enable me to purchase better graphics software. Things were going great.

But the banner ads that eUniverse.com was paying me for proved to be unprofitable for them, and they unceremoniously dropped the site from their roster. By then, traffic had increased quite a bit, so when I went out looking for a new host I discovered that my costs were going to be triple what they had previously been. It was then that I turned to a handful of the most dedicated forum members for help. The Barrow-Downs Team was formed.

Mithadan, Sharkû, Gilthalion, and Mr. Underhill joined me in a union to keep the Downs alive, each agreeing to not only give a monthly monetary tribute to the site, but also to administer and moderate it across all of its features – forum, chat, site, etc. Not only did this allow The Downs to continue, but it also greatly enhanced its content. Overnight, the site went from a good site to a great site. And traffic continued to increase.

In September of 2001 we decided that EZBoard was no longer the place for our forum. It was full of popup ads and its future seemed questionable. After looking around at several different programs, we decided on Ultimate Bulletin Board (UBB). UBB is a great software package, but it wasn’t free, and its cost was more than The Team could easily raise by itself. Once again The Downs turned to its members for assistance, and they didn’t let us down. In practically no time at all, volunteers donated the needed sum and we moved all of our EZBoard topics to the forum you see now. Things continued smoothly for nearly a year.

In June 2002, The Barrow-Downs Team accepted a new member into its ranks – Thenamir. Not only a Tolkien scholar, he also became our storekeeper and created our store - Barrow-Treasures. By October, the store was doing so well that it was covering all of our hosting costs, and The Team was finally free of the monthly payments it had been giving for so long. It was a proud moment for the site. At last the Downs was able to continue and expand without asking for help. But change was on the horizon.

With the store doing well and two of the three Peter Jackson films in release, traffic on the site swelled in January to an unpredicted number. From November 2002 to Jan 2003, visits to The Downs tripled! (average 25,000 visitors a day) With so many people enjoying the site, our host demanded that we purchase more disk space and bandwidth. Since the store was generating a lot of sales, this was no problem. Then came the slump.

Since the movies came out, visits to the site have grown and slumped in a predictable way. In November, as the movies are approaching release, traffic increases and continues to grow until the end of January. Then visits start to fall, diving sharply until reaching a low valley around May and June. Traffic begins to go up slowly again in July as the DVD release date in August approaches, but it falls again as soon as October comes. Of course, November is next, so traffic again begins to soar.

Right now we are in the May/Jun slump, and the store is no longer supporting the increased costs of site maintenance. The number of visitors to the site is nearly twice what it was last May/June (its now about 9,500 people a day), but apparently everyone has bought all of the Middle-earth paraphernalia that they can handle. It has become obvious that the store, no matter how well kept, will not always be able to keep up with our costs. We need to find an additional source of income to see us through the slow times, and our best source has always been our members.

HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT THE DOWNS?

If you would like to support The Barrow-Downs, here are some options.

1) Buy something from the Store: Profits from T-Shirts, Mugs, and Golf Caps go straight to the maintenance of the site. Plus, it allows you show off your favorite site!

2) Donate directly to the site with PayPal: Quick and easy. Donations go straight to the Barrow-Wight. Requires a credit card. How? Go to www.paypal.com. Open an account. SEND MONEY to barrowwight@barrowdowns.com.

There is a fee, which you do not pay but is taken out of your donation. The fee is 2.9% + $.30. The chart below lists typical donations and how much The Barrow-Downs will actually receive.

$ 1.00 / $0.67
$ 5.00 / $4.55
$ 10.00 / $9.41
$ 15.00 / $14.26
$ 20.00 / $19.12
$ 25.00 / $23.97
$ 50.00 / $48.25
$100.00 / $96.80

3) Donate directly to the site with a Money Order: Send to the address below. Leave the ‘Pay To’ line blank.

R. Kittle
9505 Hull St Suite D
Richmond, VA, 23236

HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU GIVE?
As much or as little as you like.

