Support the Allspark.com Server Drive!
Hey everyone! We are beginning an Allspark fund drive that we've kicked off in person at Botcon this month in Pasadena and lasting through July in order to raise the money necessary for us to buy a new server. As many will remember, we had a major crash in 2006 which was rough for everyone as our favorite website was unavailable for a few months, but through the generous support of our awesome community, we were able to buy the equipment we needed to get back underway. While we're not currently facing an emergency situation like that because of how well we've made that investment last, it's clear that our current technology is being pushed to (and sometimes past) its abilities, so we'd like to be pro-active in getting what we need to continue to grow and improve this website so that it's ready to support the needs of our community in exciting ways as we enter the second decade of the 21st century.
We've always done our best to put the hobby and the community first when approaching how we maintain the site, which means we aren't finding new ways to sell you out for more ad revenue, or to lock down any of our content for paid subscribers, or anything else which detracts from the experience of connecting with fellow fans here. Between the "OTFCC Party" in Chicago in 2004, the "Break Fest" trip to the aquarium at Botcon 2008, to the absolutely astounding charity drive which last year allowed for this community to buy a rare 1986 Hasbro catalog and raise over $2500 for Hasbro Children's Hospital and which this year raised over $6300 which was personally matched by Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner, the Allspark is an amazing place with amazing people worth supporting.
You can read how you can support the drive right here!
We want to have the capability to be leaders in community engagement so that all our fan experiences can be richer and, well, more fun! But more than that, we understand this isn't for charity – we're asking the community to benefit itself and we want to be sure to give something back to you too other than just warm fuzzy feelings! So that's where you come in. We are asking for contributions from our community to support the Allspark's ongoing activities.
- Give ANY amount, however large or small, and your group will be changed from Citizen to Supporter, which will have a unique color and a badge under your name! No contributor goes unrecognized!
- Give $5 or more, and receive the Supporter tag and a digital file of original art by Kris "Drivaaar" Carter featuring G2 Aerialbots in the style of "Transformers: Animated" – perfect companions to the club's Animated Stunticons!
- Give $15 or more, and receive the Supporter tag, digital art, and an 8×10 glossy print of Kris "Drivaaar" Carter's Animated Aerialbot art in G1 colors – even more perfect companions to the club's Animated Stunticons! You'll also get a free set of background stands for your collection!
- Give $50 or more, and receive the Supporter tag, digital art, print, and a mug – or a Coffee Kup, to be more precise! Perfect for reminiscing about the battle of Beta 9. You'll also get a free set of background stands for your collection! (And once you reach this level, additional mugs will be available for $30 each).
In addition to the contribution levels, we're going to be running a series of auctions on Ebay to benefit the site with some unique memorabilia. We'll be announcing these on a weekly basis throughout the month, but just as a teaser, we can reveal that the final item will be Jake Isenberg's generous contribution of his original art to the "Within the Shattered War" Botcon lithograph!
Now the really exciting part – our goals and what we want to be able to do for our community!
- Photo galleries will be completely overhauled so that the incredible work of our contributors can be appreciated. New galleries will be fast, organized, and easy to use.
- Allspark Toybox will be much more fully integrated, and we'd really like options for users to contribute and organize their own galleries directly on the site.
- Front page overhaul to connect better the galleries, news, forums, and contests.
- Contests. We've built some great connections with people who work on TF brands, and it is far more difficult than it should be for us to run various contests to give away their swag! We want to do this better, faster, and find ways to give away more stuff to you guys!
- The charity drive has been a huge success, and we intend to continue this tradition. While we remain incredibly proud of it, it was done on the fly without any plan, so we'd like to be able to more properly and securely support that effort, and to hopefully see it continue to grow.
- Social media connections and support to Facebook and Twitter in particular, but also with flexibility to adapt to new services over time.
- Mobile version of the site that is more robust and usable
- No need to periodically delete large threads just because they're large, and the ability to maintain a longer history of forum posts.
- More options for users, perhaps including more forum preferences, site skins, on-the-fly chat, or better user ignore lists.
- Faster site speed all around, especially in times of high traffic (as expected over Botcon weekend and when TF3 opens).
- Reliability, security, and redundancy. Just, in general, these things will all be improved.
So while we're asking a lot of you in this server drive, hopefully it's clear that we're going to deliver a lot and take the Allspark to a whole new level. We've set a goal of merely $4000 to accomplish everything we've listed above, including all hardware, software, and development costs. Furthermore, we've already jump-started the process with our own contributions and sales of personal items from the Botcon portion of the drive. Which means we've already raised $1333.04 towards our goal! The motto has always been "We Are One," but if successful we'll be able to say that we're more One than ever before! I'd just like to say, on behalf of our whole team here, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making this place what it is. We only care because you all make it worth caring about, and as grateful as I am for the past 11 years, I'm looking forward to the next 11, and thank you sincerely for your ongoing support.