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Owner/Operator of Photocentric Ltd. Hello! Thanks for taking a moment to read about APUG's subscription service. Before parting with your hard earned money you should know a little about the history of APUG and what your contribution can do for yourself and our community.
A brief history of APUG:In September 2002, I was in the market for some camera and darkroom equipment. I decided to search the Internet for information, and was quickly disheartened. I found every photographic site I browsed had become a hybrid mix of digital and traditional topics. I use traditional methods, so why weed through endless digital subjects, or at every turn be told I should just "go digital". The concept of a traditional community was born and has grown into the site you see now. Although working in the field of Information Technology I had no experience with web related applications and was given some help installing basic forum software in 2002. Initially APUG was nothing more than a tiny forum running on a free-shared server. My initial goal was to have 25-50 traditional photographers forming an online oasis away from the digital onslaught, taking over other photography sites. Since then, I have learned web based applications and have rebuilt APUG from scratch 4 times. The current build is our best framework yet and is still being improved. The site has grown beyond my wildest expectations. What began as a few forum members on a small free hosting package has become nearly 70,000 registered photographers and 1.5 million forum posts, and many new applications available to the membership. We now consistently register 300-600 new members per month, yet only about 1.5-2% of our total registered base subscribe. Also keep in mind not all subscribers diligently renew their subscriptions each year or opt for full 12 month memberships, so this leaves us with acquiring new subscriptions to keep our subscriber base stable.
Why Subscribe?As someone passionate about traditional photography, I want this art form to survive and flourish. The thousands of photographers on APUG have shown that our medium of choice is alive and well. I need your support to keep this community running. Unfortunately we are getting a double whammy right now with the recession and the high New Zealand dollar where I reside. Member registrations and activity are at an all time high, yet subscription rates are at an all time low.
About Costs:Yearly operating costs can range from $10,000-$15,000US or more and if we need to upgrade to another larger server this could increase significantly. So far I have taken on corporate partnerships, advertisers, created a subscription service, and some other bits and pieces in hopes of keeping revenue stable. Costs mainly includes but are not limited to: Server maintenance, being personally on call 24x7 (I am paged by a monitoring service if the site encounters any problems), APUG application software upgrades/patches/license management, application software enhancement, hiring of freelance developers, member technical support of 65,000+ registered members (in other words endless 'contact us' emails and requests for support), moderation of forums/galleries/classifieds/etc.
There are two main reasons you should consider subscribing:
1) You have a love of traditional photography and you believe a passionate community like APUG can help keep our craft flourishing.
2) Subscribers receive added features such as:
-Your site designation changes from "Member" to "Subscriber" so others can be aware of your support
-Full access to our galleries so you can post scans of your work and discuss with others, or view what others are posting.
-Access to post APUG classified ads or auctions, a great way to sell equipment, this area is quite active.
-Sponsor discounts, several of our advertisers provide valuable discounts to APUG subscribers.
-Access to create your own online portfolio APUG Portfolios, a fully functional portfolio system.
-Full access to the APUG chat room, which is very active.
-Access to our mobile forums, APUG's WAP capable forums give you full wireless mobile device access to our forums
-Much more is in development.
Historical updates to this page listed below:*UPDATE* Aug. 2009
I have exited the IT role once again as the commitment required left APUG unmanaged, not to mention stress on family life and our desire to move location. So I'm now back to APUG full time. Due to the recession I have several other projects I'm working on and have also restarted my home based computer repair business. If the global economy does not improve soon I will likely head back to the cubicle but am trying everything possible to avoid that.
*UPDATE* Feb. 2009
Due to the current economic climate I have decided to play it safe and return to a full time job in IT. I now work during the day full time and on APUG at night and weekends. At this stage I am not sure how long I can juggle both but am giving it a try. Your support now means more than ever and provides extra incentive for me to hang in there and keep this website going. An announcement regarding this was made in the forums here: (click here to view the announcement and responses.)
*UPDATE* April 7th 2006
APUG was once a casual after-hours side project for me until it became more difficult to manage with every passing month. I was working a non-APUG related full time job, which accounted for 45-60hrs of my week. I also had family obligations to my wife and kids, and I have my photography as well. APUG takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to maintain. Practically all of my spare time was spent managing the site. I finally reached a point where I decided to give up a 12yr high level I.T. career to manage APUG full time. An announcement was made in the forums discussing my decision (click here to view the announcement and responses). The community has come too far to close the doors so I am making every effort to continue its success for years to come.