Filed Under (, Site News & Info) by Maestro on 05-12-2006

Let me start off by saying that the site’s not going anywhere, I know that some people are going to (justifiably) worry when the read the rest of this.  Some things will change, nothing really drastically, but the site is not going away.  In the absolute worst case I’ll turn it over to someone else to maintain.

With that said, I’m writing this to let everyone know that on July 1st of this year, I lost my job.  Technically my position was just eliminated and my contract not renewed, but the real reason was because of my health problems.  Nothing can be done about this, I live in an “at will” employment state anyway and they made sure to do this in a way that they don’t look like they were discriminating against me because of my health.

Sad catgirl wearing Santa hat.

Since then I’ve been looking for another job.  I pretty much have to find work in the area I live now, again because of my health (in the past year I’ve had at least 6 ER visits and two surgeries).  Unfortunately, my field (Information Technology) is in pretty bad shape due to both the dotcom crash back several years ago and the new trend of outsourcing.  In this area in particular IT jobs are fairly scarce and I’ve been unable to find another job so far.  I had what was a promising interview back in August for a job (that would have paid more than my old one even) but that one fell through once they contacted my references and found out about my health problems.  So far I’ve not gotten calls for interviews for any other jobs I’ve applied for.

Since finding a job hasn’t worked I’m going back to school to get a Masters degree.  This has been a bit touch and go as I started late (mid October) since I had hoped to find a job instead.  Getting admitted to the grad school wasn’t a problem, I was previously admitted as a grad student before I got my first real job after getting my Bachelors.  However, I can’t get admitted to a degree program yet because I haven’t taken the GRE, and that prevents me from getting financial aid.  So, I’ve been trying to find an assistantship so I can get a tuition waver as well as a source of income.  Right now it looks like I have found one, although I don’t know all the details yet (like how much it’ll pay or when I’ll start exactly).  Spring semester starts in January so by February I should be getting a paycheck again.

Due to this the site has to start paying for itself, at least until February or March.  I’m already past the point where I can afford to pay for the site on my own, as I have to worry about coming up with the money for my insurance premiums and there’s no money to spare.  Currently our expenses are low, but they’re going to go up before long if for no other reason than we’re going to outgrow our hosting plan within 6 months at our current rate of growth.  I don’t want to stop the site from growing, I want to finish the site redesign (and start adding some features that are dynamic), get some of the other projects we have on the backburner finished and launched and update the Antenna with some new features.  I think the site has great potential and can become an even greater asset to the Anime/Manga/Gaming community than it already is, and I have ideas for other sites I’d like to do as well.  My financial situation should stabilize after a few months but I would like to take this opportunity to get the site self-sufficient for the long term.  As I’ve been doing redesign of the main site I included AdSense ads in the design and also added a rotating banner section to put affiliate banner ads in.  The AdSense ads are performing pretty well so far, they’ve had far more click-throughs than I expected and I hope they’ll continue to grow as I add them to the rest of the site.

Ayu & Nayuki from Kanon looking sad.

So what is going to change?  Well the most important thing I’ve already mentioned — the site needs to pay for itself this month and the next few.  The rest of the changes are more minor.  I’ll list them below:

  • I’ll be adding Google AdSense ads to the Antenna, these will be kept unobtrusive.
  • I might add AdSense ads to the Forum, again they’ll be unobtrusive if I do.
  • The Terms of Service will be changed to make the donation link required instead of optional.
  • The site will start actively asking for donations each month.
  • The donations link will be changing slightly.  In the very near future the donations link will link to a donations page.  On that page there will be a link to the old Paypal donations as well as the new Amazon Honor System along with an E-mail address that those who wish to donate by money order or cash can use to ask for a mailing address.  The Paypal donations can be used only for hosting fees, it’s processed by my hosting provider and they apply the balance to my bill.  Anything beyond what’s currently owed stays as a credit to be applied to the next bill.  The Amazon Honor System donation link is better if you want to help out in general and not just for hosting (we need a decent Linux box to do some processing offsite of things like stats that take up too much CPU time to be done on the web server and to run a revision control system for our software projects for example).
  • We may request that users ask their readers to donate from time to time, although this will probably be optional.
  • We’ll probably look into some add-ons that users can get for a small monthly amount as another way to generate some income.  (These would be in addition to what users already get.)