WHAT DO YOU GET OUT OF IT?
Donators will be listed on the Barrow-Benefactors page, so you can show your friends that you had a part in keeping the Downs online. Plus, your donations will go directly to the costs of hosting and administering the site, so you get to keep visiting The Downs! Look at the list of features, many of them unique to our site:

Articles – opinion articles on a variety of subjects
Chat – a great way to keep in touch with other Tolkien enthusiasts
Contests – essays, poetry, comics.
Discussion Forum – the best on the Net. All your questions answered.
Encyclopedia – already big, but growing steadily
FAQ – a compilation of the most serious forum discussions
Fan Fiction – almost 500 stories and growing all the time
Grave Matters – coming soon!
Hanghobbit – cruel but oh so fun!
Location Finder – important to know
Mad Libs - hilarious
Malbeth the Seer – daily fortunes told
Quizzes – 66 of them!
Personality Test – who are you most like?
RPG Forum – we’ve developed a great system for some superb RPGs
Reader Art – plenty of pictures
Tengwar Scriptor – see it in Elvish
Themes – Detailed information on 20 popular subjects

If your donations exceed our costs, we might be able to purchase items to give away in contests or other promotions.

Thanks for your continued visits, and we thank you in advance for your future support.

[ May 17, 2003: Message edited by: The Barrow-Wight ]

Eruanna 05-13-2003 05:45 PM

Although a newcomer to the Downs, I enjoy the site tremendously. It is a testament to the very obvious dedication and hard work of the B.W. and partners. I would like to give my financial support. As I understand it, the Barrow Down's shop does not export goods outside of USA/Canada. Therefore the most convenient way for me to donate would be by credit card. I have not done this before; does Paypal.com convert pounds into dollars and would the fee increase because of this?

GaladrieloftheOlden 05-13-2003 06:22 PM

I’m still a kid/teenager, so I don’t really have money that I could donate myself, but I would definitely try to persuade my parents to get something from the shop. However, I don’t really know where it is. If you put a link in your post and I missed it, I’m sorry, but in any case, could you tel me where to find it?

~Menelien

The Barrow-Wight 05-13-2003 06:34 PM

Eruanna,
Thank you very much for wanting to help out. We really appreciate it. Paypal does convert currencies automatically, and the fee is only about 1% more.

GaladrieloftheOlden,
We understand that many people don't have money to spare, especially those still in school, so we thank you for you interest in helping us out. Here is Barrow-Treasures. The hats and shirts are reasonably priced and good quality.

Thanks to everyone!

Sophia the Thunder Mistress 05-13-2003 06:35 PM

Menelien, if you go back to the main BarrowDowns site, it should say on the right sidebar "Barrow Treasures" somewhere in there you'll find the shop.

[edit] yikes, BW snuck in in front of me...

[ May 13, 2003: Message edited by: Sophia the Thunder Mistress ]

The Saucepan Man 05-13-2003 07:04 PM

You can count on my support. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

kittiewhirl1677 05-13-2003 07:46 PM

I would love to help, but as Menelien said:
Quote:

I’m still a kid/teenager, so I don’t really have money that I could donate myself, but I would definitely try to persuade my parents to get something from the shop.
This also applies to me, and as I have basically no money at all I can't exactly give any donations, unless it's five dollars(only cash).

My parents will probably never get me anything from the Downs, no matter how long I persuade them because I spend a large fraction of my time there and they would think I've gone nuts if I asked them for this... They're on the verge of blocking the site anyway.

So, I'll try and do what I can, maybe someday I can buy a B-D Tshirt or something of the sort. Although I can't exactly help, I always mentally support the downs! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

Liriodendron 05-13-2003 08:33 PM

Can't I just send a check? (stuck in my ways!)

Beren87 05-13-2003 08:46 PM

Well, I recently got a job, so you can count on my support (especially through the shop).

Does paypal accept bank-cards?

Alatáriël Lossëhelin 05-13-2003 09:12 PM

BW, thanks for providing an alternative option for those of us who no longer use credit cards, but still want to support the Downs. This is one of the few sites that I access at least once a day, even if I don't post anything. Most of my family and friends are not Tolkien fans, but I recommend the Downs to those who are.

My sincere thanks to you and to all the administrators/moderators for making this such a great site.

Bekah 05-13-2003 09:29 PM

Quote:

3) Donate directly to the site with a Money Order: Send to the address below. Leave the ‘Pay To’ line blank.

R. Kittle
9505 Hull St Suite D
Richmond, VA, 23236
How would this one work? Would I send the money in an envelope, or is there something else involved? This is the only way open to me, as I could never buy anything from the store, and I don't have a credit card.

~ Elentari II

Alkanoonion 05-13-2003 09:29 PM

I will happily help finance the Downs, Barrow-Wight if only for all the free hrs of entertainment that you have provided. Without you and the Downs I would have never found my new hobby. You helped me find the courage to tri something new.

