Turning Hackaday into a virtual hackerspace

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The owner of Hackaday, [Jason Calacanis], wants to sell this site. The editors and contributors of Hackaday want to buy it and turn it into a nonprofit. You can help! 

Here’s a really nice Powerpoint going over what we’re going to do while making Hackaday the best it can be.

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Here’s the skinny: if this campaign is funded, the writers and editors of Hackaday will keep doing what we’re doing. If we’re successful, we’re going to write up more hacks than we are right now, hosting an awesome community, and expanding our custom builds. You know how [Caleb] built Thor’s Hammer? If we’re funded, we’ll be doing more stuff like that, only with a bigger budget. It will be awesome.

But wait, there’s more!

The community is going to be the main focus from here on out. We’ll visit hackerspaces, do proper interviews, hold contests, and coming up with some giveaways. We might even do a few hackerspace/builder grants; sometimes we see a really cool build that’s constrained by custom or handmade parts (this spray etcher comes to mind) that need a shot in the arm and a little bit of funding to bring them into the ‘buildable by everyone’ level.

[dynotronix] in the comments suggested we do a Hackaday scholarship. That’s an awesome idea. At the very least we’ll buy some O Chem textbooks for students. They’re taking O Chem anyway, and having to buy the book is just rubbing salt in the wound.

But wait, there’s problems!

Half a million dollars is a lot of money. A ton. You know when you see the ‘briefcase with a million dollars’ in movies and TV shows? That briefcase couldn’t hold a million dollars. It would probably be something like $200 – $300k. We’re going to need a lot of help from the Hackaday community.

It’s been suggested many, many times that we offer some sort of equity or shares in Hackaday. This is illegal, and even though white collar prison seems  cushy, we’d prefer to keep things above board here. In any event, this is exactly the problem we’re facing right now – the possibility of an unknown business having undue influence over Hackaday. Too many cooks, or something like that.. We’d like to keep this in the family, with the same content (but expanded), and the independence to do what Hackaday should.

[Jason] did offer a revenue-sharing plan for the community to buy Hackaday, something along the lines of $300,000 up front, and $10k a month for 30 months. We don’t want to do that. That would actually decrease the revenue available to the writers and editors for two and a half years. Yes, with this plan, the community would ‘own’ Hackaday, but it would be worse – no projects, no really cool stuff – for a fairly long time. We want to hit the ground running.

In the interest of fairness…

This is not the only ‘lets crowdfund Hackaday’ project out there. [Logan Collins] and [Brett Diedrich] have their own Indiegogo campaign running. Edit: never mind, they shut theirs down.

If the Hackaday community doesn’t like this Indiegogo campaign, I encourage you to start your own. This is a community driven site, and we’ll be more than happy to support anyone who comes up with a better crowdfunding campaign.

And that’s all she wrote

So there you go. We’re crowdfunding Hackaday so we can be independant forever and do really cool stuff. The owner of this site has assured me he’s on board with this plan.

This post is going to be stickied for the duration of the campaign, so if you have any questions, ask them in the comments. I’ll update this post with an FAQ shortly.

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The FAQ:

So who would actually own it? /  If the funding is successful, who will really own the company? / Can you comment on who inherits this asset?/ What will happen in 2 or 3 years if you want to leave?

We’ll be setting up an LLC with the current writers and editors as the managers. Then we’ll go for non-profit 501(c)(3) status. If I die or leave in two or three years, Hackaday will still have other editors and writers.

Here’s the best reason why setting up an LLC is the best option.

It has been brought to our attention an L3C might be better than an LLC. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

What about shares / equity / No ownership of stock = no donation.

This is what we’re trying to get away from. Right now, the revenue from Hackaday is being used for other unrelated startups. We already have too many owners, and some weird dividend or sharing scheme would only keep us (financially) where we are now. This is publishing. Think of it as a subscription. Donate a buck or two and keep enjoying Hackaday as it is, but cooler.

For everyone who wants ownership of Hackaday, read this comment.

If that doesn’t convince you, it’s also illegal.

If this is funded, what’s stopping you from buying Hackaday, then selling it and keeping the money?

With non-profit status, this would require the agreement of all the writers and editors of Hackaday. That’s simply not going to happen.

The same could also be said if Jason sells to someone else. At least with this plan there’s some accountability.

Now go contribute!

Comments

  1. ColdTurkey says:

    Erm, so what happens if you don’t raise them money?!?

    • ColdTurkey says:

      also, little message for jason.

      BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

      • Hack Man says:

        More like: NOOOOOOOOO.

        Thanks for your part of $500,000 – here’s a t-shirt. Oh you wanted ownership?

        Sorry.

        This is novel but dumb.

        • Zm3tta says:

          The problem with giving ownership to each contributor is that they would already have been disqualified from being an LLC or S-corp (with over 200 contributors), thus forcing them into C-corp status which is an ugly beast for this type of operation. They cannot go directly for 501(c)(3) status as it requires at least 1 year of existing tax returns in the name of the company to be filled as a request (application) for review and possible approval of Non-profit status. I’ve been out of the legal side of incorporation for a couple years but have heard of a new entity type gaining acceptance in the US that focuses on a predefined goal, instead of shareholders, called a B-corp. This might be something interesting to look into for HackADay.

          • Augur says:

            Someone gets it!!!!!

          • Wut? says:

            BUT, there is a difference between ownership and control. If the point of having the donators/supporters/members Control or Direct the project, then they do not have to be owners….. If the point is a financial venture, then it’s different.

            If the members were not owners of the corporation, but it was instead set up as a non profit for educational purposes that was only taking in money in order to cover it’s costs incurred during the carrying out of its Educational purposes….. And the members could direct the operation of the project without being owners/stockholders who were receiving profits…. This is not disqualified for LLC, S corp, 501{c}3 or any other direction that you wanted to take it depending on the particulars. It would still be a VERY unwieldy and kind of novel model though.. But Hackerspaces have long been trailblazers in this strange logistical territory….. Good Luck Guys!!!

          • Zm3tta says:

            Yes, is most jurisdictions there is a difference between holding a share of a company (shares can be defined as non-transferable voting rights only but this still creates share holders) and having influence over the direction of a company. This is partially why I suggested looking into the newer B-Corp which allows the entity to predefine some non-financial motive for the the company. B Corps, though gaining acceptance, are only recognized in a few regions currently though and some of those regions may be far less appealing for forming a company than others. You cannot, in the United States, incorporate as a 501(c)3 because it is a tax exemption that you must apply for using existing tax records. Many companies form LLCs initially and then apply for 501(c)3 status at the end of year 1 or 2.

            If control of the direction of the company is granted to a few hundred individuals in the incorporating documents of the company it likely does not matter that the word “share” wasn’t used, that the voting rights are non-transferable, and that profit is not distributed. A court is likely to find that legally granted fractional control over a company is, in effect and spirit, a share of the company (this is actually explicit in most, if not all, states). If any of the individuals that were granted such rights happen to not be citizens of the US you get to tack on an extra fun set of regulations, limitations, and taxes.

    • If the campaign doesn’t raise $540k, credit cards aren’t charged, nobody spends any money, but Hackaday can’t buy Hackaday.

      Then either someone else will pick it up or Jason will keep staying the course forever.

      • Eternalgif says:

        What’s the difference between a LLC, L3C, and 501c3? They’re different types of business/nonprofit organizations, right?

        • LLCs are corporations. Your local pizza shop is an LLC, and so is that nail salon down the corner. A 501c3 is non profit, and people can write off donations to a 501c3 on their taxes. That’s what actual physical hackerspaces should be, if they aren’t already.

          L3C is a weird mix between a non profit and a for-profit company. Basically, the primary motivation is 1) social stuff 2) profit, in that order. It’s just more flexible.

          And of course all of these can be drafted with a charter saying who is the manager, what happens when a manager leaves, etc…

      • El Z-42 says:

        … so?

        hackday.com gets hackaday. – and this will cost the community just a few bucks for registration & the installation of a blog software.

        and not 540.000 us$ … wtf!?

        the community/the content is what makes hackaday unique and valuable. not the crappy domain.

        just my 0.02€

    • mookieblaylock says:

      I contributed 75 dollars… but I realize this won’t work.

      I support the idea that the community is important enough to try and do SOMETHING to preserve it.

