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ATS = Altruism - Trust - Sincerity

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posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 07:29 PM
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I thought it a timely moment in ATS's history to proactively revisit a reoccurring topic, that of the management of AboveTopSecret.com.

Disclaimer: Many members and former members that have run afoul of ATS staff for one reason or another will likely not agree with much of what you're about to read. If you're one of those people, it might be best to simply stop reading now and avoid the inevitable.

Over the past year, there have been several new demands on the owners, staff, and hardware that keeps ATS up and running as a 100% free service -- a service that is a relentless advocate of and source for free expression. The challenges have occurred in many forms: 1) We've had periods of intense drama as long-standing staff and valued old-timer members disagree with what they perceive to be a "new direction". 2) We've had numerous issues (most of it unseen by the majority of members) of stressful staff-events related to troublesome new members and off-site detractors. 3) And to top it all off, our increasing popularity has presented a long list infrastructure issues that remain hair-pulling quandaries (see my avatar).

Today, we're at another cusp in our growth, the first being in April of 2003 when we moved to our first dedicated server and opened the technological flood gates. That event literally illustrated the concept of, "if you build it they will come", as our traffic sky-rocketed simply because ATS was more reliable.

But we've reached what appears to be a plateau -- there is a finite number of people who would seek out the kind of topics presented on ATS. The good news is that thanks to all of your efforts, they're finding us. The bad news is that any entity must continue to grow, or there is risk of stagnation and decay... and this is the nature of our current cusp.

Over the next year, we'll be taking some steps to alleviate some of the infrastructure issues, combined with a list of very exciting new features for all members (and event guests). In addition, we plan begin our first-ever venture into the arena of promoting the ATS community via a number of vehicles, including mass-market advertising.

And, this brings me back to the opening comments of this thread and the thread title: ATS = Altruism - Trust - Sincerity

Given that there will be the inevitable comments of; "the amigos are just in it for the money", or some other such knee-jerk reaction, I thought it might be a good idea to preemptively put out some basic aspects of the vision that has been, and always will be ATS.

Altruism: The basic idea of "ATS" as an ethically managed vehicle for free expression is what brought us this far, and will never change. Many of our members and staff are long standing contributors/collaborators primarily because of this. We see our commitment to altruistic ideals as the cornerstone of everything ATS does now and in the future.

Trust: The basic idea that "ATS" can be trusted as a place to engage in thought-provoking exchanges on controversial topics will never change. We do not now, nor will we in the future track or otherwise record the posting and browsing activity of our members or guests. We retain no server logs. We only ask for your email address to register for membership.

Sincerity: The basic idea that "ATS" has no "official" position on any one topic is proof of our sincerity of supporting all angles of any given discussion, even if an angle conflicts with the opinions of owners and staff. We may work to promote well-presented material that has a particular position, but we do that to promote the quality efforts of our members, not their specific conclusions.

And let me make one thing clear... yes, I would like to make some money from ATS. Nothing would give me greater professional joy than to be fortunate enough to derive enough income from this outstanding community such that I could devote 100% of my efforts to it, and you the members. And I believe I can say the same for Simon and Springer. Right now, ATS is very far from that kind of revenue... but with some new effort... who knows.

So in the next few months, you're going to see some activity that may inspire some detractors to vocally cast doubt on the goals of ATS. If I haven't already made it clear, let me close with this:
"ATS also equals Altruism, Trust, and Sincerity" is the single-most important idea in the minds of the "Three Amigos".

If at any point you feel we've lost the plot, feel free to direct us back to this post.

Thank you.




.




posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 07:44 PM
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huh...I always thought it was Above Top Secret....damn it, who tricked me now?

but still I dont see how you cant be making a good deal of money off of ATS, even without charging members. I imagine them ads make a good deal of profit.

dont take it the wrong way, I have no problem with anybody making money off running ATS. Its quite the job, and its your creation which has grown. So obviously if your making money, its rightfully deserved. Haters are haters and just made they cant come up with a site that can make them money.

I have no problem with you making money, Id just like to believe you would tell us you are, or simply not tell us you aren't if you are. Trust is something I hope I can have for the owners of this site when they say they aren't making. I would hate to have to hear/see proof that you were making money BUT telling us you weren't.