Thank you

piosenniel 05-13-2003 09:50 PM

Bekah

Please check your PM's concerning Money Orders.

~~ Pio [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

Annunfuiniel 05-14-2003 01:04 AM

I second Bekah's question: how does the Money Order thing work? I'm from Europe, is that a problem?
I really would like to help but I'm afraid the sum won't be that great... Let's see now, did I have the money for next month's rent... [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

Eärendil 05-14-2003 01:39 AM

Of course I will support the Downs! With as much money as I can give. *smiles*
I too would like to know how the Money Order thingy works. That is the only way for me. And I am from Europe, like Annunfuiniel.
And, is it correct that you do not ship outside US/Canada (about the shop)? If not, then that would be a second way for me to support the Downs. (Have wanted a t-shirt for ages.)

Bekah 05-14-2003 02:28 AM

Seeing as so many people also have the same question as I did, I am going to take the liberty of posting the PM that Pio sent to me.

I'm not sure whether this will work in NZ, but I'll try...

[img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img] [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img] [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img] [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img] [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img] [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img] [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img] [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img]

Quote:

How would this one work? Would I send the money in an envelope, or is there something else involved? This is the only way open to me, as I could never buy anything from the store, and I don't have a credit card.
You take your cash to the post office or a store that sells money orders - they will sell you the money order - it will costs you a little extra for it.

Then, you send the money order to R. Kittle, keeping a receipt for yourself. Just put it in an envelope with a little note what it is for, and your return address if you wish.

Simple as that!

~~ Piosenniel, Shire Moderator

[ May 14, 2003: Message edited by: Bekah ]

Eärendil 05-14-2003 02:50 AM

Ah, thank you for that Bekah. And Pio! *smiles*
I am still not entirely sure how it works, but I know enough to ask dad about it...*grin*
Again, thanks.

piosenniel 05-14-2003 02:57 AM

Just ask at your local bank or post office, here in the U.S. or your country -- they can direct you to the least expensive route to go. (Some international money orders have quite costly fees.)

Bekah 05-14-2003 03:23 AM

Hmm...I don't even know where the post office around here is. I daresay there is one, but...

I have a feeling that I won't be able to afford the fee, even if I gave you an extremely small amount.

But I'll see what I can do.

And even if I can't support you financially, I'll support you morally.

~ Elentari II

Alkanoonion 05-14-2003 03:32 AM

Done [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
I got the paypal to work. BW I live in Australia so will I be able to purchase items from your shop?

As an added item to help finance the Downs have you considered having a small banner on your home page that people could rent for say a week to advertise their own web page? I know I would be willing to rent such a place.

ElentariGreenleaf 05-14-2003 04:27 AM

I too am still a kid/ teenager. Just 3 more years and I'll be 18. Can you wait that long? I really would like to donate. Maybe I'll get my dad to buy me something from the shop ^_- that gives you some money... right?

Manardariel 05-14-2003 09:39 AM

I´m a Teen too, but I babysit, soooo´... I´ll probably donate something. BABYSIT FOR THE BARROW-WIGHT!! Hey... that sounds kinda cool. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

Oh, and does the shop work in Europe?

red 05-14-2003 02:06 PM

Checks bounce. BW may be a little wary about accepting them from people he doesn't know. I can't blame him.

Lossentilien 05-14-2003 02:14 PM

Awwww!!! I feel awful. I'm a teen, sigh, very original, so can't donate anything that way, and I live in Britain, plus the fact that I don't think I'd be allowed to donate or buy anything with my mum's card...... [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img]

Annalaliath 05-14-2003 03:41 PM

we shall see. sincce i am a student and have hardlky any money for which i wil art with willfully i will see how much i can give. i lovethis site and i will try. i was wonering if there was a way that i could buy things from the store without using credit card, considering i dont have one. But anyway i hope to help. i always sacrifice a little of my art supplies for Tolkien realted stuff anyway. can i send you my penny jar? oh no i am rambling again ....

Raefindel 05-14-2003 04:03 PM

People who are intending to buy Money Orders from the Post Office need to be aware that they are very strict there on how it is done. You must bring the Barrow-wight's name and address WITH YOU or they WILL NOT COMPLETE THE TRANSACTION.

I find it much easier to get them at the bank. Many banks don't charge for a MO if you have an account.