If you’d like to help out the best thing you can do is donate!  If you want to donate but can’t use Paypal or Amazon’s Honor System for whatever reason please contact me (Note: you will need to remove the obviously extra text from the address before you can send.) and I’ll give you a postal address you can send a money order (or cash at your risk, I recommend money orders) to and tell you who to make it out to.  (Currently there’s not a bank account in the site’s name, I’m working on that though.)  Also be sure to use our affiliate links, whenever you buy stuff.  We currently have Amazon US, Canada, Japan and UK; The Right Stuf International; YesAsia; PlayAsia; Jlist/Jbox; Netflix and  Also please feel free to let others know about the site’s situation and ask them to help if you like.  Affiliate sales help but there’s a long delay before the money from them is available.  Even AdSense has a lengthy delay due to the minimum payout being $100.

If you donate using Amazon’s Honor System please E-mail me to let me know. (Note: you will need to remove the obviously extra text from the address before you can send.)  Amazon doesn’t send me any notification of who donates and once I get the donations page up I want to start listing everyone who wants to be listed and how much they donated. Also let me know how you want your name/nick to appear on the page please. :)

I’m sorry I haven’t posted about this sooner but I’ve been putting off writing this for a while now, partly because I didn’t want to write it, but also because I was waiting to see how some things turned out with that promising interview I had.  BTW, for those wondering, I will be posting more regularly in the future but I’ve been really busy working on the site redesign and some other things.  The site’s needed me to work on it more than write about it of late. :D

(33) Comments   


+| N ǿ v ά ś ŧ o я м |+ » Save our! on 6 December, 2006 at 3:05 am #

[...] Ok, so it’s not really that serious, but is in need of a helping hand from all those who can. Head over to this post by Maestro, who needs donations for the site! [...]

Hung on 6 December, 2006 at 3:45 am #

Good luck with everything! Just curious, where are you going to grad school? I’m applying to schools for the fall right now. It would be pretty funny if we ended up going to the same school! Has it been five years since you took the GRE? If not, there should still be a record of it that you can send to the school. If you need more grad school info, check out my Grad school blog.

As for making the site pay for itself, why not ask if people would be willing to put adsense on each blog? It could just be a small ad, too. I bet most people would agree to it (they’re being hosted for free, after all). I imagine that Random Curiosity’s site alone would bring in the bank, big time.

Maestro on 6 December, 2006 at 6:26 am #

Thanks Hung, it doesn’t look like we’ll be going to the same school as mine’s not on your list so far. :)   I’ll be going to be going to The University of Tennessee.  (At the main campus in Knoxville.)  I got my Bachelor’s degree there too actually. :)

As for the GRE, I’ve never taken it.  I had a professor that really, really wanted me to become a GRA for them after I graduated and since the place I was going to work for was slow with getting a job offer to me I ended up agreeing.  They managed to hustle the whole admittance process along and also got the GRE requirement waived so I didn’t have to take it.  (In fact I was admitted the 2nd week of February for Spring semester that year, nearly a month after classes had started.)  I’m probably going to take it February, but I need to make sure I can take it again in case I do badly with the short preparation time (I graduated in 1999 so I’m very much rusty with my math skills).  I’d like to take it before June because the Computer Science and Electrical & Computer Engineering departments are merging at UT — effective June 2007.  I would like to get admitted into the CS Master’s program before that just to avoid any confusion caused by the merger. >_<

I might do that if absolutely necessary but I’d prefer to avoid it.  The delay in payout is really  a pain too, although if lots of people were running the ads we’d probably reach payout quite quickly (especially if Random Curiosity ran them :D ) so I’ll keep it in mind.  I’m sure Omni will ask his readers to help out by donating too and that will probably generate a fair amount of donations. :)

Michael on 6 December, 2006 at 9:15 am #

If I’m incurring any unnecessary expenses, kindly just tell me and I’ll be willing to move back to my old blog once more at WordPress. I don’t want to be a sap, but since I really don’t have money (I live in the Philippines) I can’t really donate … I’m really sorry.

I hope you gain back your health for your sake and for this site’s sake. If all else fails, kindly just tell me, as I will readily just move back to my old blog. (I don’t really want to be a bother as you’ve really done so much for me as well as the anime community.) Thanks.