      I have started a site based on the HackerNews style website. The community shares links of their own or others hacks and they vote based on them (sort of like DIGG but WAY more simple). It requires NO EMAIL to sign up. Also I will not host ADS. You share. You Vote. Community wins.

      Check it out http://curatoris.com/

      If it takes off, we’ll make admins to moderate. If not… it’ll die off.

      My hope is that the editors and contributors here will try it out too.

      Cheers to all.

  2. rob says:

    first contribution

  3. Face says:

    What a great idea. Although I don’t have a tenth the brainpower that you guys do, I so enjoy this website. It has helped me figure out many things. The people in the community are also outstanding and willing to help at any time. This must stay with the people. An outside influence would eventually run it into the ground. I’ll do my part to help. Thank You.

  4. jeffers says:

    you should probably mention who/how its actually going to be owned. e.g. under some non-profit entity or?

    • LegendOfTheRedDragon says:

      I agree fully!

      Because as of right now, I really don’t understand what the heck the point of this fundraising endeavor actually is. I know this probably isn’t the case, but from a public perspective it’s coming off as greedy cash grab. I’ve never heard of a company raising money to sell itself to itself and get the public to pay for it. Actually I have, when the Government took public money and distributed it to corporations in the form of bailouts and then the exec’s paid themselves nice bonuses with the money.

      Right now It looks like a company is looking to pay itself half a million dollars to purchase a product from itself and then make it non-profit after distributing the money to its current owners. Will the non-profit that it’s being converted into see all of the money or just a left over share afterwards? Why not just make it a non-profit now, transfer the rights to the non-profit and then raise donation money? If it’s a non-profit first, I am sure you would get WAY more money as you’d have to be transparent and people would feel more ownership and kinship towards hackaday. I’d imagine more people would be willing to donate if there was a gaurantee of transparency.

      I am not saying this is the case (That Hackaday is selling hackaday to itself and getting us the readers to pay for it) only to me that it appears to be that way. If you are asking for half a million duckets (http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/let-s-buy-hackaday), I think you guys should be a little more transparent with how the current corporate, ownership and profit sharing structures are setup. I would be more then willing to donate, but not until I know why the heck I am donating at all. You guys are making $15,000/month (Quote from http://hackaday.com/2013/07/01/hackaday-looking-for-a-good-home/: “It’s doing over $14k a month in advertising without a sales force (just AdSense mainly), and it’s got an amazing stable of bloggers. Given its 6m pageviews a month and with an advertising sales force doing a modest $15 RPM, Hackaday could do $90k a month.”) in ad revenue currently, you’d think with that much money this site would be self sustaining. However, without knowing any of the backroom dealings hackaday is obligated to pay off first (Quote from: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/let-s-buy-hackaday “Wait, I though the owner wanted $500,000?
      Yes, you’re right. But there’s also Indiegogo’s cut. Anything left over from the purchase will go towards the rewards, setting up the LLC, buying Caleb, Mike and other Hackaday contributors a beer, and maybe something really cool. We’ll buy a laser cutter and give it away or something.”),

      So Indiegogo takes $40,000? Setting up an LLC takes what $1000? Buying Hackaday staff beer and food $200-$300 a laser cutter $10,000? Now $488,700 goes to Jason on the public’s dime and then the Non-Profit is left with only the Ad Revenue? Seems kinda lame.

      • Seth says:

        “ALBATROSS!”

        • LegendOfTheRedDragon says:

          “God save thee, ancient Mariner!
          From the fiends, that plague thee thus!–
          Why look’st thou so?”–With my cross-bow
          I shot the ALBATROSS.

          • Seth says:

            Just don’t start asking me for choc-ices.

            (The camera zooms past back onto the screen. On screen appears another ‘Intermission’ sign.)

            First Voice Over: There will now be a very short…

            (The intermission sign explodes.)

      • Bryan says:

        Just to get the numbers straight, here is info on the indiegogo pricing model:

        http://www.indiegogo.com/how-pricing-works-on-indiegogo

        If the campaign is successful, indiegogo gets 4% of the $540k, which comes out to $21.6k. There is an estimated 3% overall fee for credit card processing, which comes out to $16.2k, leaving $502.2k for Jason and the other HAD owners to divvy out.

        My understanding from the original post is that Jason currently using much of the revenue from the website to fund his other unrelated projects. This is well within his rights and the owner of a successful business (HAD), but is probably not great for the long-term sustainability of HAD. Hence the idea of selling it.

        Selling HAD to the community is not a greedy grab for money. If the half a million dollars is raised, Jason gets that as a lump sum for his business. This will let him take that money and use it to fund his other pursuits, while HAD will now be able to use all of the future revenue to sustain and grow the site.

        • This is exactly right. The extra $2,200 (that’s two thousand two hundred dollars, plus any extra) will be used to set up the LLC and other business expenses.

          • mofoq says:

            Awesome…good to see someone wasn’t as lazy as I was :D
            (http://hackaday.com/2013/07/01/hackaday-looking-for-a-good-home/#comment-1021672)

            so, where are you planning to incorporate? will it be a non-profit or “not” for profit sort of corporation?

            btw, I have to wait until payday. :/

          • Delaware or Nevada if we’re going with the LLC and then making it non profit.

            I’m liking the idea of the L3C. In that case we’d incorporate in Vermont.

          • Eternalgif says:

            So , if I understand right, HackaDay is being bought from the current owners either by a corporation or by crowd funding donations. This allows it to be a community-run business, and the owners will no longer be taking the money.
            Ehhh, not sure that brand name and a website domain are worth 500k. I guess it’s a bad idea to suggest domain/brand hopping, and being out from under hackaday control.

        • signal7 says:

          If nothing else, I’m really confused by all of this. The community creates the content that sells $14K+ in ad revenue every month with potential for more income. BUT – and here’s the sticking point – HAD doesn’t actually create any content itself.

          $500k for something that aggregates content that’s already posted online…. Hmmmm. I’m not saying that aggregating content comes for free, but come on: that valuation is nothing short of ridiculous. All it takes is for someone else to do the same thing in a slightly better capacity and suddenly you don’t have the page views to generate half the income you’re getting now.

          Even as it is today, all I’d have to do is add adafruit to my RSS reader, wade through all of the useless and only mildly related youtube videos they post and it’s pretty much the same thing. Respectfully, I don’t see where this makes any sense.

      • smee says:

        You are indeed correct that this situation can be interpreted as an organization buying itself from itself and making someone else (us) pay for it.

        Additionally, never forget that a non-profit only means that they become tax exempt and must be revenue neutral. I have had a hand in very tiny, temporary non-profits. It is quite possible that the ad revenue will be entirely spent on salaries (I’d love to have a very part time job writing about hacks other people told me about for 30k+ a year). That is to say, every writer gets an equal cut after other expenses. This leaves no net at the end of the year and the tax-exempt status is maintained. HUZZAH!!

        So, yeah forming a simple three part logic chain it could be interpreted as a situation where someone is asking for control over their own salaries and expecting someone else to pay for it all.

        -Not to say that any of this is the only or even a fair interpretation, just an accurate one.

  5. mewse says:

    Does Caleb come back if this campaign is successful?

    • Caleb is a near and dear friend and will happily help out but feels maybe it is time for fresh editorial direction. He’ll be here in a more supportive role.

      We can’t get rid of him. What happens with Caleb is entirely his choice. I *will* need his help cutting down an old Volkswagon engine, anyway.

  6. jeffers says:

    so who would actually own it? set up some non-profit run by you guys to take it or would it be owned by an individual?

  7. tophathacker says:

    Oh so we’re contributing to your personal wealth? I don’t quite agree with this. Hackaday is buying hackaday but this isn’t a “noble cause”, this is your job. Ya hackaday posts some cool links, and yes it’s a nice central location i can get my hacker fix but the service hackaday provides isn’t ground breaking. So crowd funding the purchase of hackaday is like panhandling on the street corner when you make $50k a year. Sorry, I will not be helping you buy hackaday. If this campaign goes through, then all those contributors own hackaday, not the writers.

    • EccentricElectron says:

      Hear, hear. It’s just like the begging-for-a-3D-printer thing (when the site is *profitable* in its own right – and what did happen to it when Caleb left?), but on a much larger scale.

