Gallery "Paid Only"?! SCS Wants Your Opinions!

If you've been a Splitcoast member for any length of time, you know that the gallery can often be a frustrating place; unless you get in early or late it's often slow and you wait, wait, wait for pages and images to load.

We need a solution!
I won't attempt a detailed explanation, but suffice it to say that permanent solutions to this problem are neither easy nor cheap. The traffic load simply overwhelms the server, and when this happens the waits grow longer and longer.

There's no free lunch
It's always been our philosophy that SCS be a "free" site for its members. But of course nothing comes free: the people who keep the site up and running must be compensated for their time, computer hardware and software and connection expenses must be paid.

To cover expenses and keep us financially stable, SCS has various sources of income: advertising and sponsorships, the Splitcoast store, and the Fan Club. Many of you have chosen to support the site via one of these means, and we think you've made an excellent decision! :^)

We can rebuild it
But back to the gallery. We've been working for some time to make improvements to the gallery software that would enable it to handle larger traffic loads. Our conclusion: we're going to have to take large portions of it apart and re-construct them in order to make the software more efficient and speed up the gallery.

Fan Club no fun
At the same time, we've reached the point where we can no longer accept that our members who've paid through their Fan Club subscriptions to support the site often can't access the gallery, or when they can it's a slow and frustrating experience.

What to do about this? We've been pondering options for some time: do something to restrict traffic? Take the gallery down altogether while we work to make it better? Convert to fee-only access?

It's only temporary
None of these options are particularly attractive, but something must be done. So here it is: until we can provide a good experience to all, we've decided to restrict much of the gallery to Fan Club members only.

What will this mean for you? Fan Club members will access and experience the gallery as usual, with no changes. All others, both registered and non-registered members, will have access only to Member Galleries and the Technique Spotlight galleries. Uploads will be limited to Fan Club members only. Access to all other areas of the site will remain open and free.

A difficult decision
We'll make this change on Saturday, October 1st. Expect the gallery to remain Fan Club-only at least through October while we work to improve the software and enable the gallery to handle larger traffic loads.

What do you think?
We want your feedback! Is this a terrible move, and you'd like to talk us out of it? Have questions about this, or what the future holds for Splitcoaststampers? We've started a discussion thread here:

Posted by: daven on Sep 22, 05 | 10:26 am