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ATS Money & Ethics

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posted on Jan, 26 2006 @ 11:41 PM
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Are there any figures available for the amount of money that is made on ATS from advertising, merchandise and any other intake? Plus showing how it is spent on ATS bills and where any extra money goes?



Simon Gray posted on 19-6-2004 at 08:59 PM

I am the owner of this site. It is not part of a company, limited, incorporated or otherwise. I am a sole practitioner with colleagues throughout the world who help operate AboveTopSecret.com. All monetary payments which maintain the continued service of our server are made to myself or SkepticOverlord. This is through funding created by advertising campaigns. You could carry out a business search but it would prove pointless. Myself and SkepticOverlord own the numerous domain names among the ATS universe. It is not a necessity to become a limited company to operate such a community as ours....

Google Cached Link



How can ATS claim ethics over other sites who make a buck when it's taking in money from content provided by others and not providing any reference to where that money is going and how it's being spent?

Obviously there are expenses for ATS but anything made beyond covering expenses equals profit. Once you make profit, your a commercial site. Are any taxes paid from this sites income? Does the IRS collect anything from ATS? Or should be believe that ATS runs on a loss each month?

For all we know you have a few hundred dollars of expenses each month and then make a few thousand dollars for your own personal bank account while intimidating other websites or even your own members if they don't follow what ATS says is 'ethical' in regards to commercial websites promoting conspiracy.

ATS is designed to fill search engines, mainly google, with top positions for anything related to a 'conspiracy', this is obvious and can be explained with more than one reason to be fair, thou the efforts to encourage as much discussion on ATS as possible, inviting others to 'come to ATS to discuss' etc, plus the other methods like tagging and adding the hot topic ('Project Serpo etc') links to the top of EVERYPAGE is to make ATS the number 1 reference on search engines. In otherwords, the more people who provide content, the more ATS will grow into THE source for conspiracy discussion and earn more money.

This makes someone an increasing amount of money. Money that is made from other peoples thoughts, ideas and research yet you'll ban members or threaten sites with legal action if they link or copy ATS material, material gathered from around the net and posted under monikers, and are selling their own wares to presumably also pay for their expenses. You will let it slide however IF that site conforms to your requests about refrencing AboveTopSecret in multiple ways, in otherwords, adding more data for the search engines to push ATS up the ladder - the money making cycle continues. It's a google bombing technique of it's own.

So i ask, is ATS really about 'denying ignorance' or is about making moolah?
Are the members able to find out how much money ATS brings in through the advertising the members help promote and how those funds are delegated?

Or is that simply none of our business? Are the members not privy to how the Boss uses the funds made from their work?



Abovetopsecret.com is quite simply using its members as a free labor force to do work for them: Get more pages in Google which will draw more people to the site which will increase the labor force which will create more pages to get more people, to make more money.

laura-knight-jadczyk.blogspot.com...


Don't worry, i'm not Laura's source but i find her articles very interesting and they expose quiet a bit of potential hypocracy with ATS policy about those who make money off conspiracy and/or disinformation.

It would be a good edition to ATS if it could show some valid accounting of it's money intake vs it's expenses if it wishes to stress to it's members that sites that are set up to make money off conspiracy may not be valid sources for consideration.





[edit on 26-1-2006 by TheShroudOfMemphis]




posted on Jan, 26 2006 @ 11:52 PM
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Good grief.

You and I and everyone else choose freely to be here.

We all know that when we post our stuff on the Net the site owners own our stuff. Check out MSN's terms for example. You're not gonna see any Creative Commons Open Access copyrights there. Trust me.

In general, posting on the Net invites theft. Kinda like waving a flag that says, "Here I am! Steal me."

Simon and SkepticOverlord have busted their butts to get this site up and running and keep it going. Of course, I always wonder about that Springer guy.