      • caleb kraft says:

        I didn’t take anyone’s money for the 3d printer. Lulzbot donated one for the cause of making game controllers for kids with physical disabilities. If I had taken peoples money it would have been handled differently (I guess).

        • EccentricElectron says:

          It was donated to HaD, not you. Prior to it being donated you shamelessly solicited donations – even though this website is profitable.

          • caleb kraft says:

            It really sounds like you’ve got all the details and know exactly what was going on. Congrats on that.

            If you would like to see what is being done with the 3d printer, check out thecontrollerproject.com where people with physical disabilities can have special controllers made by hackers. (note there’s no donation button there). The lulzbot folks have been awesome in their support for the initiative.

          • EccentricElectron says:

            If I haven’t got the details, it is because you haven’t been transparent as an organisation – my comments are based on your articles. The fact that the printer is doing something ‘worthy’ doesn’t make that lack of transparency OK. And it’s precisely because of that behaviour that I won’t be supporting the indiego campaign. I am glad that your donor doesn’t have a problem with the way you have approached this.

          • tophathacker says:

            As I see it, if even if caleb was keeping the printer for himself (I don’t think he is) it’s a prize well won for helping that one kid. Everyone he helps after that is gravy. Admittedly that video about him did remind me of the “stop animal violence” commercials with Alanis Morissette music playing in the background… But it’s a cool endeavor.

          • Drake says:

            @caleb

            Speaking of … if you ned help with that I may have some ideas

          • LegendOfTheRedDragon says:

            EccentricElectron,

            Clearly you shouldn’t pretend like you know exactly what is going on with matters you have no knowledge of. Asking questions is ok, but making assumptions is pointless. Caleb has always been upfront about his endeavor. Lulzbot donated the printer to him to help further his goal of making an easy to use controller for someone with a physical disability. Yes he used Hackaday to raise awareness for that, but so what, so would I. If you were trying to raise exposure for a non-profit open source project, would you not use all the resources you had at hand? You would be silly not too. Not to mention, a lot of us WANT to see his progress with the controller project on this site. Stop being ridiculous and trying to stir the pot.

          • UAirLtd says:

            The way I see it is that they could spend all week blogging about everything that goes on, all their business decision, and policies, and there’ll still be people with a misplaced sense of entitlement clamouring for “more transparency”.

        • Storm Abram says:

          H8ers gonna H8, Caleb. Brush it off. You are clearly not trying to pull a fast one on anyone.

        • caleb kraft says:

          @Drake,
          sign up to the forums on thecontrollerproject.com or email me if you’ve got ideas!

    • If this campaign is funded, it’s all going towards the purchase of Hackaday. After that, we’ll be using the current revenue to do the cool stuff like grants, interviews, and contests. This isn’t for personal gain.

      > …when you make $50k a year

      You are vastly overestimating something.

      • tophathacker says:

        right.

      • tophathacker says:

        Well then I’ve misread something. And I’m more than willing to let you explain it further but I do ask that you present it differently. “We’re going to buy hackaday” might at first glance look like you’re getting it after it’s purchased. Sorry, But I’m going to stamp a big ‘ol [Citation Needed] on this post and the campaign in general.

        • belenos46 says:

          Yes, after they get funded, indiegogo takes its cut, and then they buy the site. and then they have no money, and are relying on the site’s existing revenue streams to fund everything they want to do.
          If you have some issue with the amount of money they’re asking for, realize that they didn’t set that price: Jason did. That’s the amount of money he’s looking to get.

          • tophathacker says:

            Maybe you don’t get how business works. They get funded, and they buy the site. Then the company has no money, but they have the company.. which was just purchased for $.5 million. It’s an asset that they own and all proceeds go to them, and they could turn around and flip it later for more (or probably less) but they still come out ahead cause they didn’t put up any money in the first place. I’m not saying this is what’s going to happen, just pointing out your logic is flawed.

    • caleb kraft says:

      This is a valid concern, but it is just like any crowd-funded thing, like an album or movie or book. You can choose to support it or not.

      As far as Brian’s salary, He wasn’t making $50k, I was. I am not part of this deal and it would be up to Brian on how to handle things like editor salary and stuff.

      I will donate to this, at the level I feel comfortable contributing. I don’t expect anything out of it but the product that I think Brian can produce.

      • tophathacker says:

        Well put Caleb. Calculated, concise, and I actually agree with it (mostly). Not something I’ve come to expect on hackaday comment replies :). I’m not trying to be a huge nay say-er, I just was pointing out one point of view.

        • Panikos says:

          I feel its the equivalent of paying a monthly subscription to a magazine i love or buying a good book. I mean a decent programming/electronics/technical book would probably cost you a lot more than $50 and hackaday is a mine of useful information that cannot be found in any book and will hopefully continue to grow.

          Even from the perspective of rewarding Jason for making all these years of fun possible and further rewarding the guys for future contributions i’m still happy to donate.

          Excellent and thank you all for past, current and future endeavors.

      • Robot says:

        Wow. You are vastly underpaid for dealing with all the hateraid comments.
        I for one, thank you and enjoy your posts.

    • Infidellic says:

      +1

      “It’s doing over $14k a month in advertising” – there’s comments suggesting this would go on grants and things but it’s a very very opaque situation. We’d be funding your purchase, if you make $14k of grants in the first month then after that we have no way of knowing if all profits (which could grow) are going to grants or lining individuals profits.

      If the kickstarter was establishing a mutual or a share issue then I might be minded differently but I’m out as it stands, it’s too shady

      • Anon says:

        Non-profits have pretty strict rules for transparency in accounting. As part of the charter, any surplus from the site would then be distributed to other charities. Ideally, the budget would account for this surplus and it would be spent on grants and other activities, making their budget zero-sum, no profit, no loss.

        • Infidellic says:

          Fair enough. So in essence it’d almost be a charitable organization? In the UK charities have boards of trustees to oversee them, if there’s an equivalent here who’d be on it? If it was the editors etc that’d be the operational staff deciding on their own salarys/comissions. That’s dodgy as hell

    • Blue Footed Booby says:

      Reading comprehension, motherfucker. The editors, who aren’t the owner, are raising money to buy the site from the owner, who isn’t an editor. Hackaday is not raising money to buy itself.

  8. fabiocfusaro says:

    Crowdfunding is a wonderful thing. Did a small contribution, will raise it next month because the site is worth but I’m a little broke right now. Good luck to you guys, hope you achieve it!

  9. predielis says:

    500.000$ for this site? You should be crazy.
    Just register hackeveryminute.com and go on with it.

    • trandi says:

      Fully agree, this sounds crazy !
      Just register another site, get all the good content and posts there, and i guarantee that in less than 1 year all the followers (which bring ALL the money this site makes !) will move !

      Dan

    • MacGeez says:

      What are the benefits that come from an acquisition? Couldn’t most of these be built quickly/easily from a “fresh start” as suggested above? Here’s my quick assessment:
      1) User Base (would follow the content if a comparable site emerges)
      2) Ad Revenue (may take some amount of time to reproduce, but depends on User Base)
      3) Infrastructure (servers, database, application – easy to replicate)
      4) Links to external hacks (easy to snarf, but write-ups still belong to HAD)
      5) Original hacks / articles (could link to them, but if the fresh start hastens the demise of HAD, then they are gone)

      so… the original articles seem to be the only real resource at stake here, and only in the long-run. In the short-term, the “fresh start” approach could build up a reputable number of original hacks / articles, possibly even reproducing or improving many done originally on HAD (low risk).

      I dunno… maybe I’m missing something. It just seems that a half mil is a bit steep for what could be reproduced for a fraction of that in overhead, and start fresh.

      • targetdrone says:

        It’s a lot harder than you’re imagining. Hackaday has a brand. It is a brand. And brands are nothing like physical goods. Some people will have brand loyalty, some wont. Some people will hate you for forking the brand, and won’t follow you no matter what. And the migrating community would need to be large enough to profitably sustain the new site.

        There are no guarantees on human behavior. They’ve worked hard to build up this brand. Would you really gamble all that on fickle people?

        • lloyd3000 says:

          yeah, hackaday.net costst 300$, thats much less than half a million 0o

        • Rick says:

          The “brand value” of hackaday is not 1/2 mill. When buying a company takes it’s net value over 3 years, and that is what it is worth. if Jason was making 166K a year off hackaday I am sure he would not be selling it. The real value lies with the writers. Where ever Caleb and Brian go I will follow, I don’t care what name you throw on it.

