Future of Hitmanforum

Hitmanforum is an online place where fans discuss Hitman.
The developers of Hitman also visit Hitmanforum to get feedback from the fans, but we remain an independent website.

Running a website costs money. Some of our most generous forum members help pay for:

Update
Hi everyone, I have some bad news to share.

Hitmanforum is an active forum which is receiving a lot of traffic. That’s great. Although I have not been able to spend a lot of time on the forum personally, I’m happy the forum is thriving even (almost) two years after the last game came out.

However, the forum’s popularity also comes at a cost.
It has been brought to my attention that the Hitmanforum discourse service is generating an ammount of traffic which is substantially outside of the limit of our current hosting plan.

Our friends at discourse.org have been very generously hosting the forum on a ‘normal plan’ at an even more generous discount. The normal plan is meant for communities which generate up to 100,000 page views per month

https://www.patreon.com/hitmanforum

Hitmanforum currently does about 30,000+ page views per day, or 900,000 - 1,000,000 per month.

image

Needless to say that’s a lot more than the normal plan supports.

The Discourse official pricing plan suggests that the $300/month Business hosting plan is about enough to cover a maximum of 500k pageviews. (about half of what we need)

Hitmanforum currently has no source of income other than the donations of our patrons for which I am super grateful :kissing_heart:. However, since we do not run any advertisements on the site, the current total income amounts to only about $29/month… If you do the math it should be clear that that’s not going to be enough to cover such a “business” scenario (and let’s face it, Hitmanforum is not a business).

I’m currently talking to the discourse team to see what can be done.
They’ve been super helpful (and have been cutting us slack for a long time) - but they’re also a business and not a charity.

I’m currently exploring the following options

1. Working out a hosting plan which covers our traffic, yet is affordable
I’m talking to the Discourse team to see which monthly plan would be feasible. There are also alternative hosting options such as discoursehosting.com

2. Increasing Patreon support to cover the increase in costs
Even on a the cheaper discoursehosting plans, our costs would increase. It would be very helpful if more people supported the forum through some small form of monthly donations. If this interests you, and you can spare a small monthly expense, please check out our Patreon page below.

Please note - I am looking for a way to finance our monthly recurring expenses. While one-time donations are super kind, from a financing perspective they are an unpredictable source of income. A regular stream of small but recurring donations is actually far more helpful than a quick burst of one-time donations.

https://www.patreon.com/hitmanforum

Other

  • if you have other ideas, please do share (reply to this topic)

Which options are not on the table?

  • I do not have the time to run and operate a self-hosted solution even though that would be more cost effective
  • Unfortunately I have to say that I will not be able to continue to run Hitmanforum at a significant financial deficit. I currently pay some of the minor hosting bills out of my own pocket, but if the costs increase significantly that will not be a sustainable solution.

Thanks for your time reading this, and sorry for causing any uncertainty. I felt it would be best to give full transparency in this situation.
If there are any developments I will update this topic.

http://www.hitmanforum.com/t/future-of-hitmanforum/21267/24

33 Likes

Wow this is alot of traffic!

I kind of fear what the repsonse to this idea will be, but did you consider to ask IOI for help? After all they dont have to run an own board and get the benefits of an organized fanbase for free so far, besides the one over at reddit or steam forums.

If the price tag is a linear function, one million views per month would cost 550$/month. This is a hell of lot for a small group of fans, but maybe not so for IOI.

6 Likes

The solution obviously is to make lootboxes. J/K. :stuck_out_tongue:

Are you allowed to run ads?
I don’t mind ads on websites.

Even ads for HITMAN would be great… and would be a good return for IOI.

13 Likes

Agree here. Don’t mind adds at all. A bar somewhere in the corner with some advertisements is no big deal

5 Likes

For IOI the site could make a special arrangement like not just ads but also links to trailer, to official site, etc.

And why should IOI pay you to do this?

Because you have metrics showing 1 million views per month! :wink:

3 Likes

Problem is that some People(Like Me) use Addblocker

Ads dont bring in much money, most desktop users have adblockers on, and mobile users have just few space to include ads.

I am still waiting for the day that open source crypto currency mining is introduced into websites with optional-out, so you dont have to see ads AND dont have to fear to get malware if you keep it mining on your processor power.

