Are you doing all this for a profit?
From Nikonians Wiki - FAQs, Photo Glossary, Good Photo Locations, Help
No. Nikonians is a not-for-profit community. All capital generated through our operations (The Nikonians Community, The Photo Pro Shop and the Nikonians Academy) is reinvested to sustain it and its growth.
Only about 6% (as of December 2008) of all Nikonians Members (151,000 registered members) are supporting the community financially through a contributing Silver, Gold or Platinum membership. That means 94% (over 140,000 members) are participating in the community free of charge.
The above means only approximately 13% of our costs are covered by paid memberships.
For the past eight years the community's policy has made it possible to offer free of charge content enabling members from all countries, all social backgrounds and economical status to interact on the provided platforms at no cost. However, the community must also receive enough funding to be able to sustain itself and meet the demands of a growing membership.
Over the past few years we have met those demands by assembling a highly skilled paid staff that takes care of software development, IT maintenance, administration, content generation and accounting (to name a few areas). The additional costs of operating servers and a server cluster on more than one continent clearly show that the current membership financial support is by far not enough to cover expenses. The community is therefore also dependent on advertising and sponsors revenue.
The Photo Pro Shop is a community unit responsible for creating additional revenue to enable the community to grow. It has logistic centers in both the USA (New Orleans) and in Germany (Huefingen). Three professional staff members are fully dedicated to the Photo Pro Shop.
The Nikonians Academy is a platform to deliver high quality workshops and training courses throughout USA, Canada and from September 2010 in Europe. The Academy was initiated to extend the learning experience at the forums into a classroom environment and field trips. To do that we provide talented photographers, individuals with a strong teaching vocation, with the ability to receive additional income. A major part of the revenue created through the very successful Nikonians Academy program is received by the participating instructors, who carry a strong workload, being instrumental to the program success.
The community is operated by a limited liability corporation, Nikonians EMEA Ltd, (with office in Germany) since 2000. The Nikonians Academy and the US section of the Photo Pro Shop are operated by Nikonians North America, Inc. incorporated in the USA in 2006. This management structure was built by the founders Bo Stahlbrandt (from Sweden, commuting between Germany and Slovakia) and J. Ramón Palacios (from Mexico, commuting between Mexico and the USA) to be able to handle the size of the operation professionally (with offices, employees, servers, et al).
The community receives no funding from Nikon (it is completely independent in every way from Nikon Corporation), but is able to answer thousands of posts pertaining to Nikon cameras and related subjects every day - free of charge. The strong core of expert volunteers and supporting members, combined with a professional back-office team makes all of this possible with a high level of efficiency, receiving praise from experts.
You can find out more about us and the team behind Nikonians on our team pages :-)
What is happening elsewhere:
The notion of free Internet is a model that has proven itself erroneous and has already claimed very important casualties; the music industry is one sad example, destroying what took decades to build, loosing countless jobs and billions of dollars.
Over the last two years, more and more institutions are adopting a paying mode. The publishing industry (news, magazines, video) have began to adopt a pay-per-view mode. A very serious marketing projection shows that at least 70% of all existing video will need to be paid by the viewer (either by subscription or per access/download), with only 30% covered by advertisers and sponsors, no later than 2012. Notable newspapers have also began to charge for certain access.