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I’m wondering if Lobsters is going to be more of a community project or more of a commercial project, since that has a bearing on its ultimate direction. I’m asking this not so much to get a direct answer but more to elicit a discussion.

Is it all kind of just in the process of being figured out or is there something more behind it that us users are unaware of?

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    It is definitely not a commercial project.

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      I don’t have any inside information, but it feels like it can survive as a community project, especially given that the codebase is open source.

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        I would “fund” a good amount towards kick starter as long as I don’t have to read HN comments anymore and could get good, informative technical discussions on the web for once.

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          What about an option to donate? Not that it would ever bring in anything over the long term, but I think many of us early adopters may be likely to pitch in.

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            Metafilter and Pinboard have approaches which may work — small, upfront cost for joining, something to offset hosting fees. Pinboard

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              For Metafilter, at least – I think the joining fee is mostly to encourage higher quality participation.

              Matt Haughey – the creator of Metafilter

              The $5 one-time fee to participate (beyond reading for free) isn’t really part of any business model. It doesn’t bring in enough revenue to even cover hosting costs, but it lessens the load on myself and the other moderators, it virtually rids the site of drive-by fly-by-night spammers, and it helps make sure people really, really want to be there.

              via http://blog.metaprinter.com/2008/12/metafilter-founder-matt-haughey-qa-including-a-few-newspaper-answers/

              If someone’s entire invite tree is at risk, that’s presumably not an issue here

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              I can see this project becoming a bit of a time & resource hog for jcs if readership keeps increasing steadily. I really wouldn’t mind contributing to the hosting cost of a project that provides me with quality tech news and discussions.

              I’m not convinced by a pay-to-join model, but I’ve never been a user of either Metafilter or Pinboard.

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                I like Lobsters a lot, but (unlike HN) does need a monetization strategy. Metafilter is phenomenal, but, to me, the ads really get intrusive – i assume that’s because the $5 i paid to join doesn’t keep it going.

                https://skitch.com/aronchick/etjwr/canadian-have-the-day-off-thank-some-toronto-typographers-metafilter

                I hope there’s a way to balance, maybe find a larger partner to do (tasteful) ad sales? Reddit/Conde Nast?

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                  Why does it need to be monetized?

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                    To make it worth your time to continue working on it, I’d guess. Or at least to keep the servers running.

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                      If hosting costs every get in the way of keeping Lobsters online my company will happily donate some of our excess compute capacity. I really like the way this is developing I will continue to be part of it.

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                      +1 for Dan. This is really cool, but I can’t see a way it could be totally free – bandwidth, your time, etc is going to cost something.