What would have happenned if we didn't reach the goal? would you have to shutdown the site?
I should find where i wrote about this before, but it bears repeating:
We've all seen the results of these companies that were basically operating in a financial imaginary wonderland where they invented their own virtual money (and then sold themself fake insurance on it), etc. And how other big companies just operate in millions of dollars of debt a year and don't expect to ever make a profit, they just plan to sell out to google or whatever.
DC has always been, and will remain, a fairly low budget site that operates year by year, within the boundaries of the money it raises. It's so much simpler and saner that way.
When the site started we were on a $20 a month shared hosting server. That was fine while their was only a handful of people on the forum and not very many people were downloading our software.
The old timers here will remember how the site would start to slow down and drag and grind to a halt as we started to occasionally get overloaded with traffic.
As we've grown, our needs for more powerful servers has grown to.. To the point now where we have a pretty powerful dedicated main server that costs a few hundred dollars a month and handles 30gb a day of downloads, and a secondary smaller dedicated server that we use for member projects.
We are able to afford these serious servers, as well as some money to help defray server administration costs/time, because of the donations of people to the site.
Thankfully it seems likely that the relationship between traffic and donations will be enough to pay for appropriate hosting for the forseeable future. That is, if we are doing 30gb a bandwidth a day, it means we need a big dedicated server, but it also means we have enough people that we should be able to raise money to pay for hosting. If we got to the point where we couldn't raise enough money for our servers it would probably mean the site has dropped so low in usefulness that we wouldn't need such a big server.
Anyway, back to the point, which is simply that:
We are fully capable of living well within our means and living off of the donations we raise, and we will continue to do so. Site isn't going anywhere, regardless of how many people donate or how much. Period.
The donations are important though, because they make it possible for us to do things we otherwise wouldn't be able to do.. like be extravagent sometimes like with the prizes to for the last NANY event, and to give away mugs, etc. In the world of business we are talking about trivial amounts, but those amounts raised go a long way on a site like ours.
And for someone like me, receiving donations means the difference between being able to spend all of my time working on DC stuff -- or having to spend more time working on other paid work in order to pay bills.
The best part about DC though is what i said before -- DC is not trying to be a "profitable business" -- and that means we don't have to make decisions like a corporation would and figure out what's the best way to make money. Instead we can reverse the equation and say: let's do what we enjoy doing, and try to raise enough so we can continue doing it.