          • sparky says:

            Fuck ‘branding’. That is always where the marketing cancer starts. I don’t search for brands, I search for content. Wherever I find content, I periodically check back for more content. That is where my clicks go, not to some goddamn ‘branding’.

          • Greenaum says:

            Re Sparky: Yup!

          • Johan G says:

            Yep. Content is king.

            What a site is named and how polished it is is a lot less relevant than the content to me.

        • Leif says:

          Are you sure it would be so hard? I get it that branding is a big deal in the business world which markets to the general public. I suspect the majority of Hackaday readers are pretty comforatable with the open source world though. They are probably used to projects which get bought out by companies that do things they don’t like, are forked and live again under a new name. Take for example Open Office/Libre Office or probably soon MySQL/MariaDB. Even X-Windows went through something similar although for different reasons with the XFree86-> Xorg transition.

          If the plan for the editors to buy Hackaday work out then great! I did donate a bit myself already. If not.. well.. might as well see who buys it, what they try to do to/with it. If they harm it just fork! I’m pretty sure the majority of Hackaday readers will know the difference between a crappier commercialized version of Hackaday with the Hackaday name and a continuation of the real Hackaday with some new name.

          Good luck!

      • denial says:

        Archive.org appears to have no problem mirroring the site, so the hacks will still be available if this site vanishes.

    • eresonance says:

      There are copyright concerns making a site with a name similar to hackaday.com.

      However I agree, I don’t think hackaday is worth $500,000. At least, not in its current state.

    • charlie says:

      yep. the readers are the only thing of value here. plenty of other sites feature the same content. content created by the community, and only poorly summarized by the “writers”. don’t over estimate the value you bring to this affair. i’m off to dangerousprototypes. see you guys there!

      • Rick says:

        Thanks for the link. Following, but still keeping an eye over here.

      • Alex says:

        And half the time the readers are a bunch of jerks and trolls. I was excited back when the stricter moderation policy was announced, but nothing seemed to change. So even if the readership is valuable in terms of ad revenue, it is not valuable to me personally, so I have no interest in trying to sustain it.

  10. Fabien says:

    In normal crowd founded project, I basically see three kinds :
    -Pre-sales, when you (engage to) pay before the thing to be sold exists. Because you give the money earlyer, it help the owners to pay for development / production fees, but you really pay for the product in the end, and crowd-founded team just make money out of their pre-paid sales and other sales later
    -Charity project, where you pay for a project to exist because you think it should exist, but you don’t expect anybody to gain money while making the project.
    -Investement : you believe in a project, you give money as producers / investor, and you own part of the project and if the project success, you have some gain.

    Could you be more clear about the status of the project : basically it appear to me that you would want us to buy hack a day, and offer it to the current redactors, which means they would win a $500.000 company.

    In your description, you speak about newer things you could do. Ok, but will HaD be turned into a non-profit organization if you own it without paying (part of) it ? Will backers be shareholders, who can decide what to do with the money earned by HaD.com (found hackers spaces, projects, or ditribute it to shareholders) ?

    Without a clearer contract, this campaign sounds a bit like “please gives us money so we can buy our company”. I really think that a clear contract about what we pay for, and what guarantee / decisionnal power it will give to people to pay for HaD futur would be important. I really believe that what you want to do is a good idea, but people need to be sure that they don’t just pay for you to earn divident in addition to your current salary :)

    • PhysicsGuy says:

      This ^

      Please be a bit more clear about what kind of investment you are asking for and what you are offering investors in return!

      I really want to support you guys but you need to be clearer about your proposal.

    • If we’re funded, a lot is going to stay the same. The writers/editors will still be writing posts, getting paid the same amount per post, etc…However, if we’re able to buy Hackaday, we’re able to the really cool things that our current situation didn’t allow. Contests, giveaways, and such.

      As far as any decisional power over the editorial content, we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing now: For the ‘bonus’ stuff, of course the community will have some input. We’ll put up some polls for the contests, get a few of the contributors (not too many because it’s a logistical nightmare) to vet some grants. Just don’t think of this as a monetary investment. Think of it as, “I like hackaday and don’t want them to change too much. I’ll pitch in a few bucks.”

      We fully realize that if we screw this up we’re going to be crucified by the internet. We’re not going t screw this up.

      • Fabien says:

        “Think of it as, “I like hackaday and don’t want them to change too much. I’ll pitch in a few bucks.””

        That’s precisely why I’d like you to ask “help us turn HaD into a non profit organization”. Asking money to buy a company is definitively not the same thing.

        I’m pretty sure you don’t ask money to make personnal profit, but the need to understand how things work and to be sure to continue to be happy with the way they work in the futur is what bring some people to hacking I guess.

        • EccentricElectron says:

          “Think of it as, “I like hackaday and don’t want them to change too much. I’ll pitch in a few bucks.”
          It’s called a ‘subscription’ in the publishing world, isn’t it?

        • jnwatts says:

          “That’s precisely why I’d like you to ask “help us turn HaD into a non profit organization”. Asking money to buy a company is definitively not the same thing.”

          Agree +12; This is personally why I’m supporting the movement, and I would definitely like to see the campaign renamed (or better described) that the goal is non-profit.

          • Pinky's Brain says:

            There is no suggestion in the campaign at all they are making a non profit (like for instance a charter). Why exactly do you think they are?

        • Anon says:

          Even if they do make a non-profit, without offering some sort of ownership share this is still just a request for charity. As a non-profit, nothing (since the contributors don’t sound to be getting an ownership stake) is stopping them from directing all revenue and future profit to their pockets to stay zero-net-profit.

          “Dear sirs or madams, please gift us a $500K asset that for which we would like to overpay.”

          • Augur says:

            Sigh.. I don’t like being blunt… but…

            Anytime you donate you are giving to a charity of sorts without the expectation of something in return… If you donate to the cause to purchase HAD you do get something in return. Hackaday will stay the same as it is, and will develope social programs, scholarships, etc which it will be able to do as a non-profit…

            And if the money isn’t raise to by the site from Jason…. I hate to tell you but the first money hungry company that comes along will buy it, bastardize it and turn it into something akin to instructables or other sites.. no offense instructables…

      • Oliv' says:

        You still not answer…
        If the funding is successfull, how will really own the company ? You ?

        What will happen in 2 or 3 years if you want to leave ? Another crowedfunding, so ‘community’ will spend another time $500k ?

        • d says:

          “…What will happen in 2 or 3 years if you want to leave ? Another crowedfunding, so ‘community’ will spend another time $500k ?…”

          And a new business model is born…

      • d says:

        So given the three categories Fabien mentioned which does this fall under? It looks like a charity project but as he put it someone wins a $500K company.

        This just all sounds funny to me. I like HaD but surely giving you money to buy a company makes little sense.

        • Fabien says:

          Just so my words are not missunderstood : I don’t believe that they just want to win a $500k profit company, I’m sure they just want HaD to continue to exist how we love it. But things make change later, people may change or want to do something else. This need to be very clear.

          If jason just wanted the money, he would have spend a few time turning HaD into something that really gives profit to owner, and then sell it. But this could have spoiled the HaD.
          Jason could have left HaD as it is and not sell it, but HaD may deserve more attention (more time), and I think he wants to sell it only for the best (so it can continue to evelve when Jason has not enough time to spend on it)
          Jason could also give HaD for free, but HaD currently help him to fund other projects he likes.

          I think his decision is right, and the fact that he wants to sell it to current redactor is of course a good thing. I see no evil intention there. I have a few hundred euros ready to be given to HaD, I am just waiting for some issues to be clarified first (what happen when the current readactors will left is definitively one of them)

          • If this campaign succeeds, we’ll set up an LLC. The editors and contributors will be the managers of this LLC.

            If I die or leave, HaD will still be owned by the LLC. Obviously it’s in everyone’s best interest (including the future managers of HaD) to not screw this up.

      • Jeremy Cook says:

        You should give yourself a raise.

  11. afbcom says:

    Well gents, you have my support. Keep fighting the good fight. One idea for a reward level though it’s probably too late: guest article. Topically appropriate and non self aggrandising of course.

