Dearest Members & Visitors to the Little Fountain Pen Nut house on the digital prairie,
You will likely have noticed some changes at the top of the board, right underneath the header and tabs. After some iterations, there are a few image links rather than a boring piece of text referring to the FPN Pen Store, and a few more. Essentially, all options which support funding of FPN are clearly visible now. FPN well within top 100,000 busiest websites, worldwide
One of the reasons for making these options more visible is that FPN is starting to run more and more like treacle rather than a fast flowing mountain stream when it comes to the browsing experience. This is caused by the simple fact that the current hosting plan doesn't really cater anymore for the amount of registered members and visitors we have. On a monthly basis, we have over 300,000 unique visitors (= different ip-addresses from which we are visited), and the download stream is up to 30 GB or more a day currently - which is a lot for what basically is moslty plain text plus a few images going down the line. And new registrations on FPN is still on the increase as well. FPN reached the top 100,000 busiest web sites worldwide category towards the end of last year, and for a non-commercial site I think that is nothing short of awesome
- thanks to our membership here!Hosting of FPN
Furthermore, likely due to the economic crisis, and several other factors, while costs keep mounting, funding is a worrisome issue. It costs a lot to run this board, and if we want to keep up with the increasing numbers here, we will need to upgrade to the next category of hosting plans, tripling resources, but also tripling hosting costs.More changes required
It will be clear that we need to make some changes as a result. Quick wins
Some of the simple quick wins we are doing already now, or have done so, and the initiative to alter the header at the top of the board was one of them. We will also make some changes to the Writing Instruments forum very shortly. It is extremely busy, by far the busiest forum, and as a result it has become so slow that it is really worrisome. The plan is to divide it in two or three forums very, very soon, to split the load. More announcements on this split will follow.Changes coming to Classifieds
We will also make some changes to Classifieds, and likely not all will be very popular.
First of all we will make posting a Classified easier. We think that the rules have become engrained enough now that we can do with a general acceptance of the rules and guidelines once, rather than have all the relevant bits completely spelled out as is now the case.
Researching the listed advertisements has also shown that many of our members who are hobbyists and are interested in fountain pens from a user's or collector's POV, do not really place many ads, less than 10 classifeds on an annual basis. So we will tighten the rules for normal Gold Members further, allowing a maximum of 3 items per week to smaller maximum on an annual basis than the current limits.Classifieds section is not a storefront
We have also always maintained that the Classifieds and FPN is not a storefront for people who are only interested in selling or running their business from FPN, and are therefore looking at options to make the presence of traders more pleasant and more predictable, both for our normal members, and for the traders themselves. And frankly, having the largest ready made target group and busiest site in the world for people interested in fountain pens and related items, this must be worth something - this may even help with funding, and secure the existence of FPN in the future.FPN now a registered company
Other items that have changed or are changing, is that FPN now is owned by a registered company. This had to be done not only from a legal and tax POV, but also in order to secure the FPN hosting and servicing funds. We would have stood to lose a lot of funding to taxes otherwise, and in addition there are legislative conditions we do have to adhere to
.Possible changes to donations?
Finally we are also thinking of changing the donation system. Currently that is totally anonymous, and we don't really know whether our members who donate, would like that changed or not. We will start a topic on this in Community Feedback soon, and further announcements will follow.
More news will follow soon.
Warm regards, Wim
On behalf of the FPN Moderator and Admin Team