What's SQLServerCentral All About?
Recently there was a thread and a link (Oracle Professionals upset with Database User Group) questioning the value and ethics of SSWUG. I'll let you read the article and the SSWUG site and draw your own conclusions, but the three of us here at SQLServerCentral.com, Andy, Brian, and myself, wanted to let everyone know who we are and what we are all about.
First of all, for those of you that have joined in the last year, thanks for giving us a try, welcome, and we hope that you've found the community a great place to be a part of.
You can read some of the early history of SQLServerCentral.com and see how we met and got started. From the beginning our philosophy was to try and put out a community site that we would be proud of. The goal was to give us a place to publish our work and help others as all of us have been helped by those that were out there before us. Since there are real costs to setting up a site and the three of us (six back then) didn't know each other that well, we all threw some money in a pot, incorporated, and set things up.
In the early days we wrote all the content, answered every post, and had a fun hobby. Let me be clear that from the beginning we were a for profit company. We didn't expect to make a lot of money, but we didn't want to have this be a money pit that we kept funding out of pocket, nor did our wives 🙂 The goal was always to put our ethics and our reputations above profit and not make decisions that compromised ourselves. That's why you'll never see Oracle or DB2 or other non-related ads at SQLServerCentral.com. They don't belong here.
We're proud of our content here. For the most part it's original content written for SQLServerCentral.com by both the founders, as well as the large number of people actually doing the work in the real world. We encourage and support articles from everyone in the community at large. At times you might think the quality of the writing isn't superb and you'd be right. There are people out there that want to contribute to the community, but aren't writers. They are DBAs or developers looking to share something. So give them a break, offer constructive criticism, and maybe send something in yourself.
You will see content from other sites listed here on SQLServerCentral.com. We look around and when we see things that are interesting or might be of interest to you, we'll link to them. The source is clearly identified when it's off the site and we only grab a short summary from articles, not the entire text. Hopefully we're bringing you a great central site from which to learn. That's the focus here, helping the community learn more about SQL Server. This is a business, but one we're proud of and want to remain that way. What you see is what you get and we pride ourselves on being fair, honest, and providing value to you.
We try hard to keep our dues low. And over the last four years, we're proud to say that we haven't increased our dues one time. They've consistently stayed at the low, low, low amount of
$0 a year 🙂
How can we do this? How can we search the web for content, create summaries, develop a daily question of the day, write articles, pay authors, etc?
We sold our first advertisements to Red Gate Software just as we were out of money. They took a chance with us, signed a contract, and kept us going. At that point, the founders were having serious discussions about whether to continue. Spending money every month out of pocket wasn't a viable option for many of us. We greatly appreciate Red Gate's faith as it kept us going.
From there the rest is history. We grew rapidly from 6 members in March 2001 to 23,000 at the end of December 2001 to the 190,000+ we have today. And we've gotten to work with and know a number of other vendors, all of whom we value. Both for their products and work in the community as well as their advertising. This has enabled us to buy equipment, upgrade our hosting quite a few times, pay our authors, and work to improve our community over time.
We do get people that have complained about the daily newsletter or asked for other configurations. Others have complained about the advertisements on the site. I've tried to answer them honestly and openly and explain that the reason we do things the way we do them is to make money. We pay for this site and our thousands of fixed expenses for the most part with advertising money. Without thousands of you receiving (and hopefully reading) the newsletter each day, we'd close the site.
The vendors that advertise as well as us work hard to bring you information and advertising. I know in today's world that advertising seems like a 4 letter word, and we understand that. But we try to keep things on target, the advertisements relevant to your work, and something you can use. Click on one once in awhile. You might learn something, or find a tool that can help you. Vendors offer white papers, help with problems, and lots of them take requests for features as well. You might find them building or enhancing a product based on what YOU need!
Last year we printed The Best of SQLServerCentral.com - Vol. 1 as a fun project. It was a great success and we sold out. This year we printed a second volume as well as Two Minute SQL Server Stumpers - Vol. 1. If you enjoy the community and want to give us some support, buy something from our store. We'd like to show a profit, but we don't want to charge for membership.
Instead, if the three of us are going to ask you for money, we want to give you something in return, something that we feel strongly is of value to you.
And if you would like to see some other products, let us know. Interested in writing something, contact me and I'll work with you to get something published. We always looking for new authors in the community for the site, the SQL Server Standard, even a book if you're interested.