1 Like

I also think that IO-I should pitch in, after all, this forum is made the official forum for Hitman by IO-I and it should be in IO-I’s interest to keep this forum up and running, just my opinion about it though :flushed:.

I have to say, it’s admirable of you @ampburner to run this forum out of your own pocked and you don’t even use (not much anyway) the forum you are paying for, maybe consider advertising, i know you have thought about this before, but maybe think about it again?

6 Likes

IOI should handle that :+1:

But if IOI can’t or don’t want to afford this to the community, I am available to help @ampburner. We can setup a VM using a cloud provider not very expensive like DigitalOcean, Hetzner or Scaleway. With Træfik and Discourse docker image it should not be too complicated to migrate the current installation. You can use my docker mailserver to send mail to members or use an external provider. Of course, the SSL certificate will be provided by let’s encrypt for free.

You only have to pay for the domain name and the hosting.

Hetzner offers very affordable prices :

Screenshot_20180220_074736

For example, I’m running a french sysadmin community (200K views/month) with Flarum on a 2 vCPU / 4 Go / 50GB Disk Virtual machine (only the web server, the database is on another vm) since 2015.

11 Likes

Maybe IOI can contribute just a lil bit to the forum fees? :slight_smile:

@hardware lives up to his forum id name! :sunglasses:

3 Likes

Ads seem like the best,most realistic solution,either that or we become an official Hitman website by becoming an investment for IOI to showcase their game,provide fan support,demonstrate their game trailers and updates and such and such.
Or do both.

1 Like

I also believe ads is the way to go. And IOI helping with finances.

1 Like

I doubt ads would work, so many people use ad blockers now.

2 Likes

It’s still quite a nice sum if we keep receiving steady visitations. I mean,we could give it a shot

I feel like one time pay donations should also be a feature somewhere on the forum @ampburner. It’s stressful having to keep track of the Patreon subscription and cancelling it after the first month. Plus, this is easy to do and implement with PayPal.

1 Like

Hey @Ampburner

I might be able solve this situation for you.
I’ll ask around this week, and let you know how I go.

14 Likes

Thanks for the update, Ampburner, and for being transparent and upfront about the current situation facing Hitmanforum.

I’d personally see advertising as a last resort since it interferes with the experience of browsing and interacting with the forum - But this is obviously bigger than my preference and the security and future of the forum is paramount for most of us, I think.

As for an official IO takeover of this forum, well… I like the fact this forum is independent. In my opinion that makes the bond between developer and community even stronger. There’s no official obligation for anyone from IO to visit here or to read these forums or to interact with us, but they do so anyway because it is the best place to discuss Hitman on the internet. There’s a camaraderie here that simply wasn’t present on the Square Enix forum when that was still around. I’m not saying that would vanish overnight if there was some sort of official IO endorsement or support, but the “managerial independence” if you will is a big part of why I love this place. It makes the good relationship we have with IO a lot more natural.

Anyway, I had to stop my Patreon support several months ago when I had to tighten my belt and save money - And it seemed like those kind of small monthly donations are just a drop in the ocean in the scheme of things in terms of covering the costs. So I would imagine there’s a better way.

Keep us posted, and let us know if there’s something more specific we as a community can do to help!

13 Likes

@ampburner: Those prices you’re being quoted sound obscene. Admittedly I do have a rather special deal myself and run my own custom scripts, but on my website I’m currently clocking in 5-10 million page views per month (200000+ per day) and the prices you’d have to pay don’t come even close to scaling to the price I’m paying.

Is it because you’re only looking for a fully managed dedicated Discourse server? Is that what you meant when you said, “I do not have the time to run and operate a self-hosted solution even though that would be more cost effective”? Even still, unless I’m missing the extent of the service and care they’re offering, it doesn’t sound like they’re doing you any favours at all.

1 Like

To be clear - I have used Digital Ocean with a Discourse docker image before.
I switched to Discourse.org because I have a full time job and do not have the time to do sys-ops stuff on the side. I did that for a while and it resulted in some down time and headache on my part.

I think that display advertising is a dying revenue model. You visit this forum to read it’s content, it’s idiotic that every visitor should be distracted by banners which only 0.05% of people click on.
Most regulars here are savvy enough to run an adblocker anyway.

My prefered solution would be running an independent website (no sponsorship) on an affordable managed discourse service and having that mostly covered by donations.

3 Likes