  12. Doub says:

    300k now and 10k a month thereafter. That’s the value that the current owner gives to the website, so that’s probably in the ballpark of the current revenue he gets from advertisement, right? So if we buy the website, who gets the advertisement money?

    • cocasdaneve says:

      That’s a good point. People in a healthy financial situation will probably be generous, but a lot of folks here (like me) don’t really have a lot of spare money.

      If you guys were in a really bad financial situation, as in “no money to pay the bills related to this site”, most people would help, hell, I would probably cut in something non-essential that I like to help you keep up, but, as far as I understand it, this site is in a healthy financial situation (more money from ads than what is required to pay the bills) and you are still asking for money.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there is something wrong with that, the problem is that you are asking for money to buy a company/brand that makes money (you are valuing it at 500k USD) and all the investors get are stickers.

      tl:dr version: The “possibility of an unknown business having undue influence over Hackaday” is a very good point, but you are asking everyone to give you money to buy a profitable brand valued at 500 000 USD so you can keep it for yourself without any kind of return to the investors.

      • targetdrone says:

        What I see is the “return to investors” is the promise of a site with more entertaining and engaging content. Maybe it will spark innovation in some kid. But there is no financial responsibility. Therefore these would more properly be called donations, not investments.

        They would also have a lot of tax work to do to qualify as a 501(c)3 organization. They aren’t a charity or doing charitable work with the contributions, so these donations wouldn’t be tax deductible. It would put them in a good position to request donations to do charitable work, however, such as 3D printing prosthetics for kids.

        • cocasdaneve says:

          Maybe I’m misunderstanding, but it sounds to me like they are just asking for money to buy hackaday, if they get the money they will spend it buying the hackaday brand, so the money goes to the current owner(s).

          They may indeed make hackaday better, but right now it sounds to me like they just asked for 500k to buy a profitable brand without any chance for the investors (or “donors” as you call them) getting equity or a vote in future decision making, just the promise of keeping it as we all know it and like it.

          • Andrew says:

            Where is the like button? This is exactly what I was thinking.

            Assuming hackaday is a corporation, they can restructure the company and sell shares with dividends. That way the investors get tangible value for their investment and actually own something for their generosity. That is the way to crowd fund this endeavour. I see no reason why the funding campaign can’t be set up to accomplish this.

          • Because it’s illegal.

            Everyone suggesting equity can read, right?

          • Andrew says:

            Brian,
            Why is it illegal? Is it illegal because of the current structure of the company. If so change the structure.

            There is a lot of interest from the audience in throwing money at this without any thought of return and that is great but there is also a lot of interest in investing in this as an investment which is also fair. So why not set up a corporation to purchase Hackaday so that your investors have an investment? It’s a concept as old as dust.

          • Andrew: Crowdfunding investments is something the SEC hasn’t ruled on. I don’t know – and I don’t think anyone knows – when this will change.

            If we were to crowdfund investments in Hackaday, that would be a quick trip to prison.

          • Augur says:

            Andrew,

            In order for a person to donate and receive a stake in Hackaday they would have to register it as a form of securities which is very cost prohibitive, time consuming, and frankly the site does not make enough to justify this, also at this point it could not exist as a nonprofit.

            If they were to offer lets say yourself, an equity share in Hackaday for your donation the federal government would not view this as a donation, but as an unregistered security, which is illegal and would land Brian and everyone else involved in trouble with the securities exchange commission.

          • dan says:

            It’s a big world and you can register a company anywhere -even as a non citizen in most places, not everywhere has the same tax laws as the US, and there is no need to think in such small minded terms of what you think that you might be able to do in your country.

            also registering in a different country might allow the new “hackaday company” to do what’s best for the company, instead of having to benefit share holders at any cost.

            there was an idea in a different comment than an American registered company must have all available means utilised to please share holders and that’s mean 50 ads per article. or the writers would be in court for failing the share holders.

            not only is that comment crap, (you’d have to prove negligence) but other countries don’t have anything like those laws. if they ran the company into the ground then they might end up in court, but only if the share holders took action, and even then it’s be to decide if they were negligent or incompetent.

            Basically, if “the land of opportunity” is stifling your opportunities then register on a different shore.

          • Andrew says:

            @Augur: I’m not suggesting unregistered shares, I’m suggesting registered shares.

            I’m familiar in what is involved in registering companies and legal expenses and fees are just part of the package. In this case we are looking at a valuation of ~$500k so why quibble over the legalities and paperwork involved.

            My expectation is that if a company is set up to purchase HAD and shares are offered to accomplish this purchase, they could very well meet or exceed their goal because they already have some financiers who are just blindly throwing money at the idea; make it a proper investment and the rest will follow.

  13. Mark says:

    Kickstarter = get rich quick scheme

  14. robart says:

    Seriously? Half a million? Come on guys, a new domain costs a dollar a month…
    The editors are the website as they get in new content. Is a known name worth that much? I would rather update a bookmark…

    • I don’t set the valuation.

      The people in the comments for the ‘for sale’ post really wanted a kickstarter, so here it is.

      • hugowesseling says:

        The value of something is determined by what people are willing to pay. I doubt the hackaday domain is worth $500K. After some time of not selling it, he’ll probably reduce the price. It seems a bit silly to buy for the asking price without bargaining.

        • If you try out the different site value checkers you seem to get different valuations.
          It does seem that most of these tools however dubious they may be, see a rather high value in hackaday.

          As we don’t have access to Jasons actual stats all of this is of course nothing more than speculation.

          Given that hackaday has deteriorated some over time both in the number of articles posted, the uniqueness of the hacks covered and that the site has dropped 3000 ranks on Alexa it is clear that the site is under monetized. Quite frankly I suspect that the site is living of its huge archive of old articles, the high quality of the backlinking and the community commenting on the site.

          This will of course not last and revenue will drop unless something is done. I suspect that Jason realised that and decided to better sell it and give it so someone who cares. He could just as easily leave Hackaday to die a slow and painful death and go on with what ever this new venture of his is.

          You could easily gain the loss over a year or two, if whoever takes over the site works harder on nurturing the community and posting quality hacks both for beginners and for gurus alike.

          Hackaday seems to be a google page rank 6 and Alexa World Rank of 14 513 (going down -2890 in the last 3 months) Alexa US Rank of 7013.

          $203,240
          Estimated Ad Revenue $278 Daily, $8,352 Monthly
          freewebsitereport.org/

          $222,881
          Yourwebsitevalue.com

          $235512.6
          websiteoutlook.com

          $573,120.00
          Income Per Day: $ 796.00
          gositevalue.com

          $595,066
          Siteprice.com

          $603,360.00
          daily income of around $ 838.00 US Dollar.
          valuesite.org/

          $ 761,040.00
          $ 1,057.00 daily
          cutestat.com

          $617 369
          $24 695 monthly
          webuka.com

          Valuation $13,045,000 (I do not understand how they came to this value)
          $ 1,356 / day
          $ 40,680 / month
          $ 488,160 / year
          worthofweb.com

          • > You could easily gain the loss over a year or two, if whoever takes over the site works harder on nurturing the community and posting quality hacks both for beginners and for gurus alike.

            That’s the goal. It’s also a lot of work, but I’m willing to put in the effort.

    • signal7 says:

      I have to agree. I once knew a guy that used to post stuff for sale at ridiculous prices. His attitude was that if he found someone dumb enough to buy it, he’d make a short term fortune on something that’s worthless to the average person. I’m not necessarily saying that’s happening here, but I would like to see how the $500k figure was calculated.

      Did anyone ask the current owner if he’d sell it for less? Were any negotiations carried out to agree to this valuation?

  15. Slap says:

    Contributed!

  16. jeffers says:

    Can you comment on who inherits this asset? should really make it clear in the post or one of the top comments at least. E.g. are you going to form a non-profit to hold it? should make it much easier in the future for transitions and be more secure?

  17. Greencheck says:

    How about a percentage? Spending $$ on giving you guys a company may be nobel, but asking for it is kind of lame..

  18. luke says:

    Asking your readership to hand over their money in exchange for stickers and their name in brackets so you can assume ownership of a website.. it’s certainly original.

    You make it sound like either the community funds your acquisition or the website will close, what’s to stop an actual investor coming along and keeping you all on as writers?

    • > what’s to stop an actual investor coming along and keeping you all on as writers?

