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You Might’ve Noticed a Few Changes Around Here…

If you’ve been visiting FOSS Force for a while, you might have noticed some changes around here. Nothing serious. We didn’t do anything drastic like change our layout or put our content up in twenty page slide shows or anything like that. But we’ve expanded, and I think, improved our content. We’re offering more coverage of FOSS than ever before, while also expanding into territories of free tech that lie outside the arena of software and Linux.

FOSS Force beggingYou might have also noticed that the expansion began just after our May fundraising campaign in which you gave us $2,300 to improve our site. Thanks to you, we have been able to pay our writers — not much mind you, truthfully a small fraction of what they should be paid — which has been a key element to our improved coverage.

Your contributions have allowed us to bring excellent coverage of the Raspberry Pi, thanks to the hard work of Isaac Carter, who when he’s not writing for FOSS Force facilitates a Pi meeting in Washington, DC and is the co-host of the two podcasts: The Pi Podcast and mintCast. Oh yes, he also has a day job as a coder.

Then there’s our coverage of gaming. For several months now, Hunter Banks has been keeping us informed on open source games, a hot topic, especially since it’s so often played in murky waters from a FOSS viewpoint. With Banks’ help, we’re especially keeping an eye on Valve, a company which has already ported around 2,000 game to Linux, and with their Steam Machine is poised to introduce Linux to a new group of users.

Some of you might know that Banks is something of a fixture at the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE), where he’s been a member of the team for many years. If you happen to see him at SCALE 14x, coming up in just a few weeks, be sure to pat him on the back and tell him how much his work for FOSS Force is appreciated.

Since long before our last fundraiser, we’ve been privileged to work alongside Larry Cafiero, who will probably hate it if I call him a seasoned journalist — which he is. Until recently he covered the whole wide world of FOSS, but now he’s delved into the world of BSD and has shifted his focus at FOSS Force to explore the relatively unknown world of BSD. His column, Larry the BSD Guy is published every Thursday. We also expect he’ll turn-in a story or three on Linux or other FOSS subjects when the mood strikes him.

Last, but certainly not least, there’s Ken Starks, who sticks around to remind us, lest we forget, that the original and still most important thought behind free software is to help people — users like you and me. I like to think of Ken as the heart of Linux and we’re fortunate to be able to bring his column to you each week. Most of you already know that Ken spends his time handing out refurbished computers running Linux to financially disadvantaged school children in the Austin, Texas area through his nonprofit Reglue project.

Our content has been expanded in other ways as well. A few weeks back, for example, we added the FOSS Force News Wire, keeping you linked to the latest FOSS news. The News Wire can be found on the left column of every page. Also, we’ve rebooted the FOSS Force Poll, which was always a popular feature, but which we neglected for about a year due to time constraints. Anyway, it’s back with a vengeance.

Evidently, you’ve been noticing our improvements, as traffic to our site has nearly doubled since we ended our fundraiser, making 2015 a record breaking year for us. Traffic numbers for all of 2015 are higher by more than a third from any year in our history. The added traffic has also meant added income from advertising, which has more than tripled since our fundraising campaign ended.

The increased revenue from advertising is not only based on additional traffic leading to more impressions, the “per click” rate we’re being paid is on the rise as well, meaning advertisers are beginning to value us and are bidding for space on our site. Remember, no matter how you feel about advertising, it’s helping keep the bills paid.

In our May fundraiser, we were seeking $6,000 to fund a six month plan. The amount we raised was $2,300, well below our goal. This moved us to Plan B, which was to cut back greatly and expand the site more slowly. It also meant paying our writers less than we’d hoped. But we put the money to work making FOSS Force better than ever, and not to repeat myself to much here, I think the results are obvious.

We told you in June, immediately after the campaign ended, that due to the shortfall we’d be coming back with another fundraising campaign to make up for the difference. We put that off, because we wanted you, our supporters, to see what we would do with your initial investment. Again, I hope most of you agree that FOSS Force is a much better source for FOSS news and commentary than it already was before we received your generous contributions.

Now it’s time for us to come out with our hands open again, to make up for the shortfall of $3,700 from our previous campaign. We’ll be starting a new campaign on Indiegogo sometime next week, meaning we’ll be going into NPR-Fund-Drive-mode and will be trying our darndest to convince you to contribute a few dollars to our continued growth.

However, you don’t have to wait until our Indiegogo campaign goes live in order to contribute. You can make a contribution right now, simply by going to our sponsorship page where you can make contributions of $10, $25, $50 or $100. You can also become a sustaining sponsor, and pledge to contribute monthly in the amount of $10, $25 or $50, which will go a long way towards helping us meet our goal. Any contributions you make between now and when our new campaign goes live will be deducted from our Indiegogo goal.

You can also support us by helping us get the word out about FOSS Force. Almost every day we hear from people who say something like, “I just discovered your site. I can’t believe I didn’t know about you before.” You can help by sharing articles you like on your favorite social network. We make that easy, all you have to do is use one of the social links at the end of each and every article. You can start by sharing this article to let people know about our fundraising campaign.

But most most of all we need money. Please dig into your pockets now and help us get a running start on our upcoming campaign. It goes without saying that we will appreciate any contribution you make, and promise to be good stewards of the funds you entrust with us.

If you think we’ve done a good job with FOSS Force up until now, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

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