IMO - These guys have a RIGHT to profit. They put in their time, and their money, skills, sweat and God knows how many marriages. Of all the products I use everyday, all of which I pay for, THIS one gives me the biggest benefit. And it's FREE.

...What's WITH all the conspiranoia? It's downright virulent. Way worse than bird flu.


.



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 12:07 AM
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Don't worry, i'm not Laura's source but i find her articles very interesting and they expose quiet a bit of potential hypocracy with ATS policy about those who make money off conspiracy and/or disinformation.


Why exactly does she need a source? Any person can come on here and read it for themselves; you don't need an 'insider.'

Making ATS get more hits on Google is a smart thing to do, why do you think it's unethical? You've shown why it makes sense as a way to draw attention to the site. Why wouldn't a savy webmaster do his best to optimize search result hits? Is that not one of his/her jobs? I think SO even has a thread around here discussing why/how he does this...

I have no idea how much money these guys are taking in so i can't speak about any of that. I imagine the years invested building ATS to what it is today wasn't cheap. Why not make a profit?

[edit on 27-1-2006 by Rren]

[edit on 27-1-2006 by Rren]

[edit on 27-1-2006 by Rren]



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 12:10 AM
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Dear ATS;

Thank you for the free content you provide us with, and thank you for maintaining a message board on a great server that you graciously let us post on. We thank you for moderating it, keeping it clean and running smoothly. I also love that you give us generous amounts of bandwith and give us generous terms and conditions that allows even the weirdest theory to be voiced.

Signed,
Happy member



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 12:17 AM
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I second what Nerdling said. Thanks to the Springer, SImon and SKeptic for providing us a great site, and putting all the work you have put in to let us come here and keep it free.

-A very happy, yet seomtimes slightly frustrated member



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 12:19 AM
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I second what Soficrow and Nerdling said. I'd also like to add that I highly doubt Simon, SO, and Springer are sitting high on the hog off of a handful of banner clicks every day. And if they are, more power to them.

You say that ATS "claims ethics over other sites who make a buck..." Where was that at, and what sites were these? Did these happen to be sites that had the secrets to the world, and you can know all the answers for $9.95 a month? Were these sites that forced 20 popup ads and splattered porn banners along all the content? If that's the case, yeah, ATS has a hell of a lot more ethics.

They make money because they provide a service, they don't provide a service so they can make money. Big difference.

Edit to add: I hope Simon, SO, and Springer make a damn good chunk of change off of this, and whether they do or not I'm glad I've been allowed to take part in this community. I've done more thinking here than any other time in my life, and probably learned more than any three years at school. Of course, I've almost been fired a handful of times, but that's trivial.

[edit on 1/27/2006 by MCory1]



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 12:19 AM
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Who cares?


I really don't care what the internal structure or financing of this site is...I view at as pure entertainment, a diversion, just like a movie or cable channel. Whether Simon, Skeptic, and Springer are really nice people donating all proceeds to charity or money-grubbing evil illuminati reptilian agents (or something in between) doesn't really matter...



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 12:36 AM
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ATS membership = FREE

Openly discuss and debate a myriad of topics = FREE

Heated disagreements from opposing minds = FREE

Breaking News from a global membership = FREE

Receiving a WARN from Thomas Crowne = PRICELESS

'nuff said


[edit to add]
...nothing like taking a FREE ride on the coattails of others, eh, Shroud?













[edit on 1/27/2006 by 12m8keall2c]



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 12:38 AM
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Are there any figures available for the amount of money that is made on ATS from advertising, merchandise and any other intake? Plus showing how it is spent on ATS bills and where any extra money goes?


No and I don't think it's yours or anyone else's business. It's considered "rude" to ask someone how much money they make in real life, why would it be any different on the net?



How can ATS claim ethics over other sites who make a buck when it's taking in money from content provided by others and not providing any reference to where that money is going and how it's being spent?