      Nothing. If this campaign doesn’t succeed that might happen.

      This campaign is just in response to all the comments in the ‘for sale’ post saying we should do a Kickstarter or something. This is it.

  19. dynotronix says:

    I’ll contribute two cents:

    The half-mil valuation is arbitrary and inflated. Beat him down to a much lower figure, especially after it becomes apparent that nobody’s busting the door down to buy the Co. (I’m assuming that HaD is arranged as some sort of business/corporate entity, if not, the asking price is all the more exorbitant.)

    Do not even consider saddling the Co. with debt to finance the acquisition, worse yet yourselves. Simply the road to misery and ruin.

    If your campaign starts gaining some traction, seriously consider retaining legal counsel and a business adviser. Seriously.

    Another idea I had for HaD: Consider awarding an annual “HackaDay Scholarship” where you give some worthy kid a bunch of cash for college because of some epic build he/she did in the prior year. Of course, you woo a bunch of outside sponsors for the dough, but they get all kinds of publicity on the site, in turn you make some $ off of ad revenue, maybe even have them contribute to the site.

    Good luck.

    • tophathacker says:

      And god forbid you help some kid (who probably deserves it) go to college. +1 on the scholarship idea. And it doesn’t have to be just for college, buy some kid an Arduino Starter Kit and a bunch of shields if he can only afford a board-duino but somehow makes something way cooler than what the rest of us make with our Arduino sitting on it’s shelf.

    • > Do not even consider saddling the Co. with debt to finance the acquisition, worse yet yourselves. Simply the road to misery and ruin.

      Duh. That’s part of the reason we don’t want to do an equity/shareholder/revenue sharing plan.

      > If your campaign starts gaining some traction, seriously consider retaining legal counsel and a business adviser. Seriously.

      If we hit 100k, that’s the first thing we’re doing.

      > Consider awarding an annual “HackaDay Scholarship” where you give some worthy kid a bunch of cash for college because of some epic build he/she did in the prior year

      Stealing this idea.

    • caleb kraft says:

      I’m going to skip on my opinion of the valuation (again, I’m not part of this indiegogo campaign). Legal counsel would be smart and it is that kind of stuff that people often don’t think about when they look at the expenses.

      I love the idea of the scholarship. Currently, any profits were getting rolled into other startups. It would be great to see those going back into the community. I personally would would think a bit smaller than college tuition and focus on “project scholorships” kind of like what people do for burning man. Imagine what a highschool first robotics team could do with something like $5-10k!

    • Fabien says:

      >The half-mil valuation is arbitrary and inflated. Beat him down to a much lower figure, especially after it becomes apparent that nobody’s busting the door down to buy the Co.

      The site claims “$14k a month in advertising without a sales force”, that would be about $168.000 a year. If the company make 5% net profit and you want a 5% invest, you hsould be ready to pay $168.000 . The company also has some potential that you pay for, so if you think you can transform this potential into money, you should be ready to pay more than $168k.

      Basically, what the campaign means, is that “help us sell HaD for the price it is worth to someone who want to transform the potential to money, because *WE* won’t try to transform HaD into a money machine”

      The idea is great. As I said somewhere else, I need to have guarantee about the “we won’t” thing :)

    • n0lkk says:

      Simply is the sort of comments that had me make the comment to the article I did make. As Matt didn’t make the effort to point out the difficulties in creating a company that can sell shares has me question his business sense. At worst this is ebegging. At best it’s no different than a group getting soliciting donation to raise funds to create a hackerspace. Yes the owners will earn an income from revenue generated, but there will be no revenue nor income if the new owners sit on their asses. Matt this is not socialism.

      • Matt says:

        Actually, if you were paying attention, I didn’t suggest they sell shares. I just said I would buy some if they were. So I’m not sure what reason you have to question my business sense. (For those not paying attention, my original comment is lower on the page, in a different thread. n0lkk just thought it would be nice to confuse everyone by referring to it up here.)

        Maybe your point would have more credibility if you had at least correctly responded to mine.

        And hey, we’ve never seen non-profit companies abused for the organizers’ profit, right? At least most of the time there wasn’t a community of idiots that paid for it to happen in the first place.

  20. To me having two campaigns feels a little bit contraproductive … what if both of them succeed?:)

    • The other campaign isn’t run by us. We’re cool enough to link to it, so there’s that.

      If both of them succeed…. we’ll let the owner decide if that happens.

    • n0lkk says:

      Capitalism? Due to supply & demand there’s competition. The free market will decide the value. Many call the asking cost too high. To have even a chance to sell Jason has to reveal the cash flow In the event the event the revenue can’t come close to earning what the investment would earn elsewhere the price has to be reduced. “come close” because sometimes for some there is a value in making what they want to make happen. Ideally the two current players would work out differences, determine a fair market value to offer, using any surplus to make some of the suggestions happen. Being mindful of not creating an expectation that HAD should pay for this or that. The off-chance that those demanding to purchase shares actually do the work to make that happen things would be more interesting yet.

  21. Augur says:

    Caleb or Brian…

    Before you do an equity share thing or anything like that email me and I can help you out with the legalities & financials of it. If you are going to do a profit share kinda deal if not done correctly it could run into being clasified as an investment. I can help you with the formation of an llc, banking, invesments. I’ve got about 15 years experience in the banking/investment realm I’d be glad to help.

  22. Chuckt says:

    Hackaday is a business. If you want my money, I want shares of stock in Hackaday because the people buying it can turn around and say they are selling it for $500,000 and I have to donate if I want to keep it like the old Hackaday.. No ownership of stock = no donation.

    • EccentricElectron says:

      Businesses need to be run by people who have a basic understanding of commerce – the fact that shares are not on offer clearly demonstrates the instigators, although well intentioned, don’t have the first clue about how to run a commercial entity.

    • Sprite_tm says:

      Agreed. I’d love to donate, but to be 100% honest, there’s no legal framework whatsoever here that would prevent you guys from, say, selling the website off a month later and running away with the money, or maybe even just neglecting it and just passively grabbing the ad money. I’d like to trust you and I don’t actually believe you’re going to do any of those things, but half a million bucks is waaaaaay over the point where I can just blindly trust someone based on what they say.

  23. Vince says:

    I really want to contribute to HaD, it has been a huge inspiration to me. Like any magazine editors, and contibutors all deserved to be paid for their work. All of this being said $500k might be a bit much, but potentially a good investment. If we, as a community, are going to invest money in a community, some sort of reciprocity would be in order. If HaD is to run as a charity, things will become a lot more complicated, and doomed to beurocracy.

    I love the scholarship idea, this is a must have in the new structure.

    I am willing to invest some money into HaD, but I would want to know more about the financial plan for the company, and what I get out of it, aside from the interesting articles.

  24. mfsamuel says:

    What would stop the following scenario?

    step 1 – crowd source money to buy hackaday
    step 2 – buy hackaday.com
    step 3 – sell hackaday.com for $500k and keep the money

    • The Internet would crucify us. We would forever be branded as being really, *really* shady.

      Keep in mind the following scenario could also happen if Jason sells to anyone else. At least with this plan you have someone to blame.

      And trust me, I’m scared of what the internet can do.

      • Sprite_tm says:

        Hmm, I know a few people that would say half a million dollars is worth some aggreviation of the Internets… and if Jason does this with someone else, at least it’s not *my* money that has been squandered.

      • mfsamuel says:

        I would feel better if this was being purchased by a trust that had clearly identified rules like, *this site cannot be sold or else all profits are returned to original backers, or donated to some charity*

        And in scenario one Jason sells for $500k, The the crowd sourced then sold scenario it is flipped twice for $1MM.

      • Greenaum says:

        I’d do it in a heartbeat. Plenty of people have got away with worse, and you wouldn’t even be breaking any laws.

        However, I trust you. Even then tho you need some financial advice from somewhere better than a bunch of people 3/4-addled on solder fumes.

        Should this succeed I think you’d be setting a record for the largest investment ever gathered from a bunch of people who got nothing in return. You’d better have some damn nice stickers!

  25. d says:

    I am confused… on Indigogo you say you want to save the site but in Jason’s for sale post he said in the comments:

    “If we don’t find a good owner I’ll just run it with 15-20 solid posts a day forever…. you have my word. I won’t fucking it up…. and we haven’t in almost 10 years.”

