Hi all, 

I just received notice that the cost to run this website on the Ning platform will more than double next year from $239.90 to $588/year. There is no way I am going to pay that. This site is paid up until July 2017. After that, I may decide to do something completely different with this web address, however, I am open to your creative ideas. Not interested in donations to keep the site open. I don't want to reward Ning's price hike decision.

Things on the internet have changed a lot since 1999 when this site first opened. Now there are seemingly dozens of stop motion groups on Facebook. Do a search, it's kind of amazing. This site is pretty quiet and may be losing its relevance. Might be time for something completely different. 

If you want to read all about the price change drama, go here.

thanks,

Anthony

Note: as of 09/10, 3 alternatives have been proposed. Read thru all the posts or simply vote for your favorite option, or create your own, by taking the Poll located on the Sidebar.

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I have been a member of The Clubhouse for a long time and they use the phpBB and it works great from a user standpoint. I check four or five of the rooms everyday for sculpting, kit building tips and announcements. Picture hosting is by the user and not the site which is the big difference between here and there.

The Clubhouse - Board Index

I'm a member of a pre-press forum that uses…

http://www.elkarte.net/

It seems like that would work fine for your needs. It just doesn't have some of the social media style bells and whistles.

The person who runs the forum is super helpful. I could ask him any questions you might have about the platform.

I don't know if this would work when transferring from Ning or not…

Here's a little history for anyone that is new or wants a refresher: the original StopMotionAnimation.com ran on Forum software called DCScripts which was pretty good software in its day. It was fairly inexpensive in the beginning. I purchased the software which included some technical support. For some of the bigger issues, I needed to pay DCScripts to fix. It was upgraded a couple of times at a small cost. Eventually the company folded and disappeared. This website continued running with the DCScript software for a few more years. It worked mostly, but every once in awhile something would break down, sometimes the host server, Infinology, could fix the problem. The site limped along but the costs began to rise once the database got so big my hosting plan had to charge me extra for data transfers. This was the main reason I did not allow the site to be indexed. It got so big that the yearly cost was actually more than I am currently paying Ning. It was time for a change. 

Ning came to my attention in 2012 and seemed like the perfect place to host the Message Board. Plus the extra bonus of posting photos, videos, and other Facebook-like benefits sold me. The reviews at the time were outstanding. The price, not bad at $240/year. So I reopened the site on the Ning platform. It was new and fresh and most people liked the change, some did not. The old messages could not be relocated on the new site but were instead archived through great effort here by Paul J. McConnochie.

Now, because of the sudden price increase, there are many unhappy customers. The $350 increase is not justified in my opinion. However, I could keep it here, funded by a yearly donation drive to help supplement the cost. That is one option.

A 2nd option is to shut down the site and just move it to a free Facebook Group. However, we would lose the best part of the site, the Message Board. So not my favorite option.

Going back to a basic bulletin board is Option 3 and doesn't sound so bad right now, if the current database of messages can be transferred to a new site. I've started a poll on the sidebar, a good place for everyone to quickly weigh in on their preference.

After a good walk with my dog this morning, a possible plan began to form around Option 3. First, find some solid, robust bulletin board software. Then find a reputable host server with an inexpensive plan with decent data storage, (I've had good success with Bluehost and A2Hosting but not sure how they compare today) Then purchase a hosting plan, set up the bulletin board software and transfer whatever can be moved. The Handbooks, etc can be set up on their own pages and linked. Begin to move the members over and then eventually switch the domain to point to the new site. We've got until July 2017 to do all of this.

I don't know if ElkArte is the best software out there. phpBB has been around forever and many people know how to fix or modify it. vBulletin is another one. I need some computer experts to weigh in at this point.

ps. click on the image above to view a semi-functioning snapshot of the site back in 2005. After the Kong intro, click on Message Board on the Menu at the bottom.

I was so sad to read this discussion and I feel for you Anthony... Agreed that it is BS what Ning is pulling. I, like Nick and others would be all too happy to contribute to keeping this site alive and kicking (Kickstarter, Go Fund Me, direct donations, membership fee, whatever it takes!) to create a new site/create a phpbb site and as I quote Nick, "Tell Ning where to stick it!". Personally, I am not a fan of Facebook groups... It's not the same - we might as well resurrect a 'MySpace' page on Stop Motion, lol! Stopmotionanimation.com IS the place to go for our community of professionals, amateurs and fans. Let's get a campaign together and keep it going, please!!

And on a side note: Thank you Anthony for creating this wonderful site for us all to enjoy over the years! I look forward to many more years to come!

Best,
Phil




StopmoNick said:

I'd agree with Steve and Simon, if there is a better host, I do like the idea of moving to it, and telling Ning where to stick it.  

