I also agree with your idea on a fee for posting pics. And that the size for the posted pics should be much more reduced. If you add something in the FAQ how to reduce the size of pics, than that will help a lot. Well and maybe you can add that smaller pics not just help the traffic on the BB side it also helps traffic on the readers side. How often I like to look at pics and it takes ages to load them because they are so huge....
Since a lot of the posters are aware now that posting is expensive for the bandwith, maybe you could also state into the rules that a premium membership allows posting pics, but that the bb prefers not to have too many premium memberships. The goal is to reduce traffic and not earning money.
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Now the advantage to using InfoPop is that they maintain the UBB.x software, however you can buy the UBB.Classic software to install on your own server for $200 and have a year of free renewals. To be honest all the BB software on the market is pretty mature and they really aren't going to add much more bells & whistles..so updating can be done every other year or so for about $125 renewal.
UBB.x is preferred over UBB.Classic IMO because it is not flat file cgi based and uses MySQL backend. But you can't buy UBB.x for your own server. I prefer the 100% php/MySQL solution of phpBB, and the software is free under GNU General Public License (GPL) and well supported. If you know php scripting it is easy to customize.
Now suppose you buy UBB.Classic from InfoPop and install it on a leased dedicated server, what bandwidth fees would you expect to pay?
Leasing a Dedicated Server..function of bandwidth usage
100 GB = $185/month 200 GB = $360/month
300 GB = $525/month
So now you also consider bringing the main domain (chronofhorse.com) onto this dedicated server and you won't raise your bandwith by much so there is an additional savings per month.
So this suggestion is at least a 70% savings.
As for the photo attachment issue...the problem IMO has to do with the size of the attachments being uploaded. Whenever I have tried to view an attachment on the chronicle forum, they are HUGE!! This is creating that sucking sound you hear called bandwidth overage charges.
I'm not familiar with what UBB.x provides to you, but you should consider limiting the size of the attachment to a size less than 100kb. An image sized at 400pix wide x 300pix height @ 72 dpi resolution = 50-60 kb roughly. For discussion purposes this is sufficient by all means.
A second suggestion is to add a small script to the photo upload process that will actually create the optimum image size to be stored and then viewed. it takes less than 10 lines of code in php to do this. I'm working on it now for my photo classifieds to create thumbnail images for ad previews..so I know how much this can help!
I strongly suggest against any membership payment options unless they are a 100% across the board policy..or you'll have an even bigger headache trying to manage it. I also have heard very negative feedback about another unlimited dressage type site and its pay to play policy. You won't have a bandwidth problem for sure if you do that.
And no offense to the membership here, but it has been my experience that when it comes time to pay up folks won't and will find a free playground elsewhere so it is best to derive the business plan around the flypaper that attracts the visitors..the free membership.
I hope you find a solution that works for your community. I face the same issues myself and know what is being paid is highway robbery.
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I don't know if anyone's mentioned this yet, but at equiman.com (the Canadian version of our beloved BB), they stopped allowing people to post pictures. Instead, people can post links... that way, everyone gets to see pictures, but the BB doesn't have to host them.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Something else to consider about photos..unless folks are linking to their own domains or a photo hosting site of their own photos for whch they have an arrangement (free or paid), we developers call this bandwidth theft. I have had to modify my .htaccess file on my sites to not allow the linking to photos as this drives the hosting site's bandwidth up.
Someone posts a link to a photo on someone's site "hay look at this!" and 1000s views later the someone's site get charged a bandwidth overage fee for that month.
You also have the copyright issues to deal with. I seriously doubt that the photos that have copyrights had permission from the photographer to post them (i.e. reproduce them). So for copyright reasons I disallowed displaying of images in a post (same as uploading here).
The posting of links is the lessor of two evils..and not really breaking any written rules as the site owner can ban the linking of images as I did.
As for the PPP idea, I suggest creating a script that will function independently of the UBB on the same domain that will function as a photo hosting site where you can charge a fee for hosting the image, create the size optimization routine to store the correct sized image and then provide back the URL to link to in the topic of question. This might cost $500 to have a developer do for you quickly but would get you ought of any daily mgt tasks.