» Why impose a membership fee?

When The Stamp Shack website began in October of 2007, we had roughly 40 members and we were proud to be a small rubber stamping community. Somewhere along the way, a link to our website was posted on two very popular stamping websites advertising that we were giving away free templates and backgrounds. Imagine my surprise when our normally quiet website began receiving upwards of 100 new registrations a day! We were thrilled! Unfortunately, the celebration and glee was short lived. We soon found out that these new registrations came with a price.

Our website was hosted on a shared server with a meager 1GB of bandwidth allowance. With 100 new registrations per day, and each of those registrants downloading every single template that we had available, our tiny little website began to suffer huge lag times and time out error messages. The site became so unbearably slow that it wasn't even worth logging on. I felt absolutely horrible for the 40 members who called The Stamp Shack home. Eventually, our web host began complaining too! They told us that our website was hogging 90% of the server's resources and was causing all of the other websites hosted on the same server to suffer as well. So, what did they do? They pulled the plug on us and suspended our website even though I was PAYING for it! They politely informed me to either pack up and find a new host or transfer our website to a dedicated server.

Well, if anyone knows anything about websites, transferring to a new host can be an absolute nightmare. I didn't want any part of it having 'been there and done that' many times in the past. My only option at that point was to break the news to our 'Shackies' - our website would be closing for good. I was (and still am) a stay-at-home mom and I just couldn't afford to pay the $150 monthly fee to host the website on a dedicated server.

I was truly blessed when I started this website because the wonderful Stamp Shack websidents soon united forces, rallied around me, and came up with the superb idea of implementing a $12 yearly membership fee to help offset the cost of the new server. At first, I was against the whole idea (still am in fact) but the idea of losing this fabulous website altogether caused me great pain. Reluctantly, and with much kicking and screaming on my part, the membership fee was indeed implemented.

As a special 'Thank You' to the members who support the website with monetary donations we, as a community, decided that the templates and other special features (i.e. - the ones that use the most bandwidth) would be reserved for paying members only. In our first year, we not only raised enough money to cover the cost of the server but we also had a small amount of money left over to add a few new features to the website, purchase prizes for contests, and to perform much needed upgrades to our custom coded swap board! Each and every cent raised was/is directly applied to The Stamp Shack website.

Thank you so much for your support, Shackies!

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