General discussion re sg.


Postby bob1 » Mon Aug 16, 2004 11:44 pm

I have just come upon the spamgourmet. My question: Cost? I don't see $$ associated with anything. Where does the revenue to run a site like this come from? Out of the goodness of someones heart? Just an honest question from someone who's been bitten before.

Postby josh » Tue Aug 17, 2004 1:04 am

The service has been free for nearly four years, and we don't see a reason why it won't be in the future. We pay market rates for bandwidth and servers, but the cost is covered by donations and the google ads. The service has *always* been "in the black", except for the first month, where I did actually have to cough up the $10 hosting fee (that's how much it cost per month until July 2003, when we outgrew the web hosting account, and had to move to "real" servers). We also pay for most of the domain name registrations, but that isn't too much.

Beyond that, we've designed the service in a way that's calculated to minimize costs. Browse the forums, and you'll see us pushing back on requested features that we believe would be too expensive. The auto-expiring nature of spamgourmet's email addresses allows us to handle a lot more users that we would otherwise -- the way the statistics work out, over 9 out of 10 email messages is "eaten" by spamgourmet, and it's much cheaper to ignore a message than it is to forward it. Likewise, we'll reject a new feature if it looks like it'll give rise to a big support burden.

The site and service have a "geeky" presentation -- that may change soon, but it has been important so far. We believe it has had the effect of scaring off people who would require a lot of support. The core of users that have signed up so far are, well, geeks -- most don't need support, and are also willing to give support (on this board and elsewhere) to users who do. If we had done a flashy, well promoted offering before building this base, we might well have been overwhelmed.

The people part of the service (development, support, language translation, etc.) is performed by volunteers, but, to my knowledge, none of us have that 'overwhelmed' feeling. I personally think it's a lot of fun, and I hope the others do, too. When we need to, we take a break - development slows down, etc. (obviously, the service stays up, but that's provided by computers, not people -- the computers don't get breaks :) ). The support burden has been small enough that it has never posed a problem -- we've never felt the need to take a break from support. This board, as I mentioned, and other places like newsgroups, help, too. It's incredible to surf up and see that a question has been asked and answered by people I don't know. More than once, the unknown benefactor has perused our open source code to come up with the answer.

Other aspects of the service have been donated by companies, like our test server, and soon, backup DNS. Additionally, some people have donated domain names. As I mentioned above, though, the core of services necessary to make spamgourmet work are fully paid for -- this insulates us from policy changes in donor companies, and the like.

That's it -- there's no investor who will come demanding a return on investment. There's no capital cost in terms of offices, leases, etc., and no debt. We've spent (and intend to spend) exactly $0 on marketing, and feel no pressure to grow the service artificially.

I hope that answers your question --- I'd be happy to expound further and to entertain any more on the subject as well.
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Postby SysKoll » Tue Aug 17, 2004 3:18 am


That's a wonderfully written expnalantion. It needs to go in the FAQ. Cut-and-paste it, please!
-- SysKoll
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Postby JohnC » Tue Aug 17, 2004 11:54 am

Out of curiosity, did you get a lot of response when you were mentioned in Playboy?
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Postby Frac » Tue Aug 17, 2004 6:30 pm

JohnC wrote:Out of curiosity, did you get a lot of response when you were mentioned in Playboy?

Josh was mentioned in Playboy? Congratulations, Josh, on having some unnamed characteristic that warrants special attention by Playboy.

Oh, or did you mean SpamGourmet got a mention... nevermind.

Postby josh » Tue Aug 17, 2004 8:06 pm

I had no idea about a mention in Playboy -- I sometimes look at clickthroughs to see where traffic is coming from, but if the mention is merely in a paper publication, I can't tell anything about it. Most recently we were mentioned in Wired Magazine's website in a story about, and we got tons of traffic from that. I can say that user registration is generally up in the last couple of months, independently of that.

I have a stack of magazines at home that have articles that mention spamgourmet -- you think my wife would understand if I told her why I have an issue of Playboy? :)
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Postby JohnC » Tue Aug 17, 2004 10:52 pm

I think she would understand, after all this is about advertising not hooters. Anyway, this was an article from many moons ago. It is actually how I found your site. Looking back at my disposables, it looks like about April of 2001.

Kudos to you both....

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Postby bob1 » Sat Aug 21, 2004 4:31 pm

Thanks for the reply Josh. I didn't see the Q&A's or wouldn't have ask such a question. I just saw the main web site. It looks good to me. Guess I'll try it now.
Thanks again.

Playboy mention

Postby Jj4 » Mon Feb 28, 2005 8:27 pm

John C said ....

"I think she would understand, after all this is about advertising not hooters"

One way or another .... in the end .... EVERYTHING is about hooters!


Financial Status of Spamgourmet

Postby mysticturner » Mon Jun 13, 2005 6:20 am

I got to this thread by following the news comment from 5-18 (I think) about the recent drive crash. As all of us know, SG is a wonderful thing and we'd all hate to see it disappear or go away for a while due to bad hardware. Which brings up the question, what is the financial status of SG? How much would need to be collected to replace the server? Or do we have the money now? Anyway, if I am wondering, and have no easy way to find out the financial status, I'm sure 99% of our user community is in the same boat. If we posted a 'help we need x $ to buy a new server' on the home page, I'd think that enough could be raised quickly. Since SG manages to survive the day to day, people don't donate because they don't see a need to (myself included).

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Re: Playboy mention

Postby Guest » Wed Jun 15, 2005 12:09 pm

Jj4 wrote:.... EVERYTHING is about hooters!
. . . Or, rather, mankind's desire to pack a REALLY BIG "SERVER". . .

I learned of spamgourmet through ['Counter Exploitation'] when I was researching something on censorship.

I think every ISP should use a spamgourmet/spammotel arrangement for their email systems. Of course, ISPs would want a spammotel-type computer-generated random disposable system for on-line use, and would want to reserve the all-paper-and-pencil SG system for users that are away from their computers. The translation from 'Aunt Tilly' to her matching disposable 'word' could be handled automatically by the ISPs server.

I think that adoption by even the barest majority of ISP's would cause the spammers' customer base to give up.

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