Because the members have full rights to their own content as per the Creative Commons deed and ATS doesn't censor anything to my knowledge. This is not a Public company and is not obligated to provide any financial information in any way, shape or form. Please get off your "moral" high horse and just enjoy the house that Skeptic and Simon built with the help of the members of ATS.



Obviously there are expenses for ATS but anything made beyond covering expenses equals profit.


Bandwidth is expensive so anything made ontop of expenses is spent on upgrades. You would know this if you actually spend more then a few months here, things like Podcasts are not free and is just a money sink purely for the benefit of the members of ATS. If you don't like it you I'm sure you can find nonprofit site that discusses these types of topics. Oh wait they all suck NVRMD.



Once you make profit, your a commercial site.


Who has denied that this is a not for profit website?



Are any taxes paid from this sites income? Does the IRS collect anything from ATS?


MYOB. I'm sure that this site does pay a tiny amount of taxes but I don't know for sure nor do I care nor do the majority of the members who enjoy this site for what it is.



Or should be believe that ATS runs on a loss each month?


Skeptic has gone on record to say that this site makes a slight profit which goes straight into site upgrades which I believe as I've personally witness 3 server upgrades in my nearly 2 years of posting at this site. Those don't come cheap and I'm sure when you take that into account it's a break even scenario. You see there is something called a Labor of love something which I'm sure is a foreign concept to you, but I'm sure that is why Simon and Skeptic keep improving this site as it's not exactly a lucrative business.



For all we know you have a few hundred dollars of expenses each month and then make a few thousand dollars for your own personal bank account while intimidating other websites or even your own members if they don't follow what ATS says is 'ethical' in regards to commercial websites promoting conspiracy.


You have no idea how much bandwidth and server upgrades cost do you? I suggest you setup a competitor website to ATS and try to grow it and you'll see just how hard it is.



ATS is designed to fill search engines, mainly google, with top positions for anything related to a 'conspiracy', this is obvious and can be explained with more than one reason to be fair, thou the efforts to encourage as much discussion on ATS as possible, inviting others to 'come to ATS to discuss' etc, plus the other methods like tagging and adding the hot topic ('Project Serpo etc') links to the top of EVERYPAGE is to make ATS the number 1 reference on search engines. In otherwords, the more people who provide content, the more ATS will grow into THE source for conspiracy discussion and earn more money.


Yeah that's the point of a web forum
If you think it's unethical to be successful then boohoo, cry me a river. I'm happy for the site ownership for their "success" in creating something that the members and staff are proud of. You do not have to be here you know, no one is forcing you to discuss anything on this site and frankely I think you're just a webmaster of a competitor website whos just jelous.

Also the only reason I've seen people get banned is for being an asshole, attacking other members, hacking this website or conducting criminal activity.



This makes someone an increasing amount of money. Money that is made from other peoples thoughts, ideas and research yet you'll ban members or threaten sites with legal action if they link or copy ATS material,


People are only allowed to link and copy works from ATS for non-profit purposes. Before the CC deed people weren't even allowed to do that so what would you have the Staff do? Go back to the old way and claim ownship of all the content on this site without giving any content rights to the authors? That's how most forums and websites do business.



material gathered from around the net and posted under monikers, and are selling their own wares to presumably also pay for their expenses. You will let it slide however IF that site conforms to your requests about refrencing AboveTopSecret in multiple ways, in otherwords, adding more data for the search engines to push ATS up the ladder - the money making cycle continues. It's a google bombing technique of it's own.


The content author has to be attributed as well. I know of a couple people on this site who've recieved well paying writing jobs for their work on ATS because whatever they put on this site is attributed to them and it works in their favor. It's called building a personal reputation something I've been working hard at.



So i ask, is ATS really about 'denying ignorance' or is about making moolah?
Are the members able to find out how much money ATS brings in through the advertising the members help promote and how those funds are delegated?


Again it comes down to MYOB. It's none of your business but I'm sure SO will tell you that he doesn't do this "just for the money" but what is that worth to you? Apparently nothing.



