Starting today there’s a one-time signup fee of $2.50 for BonzoBox. This is only for new users who sign up after today. If you weren’t asked for a signup fee when you signed up then you don’t have to pay. It’s a departure from our free past, so I want to explain a bit about why we decided to start charging this fee and what it means to you. Here’s why we started charging a signup fee:
Reason #1: Spam
There are a ton of people, (and/or robots), who post spam sites to BonzoBox, and it doesn’t benefit anyone but the spammer. It consumes server resources to store information about the spam site and take screenshots of it. This slows BonzoBox down for everybody, makes it so we can’t keep your screenshots as fresh, and raises our bills. We want it to stop, so hopefully this fee will stop the spammers from signing up.
There are other ways to deal with spam such as filtering or letting you, our community, flag sites as spam. We’ve tried this with some limited success, but it comes at a cost. For example, when you sign in to BonzoBox it takes a long time because the system is examining your sites and activity to see if it thinks you’re a spammer. If spammers don’t sign up then we don’t have to do that examination and you’ll be able to sign in quickly.
One of the reasons spammers have been so attracted to BonzoBox is because when a site is listed on BonzoBox it helps improve the sites’s Google ranking. Most bookmarking sites on the internet add a rel=”nofollow” tag to links so they don’t help improve a site’s Google ranking. We could add a rel=”nofollow” tag too, but we think that if you like a site enough to bookmark it then it should get credit, from Google and anyone.
Reason #2: Manpower
This is related to Reason #1. BonzoBox is run by three people, only one of which is a developer, (that’s me!). I could spend my time writing super-smart machine-learning algorithms to stop spammers, but I would rather spend my time making BonzoBox faster and better. I’m sure you would rather I did that too.
Reason #3: Money
BonzoBox is self-funded by the 3-man team that runs it. We’ve never taken any outside investment. That means that each month we pay to keep the site online, and none of us take salaries. The small signup fee will help us pay to keep the site online and work toward making BonzoBox self-supporting.
While you may not enjoy parting with your money, there are some benefits. As mentioned in Reason #1 above, BonzoBox will load faster and as mentioned in Reason #2, I’ll be more able to work on improving the site, not combatting spammers, but there are other benefits as well. For instance, in preparation for taking payments on the BonzoBox we made it possible to browse the entire site over SSL, (an encrypted connection, like banks use for online banking), if you want, just go to https://bonzobox.com – a security win! (And if you’re wondering, when you’re paying you’re required to use SSL – it’ll happen automatically).
This fee is the first step towards a faster and more responsive BonzoBox, and a BonzoBox that will be around for as long as you need it. That’s the future we want. You may be wondering if this fee is the first step towards monthly or yearly fees. We don’t have a functioning crystal ball so we can’t see the future, but that’s not the direction we want to head. We’re going to try to find other ways to make BonzoBox self-sustaining. There may be premium accounts with monthly or yearly fees in the future, but we also want to keep BonzoBox as affordable as possible.
We chose $2.50, (those are US dollars and cents), because we hope it is affordable for everyone who wants to use BonzoBox for legitimate reasons. If you can’t afford the fee read the signup page closely. If you would like to get a group of people using BonzoBox, (for example, you’re a teacher and want to get your class using BonzoBox), then get in touch with us, we’re probably not going to charge you.
This is a big change for us, so we’re listening. On Twitter, via E-mail, and on our UserVoice Forum. We look forward to hearing from you.