In the last half year we've grown significantly
In the last few months we've seemed to have entered a growth spurt. It started somewhere in October last year (2021) when we saw a sudden increase in visitors due to some media exposure. What we normally see is that for a few days we receive a tenfold of the normal number of visitors. After a short while the number of visitors will go down again but with a higher baseline.
Our old server setup could not cope with these sudden increases in traffic, so we made some steps to professionalize our infrastructure. This means our monthly server costs have gone up slightly. Because of this and the increasing amount of support we started accepting donations in January this year.
Not much income from donations
The first few days looked promising, but after a while we almost didn't receive anything any more. Just a few dollars per month that got us nowhere near the actual server costs.
We really did not mind, because we had (and still have) some great plans for the future. ToffeeShare would simply cost us more money than it would earn. No problem because we're still not talking about significant amounts of money here and we would still gladly pay for it. The kind messages we receive alone sometimes make it worth it.
Another growth spurt
What happened next was a bit unexpected. About a month ago we saw another increase in traffic. However this time instead of slowly going down to a new higher baseline the number of users stayed at this new high amount. We still think this is only temporary (of course we hope not) but it has led to an enormous increase in traffic. Herein lies the danger that our server traffic bill goes up too much, potentially leading us to succumb to our own success.
Ads as a temporary solution
We've looked for alternative ad networks that value privacy as much as we do. Unfortunately we were unable to find any. For instance we contacted ContextCue, but they seem to have completely stopped as their website is no longer even online. Other networks only specialize in very specific niches for mostly content based websites, which we are not.
That's why in the end we chose to go with Google Ads. We're very open to suggestions. If there's a privacy first ad network we're not aware of or another kind of solution we're not seeing feel free to contact us about it. We've done our best to make the ads as private as possible and they should not be personalized.
The ads run completely separate from your file transfers so from a privacy or security standpoint there are no issues there. However we will be carefully monitoring the ad implementation because we would like to keep our third party integrations to a minimum.
Again, feel free to contact us about this if you have any concerns or if you have some suggestions.
To the people who did make a donation
First of all we would like to thank all of you! We're making it possible for people who made a donation to use an ad free version of ToffeeShare for both sender and receiver. If you're interested in this please also let us know. This means that everyone who made a donation to us in the past may use ToffeeShare ad free, forever.