If you're at all involved in PC modding, you probably frequent a Nexus Mods site. From Fallout: New Vegas to Skyrim, many games that allow for user-created mods have a Nexus site dedicated to organizing mods and bringing modders together. These sites are... incredible. And unless you want to pay for a premium membership, they're totally free.
A couple days ago, Nexus Mods owner Robin Scott posted this lengthy blog post in which he discusses server setup, the toll the sites' ever-increasing popularity has taken on stability, and basically how everything's been going lately. He also talks about the notion of bringing on investors and implementing ad sales in order to turn a profit:
The Nexus sites have remained completely independent; free of corporate interest and investment for its entire 11 years and it shall remain so for the very foreseeable future. The only investment these sites have had was the initial £10,000 I chucked in to the sites when I rebranded the sites as the Nexus back in 2007. I'm the sole owner and sole decision maker of the sites. There's no outside interest, board of directors or investors pulling the strings behind the scenes. Similarly no game developers have any influence or sway over me. The buck stops at me.
If I wanted to I could make a business plan (I don't have one, by the way) and go to Silicon Valley, pitch the idea to a load of private and angel investors, secure (potentially hundreds of) thousands of dollars in investment money and make a proper business out of it like many gaming sites and networks have done over the past few years. However, I then become answerable to shareholders and investors who are looking for a return on their investment as fast as possible. To be frank, F' that.
I use the Nexus sites regularly, most recently adding a drunken bear companion to Skyrim, and it certainly is depressing to imagine them becoming ad-laden or shareholder-driven, even while I certainly think the service they provide is worth paying for. So it's heartening to see Scott voice such full-throated support for the principles upon which he built the network.
"Avoiding private investment and direct ad sales is a conscious decision that isn't without its pitfalls," Scott writes, "but one that I think is worth it to retain the core values of what these sites were set up for in the first place; to provide mods authors with an easy platform to share their work with others that will stand the test of time."
Give the whole thing a read, and if you decide you dig what Scott and his team do, consider signing up for a premium membership.