Hello fellow Zappateers,
This post also appears elsewhere on this site.
Some of you may know me from old - newer members may not know me at all as my engagement here has been somewhat infrequent of late. I am a founder member of the Zappateers, and whilst I don't do much on the forum these days, and I can't remember the last time I logged onto the chat room, I'm one of the handful of guys that keep the site running in the background.
I don't do anything technically - I don't have the ears of Flambay, nor the original recordings of many of the old-timers, and I know diddly-squat about websites and all that. We're are always on the lookout for people who are good technically - we're currently in desperate need of people who are good with video and technicians who are whiz with PHP - if that sounds like you then please do email the administrators - click on the mail us link at the top of the page.
My role these days is largely administrative - looking after the finances and making sure all the bills are paid, and that's the whole purpose of this post. The Zappateers is dying....slowly and painlessly we are bleeding to death. When we first started the site way back when, the admins paid for the server out of our own pockets - it didn't really matter - we were on a crappy little server from a crappy little host and it cost very little.
In 2007 we started asking for donations - and many of you fellow Zappateers were very generous and donated. Then we had a few server issues - a couple of times it was a technical fault, other times the result of malicious attacks - and we found that our crappy little hosting company didn't work evenings and weekends - nor maintain a helpdesk 24/7 - so at prime Zappateers time, we were left without support. Given that you people out there had donated to the Zappateers, we thought you deserved a far better level of service - so we upgraded.
We now have our own dedicated server in a server farm, managed 24/7 with an active monitoring system, and a guy (called Carl - who hates Frank Zappa but loves Luther Vandross) who calls us up when he sees suspicious activity, chats with the techies here either via mobile phone or online, and actively works with us to keep the site up and running. We're quite pleased with Carl - we have had some outages - but nowhere near as much in the past, and with Carl's team actively monitoring the site looking for abnormal activity, many problems have been nipped in the bud so to speak. But service like that - which we think we all deserve - does not come cheap....so onto the crux of the biscuit.
We pay around $1850/€1625/£1250 per year for everything - the server, the active monitoring, the domain, the bandwidth and as much of Carl's time as we need. Yes we know we could get it cheaper - but we wouldn't get Carl texting me at 11pm on a Sunday asking me if we were doing anything unusual as he's just seen some strange traffic on the server.
Now here's the rub - and I apologise to everyone who uses other currencies - but I'm going to stick with dollars for this part - you can work it our in euros or sterling or bitcoins or yen or paʻanga in your own time. I started doing the accounts in 2012 - so I only have detailed records dating back since then - and here they are. In 2012 we paid out $1850 on server costs and received about $1360 in donations and interest. In 2013 we paid out $1860 in server costs, and received about $1788 in donations and interest. In 2014 we paid out $1850 in server costs, and received about $1428 in donations and interest. So far this year we've received $802 in donations and interest - and when our server bills arrive in December we expect to pay out $1850 again.
You can see the pattern - this can't go on. In fact, the only reason we have managed to survive thus far is because during the period 2007 to 2011, we built up an excess of funds which I invested wisely - so far our PayPal donations have been switched into three different accounts to ensure we get the best rate of interest, and all tax liable on those funds are met by me personally - not the Zappateers. But those funds are being slowly dissipated - and the Zappateers is slowly bleeding to death.
We are not looking for a fairy godmother here - or a fiery godfather for that matter. And I'm certainly not making this appeal to the regular donors (you know who you are). I'm making this appeal to the average Zappateer - and I'm not asking for much. Please don't feel that a donation of $5 is not worth it - it is - and it can make a real difference. So if you can help, please do so. You can either click on the PayPal donate button that appears in my sig and elsewhere on the site, or - and this is the smart part - if you want to make sure that all of your money goes to the Zappateers, without PayPal taking a double cut (once for the currency conversion, twice for their % cut), please log on to your PayPal account and select to transfer money to a friend or family member, and send $5 to donations at zappateers dot com - it makes a big difference.
Thanks for reading this far - and if you can help please do - send us that $5 or whatever the equivalent in euros or sterling or bitcoins or yen or paʻanga or whatever else your trading in. If you don't have a PayPal account you can still send us money via your credit card - find out more from the PayPal site. If your a complete Luddite and that doesn't work for you (makes me wonder how you get them FLACS on your gramophone) them PM me and I'll tell you how you can send me the folding stuff.
I think we've achieved a good part of our initial aim - to create a central repository of historical recordings of Frank Zappa - and to make them available to all Zappa fans for the love of the music, so those who went to the concerts can relive their memories, and those who sadly never did and now never will get to see the best band you ever heard in your life, can get a glimpse of just what it was like to be in Row C Seat 49 in Columbus '71 or Pittsburgh '73 or Essen '76 or Newcastle '79....you get the picture.
Let's keep this alive - donate if you can.
Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them - Karl Popper