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Seeking your Guidance and Recommendations

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Hi Simmers,As many of you may be aware I have been providing FREE Aircraft Textures and graphics support for many years now for the flight sim community. However, many may not be aware of the escallating costs required to maintain these services and web facilities. With well over 400 textures requiring considerably more than 600mb of web space and nearly 30 web pages to be managed the environment is now becoming quite expensive for one person to constantly bear. Recently, simply to keep up with the volume of web work required to manage this aspect of my hobby I have been compelled to upgrade to ADSL connectivity. Initial and ongoing costs for ADSL are rather high here in Australia particularly as I had to purchase 1000MB per month access rates simply to deal with my web work in relation to texture posting and porcessing request enquiries.My site averages over 1000 downloads a day from the hundreds of textures available. I receive 2 to 5 requests for new textures each day and my graphic tutorial is downloaded on average 10 times per day.In an endevour to attempt to recover some costs, you will be aware that I charge a very small nominal fee for VA and Priority One texture repaints (completed within two days). This method has occassionally been accepted by some Simmers and VA's but returns for the hours and web processing is covering about 5% of my monthly costs for connectivity alone.I could go into some great details about the software, storage, server and internet costs and hours of effort required to maintain my texture services but that is undoubtedly of little interest to you all. But what might be of interest is that I am being forced to make a decision on how to continue this service but reduce or defray these costs.Alternatives available to me:(1) Shut it all down - delete all of the textures and simply cease participation in the flight sim community - not a pleasant option as I enjoy the fun of texture painting and providing a support service to the community.(2) Reduce impact on WEB - delete all textures greater than one month old - have only one pages of textures for the month. My download statistics demonstrate that simmers are generally searching my site for textures across the whole range and are downloading textures from this range. Therefore, I would seriously impact on servicing the community with this option.(3) Increase the hourly rates for the occassional VA or Priority One requests - this is an unfair option as many already object to the very low rate that I have and they decline to process their request further. Increasing this rate will virtually eliminate any possiblilities in this avenue.(4) Add Banners and third party Advertising on my site - My site is already graphically intense enough without Pop-Ups and advertising being forced upon you. (5) Seek Sponsorship - This would be a great solution however I do not know of any organisations which would be interested in carrying over 600mb of textures and providing financial assistance for connectivity. This would also undoubtedly require advertising and banners - probably to a lesser degree but unknown.(6) Charge a download fee ($1.00) for some texture downloads - This will undoubtedly reduce the number of downloads but I could add a shopping cart facility to my site and charge this fee for the majority of the textures. I would, to be fair, have to share this with the Aircraft Designer/Developer where possible. Only about 60% of my textures would fall into this category as many are gifts to the simming community by some requestors and there are several other reasons why many of the textures would remain FREE. So my site would have a mixture of FREE and PAY textures. Using processes like PayPal for this would forfiet 2.2% + 30c on each transaction so only about 66c would be forthcoming from each sale. Therefore, I, and the Aircraft Developer would each receive about 33c for each texture purchased. (PS another 3c - 5c is lost in the PayPal translation of US to Aust Dollars as they run a bias to the US dollar rates, presumably another commission source for them)(7) Seek donations to assist in costs - I have a passive Donations Page at: http://www.gjsmith.com/textures/donations.htm This page has been online now for many months and has engendered ZERO response. I therefore seek your guidance, suggestions and recommendation on how I should proceed from this point. Regardshttp://www.gjsmith.com/images/gjsmithdotcom-2.gifGarry J. Smith at http://www.gjsmith.com RAAF RetiredAircraft Texture TinkererAvailable on my site:GuestBook, GuestMap, Mailing List, Forum, Graphics Tutorial, hundreds of FREE textures

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Hi Garry,I have never downloaded from your site and probably never will. (I'm usually happy with whatever default textures are supplied with a plane.) But I do hope that you are able to find a way to keep your site alive. With 1000 downloads/day, you must be providing a necessary service.Of the possible solutions that you mention, I'd suggest that adding advertising banners and popups would be the least objectionable to the most people. We are all used to seeing them and most of us accept them just as we accept commercials on radio or TV. For the few who insist that they won't frequent any site with popups, well they won't be frequenting your site when it's gone either. R-

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Hi Garry,How about you talk to or send Tom Allensworth an e-mail. Perhaps AVSIM can host your website - like what he has done for other freeware/payware developers.