Just my 2 cents. I dont mind you making money, just don't want to find out Im being lied to by the creators of "deny ignorance". thats all. Not saying you are, just heard things circulating around, and hoping its not true.



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 07:46 PM
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niiice post


can't wait to see the new updates...





posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 07:50 PM
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Originally posted by grimreaper797
I have no problem with you making money, Id just like to believe you would tell us you are, or simply not tell us you aren't if you are.


Currently, after a lengthy period of banner ad testing, and a long list of test alternatives in the Google ads (that were specific to guests... members never saw most of this), we're in the area of some income beyond the cost of the servers that is split among the Amigos (I didn't know this wasn't clear).

I think Springer is looking for more than that, which is why he laments that "we're making no money", but we're never sure what amount will change his tune.


[edit on 16-11-2006 by SkepticOverlord]



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 07:52 PM
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It has been said "Do What You Love, The Money Will Come".

If you love ATS (And you Three obviously do!) I see no reason why you should worry about "making a few bob for the bother".

With a bit of clever marketing, the Three Amigos might just become world-class celebrities. And we all know the power of celebrity!

Why should Bono get all the great PR?



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 07:53 PM
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Sounds good. I look forward to the changes. Hell as long as you get rid of that stupid buzzing ad I'll be happy. Cant wait to see what happens.



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 07:55 PM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
Currently, after a lengthy period of banner ad testing, and a long list of test alternatives in the Google ads (that were specific to guests... members never saw most of this), we're in the area of some income beyond the cost of the servers that is split among the Amigos (I didn't know this wasn't clear).

I think Springer is looking for more than that, which is why he laments that "we're making no money", but we're never sure what amount will change his tune.


[edit on 16-11-2006 by SkepticOverlord]


So wait, is it profit, or is it going back into the site?

Im just alil lost with the springer quote. Is he saying "were making no money" because your using the profit to upgrade or what? Im confused by what you meant, sorry for my inability to function today lol.



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 07:56 PM
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I'm actually quite interested in what these changes will be, I'm sure
they'll be for the best though, even if we don't like changes when
they happen (as seen in the past) we end up either liking them or
just accepting them as normal eventually.

I did'nt figure you guys made alot if anything from the site, what
with the expenses that the site must cost a month.

But hey, you guys deserve some payback (the good kind) for
making such a great site.



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 07:56 PM
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Very well said. The heartfeltness in that post made me want to reply not having an idea of the slightest thing to actually say!

Being almost 2am my time, I'll leave this comment with a simple
and a "We love you big guy!"



I noticed grimreaper's post while editing this up which made me want to add something else. I think with all the bickering that is directed towards us Amigos about earning money from ATS, it can be incredibly stressful when people expect us to be making a huge amount of money when in fact we aren't.

I know I sometimes feel a bit down and I'm sure S.O. and Springer do also... after such a long time putting so much effort into a longstanding hobby out of pride and enjoyment, when people constantly nag us saying we must make a load when we don't, we sometimes think "damn, maybe it would be nice to see something come our way..."

I personally would love to give SkepticOverlord a huge cheque (check) for all his hard work and help with the site. Perhaps one day I can, and I see no reason why people should feel hatred towards us because of that.

After all, what's the problem with making profit from a venture that is coming up to TEN YEARS OLD!



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 07:59 PM
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Well said sir. I don't think there is reason to lie about making money. Money is only bad if, like you say, you are not truly living up to your altruistic foundation. Because money in the right hands is never bad. There will always be hater as long as there remains indivuals that refused to accept themselves for who they really are, so it would be counter-productive to alter your foundation because of these inevitable "haters." I wish you guys all the money in the world and would advise (when you are able) you to have cash giveaways to "member of the months" type scenarios.

Take care big guys... I'm rooting for you.

AAC



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 08:06 PM
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Amigos, expand all you want, change as necessary, market to hell and gone, and if you can, go ahead and make money. Anyone who thinks the primary function of ATS is to generate revenue for the management just hasn't bothered to make the most of it. I honestly believe that ATS sent me to college, and I know beyond any doubt that it's made me smarter.

The internet is really starting to come into its own all over again. Who knows; push hard enough and with a lot of luck ATS could be for independent scholarship what Myspace has been for social networking and Youtube has been for independent art and news.