Or is that simply none of our business? Are the members not privy to how the Boss uses the funds made from their work?


Stick around and you'll see. I've mentioned Sever upgrades, functionality upgades and hosting fees. And for the actual figures it isn't our business overall. There is a new program called the Conspiracy Master where the members who are "hired" to participate in that Forum Directory will get a piece of the pie will you then demand that they also disclose how much they are making of their contributions? MYOB.


Don't worry, i'm not Laura's source but i find her articles very interesting and they expose quiet a bit of potential hypocracy with ATS policy about those who make money off conspiracy and/or disinformation.


Yeah right, you probably authored that blog




It would be a good edition to ATS if it could show some valid accounting of it's money intake vs it's expenses if it wishes to stress to it's members that sites that are set up to make money off conspiracy may not be valid sources for consideration.


I wouldn't mind that but then again I would understand if they didn't want to go to the effort. I personally wouldn't just to appease a couple of disgruntled former members.

[edit on 27-1-2006 by sardion2000]



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 12:45 AM
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Originally posted by 12m8keall2c

ATS membership = FREE

Openly discuss and debate a myriad of topics = FREE

Heated disagreements from opposing minds = FREE

Breaking News from a global membership = FREE

Receiving a WARN from Thomas Crowne = PRICELESS

'nuff said


I agree with everything but the last line. The last line should read:

"Receiving banning powers from Thomas Crowne = PRICELESS"



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 12:52 AM
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Oh yeah I just want to go on the record and say that I hope Skeptic, Simon and Springer make tens of thousands of dollars per month off of this website(eventually). They deserve it for all the hardwork they've put into the place wether it's thinking up the idea of this website(Simon Grey), Coding, Debugging and Upgrading this site(SkepticOverlord) and well I'm not sure waht Springer does for ats but I'm sure it's integral(didn't you save this site from going under way back when? I seem to remember something along those lines)
(Springer).

To all three of you guys for doing an excellant job.


To all the Super mods and Mods

and a
to all the members that actually make this wonderfull site possible because without the members this site is NOTHING!

[edit on 27-1-2006 by sardion2000]



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 12:58 AM
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Originally posted by sardion2000
... well I'm not sure waht Springer does for ats but I'm sure it's integral(didn't you save this site from going under way back when? I seem to remember something along those lines)
(Springer).


Yeah, with all due respect (and best wishes), what exactly does Springer do? I know his title is something like "Director of Business Operations" or something to that effect; what are the duties he performs? Just curious--a MYOB will suffice if necessary



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 01:04 AM
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There is some validity to the question asked. I didn't read the whole post, but in a nutshell, does ATS publish a financial statement? I do believe that the three amigos have formed a legal entity and I know that some publishing enterprises are required to publish some information about circulation and such.

I really do think that those of us who participate have a right to ask such questions, even if the answer is no.

Actually, Laura Knight Jadczyk has a pretty good handle on the behavioral and psychological aspects of ATS, but I think she sells most members short. Most here understand the model. It's all covered in Psych 101 in the chapter on BF Skinner. The business part is over my head and I really don't give a hoot about that.


[edit on 2006/1/27 by GradyPhilpott]



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 01:06 AM
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Oh. You see, Zaphod? That hurt. And after I have been trying to turn over a new, kinder and gentler leaf.


I'd ban you, but it'd just end up making you president of the internet, or something like that.

One of these days I'm going to read the ATS instruction manual the Overlord sent me and you'll all be SO sorry!

You know, the whining about something that is none of anyone's concern is totally hilarious. I assure you, these guys are not making a bunch of money. Believe it or not, they are here because they love it, as the rest of us who work for this board do. Most of the money goes to keeping this place up and running, and keeping it secure so disgruntled idjits and jealous dolts can't take it down by dubious and cowardly ways. Why do they do this? Why do they continuously spend gobs of money getting bigger and better servers and more secure equipment and thingies and gadgets? Because those three love this place.

