without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
As many of you know, late last year Metal Archives hit the 100,000 bands milestone. Back in 2002, when the site was founded, I doubt anyone thought we would ever reach this mark. Unfortunately, these achievements come at a price - a very literal one. As the site grows bigger, requiring more and more server space, and traffic increases, requiring more and more bandwidth, the associated costs have increased as well. Back in 2002 it was no big deal to run the site for free - but now, 13 years later, the costs run hundreds a month, even after factoring in the revenue from referals and the donations of a generous few. The owners and staff aren't interested in profits, or we wouldn't have gotten this far, but when it comes to taking money out of our own pockets there's a limit. This means that unfortunately, it's just not feasible to run the site for free anymore - at least, not without making some changes.
However, as we have always tried to be open with you, our fellow metalheads, we will try to be as frank with you as possible during this transition period. The question is, how can the site best support itself? Short of selling the site entirely - and some very lucrative offers have been made - the most obvious answer is through selling adspace. There's really no way around it. Going forward, we will be introducing some unobtrusive banner ads, which won't obstruct anything important but will bring some much-needed revenue to offset costs. Don't worry, no popups!
Still, we know a lot of people hate ads, and Metal Archives has always tried to be ad-free, so in the spirit of that we will also be introducing a few compromises that we hope will keep people happy. These will come in the form of a subscription service. Before we get into the details, we would like to stress that all the basic features of Metal Archives will and always will be available for free - no paywall, now or ever! What these subscriptions will do, however, is provide an easy way for members to help support a site that provides services we all use, while also providing some conveniences they might appreciate.
Firstly, to conserve bandwidth, all non-subscribers will be limited to 15 band page views per day. This should be plenty for most people to get the information they need, while cutting down on pointless (and costly) aimless browsing. All subscription tiers meanwhile will allow for unlimited* browsing, and provide the option to hide the upcoming banner ads. All reports, reviews, and bands submitted by subscribers will be highlighted in their respective queues. Finally, all subscribers will have access to a members-only forum!
Now, on to the tiers! All prices given in USD.
Silver tier: Metal Soldier - $1.99/month
This is the basic package that provides the member services described above. A forum badge is also included, allowing you to show off your contribution!
Gold tier: Metal General - $6.66/month
This tier comes with all the basic perks, along with giving subcribers the ability to edit site info as if they had Veteran status. In addition, their reviews will be accepted automatically. As before, a special forum badge is also included, to display to the masses your love for metal!
Platinum tier: Metal Dictator - $66.60/month
This tier is reserved only for hardcore metalheads only! Along with everything the previous tiers get, this tier also gives honorary moderator status. This means you get an email address using this domain (firstname.lastname@example.org), as well as having access to the moderation queues just like a real moderator! Finally, you'll have access to the moderator-only staff forum, giving you a chance to weigh in on all Metal Archives decisions. Does one of your favorite bands deserve to be on the Archives? This is your chance to get them in!
Bands and labels
We are also working out the details of a sponsorship system that will allow full access to edit your own data, as well as priority placement in search results, among other things. Starting at only $16.66/month!
Keep in mind that all of this is pending review and may be subject to change before it goes live. None of this is set in stone, and we're also interested in getting your feedback directly! Come discuss with us using this thread.