Full Version: A letter from Mikey and Don
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OK folks; let me give it to you straight up. We started Big Blue over 14 years ago when we broke free of what was once The Gauge, and eventually, Zealot which quickly became riddled with ads. We did so with the promise that we would never allow advertising nor take on a sponsor, and so far, we’ve lived up to those promises. There is nothing that will ever make that change, so keep that in mind.
We’ve supported Big Blue all these years from out-of-pocket when necessary, donations, sales of contributed train gear and by holding auctions. We’ve been successful enough to keep things running and so Mikey and I kind of let things ride as they were, not that we were flush with cash, but because we don’t like leaning on our members when we could get by with what we had. Well, our renewal just came up and we had to empty the treasury to keep us going, literally. Our costs went up a good 10% and so we are at best, broke. We have reached the bottom of the cookie jar, only a few crumbs left!
Membership has dwindled over the years as it has throughout most forums, but there are still enough people here interested in what Big Blue has to offer to continue running. We have a lot of wonderful information here and some very talented modelers eager to help, no membership fees for anyone, but it’s no surprise, GoDaddy and the Internet folks just won’t give us a free ride regardless. Nope
Where are we going with this? I’m sure you can guess; we have a year to get our treasury back up so when the bills come due, we can pay them. If we can’t make the rent, we’re going to be thrown out on the street without delay. Big Blue will cease to exist and all this valuable information will be lost, and we don’t want that to happen.
Out-and-out donations are super, and are always very much appreciated, but we like to give back too when we can, so we’re going to try to open a fund drive all through this year and do our best to make it a fun fund drive. That might include:
  • Holding auctions
  • Holding sales of donated items
  • Just regular cash donations
  • Holding someone hostage for ransom (won’t happen)
  • Buying lottery tickets with the last remaining few bucks we do have (can’t happen)
  • And lastly, some bright ideas coming from our loyal members (needs to happen!)
Got any ideas that we can use to generate some cash? Bear in mind that we have no assets to sell outside of our personal collections.
  • Got some duplicate pieces of gear that you’d like to donate that we can either sell or auction off?
  • Have any memorabilia lying around that it’s time to let go of?
  • Would you be interested in decorating a car with the Big Blue logo so we can auction it off?
  • Would you be interested in bidding on this or anything else if we were to hold auctions?
  • Can you suggest what we could auction, such as prototype (collectable) items, or books?
  • Want to buy in as a partner? (Just kidding)
We are good for this year, that’s been taken care of, but like chipmunks, we have to start storing up for the future. Mikey and I just cannot support Big Blue on this level on our own, and it’s not fair to ask us to. We all benefit from Big Blue, so if you can help, please do so.  We would rather shut down than to renege on our promise to you... Seriously! So put your thinking caps on, let us know if you have any new ideas or comments on those presented here, and especially if you have any items you want to donate or volunteer to decorate. We can furnish the decals or artwork if need be. Don’t be afraid to PM us with ideas or post them in this forum that we especially opened for this occasion.  Even a spark of an idea can wind up being just what we need.
We have the whole year to get this to happen, we’ve not asked for help for a few years, so please help now. The more we get now, the less we’re going to have to bug you in the future. The time has come, rise to the occasion. Help keep Big Blue “Gauged and Running”, and we all become winners.

Mikey (ngauger) & Don (ezdays)

I (probably like most members) would love to help. What are the net operating expenses for the year? (Trying to figure out how much we have to raise).
(01-21-2023, 09:19 AM)TMo Wrote: [ -> ]Gentlemen,

    I (probably like most members) would love to help.  What are the net operating expenses for the year?  (Trying to figure out how much we have to raise).

