ForProfit

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Update:This project will be non-profit and community-driven.

Note:This page is archival

Note:This page is a candidate for deletion.

Here's a copy of my vision for the project, was sent around in one of the mailing list posts. Note that it puts "attract and keep readers" first, before "make money". The intent is to avoid trading off user satisfaction for money - the users come first.

  • The purpose of the site will be to attract and keep readers.
  • The site is intended to make money
  • The site will hire people, and be a good employer
  • I intend to listen to community feedback and do whatever makes the site better
  • There will be monetization; however, this is secondary to the primary goal, which is to attract and keep readers.
  • Users (I think won't) will be monetized (ie we won't sell our user's contact info)
  • We won't poach from Slashdot


(Monetization meaning largely what Slashdot does now: advertizing, merchandise, and job postings.)


Note: this is only a proposal! This has never been done before, and I have no idea at this time whether it's feasible, or even legal.

Synopsis:

The financial intent of the business will be to make people independent. To that end, the company will fund $52,000 annuities to be given to people who help build and maintain the system.


Overall description:

The purpose of the fund is to take people out of the workforce without leaving them in poverty. A fund participant receives a weekly income large enough to live on, by which they may (if they choose) leave the workforce.


Income is paid in perpetuity: payout continues after death of original recipient, can be willed, inherited, sold or given away. Income is strictly one per person.


The proposed fund account returns $52,000/year ($1000/week). Fund amount needed to attain that level is hypothetically $1 million per participant:


  • 10% Overall return (Indexed fund returns over 40 years == 12%. source)
  • -3.5% Inflation adjustment
  • -0.5% Management fees (Similar to Fidelity Portfolio Advisory Service. source)
  • -5.2% Annual payout


With these numbers, fund will gain 0.8% annual value over time, which can be used as hedge against poor market performance.

  • I'd be careful with assuming a 10% return. While long term history shows that to be the case, in the previous 10 years the S&P 500 has yielded under 8%. Additionally, if you are planning to deduct money out of the fund every year, one bad year can have catastrophic effects on the overall viability of the fund since you would be forced to liquidate assets at non-optimal prices. I would urge a more conservative measure. I would be happy look into these options with you as well since this is one of my areas of expertise. -Nightbrood


Participation

AltSlashdot will employ N people for site management. Site will accrue profits until N times $1 million is attained, and then award each employee with one annuity.

This is the weak point 'site will accrue profits' but how? Advertising? advertorials? Donations? In general, I'd suggest that we use a standard template that deals with cash flow, income etc.

  • It has been awhile since I have been in the website business. What is the non-intrusive advertising market like as far as compensation rates? I'd be against advertorials. It is bad enough that supposedly reputable places like CNN and CNBC are littered with them. Donations and Premium subscriptions are another cash flow stream that could make the site viable. Especially if we are transparent what donations are used for etc. -Nightbrood


Comments

This is very good for 'employees' but it does nothing to prevent the same thing as happened to Slashdot 1.0. How is this new endeavor going to protect its users and be accountable to them? What prevents this from being a pump and dump? ~ElectricTurtle

  • I have to agree with the others, I do not mind us starting something with paid staff. However, I do not feel this effort would be met with success if we essentially tell our community that this business won't mistreat them like the prior one did. Even though the prior one said they would not change anything. At this point, I think many in the community would be reticent to trade one corporate master for another. - Nightbrood
  • Agree with Electric... Primary purpose of any fund should be to cover operating costs, then worry about paying the people who run the place. To get a true quourum of /. here, I think it needs to be more open source than that, with assurances that the community won't lose out again... -- CoolHnd30
  • I suppose it means that those involved in running this venture will bust their asses to make sure the fund hits that magic number. It would mean keeping visitors happy for how ever long that takes, spreading the word, and making that $$ come in. If the community isn't happy, people wont see ads / buy merch, and retirement never comes. I'm just assuming that's the thought process. - Cactus
    • And once the goal is reached, the oligarchs can just turn on the community again, cash out, and say "Deuces!" while they get paid in perpetuity. ~ElectricTurtle
      • True enough. Any suggestions on what would allay community fears while letting Okian Warrior do something at least similar to what he wants to try? I really think this idea could be a very strong motivator to those involved... but I don't know what would keep it from possibly going down in flames once the goal is reached. - Cactus
        • I had made a suggestion [1] about establishing some guarantees in a charter that can only be changed with buy-in from the userbase. (Unlike the sundry TOS where terms can be changed at any time without notice bullshit.)--ElectricTurtle (talk) 13:23, 6 February 2014 (MST)
          • I'm all for a "Bill of Rights" thing. If people are to switch over wholesale from Slashdot, the general community will need to come up with a list of demands, or a charter or something. We can't completely ruin any desire to run this site, but I think there are things a userbase can reasonably expect from a community driven site.
  • Well, if you want to do this and not succumb to the "sold out" aspect, then the 'annuities' need to be in the form of shares - then the people who contributed to make the site get a say in how and what happens to it, and if the majority think selling out is a bad thing, then it will not get sold off. Sure, you need income to pay hosting and other things, but I think that can come with a subtle bit of advertising stuck off the bottom. Or you can sell the userbase's details to the marketeers .. like "not evil" Google does. Anyway, I think it should be more concerned with being more open source and idealistic from the start.
    • I second this motion of shares; the meme du jour is that The Users are Slashdot - let's make it literally true. If you buy a sub, you buy a share in the profits of any advertising after expenses, plus a vote on the future direction of the website. --Kell
  • micropayments for highly rated posts? --CoolHnd30
    • That is an interesting idea. I have always wanted to reward people who take the time to contribute high quality content to a site. May be an idea worth considering but determining how such a system will work would require some thought. - Nightbrood
  • What about using a "premium" model, as arstechnica does? People paying like 1$ or 5$ a month don't get ads. Plus a pdf of the most insulting comments that month :)
  • Have you thought of created a cooperative? You would be CEO but managed by a board of directors. Board of directors would be elected by members. Members would be anyone who wants to pay for *premium* membership (no ads) with a $5 annual membership share. Members have a right to vote for the board of directors who make decisions about how the organization is run. One member one vote. You're still profitable but DICE-type heavy handed decisions are impossible because in most cooperatives, major decisions require a referendum by the membership. Something to consider, NCBA in the USA or ICA internationally have tons of resources on setting them up.
    • I like this idea. There are piles of resources online that will direct you in setting up a co-op. - Cactus
    • I like the idea of a cooperative. This should ultimately be for the community and would remove the negative stigma attached to a conventional corporation. - Nightbrood
  • I am curious why you are proposing this model rather than just hiring people, or profit-sharing. I see practical problems with its implementation: how can you be sure the site will ever make N times $1 million? What about people who work hard for six or twelve months and burn out before you hit the magic number -- they get nothing? What about someone who joins the team late? And so on. I respect the novelty of your idea but if I were one of three developers and you only(!) made $2 million the first year, I would feel kind of shafted working all year for nothing when there are $2 million sitting in the bank. Doubly so, if something bad happened and the site shut down without ever having paid anyone. Sir Garlon
  • If it's for-profit, that'll always be the primary goal, regardless of any other suggestion. Has to be community driven and supported by donations. Also, the goal shouldn't be to attract people, but to aggregate the best content and discussions.
    • Can I support idea to drive the site from community contributions and public donations? Take a page from kickstarter and offer an involved donation menu - be transparent about your ongoing costs etc and how much is recommended to keep things afloat. Some sort of small visual indicator of the overall status can be shown at the top of the main page. Donations can even be broken down into different goals if necessary.