Quoted from taylor34:
My only question about the whole thing is that I don't understand quite why this forum is setup where the users pay for sales like ebay, but every other forum is setup where businesses basically support the forum.
The answer is simple. Independence. In order to be a free forum (free as in 'free speech' not 'free beer') we made a conscious decision to not seek or accept 'sponsorship' from any big companies. The way Pinside is set up now ensures us being independent (no obligations or any appearances of conflict of interest).
Sure, there are quite a few companies on Pinside who are supporting us through donations and sales fees but none have any definitive 'say' in how I run the site. And that is good news for all of our 35,000+ members (and many more non-members) who come to Pinside to read the good, the bad and the (sometimes) ugly.
Imagine if one or two of the larger pinball companies would pay the bills for us. We would become dependent on them. And then when someone posted something in the forums that these companies didn't like (hard to believe, but it does happen occasionally) they would have the power to force me to remove such content. Pinside would quickly turn into a Facebook comments page.
That not a position I want the site to be in. And that's why we decided that the whole community should all contribute a little. More recently (since Expo 2014) we have been trying to distribute this a bit more fairly: those who make money using the site should contribute a bit more too.
I hope that explains our (according to some unusual) angle to making Pinside sustainable and profitable.
Quoted from Zitt:
Robin, I'm ok with the change in general - but please consider developing an api with documentation so we can merge that api with our existing ecommerce systems.
I hear you. We are working on an API. We would love to connect Pinside to cool apps, like the awesome Pindigo app. But there's only so many hours in a day. It's coming though.
Possibly a quicker way to get this working for you would be to let us connect to your e-commerce, but I guess it would be best to continue that conversation via PM. This also goes for other parties with an interest.
Quoted from mbaumle:
I've never seen such a community with such a close relationship with other users, moderators, and site founders. It's incredible (in a good way).
That's a sharp observation. And, quite frankly, it is pretty cool indeed. I've never had this kind of relation with end users in my previous career as a software engineer and UI designer. The huge growth in users makes it challenging sometimes and our members can be very passionate (which I guess is a good thing), but I hope everyone realises it's my #1 priority to run a fun community site.