Questions have been asked and accusations made which require some kind of response. Specifically, I have been accused of lying in my declaration. This is a very serious charge. I want to make a clear statement of the facts.
In my declaration, I wrote that the income from the advertising on the Lexicon has “…covered the cost of operating the web site.” I never said that the income pays for hosting. What I said is that the income covers the cost of running the site, not hosting it. The costs of running the Lexicon are not great and they vary month to month. The money that comes in from advertising covers it. This ad revenue will also pay for hosting, which I have been trying to set up but have been prevented from doing.
I want to be as clear about this as I can. The Lexicon has had a link to Amazon for a few years and Google ads for the past 18 months. The amount of income from those ads varies quite a bit, but has averaged about $115 per month for the last year or so. I also have an ad on the Lexicon for the Cauldron Shop, the proceeds from which go to The Leaky Cauldron from which they pay for the hosting.
I have never bothered to track expenses, nor do I deduct them for tax purposes, so I don’t have an itemized list of what the ad revenue has paid for. However, I can give you some examples: the purchase of software and hardware including photo software, website management software, and a new keyboard and mouse; computer maintenance; postage for sending things to staff; internet charges (both normal monthly charges and separate charges at hotels or campgrounds when I’ve been traveling); various books and other reference materials; and other such things. After these expenses, the rest doesn’t even cover the taxes I’ve paid on that money.
Before there were ads on the site, I paid all the expenses myself. Since the ads have appeared, the revenue has gone to cover the cost of running the site. If there was any income to me, it wasn’t much, especially by comparison to the income other websites have earned. Emerson Spartz, for example, has stated in an article in Business Week that he makes a “six figure income” from Mugglenet.
I ask everyone to consider the facts before rushing to judgment.
ETA: I am baffled how this calm explanation of facts could be blown so out of proportion. I do not want to drag Leaky into anything. The reason I am trying to arrange for the change of hosting is to allow Leaky to keep itself separate. The only reason that the finances question was brought up at all in the filings for the case was to show that the Lexicon, like other Harry Potter websites, does indeed bring in some money and is therefore a commercial venture. That statement certainly wasn’t intended to drag Leaky into the matter.
No one from the Leaky Cauldron has ever asked us to pay toward our own hosting until now. When the Cauldron Shop was created, it was stated clearly to the other Floo webmasters that the CS was intended to support all the Floo sites. We were never told how much hosting cost or how much the Cauldron Shop brought in. As far as we knew, everything was working out just fine. There were still some costs to running the Lexicon, however, and so I put Google ads on the site to help cover those. The ads were there for over a year and no one from Leaky ever mentioned them. If they would have asked, I would have been happy to show them the records of the small amount of money coming in and if they would have asked for a share, we would have talked about it. They never said anything.
When Melissa informed me that the Lexicon needed to take over its own hosting, I considered a number of offers. She connected me up with someone from Idologic and eventually I agreed with her that it would be the best option. So I contacted that person and we exchanged a couple of emails. He said he needed some more information about bandwidth and the like and that he would get back to me. This was in December. I heard nothing back from him until January. I told Melissa about this delay and she assured me that no one was in any hurry, that Leaky only wanted the transition to be as smooth as possible. This is the kind of relationship the Lexicon and Leaky have always enjoyed.
It is true that it’s been several weeks since that contact and I am only getting around to making the switch now. Quite honestly, I’ve been very busy and I didn’t get to it as quickly as I probably should have. However, I had no reason to think that this was a problem, based on the conversations I’d had with Melissa. Once the legal filings were completed, I turned back to other tasks, and this was one of them. There is no connection between the filings and my getting to work on the change of hosting except for the fact that I had to finish one before I had time to work on the other.
If Melissa will feel better waiting to switch the hosting until after the hearing, that’s fine, although I can’t understand how that will help keep Leaky separate. I completely agree that Leaky shouldn’t be in any way involved in this case and should try to be completely neutral. Melissa and I have always worked well together, as she said, and I am so sad that this situation has damaged that relationship. I hope that this statement can help calm the storm a little.