Thanks, I was hoping you would, we kind of need to keep our operating expenses out of public view, but let's just say that it's in the many hundreds. Keep in mind, neither Mike or I, or any of the moderators take even a nickle, it all goes to keep Big Blue running and every year it goes up. We do our best to find or negotiate the best deals we can find, so we spend what we have wisely. We are asking to get as much as we can and if it's more than we need for the next renewal, fine, then we won't have to bother anyone in the near future, so we are not setting a goal. You would be proud of us the way we've handled our finances over the years, and just how we run Big Blue, we are very pleased how well it's gone with no ads or sponsors.
I'll get my thinking cap on, but in the meantime, I'll make my first private donation.
Anything large or small is welcome.  When I first joined The-Gauge.com it had just been created.
That was December 1999.  It took nowhere near the annual amount that we spend now to stay online and safe.

Don & I compliment each other, in that, we double check every cost, service discount and future expenses.
We are completely at the mercy of what the companies want to charge, to cover their annual expenses.

In actuality, we have the basic services that any small internet company would have, only because we are as susceptible to the same hackers and virus spreaders as those other companies.
We try and are mostly successful in keeping spammers at bay.  Our Moderators are always on the lookout as are most of the members, and of course, Don, P.J., and I.

But like any small business, we need to continuously monitor the software site and P.J. has to install updates as needed to keep us online and safe.
Most of the time we stop in and look through the new posts for bad ones, even though we may not post every day. As Don said: We accept No Money for this and this includes our Moderators. We all gladly volunteer our time!

So we have years and if not Decades of experience that we just plain old enjoy using.  
Our only compensation is sharing information back and forth with all our members!!  Big Grin  Big Grin
If you are interested in what can and does happen to other sites..... Bleeping Computer is one of the sites i use to try to keep up to date on hackers and spammers.....

have a quarterly report from 1901 by the American locomotive works that i would be willing to donate it's in fair shape among other items that I would part with for big blue.
(01-21-2023, 04:49 PM)jim currie Wrote: [ -> ]have a quarterly report from 1901 by the American locomotive works that i would be willing to donate it's in fair shape among other items that I would part with for big blue.

 Fantastic, Applause Applause could you take a few shots of it and email them to me? You should have my email addy.
(01-21-2023, 06:11 PM)ezdays Wrote: [ -> ] Fantastic, Applause Applause could you take a few shots of it and email them to me? You should have my email addy.

will get some tomorrow
PM or email me with a mailing address and I will send some $$$.
I can either do cash or find something to donate for auction. I definitely appreciate a forum over fb.
(01-22-2023, 08:06 AM)Tyson Rayles Wrote: [ -> ]PM or email me with a mailing address and I will send some $$$.

Thank you good sir, check your PM for a mailing address...
(01-22-2023, 08:57 AM)Canadian Atlantic Railway Wrote: [ -> ]I can either do cash or find something to donate for auction. I definitely appreciate a forum over fb.

Thanks, PM me and let me know what you can put into an auction. If you do Pay Pal, you can hit "donate" at the bottom of the page, otherwise I can send you a mailing address. We appreciate anything you can do to help.
Hey guys!  Thank you for running the Big Blue!  I sent a small donation - I wish it could be more to match the appreciation I have for this forum.  I can decal a freight car or two for you if you would like.  I also have some passenger cars and misc. kits I can donate - just send me an address to send them to.

Just a reminder that the 2 photography books I self published are still available.
All proceeds go to Big Blue!!!!!!

These are black & white photo books of the areas around Philadelphia PA. All taken by me.

Random pictures In Black & White
A monochrome photo record of interesting places in southeastern Pennsylvania. Since we view the world in full color most of the intricate details escape us in our day-to-day movements. The pictures within, focus on the details of everyday life, things that you never have a chance to pay attention to, in the Philadelphia suburbs. In order to show the most details the photographs are all in black and white.  Over 60 pictures  $12.99

Black & White Photography in Southeastern PA
A Black and White photo book of sights to see in the Southeastern, PA area. Pictures are from Delaware, Chester, Berks and Montgomery counties. Each picture contains the camera settings that can be used as a guide to take better pictures, both color and black & white, without using the "Auto" setting. 35 B&W Pictures  $9.99

The links will take you to Lulu.com where you can order the books.  The first book has a few local railroad pictures in it. The second is mostly scenery and interesting items.
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