Karen and I were discussing the site, and the various questions we've received about how things work and what our plans are. We determined that it was important to explain how the site came to be built, and the original plan. The goal isn't to shame anyone, so there will be no names. It's important to know how we got here.
In late 2015, a discussion began among admins of a very large chicken keeping group on Facebook. The platform was restrictive, and people were losing the ability to have meaningful conversations because of the nature of Facebook groups. Someone would make a post, and a few would interact on that post as it fell down the group wall. New posts would get lost quickly and many people complained that their posts went without reply. The group itself was, because of its rules, pushing people away to do their business - it didn't allow sales. On top of that, the group of admins worked hours every day to maintain the group with no kind of compensation.
I proposed that I could build a website to handle the group members in a more organized way. Sales here, pictures there, internal groups - a place for everything, separated to allow everyone the ability to get their information and questions out there in a way that could be more easily managed. The admins would get trained on the new system and it (in theory) would be easier to manage. As the members grew, the site might gain enough advertising revenue so the admins could be compensated for their time along with giving us the ability to use excess revenue to buy contest prizes without charging members. Nobody was going to get rich, but we could continue doing what we loved and maybe shed some frustration.
The group owner agreed, and added in a 3rd party who was supposed to be an expert. This 3rd party was going to write articles about nutrition and in exchange he was going to get free advertising for his nutrition product. Everything was going fine until this 3rd party started claiming that he owned the website, that the idea was his intellectual property. The group owner went along with this fantasy. Somehow, I was taking on all of the time writing software and expense of building and hosting a website, purchasing domains and security certificates (out of my own pocket) - and yet this 3rd party was claiming ownership after having contributed nothing, not even a single article written.
At this point we did a massive amount of research into the 3rd party and found that he was a massive fraud. When we brought this up to the other admins in the group, and the group owner - we were pushed out of several groups for it. We were blacklisted, and that's why it's important for us to bring this history into the light. We don't want this apparent blacklisting to affect the potential of this site to do a lot of good for others.
Where does that leave us with the site? In a good position, actually. The cost of building the site was considered a loss and forgotten years ago. If I make it back, great. If I don't, it's OK too. The plan hasn't changed, we just don't have the same pool of administrators to manage things as we did then. We don't want to charge anyone for anything. We have no interest in selling demographic data to anyone. The income will come strictly from ads and affiliate links when we can. The site generated income will be used for 4 things:
- To pay for site hosting (domains, certificates, services, etc)
- To pay administrators something for their time
- To pay for prizes so we can start having contests
- To participate in poultry shows around the country.
- This means that we'll need people to represent us and attend these shows with some site related task (look at new breeds, interview people, report on technology, etc).
Although I'm an admin, I don't plan to be paid for this. Being a software developer, this site will become a living item in my portfolio and will help me gain other business. As long as it remains a shining example, my business benefits.
Once each item in that list is achieved, we'll move on to the next item. After that, I guess we'll see. We want to be a positive community resource, anything beyond that will be a bonus.
Welcome to the site. Please, make yourself at home.
Michael and Karen Richey