A few years ago when I first launched World of Solitaire it was just an experiment. A little hobby project of mine that I did just for fun.
When I launched it I just hoped it would make a few people happy each month. Maybe 50.
Since then the popularity of World of Solitaire has skyrocketed beyond what I could have imagined and now over 350,000 unique players get joy from playing each month.
Knowing that so many people are getting so much pleasure from the site has truly been a wonderful thing for me. It makes me very happy to know that so many are getting some pleasure from something I've created.
Unfortunately a side effect of having so many more people playing is that the cost to run World of Solitaire has been increasing. The bandwidth and computer power needed to run World of Solitaire is not cheap.
Each and every month I pay the monthly server costs out of my own pocket.
I've never had any advertisements on the site because I didn't want to 'clutter' up the page. I like the clean, sleek look World of Solitaire has and I don't want to ruin that with ads.
Another reason there are no ads is because money is not a big motivator for me. I have no desire to try and make lots of money from the site by putting up ads all over the place.
My primary motivation is just to make people happy and provide a fun place for everyone to let off a little stress by playing some Solitaire.
With the number of players continuing to rise however, the costs to run World of Solitaire continues to increase.
I am far from being rich and have a day job that pays my bills. But it is starting to get really expensive and I'm trying to figure out some way the site can make enough money to pay for the costs of running it.
I've had a few different ideas on how I could help pay for cost of running World of Solitaire.
I'd like to run these ideas past you, the players, and I would love some feedback from you.
You can reply to this blog post or e-mail me at: email@example.com
I thought about putting up a donation button where the players could donate whatever they feel comfortable donating to help pay for the server costs.
This to me seems like the cleanest and best option.
My dilemma here is that I'm not sure that it would be enough to cover the costs of the servers. Also I feel that most people would just donate once, so even if it pays for the servers for the first few months I think I would wind up right back where I am at now.
Find a company that would 'sponsor' the site by paying the costs to run the site. In exchange they would get their company logo and name on the site that would link back to them.
This to me seems like a good option. No annoying ads on the site and the server costs are paid for.
The dilemma with this option is finding a company willing to sponsor the site. It will take a lot of time and effort to try and find a company to do this. And in the end there might not be anyone willing to do so.
Another idea is some sort of yearly membership. Players could pay this membership and in return get some sort of special features. Maybe additional member only decks, maybe special starts by their names in the leaderboards.
The problem with this of course is I'd need to come up with features useful enough to be worth paying a membership fee, but not too useful as to upset non-members who can't afford to pay.
Now we are down to the dreaded ads option. I could put up an ad right now that would probably cover the costs of running the site, but as I've said above I really don't want to do this. I don't want the experience of playing on World of Solitaire impacted by an ad.
There are other issues with ads too. Most ads on websites are designed to pay based on the idea that users are only on the page for a minute or so and then they load another page.
On World of Solitaire however players play for hours and the ad would be visible the entire time. Thus I feel that ads on World of Solitaire have more value than the normal ads on other pages where they may be scrolled out of view or the user may leave the page after just a few seconds.
This means that the normal ad programs out there (such as those from Google) are not very well suited to World of Solitaire.
The other thing to mention about ads is if I were to go this route, I would certainly want to provide some sort of yearly membership where for a small yearly fee you would not see any ads.
So those are the options I've come up with.
I really wish I didn't have to do any of them, but the costs of running World of Solitaire are only going to increase and the above methods are the only ways I can think of to keep World of Solitaire running.
I really would like to hear your ideas about this.
If anyone has any ideas at all, comments or offers please either reply to this blog post or e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the mean time, I hope you all continue to enjoy playing :)