Hinano on 6 December, 2006 at 9:16 am #

I don’t know if I can donate (being poor to begin wtih) but if it helps I may move my blog off AB to help free some bandwidth. :)

Maestro on 6 December, 2006 at 9:31 am #

No one needs to move their blogs, we don’t run over our alloted bandwidth or storage on our hosting plan so it wouldn’t help anyway. I’m not closing the site to new blogs either as we’re in no danger of running out of bandwidth or storage. :)   If you can’t donate that’s fine, and don’t feel bad about it, there’s never been any requirement for people to donate and that’s not changing.

I would appreciate it if you’d let your readers know.  All of AB’s blogs together get thousands of visitors, I’m sure enough people can donate a few bucks each to cover our hosting fees. :D   Never underestimate the power of lots of people doing just a little to help out!

But again, no one needs to move, we’re not going anywhere, we just have to get through a couple of difficult months. :)

Hinano on 6 December, 2006 at 12:15 pm #

I’ve decided to move anyway haha it’s just my own  guilty conscience etc. I’m moving in with JP’s blog and he has his own host as well so it’ll just be the two of us (and he’s my boyfriend so it’s not like he’s some random stranger I begged or anything haha). I will let you know when I’ve moved all my stuff so you can delete me. I’ll stil be on the antenna though and I will still have a button to that (just like he does.)

Maestro’s Anime Blog on 6 December, 2006 at 12:43 pm #

[...] This is a followup to my last post about needing some help financially.  In the comments on that post, and also in a post on Hinano’s blog a few people have misinterpreted things.  So please let me clarify this for record: [...]

Hinano on 6 December, 2006 at 2:20 pm #

Yea I’m aware Maestro, thanks for the clearup, I will also edit my post to clarify that I’m not just moving because of this issue ^_^

Os on 6 December, 2006 at 5:26 pm #

I really wish you good luck. I dont have much money to spare, but if x-mas shopping ends out nicely, I may have a few bucks left and I’ll do snail mail cash donation.

scottfrye on 6 December, 2006 at 6:52 pm #

I’m not sure if anyone here has access to Facebook but a while back I started a Group in Facebook. Anyways, I wrote a post encouraging those who can donate, to donate. I’ve placed a link in the post to this post and the one after it.

This may help, Maestro. Not sure how much but this is one way for me to help.

scottfrye on 6 December, 2006 at 6:55 pm #

Sorry, the post I was talking about is on the Facebook Group’s Discussion Board.

[...] could do with some help in covering costs. No need for alarm though; it’s not on the brink of shutting down. See Maestro’s blog entry for details. [...]

Maestro on 8 December, 2006 at 2:26 am #

Os: Thanks. :)

scottfrye: I’ll be able to sign up with Facebook in January, I’ll let you know so I can join the group.  I appreciate your creating one there to spread the word as well as encouraging people there to donate. :D

[...] No credit card: Contact Maestro via email and check his entry on this. [...]

[...] AnimeBlogger needs Donations! Our network administrator Maestro has recently hit some hard times, so I’m once again asking for donations on his behalf to help keep these sites going. All donations would go directly towards our hosting bill, so there’s no danger of money being misused. Even a small bit will go a long way. More information can be found on Maestro’s own blog, which also explains alternate ways to donate if you don’t have a Paypal account through which to do so. [...]

Pixy Misa on 10 December, 2006 at 4:37 am #

I might be able to give you free hosting – I’m not sure exactly how much space and bandwidth you need, but I have lots of both going unused just now. 

(I run, and we recently moved to new, bigger and better servers.)

Please email me if I can help!

Maestro on 10 December, 2006 at 5:39 am #

Pixy Misa: Thanks, I really appreciate the offer but we don’t want to move hosting, especially as the site’s continuing to grow and we’re nowhere near using up all our bandwidth or disk space.  Currently we’re using ~750GB of bandwidth a month but this goes up every month.  Disk usage is currently around 230GB, 2GB of this is databases.