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 08:08 PM
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Originally posted by grimreaper797
So wait, is it profit, or is it going back into the site?


There's always some spending that goes into the site... the three monster servers alone are a big expense.

But there is indeed some monthly positive-side cash-flowing to the Amigos... but like I said... we're trying to fathom what number Springer considers "positive".



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 08:10 PM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord

I thought it a timely moment in ATS's history to proactively revisit a reoccurring topic, that of the management of AboveTopSecret.com.

Disclaimer: Many members and former members that have run afoul of ATS staff for one reason or another will likely not agree with much of what you're about to read. If you're one of those people, it might be best to simply stop reading now and avoid the inevitable.

Over the past year, there have been several new demands on the owners, staff, and hardware that keeps ATS up and running as a 100% free service -- a service that is a relentless advocate of and source for free expression. The challenges have occurred in many forms: 1) We've had periods of intense drama as long-standing ......
"ATS also equals Altruism, Trust, and Sincerity" is the single-most important idea in the minds of the "Three Amigos".

If at any point you feel we've lost the plot, feel free to direct us back to this post.

Thank you.




.


I feel the same way... it is incredibly hard for us as helpers to make a living when the minute you do that you are frowned upon... but in all honesty myself included I find it very difficult to eat sometimes because of finances because I work more on research and reading, etc.. than I do working to .. just survive.. I find one way more important than the other. But circumstances still cause us to have to eat and pay for a warm place to collaborate with others and share our research findings and theories as whacky as they may be, they all lead some-where, the point is for us to think... not just eat and die like animals.
I wish you ALL the luck and I will for one as always promote and advertise for abovetopsecret.com ... It is an outstanding achievement, and if I had money I would gladly give you tithes for your generous work for these great people.
Go for it guys, give it your all... and be prepared for a lot of work.... it'll be VERY intense... very. the amount of people will ... blow up.. I know it will.. just make the advertisements as 'to the point' as possible so you can grab skeptics and 'crazies' alike... I'm sure you guys will do just fine..
Just wanted to share in the experience. Thanks Guys.



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 08:10 PM
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This is great on paper and I actually hope you guys do make some bucks. Let's just make sure we don't lose sight of ATS' foundations - the discussion in general. There are alot of improvements to be made still. This isn't the time or place for complaints but I hope ATS remains committed to what it does best.



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 08:10 PM
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You know, after thinking about it, I can't help but imagine in
2030 a huge skyscraper with a holographic ATS graphic
spinning above it.


The ATS corporation, bringing you free truth and making
money everyday.



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 08:20 PM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
So in the next few months, you're going to see some activity that may inspire some detractors to vocally cast doubt on the goals of ATS.


This is a very pregnant statement.

We all have a right to expect recompense for our efforts, especially one of the magnatude of this venture and so far as I know, I've never been a part of any discussion relative to the direction of the site, but that statement worries me.

Will it be worse than screaming emoticons or abdominal muscle advertisements?



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 08:22 PM
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I mean honestly, I cant see how anybody can complain. Its FREE membership, so what the hell is anybodies problem if these guy make money, whatever amount?



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 08:26 PM
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I see absolutely no problem with the ATS admin getting a nominal "pay" from the site. They maintain it, set it up so we can post, manage the business end of things so it can remain up and running...all of that takes enormous effort, long hours and a great imagination...not to mention a certain level of insanity.

Showing a meager profit for a damn good days work is not a sin.

I'm gonna buy me some ATS stickers and plaster them all over the place



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 08:31 PM
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Originally posted by GradyPhilpott
I've never been a part of any discussion relative to the direction of the site, but that statement worries me.

It was specific to the notion that mass-market advertising may indeed be within our grasp.

Some members will undoubtedly see that as "selling out" or "going mainstream". I see it as getting the word out, and increasing our member base.



posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 08:33 PM
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I actually hope through the combined efforts of SimonGray, SkepticOverlord, and Springer, that one day ALL of them can earn enough from ATS to focus 100% on what we members, guests and staff enjoy for free here.

Why would any of us want it any other way?

Look at what they have done here with their free time.


Imagine what we'd see if they could devote the majority of their work days to ATS.

Personally, I hope they get filthy rich.





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