A membership fee - I'd like a free basic membership to continue for the benefit of beginners and the many impoverished artists and animators, but I'm able to contribute and I would.  So there could be a "premium" membership, although that might only offer the chance to feel good as an additional perk.  Or go for voluntary contributions and see what the response is.   Launch an annual kickstarter type fundraiser, and I'm in!

I'm bummed to hear this site could close... especially since I just got here a couple months ago. This is the first time I've actually been able to share in a stop motion community. I've found some great advice, and great artists on here- I'd be sad to see it go. 

I understand not wanting to have to hike up the price just to someone's demand. I'm truly undecided about a next move; facebook group? I'm on here more than I use my facebook! 

Anyway- hope a resolution can be found. 

23 Votes in 2 days. If you run a micro kickstarter or go fund me campaign with $600 as a goal, 23 people donate $27 each and you can raise the funds to apply to Ning the merciless in the event of not finding a solution by July 2017 -- or you can use it to fund the cost of purchasing the correct PHP software, and spending all that time to move an incredibly valuable site. With the rise of studios like Laika, the sky is the limit with stopmo... I see more interest, not less. It's an "every mans" medium, from the simplist claymations to the most intricate model building and set building.. stopmotion is available to the masses like never before. While this site may or may not be experiencing a lot of activity, it's like owning the joy of cooking. When you need it.. you need it. I hope a solution can be found and I am more than willing to donate to whatever solution becomes the right one. I wish I knew more about message board software etc. I do have webspace with Site5.com, however they were recently purchased by one of the big mega hosts.. so probably not a solid option but if you need me to host the domain, I probably can. Im happy to help in anyway I can. Thanks for handling this for so long Anthony. 

Sorry to hear about the price increase. While I don't get a chance to visit the site as much as I did earlier (work is crazy busy right now), I've always enjoyed viewing the posts and talking with folks. I have a number of Facebook sites I check now and then, but really hate the advertising and stupid things people seem to post up there.
I really like this site the way it is and would be willing to contribute. I agree with Nick and others that the dollar amount of the increase is crazy. Using another option is warranted just by the size of the increase.

Whatever you decide to do, I will continue to support the site - there simply isn't anything quite like it.
... Jbd

Anthony,

I'm not always very active here, but I have a permanent bookmark on my bookmarks bar because this place is the greatest resource for stop-motion stuff. I really do hope you continue the site and more to a free platform.

If you need a recommendation, I have about 30 domains on Dreamhost's unlimited plan. It's unlimited space and bandwidth and I've always loved their service.

Cheers!

Thanks Ross,

The intent is to keep the site going somehow, looks like moving it to a simpler format, more like the original site, is the best way to preserve it and keep it going for many more years. Go Fund Me is a good option to help pay for the relocation or stay another year on Ning if necessary. 

RossB said:

23 Votes in 2 days. If you run a micro kickstarter or go fund me campaign with $600 as a goal, 23 people donate $27 each and you can raise the funds to apply to Ning the merciless in the event of not finding a solution by July 2017 -- or you can use it to fund the cost of purchasing the correct PHP software, and spending all that time to move an incredibly valuable site. With the rise of studios like Laika, the sky is the limit with stopmo... I see more interest, not less. It's an "every mans" medium, from the simplist claymations to the most intricate model building and set building.. stopmotion is available to the masses like never before. While this site may or may not be experiencing a lot of activity, it's like owning the joy of cooking. When you need it.. you need it. I hope a solution can be found and I am more than willing to donate to whatever solution becomes the right one. I wish I knew more about message board software etc. I do have webspace with Site5.com, however they were recently purchased by one of the big mega hosts.. so probably not a solid option but if you need me to host the domain, I probably can. Im happy to help in anyway I can. Thanks for handling this for so long Anthony. 

Thanks for the suggestion Sean. I'll look into Dreamhost.

Sean Duran said:

Anthony,

I'm not always very active here, but I have a permanent bookmark on my bookmarks bar because this place is the greatest resource for stop-motion stuff. I really do hope you continue the site and more to a free platform.

If you need a recommendation, I have about 30 domains on Dreamhost's unlimited plan. It's unlimited space and bandwidth and I've always loved their service.

Cheers!

I agree about Facebook. Very unorganized so the goal would be to retain the Message Board using some kind of old timey bulletin board software. Simple but effective.

John Downey said:

Sorry to hear about the price increase. While I don't get a chance to visit the site as much as I did earlier (work is crazy busy right now), I've always enjoyed viewing the posts and talking with folks. I have a number of Facebook sites I check now and then, but really hate the advertising and stupid things people seem to post up there.
I really like this site the way it is and would be willing to contribute. I agree with Nick and others that the dollar amount of the increase is crazy. Using another option is warranted just by the size of the increase.

Whatever you decide to do, I will continue to support the site - there simply isn't anything quite like it.
... Jbd

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