[Osmf-talk] Financing the OSMF

Roland Olbricht roland.olbricht at gmx.de
Wed Aug 28 13:49:53 UTC 2013

> >> We lose this best-reputation-funding once we start advertising. So I strongly oppose that idea.
> > +10
> It depends what do you mean by advertising.

The important perspective here is the unsuspecting user's perspective.

If we have any company ad that catches attention on the main page ...

... then a part of the users will outright think we are controlled by the advertised company.
We don't want to convey that message.

... then another part will think that we are after money from advertising and offer some
hopefully entertaining content. This is a very common business model, even commercial TV is
essentially that. But it is not our business model, and because a lot of people really
dislike this business model, we must not look like that.

... then the really curious users might understand our project's goals but fear that we
are shortly before running out of money. I don't see a necessity to spread fear over that.
It would also deter even this fraction of potential users.

So only a quite tiny fraction of new users may in the end conclude that we aim to offer
open geodata and that we are well funded with data, technology and financial support
by our users, but additional engagement is welcome.

What I rather would show to convey our message is in the place of the "Donate" button
a widget with two figures:

Operation of OSM for 1.3 million users costs: 2.52 GBP per hour

Funded already until [some date and time] by the OSM community.

[Learn more ...]

These are two concise, essential and easy-to-understand figures.

We can make up these figures by dividing our last year's budget or this year's budget
predicition for the server operations including hardware writeoffs and comparing to our
financial reserves.

"Learn more ..." could then show the expenditure overview, with a short explanation
for every topic (what we have learned about insurance, that bank fees are currency losses,
and maybe a link to the server's page), and a timeline from recent to old who has
contributed money for how a long operations. It is intuitive how much space you get and
that your mentioning will move towards the tail with the flow of time.

It's also super-transparent on both income and expenditures, geared toward the model of
a small-scale OSMF and keeps the workflow and approach as it is.

It's in particular 100% unobstructive to users not interested in OSM related companies.
That is what I call "mentioning a company" as opposed to "advertising for a company".



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