    So…. what’s the worry?

    • > So…. what’s the worry?

      That we don’t get a good owner.

      • d says:

        In the same comment Jason said:

        “We won’t sell it to an ahole or douche. Don’t worry. I’m actually looking for someone like Lifehacker/Gawker, Maker, Mashable, Saymedia, etc. who invest in editorial to take it over, as I’ve got too many projects to keep growing the site.”

        Granted some of those mentioned are a little bit douchey but it sounds like he is trying to get a decent owner who would give HaD the respect it deserves.

        • The people in the comments wanted to do this the crowdfunding way. This is it.

          I’m skeptical this campaign will be funded, but at least we tried, right?

          • A Guest says:

            No, you didn’t try. You want people to donate like a charity to a for profit website. If you want investors, setup a *business* with shares to buy hackaday.com. If this is a charity, ask Jason to donate the site to a non-profit org. (And get a lawyer right now to talk the owner down from that ridiculous $500K price.)

            This campaign is going to fail because it’s half hearted from the outset. I never heard a success story begin with “Everyone wanted me to do it this way.”

        • Greenaum says:

          Hm, I like the web 1.0 style this place has. I really don’t fancy lots of Javascript, things popping up, and big colourful pictures that those other sites tend towards. To me, black and white text is a bonus. You don’t have to fight HAD to get to the article you want to read, and it’s quick!

          If I were the editors, I’d set up my own site for reporting and chatting about hacks. Give it a little while and then enjoy the lovely ad revenue coming in. It’s ironic that Brian and the editors, who actually ARE most of the value of this site, are thinking of paying money to basically buy themselves! And I bet you don’t have employment contracts, lads!

          I also think that Brian is a much better tech guy than a business one. Which is admirable in human terms, but not so good for throwing large amounts of money round. If I wanted to buy a website, I’d definitely get a financial advisor.

    • trandi says:

      Brian and the other editors: PLEASE, just register a new address for a few dollars a month, and I’ll change my subscription immediately !
      You can go ahead and do a campaign for 10k USD for that, and probably many more people will contribute…

      All that’s worth in HaD is you the editors, the name is probably less than 10-20%.

      Let’s end this charade of 500k for something with no objective valuation and no other buyer… if this guy Jason, the current owner, is able to sell the site for that much money he should become a banker and do structured products and CDOs ! :)

      Dan

      • chuckt says:

        Dan,

        Agreed.

        Chuck

      • Sprite_tm says:

        This is an option. It’d perhaps be a dick move towards jason, who after all spent money and time setting up the site, but it’s a fact that the hacks and the editors are what makes this site great. I think 99% of the people wouldn’t mind having to go to hackafemtosecond.com instead of hackaday.com, and it’d solve the having-to-come-up-with-half-a-million-quid problem.

        • Greenaum says:

          It’s not a dick move, it’s sensible. deciding not to buy something for $500,000 when you can make an identical one yourself for a fraction of that isn’t being a dick. In fact it’s almost a hack!

          If I were Brian and the editors I’d charge Jason for all the work I’ve done to generate his ad revenue.

  26. Chris Muncy says:

    I’m in #FTW!

  27. Zach says:

    I love Hack-A-Day but really dislike the idea of purchasing a company for someone. I also think it’s an absurd thing for an editor to ask of his readership. Especially considering hackaday isn’t in danger of disappearing.

    • The readers wanted a crowdfunding option to buy Hackaday. I’m just giving them what they want.

      • Matt says:

        I don’t know that anyone was thinking that the “crowd” would “fund” the careers of the HAD staff. I would buy shares, but I sure as hell am not going to help buy the company for someone else to run. That is just stupid.
        If the HAD staff wants to buy HAD they should get a loan like everyone else in the real world. It would be a nice lesson for you socialist folks to learn.

        • d says:

          Now now… I don’t think they are actually socialists but I concur 100% that if they want to own the company that internet pan-handling isn’t the way to do it.

          I started a business with a loan and my own money and there was a lot of risk involved. With this site the risk is minimal because it already exists and is already generating revenue. They KNOW how much ad revenue is generated and there is already infrastructure and processes in place.

  28. ejonesss says:

    as long as the new home is going to keep the site running and not buy it just for the assets (hard drives, database, server hardware, etc).

    also this may be a good time for any of you users to purge all personal info from your accounts so if the new owner is buying it for the purposes of identity theft there would not be anything for them to get.

    i say that because i have seen some used computers and accessories being traded on ebay with personal info on them

  29. Sprite_tm says:

    Aw, screw it, I decided to put in a few tenners. I’m still not completely happy with the idea that the new owners can just run it into the ground without any accountability, which is why I’m not comfortable giving more, but I’d figure if I lose this amount of money, I can still write it off as a learning experience.

  30. tocs says:

    I am going to put in a few dollars. Heck, I like the site enough to pay a little and I believe they are more trust worthy than others who get my money.

    Good luck.

  31. Augur says:

    Guys.. They want to set it up as an llc that is setup as a nonprofit if I understood correctly.

    If the website,domain, and assets are transferred to the LLC, in the LLC documentation they could state that in order to sell off assets 100% of the managers would have to sign off on it to protect the assets. To help negate some of the other potential for sell off, and other issues that could arrise they could set up the llc as manager managed and each of the staff would be setup as equal owners of the llc. that way they would all have the same authority but it would take all of them to do so…

    As far as the fear on here that they’d take the profit, etc and run with it (wtih any business that’s a possibility). But as a non-profit there is alot more accounting that goes into play. They would have to take a salary as managers of the llc, but it’d be harder to run afoul because you can easily loose your non-profit status if it’s not done correctly.

  32. rasz says:

    just register hackperday.com and be done with it.

    • Greenaum says:

      Well, yeah. I like the present amount of articles, and don’t particularly want interviews. Giving builders grants is a lovely idea but it’s got nothing to do with running a website. A list of airy promises off the top of someone’s head, then “gief us $500,000 pl0x, kthxbye!” isn’t going to lubricate $1 from the pockets of half a million people, $10 from fifty thousand people or $1000 from 500 people.

      Who’s decided on this valuation anyway? And why so quick to pay it? Maybe Jason’s a personal friend of the editors. If it were me I’d wait to see what other offers he gets before I started offering silly amounts of money that I don’t have anyway.

  33. JJ says:

    Contributed!

  34. Eatith Mee says:

    I’d rather see it bought by someone that isn’t going to turn in any further into ARDUINO a day and will be sending out pink slips to the editors that gush nothing but arduino spew. In fact, since the arduino is doing so well, and you guys are a main advertising arm for arduino, why don’t they put up the $$$?

  35. Chris says:

    A half-million valuation is way off. A fair valuation would be 200k if there was something proprietary going on here, which there isn’t. Good luck with the sale but I won’t be contributing.

    • Greenaum says:

      Anyone want some Myspace shares?

      This site has nothing, literally nothing, of cash value. If there were another alternative just like it, and there’s nothing stopping there being one, I’m sure in time we’d all end up there should Hackaday disappear tomorrow. There’ll always be editors, there’ll always be hackers, there’ll always be websites. Nothing here’s worth $500,000 to preserve.

      The community contribute basically everything here, all HaD do is point to them. And that’s very worthy and everything, but it’s not unique. The only asset HaD has, apart from the URL, is it’s editors, who’s talent is ripping off Slas^H^H^H^H^H^H^H finding interesting articles on the web. That’s not worth half a million. And I’d guess plenty of the articles are submitted by the makers themselves anyway.

      I’m not a business guy but generally companies are valued mostly according to their income. Or by the market, if you want “crowd-funding” there’s been whole markets and a system already in place for that for a couple of centuries.

      I hope the site stays as it is and everything, but I think Jason’s gonna have to look elsewhere to pay off his mortgage. It’s a great site but it’s replaceable. Just like Myspace.

      The other offered stuff, I don’t care about. This is a good website but that’s all it is to me. This community-driven stuff’s usually done better with no money, relying on the goodwill of it’s participants and functioning more like a hobby.

  36. Jon says:

    I don’t have much, so I gave $1 and shared the link to my Google+ circles. Good luck!

