Over the last few weeks I’ve been thinking more about how to fund a developer to work on MusicBrainz server features full time. Part of that thinking was taking a critical look at our traffic and our donations. Here is a graph of our overall traffic to musicbrainz.org:
Aside from a traffic spike in Dec 2005/Jan 2006, our traffic is steadily increasing, which means our bandwidth/hosting bill is also increasing. It used to be that donations covered our bandwidth/hosting costs, but that hasn’t been the case since we switched to the new hosting facility in February of this year. Our donations per month (excluding larger “special occasion” donations) are shown below:
Compared to our traffic, there is much more variability here and aside the “special occasion” big ticket donation (from Google, MusicIP, Cory Doctorow, etc) our donations from end users have shrunk, if anything. I would like to increase our rate of donations so that we can have donations cover our traffic costs again and have our licensing income go towards paying people to work on MusicBrainz.
I know that we’re not trying hard enough to solicit donations from our tagger users. Back in the day before Dave implemented auto pruning on the TRM server, the TRM server would slow down and tagger users would get a “we need more hardware, donate please” message. This would result in a wave of donations from users. To me, this shows that tagger users will respond if forced to. Our “please donate” nag dialog on the tagger is not effective in getting enough people to dig around in their wallets and make a donation to MusicBrainz.
My first approach to nagging users more to donate is to add a nag screen to the taglookup.html page that looks up a file in case the file has no PUID or TRM fingerprint. This page is most likely in use by people tagging their music collections and less so by people focusing on editing MusicBrainz.
Currently, people who donate $10 will receive no nag screen in Picard for six months and I think I’d like to apply this rule here as well. Also, other prolific contributors to MusicBrainz will also not receive the nag screen (via the seekrit NoNag flag on user’s accounts). Before I tromp off to implement this, I’d like to ask you for some feedback:
- What do you think of this idea in general?
- Do you think that six months no nag is a fair deal for $10?
- How do you think we should implement this nag screen?
What do you think?
UPDATE: Thanks for all your feedback! I’ve starting coding the nag dialog and also started the process of getting another credit card processing company. So far I’ve gotten a quote that should be reasonably competitive to PayPal — if this goes through we’ll be offering people the choice to donate with their credit card via this new company or via PayPal. Stay tuned!