Look around, this place has people from all over the world, people who totally agree with one another, and people who totally disagree with one another, having discussions. We laugh and cry together, we share our failing health and our proudest moments together. We do this in spite of distance and borders, and we cross beliefs and faiths. Wouldn't you spend any potential profit to make this place better? Then you see why they aren't making a mint, and why what little change they MIGHT get to put in their pockets isn't at all worth the BS they take.

The most ironic thing is, a member gets to complain about this site ON this site, and isn't going to be bounced for being such a complainer. Does anyone else find the irony? It also makes me wonder, does the member whine about the potential for profit because deep down, the person knows what he would do?

Regardless, everyone enjoy the board, post nicely, follow the simple yet numerous rules to the best of your ability, and the Three Amigos will continue the labor of love so that we can all meet again tomorrow.

Your loving and harmonmious backup administrator,

TC

[edit on 27-1-2006 by Thomas Crowne]



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 01:20 AM
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I didn't read the whole post, but in a nutshell, does ATS publish a financial statement?


The only people obligated to see the financial statements of ATS are those who own part of ATS. (and the Taxman)

If this were a public company(or a registered nonprofit) then it would be completely different but it isn't so it's a non-issue.


[edit on 27-1-2006 by sardion2000]

[edit on 27-1-2006 by sardion2000]



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 03:17 AM
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I'm all for the people who make ATS happen making money from it, i don't care about that BUT, if they are claiming they are making a fair and balanced website which looks down on other sites which profit from the content those sites have (which is a big part of the 9/11 and UFO boards), isn't that a very hypocritical point of view to be pushing? How is that 'denying ignorance'? Your view point might differ from theirs and you might say 'well they are one sided and don't look into all sides evenly like we do' but ATS makes it's money from not being one sided, a one sided discussion wouldn't create as many pages for ATS - so, that's not an excuse either. Lively discussion is what ATS is all about because that makes pages and more pages is the MO to making ATS popular and viable.

Basically, my point was, why try to discredit other sites simply because they try to make money from their content or something linked off their site, especially if they have a different opinion or call out an ATS post specifically?

It's true other sites have been discredited because they've been linked to a book or a DVD and only will those web authors have their view points acknowledged if they come to ATS and post, become part of the creating the ATS pages.

Why? Because that's how ATS earns it's bucks.
So why not just come out and say, this is a website for making money so the guys who run it can make a living, that's why we wan't to build ATS pages and flood search engines with them?

Why try to act like it's a charity, like it's just here to be a databse of information and we're the ones lucky to be able to access it, even thou it's our posting which make the content which make ATS earn an income and get it those google positions?

If you don't want to discredit other sites when trying to get above their opinion by focusing on the fact that they are making money off their content, then my suggestion was - show us how the money made from ATS and the content the members fill it with, is spent on ATS or the people who run it. It doesn't have to be an intensive detailed IRS breakdown of every cent passed through ATS but it would be very interesting to know how much is being generated each month and how it's divided, especially when it's obvious the more pages and the more search results = the more income.

The 'conspiracy' would be that ATS content is herded in a way which pumps up page numbers to increase search presence to dominate the internet world of 'conspiracy content', this can make ATS supported opinion seem like fact or the difinitive word to many people even if it's not entirely true. Again, only a conspiracy if ATS is going to pretend it's a lot of hard work just to find the truth, and that's where the COINTELPRO thing started up because of the now infamous CatHerder post which lended to that theory. If ATS is purely for making money, then herding discussion makes perfect sense, it's good business but apparently that's not a proper topic to talk about because that's not what the founders are in it for? Or we don't want to acknowledge that because it would mean ATS isn't the beacon of integrity it portrays?

