There's a few things I'd like to go over first before anyone makes any decisions on what they are doing.
Niv and I will be paying for Gold on Sygil and PandoraNyx. I'm not asking for contributions (that option is available) unless for some reason we go over 50,000 hits on the page. I don't see that happening as the most we've ever logged was 860 some (not including Niv/Sev/my IPs, so I figure closer to 900 hits), but should it, I will open up the option to contribute to the fund.
Just to let you know, our cost will be $54 a year to keep one board ad free. We are willing to pay for both active RPs ad free, I think it's a very reasonable cost, however, I can't justify the expense on the Resource board as we don't use it that much. There I will enable the contribute option should anyone feel generous :) But I don't expect that on the Resource board... I think with the rarity we use that one, the ads won't bother us at all.
On that vein, however, I'd like to mention the option of Yuku Supporter. Supporter has many benefits (with more coming later). It's $7 for 6 months, $12 a year, very reasonable as compared to other message board systems (IGN charges $20 per year, not like it matters, IGN isn't a system you can create your own board on :p ).
Supporter, at this point, allows you ad free profiles and any board that you go to, whether they paid for Gold or not, will be ad free for you. Which is another reason why I'm not paying for Resources to be Gold. Also it allows you 10 total profiles linked together, and 10 total sigs per profile (so each of your linked profiles, such as mine, will have 10 sigs available to it. Jibril can have 10 sigs, Gabriel can have 10 sigs, ect.) plus 100mgs of image space. Without supporter you can have 30mgs of images in your gallery, five linked profiles, and five sigs per profile.
They are planning on making more benefits to Supporter, they are still getting feedback on what the users want. But that's where we are right now.
I am urging everyone to go with Supporter since we won't be making the Resource board Gold. I will get Supporter for being a Gold board owner by default, and if anyone else signs up for Supporter, then the board will be ad free for you too. Not many people go to Resources first, it's Sygil itself that gets the most traffic. I'm more interested in keeping the actual RP boards ad free for the sake of any potential members... nothing is more annoying than going to a RP board with ads in my opinion. But getting Supporter will mean the infrequent visits we do to Resources will keep it ad free for us at least. The Network is going to act the same as Niv, Sev, and I discussed it and we don't want to pay for a board that isn't used much to be Gold. With four boards (that aren't test boards) the cost is just getting too up there for us to pay for ourselves, we have to prioritize our money spending to the boards that will benefit most, which is Sygil RP and PandoraNyx.
The only benefit to Gold is to be free of ads. Which is something that's nice about Yuku (bear with me, I know $54 per year for just not having Gold doesn't sound so great :p ). Ezboard's system of Gold was no ads, plus other options such as hidden forums, profanity filter, more customization, more smilies, ect. Yuku decided to make all boards get the nifty stuff for free. Turning off the profanity filter was for Gold on Ezboard, thankfully not on Yuku since I leave that turned off here, but on Ezboard we had to use creative ways to swear (The infamous muitherfucker that Niv created :p ). We couldn't have hidden forums on Ezboard, here we do have hidden forums (the Members forum used to be hidden, not any more, it's just by approval only, however we do have many invisible forums on Sygil, you can't see them, but... they are there with a lot of pointless spam in them. Sev is known for spam :) ). And of course we love our customization here. On Ezboard... I could not customize it beyond some horrible basics. That's what makes Yuku a far better system. They are giving us many things in exchange for ads that wasn't done on Ezboard. So to give back to Yuku, we're paying them. I love Yuku, I think it is the best system out there.
We will be out of Beta in a few weeks, it's been officially announced. So I'd like to take the opportunity to let everyone know our thoughts (Niv, Sev, and mine) on the year and a half we've been beta testing.
As you'll remember, especially Forthsight, the ups and downs we went through in early beta. We started on Yuku in August of 2006. There were a lot of issues, a lot of bugs, server problems, ect. There was a time when clicking the reply button didn't work and we had to use quick reply for the longest time, which meant switching IDs. There were times when it would cut off our posts. There were times when we would post and it would take hours for the post to actually show. Then there was that fun little switch to MB2 when we were all posting on the story and we were suddenly moved out of the test servers to the live servers and everything was rearranged.
But the servers stabilized, the bugs got fixed. Niv and I spent a lot of time reporting bugs. I spend a great deal of time on the Support forum giving feedback and offering suggestions. The staff has been extremely helpful and responsive to concerns and issues. They have listened to our suggestions and tried implementing them. There have been things we wanted but just could not be done, but for the most part, things that we as board owners have wanted they have gone above and beyond to get into the system for us. One thing we were very vocal about was when Gold went into effect that we would not loose options that we have now. We didn't want to be beta testing the paid services and let the staff know that. From the beginning the staff wanted the free boards to have all options, which we as board owners wanted as well.... and *I* believe the reason why they are keeping it that way since our thoughts were strong on it. Anyone who remembers Ezboard from way back when (2000 and before) when Ezboard didn't limit the options of free boards, such as invisible forums. That came about later, much to my dismay.
Through the ups and downs, though, the beta testing experience has been very good. I give a lot of credit to the staff for doing such a wonderful job of it. We took a big leap of faith in August of 06 becoming perminate residents of Yuku rather than just me and Niv testing. We had the Ezboard, we could have just left ourselves there and tinkered around here, but we decided even with all the problems there was no point in not going full time on Yuku. We could have migrated last January, kept all our posts, but I think our decision to test by using the system as our main system was the best. You can only test through real use, in my opinion, not just a few posts here and there once a week. We learned how to use CSS from Yuku, I didn't know a thing about before we started here (never heard of it to be honest), and even through my learning, we tested. We had bugs in CSS that we had to work through too. If you knew what Yuku's CSS looked like a year ago, to see it now would floor you. :) It's changed so much and is so much more customizable than it was a year ago.
I can only see good things in the future for Yuku. I've met so many people since we've been here, Stephanie, Bob, Banjo, ChrisW and the gang from Yukupolis, everyone from the Princess Bar. All the wonderful people from The Lobby I've gotten to know. The developers and the staff from Yuku. And of course our own little community, I probably would have never met if we hadn't come to Yuku.