  37. raster says:

    Saving Hackaday:

    Step 0: Write post explaining the current situation.
    Step 1. Get comments asking for a crowdfunding campaign.
    Step 2. Launch crowdfunding campaign.
    Step 3. See people bitch and moan about a crowdfunding campaign.
    Step 4. Profit???

    • c3p says:

      so true – but srsly i won’t give money to people for nothing.
      I would maybe pay a monthly fee or something, but to buy something of someone just doesn’t seem right.

  38. Fabien says:

    Thank you for making things clear by adding the faq. I’ll contribute to the funding when I get back form work.

    Just to be picky : “Think of it as a subscription. Donate a buck or two and keep enjoying Hackaday as it is, but cooler.” Did I just read “Think how I tell you to think, give the money and be quiet” ??

    Well, now I just stop trolling and send you the money. I wish you all the best, it is going to be a lot of extra work when you get the money.

  39. Seth says:

    I’d tend to be a little suspicious of anyone trying to sell me a goose that lays golden eggs…

    Also, can someone please buy ME a company that makes $14k per month? Should I start a kickstarter thingy for that?

    Hackaday.com isn’t necessarily crucial to anybody. I doubt it is worth $500k.
    If it can’t be cut down or survive as a non-profit site, I say let it die and watch something new pop up.
    If you ever need to refer back to old news aggregation (e.g. missing dailydiy.com?), just go to web.archive.org..

    • Augur says:

      Ok.. No business sells itself for a valuation based off of one years profits. It is usually computed over the course of anywhere from 2 – 5 years. If you multiply $14,000 a month by 12 months thats $168,000 per year. For four years that $672,000.00 If the site is selling for $500,000.00 then they are to the good based off of these figures. As long as advertising revenue holds the same now as it will then, then yes. it is valued at $500,000.00 easily…. They are buying the branding, site, current content, reader base, and technically the fact that its a well known name…

      • Seth says:

        So if i bought the site, for example, I would get to pay 500k and do all the work for 4 years at no profit, by which time, hopefully the site will still be popular?
        Still doesn’t sound worth it..

        • Augur says:

          That my friend is the cost of business. Any venture has its risk.. I’ve been part of a couple of fail, and a few successful… It wasn’t fun loosing, but without the risk there is no chance..

          • Seth says:

            I certainly will never buy a business and give the profits to the seller for the next 4 years.
            Even sites like the facebook juggernaut don’t last forever and hackaday is nowhere near as big..
            Let’s see where we all are in 4 years time.

          • Seth says:

            (Also, that’s not a risk, that’s just plain stoopid)

          • d says:

            The price of doing business is NOT waiting 4 years to make a profit.

          • A Guest says:

            There’s missing a vital piece missing to that valuation calculation. You need someone to be actually interested in buying the darn business. This whole crazy “someone asked me to do a crowdsourcing solution” is based on a hypothetical buyer that does not yet exist. $500K is only vaguely reasonable based on a few back of the envelope income analysis. If no buyers show for $500K, it simply isn’t worth that, regardless of current income levels.

      • Deven says:

        I think this $14k that everyone is talking about is GROSS income, not NET. Businesses are valued on NET income. Which would put that valuation a MUCH less. Even over 5 years at $4k/mo net would be something like $300k tops.

        <3 HaD, but I think the new owners should be buying it themselves. If I can buy a T-Shirt for $20-30 or a sticker for $3-5, I'm in.

      • AnthonyD says:

        Websites sell for 10 months net income. This is a website not a physical business with a product, so it does not follow a normal business valuation because of unpredictable factors like SEO and ad rates.

        $500,000 is way over valued.

  40. polossatik says:

    so, 540.000 usd is the goal?
    just an idea:

    Add a 20$ (or 15..) perk that (and all donations above of course) enlist , if more than 560000 is raised, all backers into a lottery .

    let’s say that 50 cents of any $ above 540000 will go into the “jackpot” and ask any “industry friends” (Adafuit, sparkfun, whatever) to make a few batches of unique hack a day branded items/tools/products ( yeah, an exclusive arduino with a hack a day logo yihaa! think about the dust that will create :) ) .

  41. Tim Hicks says:

    I am an avid follower of this site, and it has really pushed me to think outside of the box and really tap in to my inner-engineer and geek, which is incredibly helpful being that I am an Information Technology and Computer Science major. Initially when I saw this campaign I thought with no doubt in my mind I am going to continue donating a liberal amount as much as I can. I would hate to see this site go. Then I actually sat and read through every comment and reply which voiced concerns that I never even thought about. A lot of things do not seem clear to me, but one thing seems to be certain (and almost obvious). Register a new domain, start fresh. I couldn’t imagine that any less than 100 percent of your following would follow you there. You could even start a smaller scaled Kickstarter to get all of that initial (and legal) hoopla settled.

    I will keep my eye on all of this and I hope that everything works out for the best.
    -Tim Hicks

    • mookieblaylock says:

      I like this idea substantially more. In fact, the capital raised ought to be used to commission an epic hack to be featured exclusively on the new site. I am mostly a lurker here, so I don’t have the name recognition would be happy to set this up.

      My brothers and I have been featured for various hacks on this site. In addition I owned and ran a successful sports statistics blog (1M hits a year… far less than here… but substantial). The community I ran was ad free… all for the love of the topic.

      I suspect the fragmentation makes this a lot more difficult… so a bigger name taking this effort on is desirable.

    • targetdrone says:

      Unfortunately, I can easily imagine a lot of people unhappy with a split. There would be lawsuits, ugly accusations, bitter fights, and a lot of seriously annoyed people. Both resultant sites would look like troll battlegrounds as people chose sides and loyalties, leaving them unsuitable for any meaningful discussions about hacking stuff. The best editors would quickly walk away. Neither site would prosper, and the main community would simply stop reading.

      It would be the surest way to quickly squander everything that is hackaday today.

  42. Random Name says:

    Re LLC’s and not-for-profit incorporation, have you considered a hybrid of the two? In the U.S., you could set up Hackaday as a low-profit limited liability company (L3C). It would be organized to pursue a social benefit (giving back to the hacking community) as a higher purpose than profit alone, but would retain the ability to accept investments and donations–in fact, private non-profit foundations would be able to donate to you as part of their own tax compliance.

    It’s only available in a few states as of now. I just heard about the concept over the weekend; a British hardware group is using the U.K. analogue.

  43. Spock says:

    Already put my money on this. I’m starting my day with HackaDay :)
    Don’t want to change my habit ..

  44. DrDog says:

    First, it is certainly creative to crowdsource a website buyout. Novel indeed and thumbs up.

    Second, is such a move fiscally wise? Site pricing is based on eyeballs generally and link stats secondarily. Would not the half mil be better spent on developing new content? Open Source forks all the time. Look at Libre Office, it has neatly eclipsed Open Office and comes out stronger in the end. Could not the same be said for Hack-a-Day to fork and become something more? Web site deployment costs are a pittance these days.

    All it requires is for the eyeballs to shift. Then spend the $$$ on all those neat new projects you want to foster.

  45. Luc says:

    I will contribute a 1 time amount of 10 dollars, because I have really enjoyed the content and the site.If everyone stopped complaining and gave 5 to 10 bucks the funding would be easy. Besides if you only give 5 to 10 bucks, you shouldnt feel too much like you “need” somerhing in return, you’re just paying for the enjoyment you’ve already gotten. Who cares if Caleb or others make a buck, they put in a great.deal of effort and deserve probably more than they will get anyway.

  46. amar says:

    Contriboosted. man the tier of getting free stuff back is meh. the gap from $1-25, with nothing in the middle?!

  47. Jeremy Cook says:

    All the writers and editors would have to agree? Doesn’t that number stand at “2” right now?

  48. json says:

    I have a question, what rights of ownership does one get with their contribution?

    If I post $5,000 do I get voting rights? Am I a major share holder?
    Who is auditing the company? whats the plan, show me a prospectus.

  49. n0lkk says:

    [sigh] reading through the comments to both posts on the topic only go to show how a community owned/operated Hackaday would be a disaster, and would quickly fail, not that it’s impossible for a privately own Hackaday (as it has been known to be for years) to cease to exist. Respectfully folks many of you lack business sense, resulting unrealistic expectations. Admittingly it’s hard to tell if a comment is someone being full of shit or is truly ignorant.

  50. Robot says:

    Too much bitching, not enough pledging. . .

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