Lalaith 05-14-2003 04:07 PM

How will BW know who's giving the money, presumably we have to paypal in our real names...I mean, I want credit for my generosity.. [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img]

The Barrow-Wight 05-14-2003 04:15 PM

Hmm, I bought a money order from the US Post Office about two weeks ago and they didn't ask me for any information for the payee. Still, the name and address above should be sufficient if they do ask for it.

Just so everyone knows, our store actually does send stuff overseas, but international shipping can be quite expensive and Thenamir is in the process of moving, so shipment could be slow for a few weeks.

Also, those of you who would like to donate but can't for whatever reason, don't feel bad. We greatly appreciate that you would if you could. That means a lot to us! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

Several people have already promised to donate. Alkanoonion even made a PayPal payment all the way from Australia! His was the first we received. THANKS ALKA! I will be building the recognition page soon.

Child of the 7th Age 05-14-2003 05:11 PM

BW,

This is a great idea.

I do have one question. If we enter Barrowdowns Books and proceed directly through to the Amazon site, does the Downs benefit from any of the books we purchase there?

Also, when you have time, please check the pm I sent.

Thank you.

sharon

Bêthberry 05-14-2003 05:58 PM

My personal testimony and support for BW.

I bought several items from the Barrow Store--six coffee mugs and the extended DVD. Since I live outside the US, I paid extra for shipping and then also had to pay customs and duties. $2 a mug! Outrageous!

I would be interested in supporting an extended book ordering system, however, if it benefited the Downs. Yet still I will have to check the duties and customs from international shipping.

BW, you will hear from me once I am back with regular access.

Bethberry

Firondoiel 05-14-2003 06:24 PM

Well, I'm another teenager with no money so I can't donate anything. [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img] I will support you in my prayers though.

Sophia the Thunder Mistress 05-14-2003 06:49 PM

*Sophia taps her fingers impatiently* I'm just waiting for my paycheck to come... [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] And then, Paypal here I come. Barrowdowns is too good not to donate to!

Legolas 05-14-2003 06:50 PM

A percentage of the Amazon purchases go to the site if you buy them through links from this site's store.

From the book store main page:

Quote:

Whatever you are looking for, The Barrow-Downs can be your central location to find it. Now, in association with Amazon.com, you can buy Middle-earth books, cassettes, CDs, and more without straying too far from the Downs. You'll get what you're looking for and help support the Barrow-Downs at the same time.
[ May 14, 2003: Message edited by: Legolas ]

steve 05-14-2003 06:56 PM

Im only a teen also, but iv been wanting a T-shirt (its all i can afford) so now i got a reason to bug my parents to leme use their card, so hopefully ill be putting donation in, just to show my thanks, this site is the best out there

Luthien_ Tinuviel 05-14-2003 06:56 PM

I have to say the same as Firondoiel... hope you raise enough money!

Child of the 7th Age 05-14-2003 07:13 PM

Thanks, Legolas.

I never understood whether Amazon paid the Downs a "flat fee" for the right to set up the link, or whether the Downs actually got a percentage of all books that were purchased through that link.

sharon

Gorwingel 05-14-2003 07:34 PM

I will try to find something to send in. I have had so many websites that were my favorites that had to shut down because of finacial problems (like a certain rollercoaster site that shut down for 2 years, came back, but without the feature that made it the best [img]smilies/mad.gif[/img] I am still bitter about that)

Birdland 05-14-2003 11:12 PM

Check's in the mail, B-W!

Well, actually; no. I overspent at the plant store. But I will buy myself a coffee mug as soon as I get paid next week; with a little something extra. Buy yourself something pretty. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

Regretfully; nobody can talk me into wearing a baseball cap. Not even the Barrow Wright.

Helkahothion 05-15-2003 05:07 AM

Since I am still in school and don't have a credit card, I will have to send you money. What I am wondering: I did not completely understand Pio's PM to Bekah. I'm kind of an Idiot with those things. I live in Holland you see, is it okay for me to send Euro's? If the Barrow Downs will close down, Ill go mad. Damn those greedy money demanding bloodsucking leeches. Anyway, gimmie a head's up soon. What happens if you can't pay up the demand in time?

Donlammenion 05-15-2003 06:39 AM

hi BW i will be in the states in a few months so ill save money for BD Funds and post them to you when im there but i fi can send some befor i will. also would it be a good idea if brits send you sterling instead of pounds that way you would be ale to get the best exchange rate you can. hope this helps ill get on to other Brits i know who like BD ie thereal_findorfin and co and see if they can help


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