I love your nick, I’m a big fanny of Pretty Samy too. :)

Pixy Misa on 10 December, 2006 at 6:39 am #

I can understand not wanting to move – it can get messy.  Best of luck then, and ignore my email. :)

ShiNN on 10 December, 2006 at 5:01 pm #

There, donated. It’s not a lot but I hope it can help you guys keep your blogging community alive. I always wanted to run an anime blog of my own but I never had enough time to dedicate to it so I always end up browsing and reading animeblogger’s entries. :)

Maestro on 10 December, 2006 at 5:16 pm #

Thanks a lot ShiNN, every little bit helps and is greatly appreciated by all of us here at AB. :)   I’m glad you enjoy our blogs, we’re continuing to add new ones (and in fact hosting requests have started coming in much faster since I posted about how to get a blog and redid the main site). :D

Mentar on 10 December, 2006 at 7:16 pm #

Chipped in my 0.02$ aswell. I really appreciate it when people offer services like these to a community. This kind of effort needs to be supported :)

All the best to your health and job situation!

Maestro on 10 December, 2006 at 8:06 pm #

Thanks a lot Mentar, I really appreciate your donating and the well wishes. :)   I have plans for more services beyond what we already offer.  I don’t want to talk about any definites since I’m not sure when I’ll get things launched, but more is most definitely coming! :)

[...] The famed and prized Maestro runs the hosting for this blog as well as many others is having some difficulties and would appreciate any donations to go towards the hosting bill for Anime Blogger. All money will go towards supporting this website and you will not be seeing him around any stores buying manga for enjoyment with your donation money. This link explains all that you need to know about his current situation and you may use the donate link in my sidebar to donate any sum of money.He also posted some clarifications onthis link. [...]

[...] Support!  By Exertim Animeblogger could use some help on the cost of providing bloggers like myself with such awesome, free hosting services. Visit Maestro’s blog entry for further details. [...]

nooneofconsequence on 11 December, 2006 at 10:11 pm #

Depending on what your health condition is, your former employer and any potential employer really can’t exchange or ask for any health information. You might want to check up on whether or not your condition is protected by the ADA.

takanari on 28 January, 2007 at 5:30 am #

A link for creat a animeblogger >_

neko-ka-san on 30 April, 2007 at 1:39 am #

Firstyly Maestro, I just wanna tell you that I think you’ve done and are doing an awesome job at keeping animeblogger are great site. :D

Secondly, your employer and potential employers can inquire anything about you when it affects work performance and anything that might affect your working for them.

Thirdly, as someone sick myself, it’s happened to me. I understand! When you do get your next job and if you’re still having health problems. I suggest signing up for the FMLA (Federal Medical Leave Act) which makes it punishable by law to fire you from your job because of illness, surgeries, missed days, what have you. You’re allowed to miss up to 120 days with this Act of Congress and if you think about it your can only work about 218 days a year usually. Just a little advice. :D

Fourthly, is it alright if I link to your donations page with an animeblogger donate button? I use the site as much as anyone else and I really wanna help you guys as much as I can.

kima on 30 April, 2007 at 2:31 pm #

cute pics

Seleria on 15 June, 2007 at 8:00 pm #

I hope everything works out Maestro! I’ll put out a post soon on encouraging readers to donate ^^ Again, big thanks for hosting us.

puru on 9 March, 2008 at 4:04 pm #

Nice to meet you! It’s passing Japanese and anime fan.

I worsened a body and do somewhat stopped work though you did not understand it well? Is it all right? Improve early. I am jobless, but I work part-time at a net a little and live. Though it is not time when it worries about the person, I will try all hard!

I made the site
where was specialized in MADanime of the nikoniko animation ten days ago.
Please come to play if it seems to be able to be elaborate.
Still, the people of U.S.A. and the country of
a lot of the others watch well Japanese anime. It is astonishment.

Monera on 3 April, 2008 at 10:00 am #

can i put one of your pics for my youtube channel please!! *puupy dog face*

Maestro on 7 April, 2008 at 4:07 pm #

Monera: Yes, but you’ll have to upload it somewhere else for it to be pulled from.  Hot-linking to images on AB sites isn’t allowed (we get so many hits on the anti-hot-linking image, you just wouldn’t believe it).  You should be able to upload it to ImageShack and pull it from there to display on your Youtube channel.  Thanks for asking instead of just hot-linking it. :)

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