Thank you all very much for your support! This little donation drive has barely been going on for a day and we've already received $1600!
Neither Noben nor myself realized just how much people enjoy the comic and community here, and we want to continue to make this place fun to visit. While we've raised more than we expected, these costs are continuing and the ads should now do more to help cover them now that I've made them slightly more visible.
That said, if you wish to show continued direct support, you are welcome to donate! Anything extra that goes to Noben will help her focus on making this comic!
Thank you all so much for your overwhelming gestures of financial and emotional support. We appreciate every one of you. :)
TL;DR: We aren't making enough to support the site, please donate/give us an exception in your ad blocker.
I have been maintaining and running all the stuff behind the scenes on Altermeta since early 2006. When I started the site cost me about $8/month to just keep on the internet, but it has grown and traffic has increased quite a bit since those days. I've had to upgrade hosting plans a couple times now as capacity has increased, and a couple years ago I moved to a VPS that allocated more of the server resources to me. All this costs money, money which I am not making back.
Currently, the site costs somewhere in the ballpark of $500 a year to run, and I haven't even broken even on hosting the site since 2007. I've invested around $1400 of my own money into keeping this site and webcomic alive. While I am more than happy to invest my own resources into this site, I am unable to sustain this indefinitely. I have experimented with ads and donations. Donations do bring in more money than advertising, but it still doesn't meet even half of what I need to put into this site. If only 50 people donated $10 every year, I could run this site without losing any money, and unfortunately ad networks like Google Ad-sense don't pay out enough without putting ads in horribly invasive positions. I refuse to annoy you with ads, but so many people visit this site with adblockers on that I can't make any money from your views. I have one or two discreet advertisements on the main page and assuming no one visited with an ad blocker, I could make about 3/4 of the cost it takes to maintain this site from those two ads, but I only make about $100 a year from these. Last year I only received $150 in donations. This left me $250 short.
I've been weighing options on how to monetize the site. Selling prints didn't work due to my already full time job and the inability of either Noben or myself to keep up and find time to send merchandise in a timely manner. Noben is selling prints on DeviantART, but that money goes to her and DeviantART takes enough of a cut that I won't take anymore of that. Discreet advertising isn't working well enough, and I refuse to put any of the higher paying invasive ads in. Unfortunately I'm not getting enough donations either.
We have toyed with the idea of an exclusive paid membership, but we haven't been sure of what to put in that potential section or how to charge for it. Not to mention I no longer have the time to code any new features.
As the site continues to grow and the viewers continue to increase, I will need to invest more and more money into keeping this site alive. If I can meet the financial obligation through donations that would be ideal. If you cannot donate, please put Altermeta as an exception in your ad blocker so you can contribute to the continued existence of this site.
To be totally transparent on where your money goes if you donate: If we exceed the cost of hosting with donations and advertising in any given year, Noben gets 70% of the money and I get 30% for my time and investment, but until we pay for the cost of the site, All the donations go to me (and then straight to the hosting company).
We have roughly 20,000 unique visitors (extrapolated from several sources of information, excludes known bots/crawlers)
Of those, We have an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 of those visitors being unique humans.
Of those, roughly 4,000 read the site regularly.
We now get over 1,000,000 page visits a month to the main page.
I'm really proud of this page. I like it a lot. Spent a lot more time than usual on it. Most pages, after the layout is figured out, takes around 3.5 hours to finish. This one has about 6 hours of time invested in it.
Future stuff: Updates over the next few weeks will be slow, once a week updates at most. I've got a lot of things to catch up on that aren't comic related and so SOMETHING has to take a back seat for a little while to free up time.