Personally, i'd feel more comfortable knowing ATS is a money making business and that's why it's run like it is rather than pretend it's a full time hobby, that looks down on websites who make profits off their content in order to validate a conspiracy or not, because they are on a quest for the truth.

I guess this forum in paticular is only really read by the loyal ATS fans who don't really want to talk about this much more logical aspect to ATS, kinda like those who love a government beyond reproach. Call that loyalty i guess, or patriotism.



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 03:20 AM
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Because it's one thing to run a site like ATS where you can talk about anything and everything, and make a little money doing it. It's quite another thing to run a site that pushes an agenda like selling books, and looks down on people taking away from their book sales/movie sales/whatever sales. If ATS is making money, it's not because they have an agenda or are pushing sales of something, which seems to be the sites they are talking about.



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 04:35 AM
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TheShroudOfMemphis,

There is a small but significant difference between ATS and (at least some of the) "other sites which profit from the content those sites have" that ATS was not created expressly with the purpose of being profitable. Some people and/or companies have their own websites which they use to push their products (books, videos, magazines, whatever) and that purpose is the sites only reason of existence. Doing that is not wrong, but neither is wrong to restrict and/or outright prevent others for making a buck with your efforts without at least giving proper attribution.

While I don't necessarily think that all the bells and whistles on ATS are that useful, but that's progress and having those additions avoids ATS to become a stagnant community. I sort of get the feeling that there are people who are jealous of ATS and since they don't have either the time, resources or skills to compete evenly, they try to pull ATS down to their level by making wild accusations and publishing distorted facts. For example the quote from SimonGray you included in your first message is 18 months old. Lot has happened since then, and there is no indication that the information SimonGray presented then is still accurate. And from reading that blog entry, I didn't see any mention about the author trying to find out how things stand.

From what I've understood (and I might very well be wrong), Abovetopsecret.com LLP was formed when Springer joined SG and SO making a partnership. In this thread from 21/7/05 SG makes the announcement about the formation, over an year after that previous quote which is now used as "proof" that ATS administrators/owners have questionable ethics.
Now, what does this say about the ethics of the original "Deep Throat" who is the author of that blog entry. The blog entry is dated 24th of January 2006 - if it was from 24/1/05 then I could understand it a bit better.

I used to run a large board (1.8M messages and about 5000 users when I got rid of it last fall) and I have quite good grasp of what it takes to run a large board with lots of traffic. And those expenses can easily run into thousands even without breaking a sweat. I didn't want to form a business around it, and I couldn't afford to run it myself and upgrade etc. so I sold it off. And I can even tell the price. It was 55€, which happens to be the amount I paid for the initial domain registration. Best offer I got was 3000€. I wasn't in it for the money (or the fame), and from my discussions with SO I understood that neither is the current ATS ownership.

It is quite possible that ATS is in the black now, but that surely hasn't been the case for the first 6-7 years of existence. And that's not even counting any value for the time and labour spent on working with the day-to-day running of the site.

I have talked the talk and walked the walk so I'm pretty sure I know what I'm talking about. And SO, my offer still stands...



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 05:19 AM
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I just read as much as I could stomach of TheShroudOfMemphis link and I have to say, if anyone takes this load of excrement seriously, perhaps you are a victim of them, not ATS (as they suggest). I mean, how can you know for sure?

On the other hand, ATS have been totally open with their members about the business end of this board as it happens. They didn't have to, they choose to. The finer details are nobody's business.

If it's working for you stay and enjoy. If it's not stop being silly and propagating what you think the problems are.


Personally, I find this a quality site, no matter what the motives are and how they do it. I'll put my money on the ethical standards here over any specualtion to the contrary of the ethical standards elsewhere.



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 05:40 AM
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Originally posted by TheShroudOfMemphis
For all we know you have a few hundred dollars of expenses each month ...



Wow, I want a dedicated server cluster that can hammer out page after thousand page every single day to the thousands of simultaneous visitors and viewers online at any given moment, for just a couple of hundred a month!



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