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Umm..the banners sound ok, it should not put too many people off, you should try to get someone to host your files such as avsim and that should take some strain of the cost. Hope this helps, it would be a great shame if you had to close!, i learned how to paint using your tutorials. Good Luck!

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Gary,I don't want to promise anything to you because I can't, but I have contacted our senior staff here at AVSIM and have asked them if there is anything we can do to help you.

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Hey Garry, I think you do fantastic work with repaints, it would be a shame if you had to delete all your work, but then that would be your choice. I agree that the ads might help and be the least offensive since we are used to seeing them on sites that can't cover the cost of high bandwidth. I think it would great of AVSIM to host your site, seeing as you have these kinds of numbers on d/ls you obviously do provide a huge service to the community.I know you have posted in the past about cost problems with your site, hope you get it worked out.Regards, Michaelhttp://mysite.verizon.net/res052cd/mybannercva1.jpg

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Thank you all very much for your input.I have received a very gregarious offer from a site here in Australia to take on all of my web site in relation to aircraft graphics and we are in negotiations now on how to implement and maintain that. This will indeed reduce my costs a bit and will also give me a chance to reorganise and rationalise the new web site to better serve the flight sim community.The move to the alternative site will be very transparent and will still be associated to www.gjsmith.com so most simmers will not even notice that my textures are actually hosted in a different location.I expect some movement in this direction early next week and progressing throughout the week until all have been moved.This kind offer of support from an Australian organisation is greatly appreciated and does reduce some costs and anxiety that I had about abusing my business site server with all of my texture stuff.But I will continue to seek sponsors and or donations to assist in the other considerable costs of developing, maintaining and servicing the texture need for the simming community. Again thank you very much for your valuable input Absolute blantant plug:Donations welcome at:http://www.gjsmith.com/textures/donations.htmhttp://www.gjsmith.com/images/gjsmithdotcom-2.gifGarry J. Smith at http://www.gjsmith.com RAAF RetiredAircraft Texture TinkererAvailable on my site:GuestBook, GuestMap, Mailing List, Forum, Graphics Tutorial, hundreds of FREE textures

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>Hi Garry, >>I have never downloaded from your site and probably never >will. (I'm usually happy with whatever default textures are >supplied with a plane.) But I do hope that you are able to >find a way to keep your site alive. With 1000 >downloads/day, you must be providing a necessary service. >>Of the possible solutions that you mention, I'd suggest that >adding advertising banners and popups would be the least >objectionable to the most people. We are all used to seeing >them and most of us accept them just as we accept >commercials on radio or TV. For the few who insist that >they won't frequent any site with popups, well they won't be >frequenting your site when it's gone either. R- Hi Garry.I, for one had contacted you before. As a matter of fact, when I had first got FS2002 Pro (Christmas 2000), you were the first one I pestered for information, whereas I had never downloaded an aircraft*, and you were "there" to answer my questions and send me some textures. I think it was "chrome" textures for the default 737s... really nice!* Believe me, this was totally new to me. When downloading a golf course add-on for LInks2001, it's as simple as extracting one .crz file, and putting that one file in only one folder: Courses... nothing else!Like RonB49, I rarely ever download just textures; like him, I am usually content with the defaults, whether for FS2002 (stock) or user-created add-ons. I am usually "inside" the aircraft.Anyway, I totally agree with everything you said, RonB49... especially about the T.V. ads. We watch T.V., and get nothing out of it, but a few hours of entertainment... and 1/4 of that time is commercials. So... even if you had pop-ups, etc., no one should have any problems with that, because you are least giving "us" something for it. I do not mind banners, etc., one bit, if it means that others can still visit your web site, and keep their aircraft looking new with your repaints.Heck, Garry... Micro$haft ought to give you something for your time. You & others, like you, are the ones who keep their Flight Sims, Train Sims, etc., selling!Good luck to ya', and please keep the site up for others to enjoy! :)We all appreciate the time & effort that you and others put into designing aircraft, etc., in order to keep FS2002 "fresh & alive".If it weren't for you guys, I bet that alot of people might have shelved FS2002 a long time ago. Stanley.

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