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Hi, folks,

Fourteen years ago coming up next month, I led the effort among our small group to obtain
spyderchat.com from a teenager who had no interest in obtaining a Spyder; he just liked the car just announced by Toyota. To escape popup and embedded ads and server outages when we were on EZBoard, I then moved our Community of about 28 members to a private server utilizing new Forum software called phpBB. I also married my own site, daspyda.com, to wrap around our new Forum to create the structure you see today.

As we grew, we moved through a progression of server hosts while increasing bandwidth and storage. Through the next two generations of phpBB, then Invision Power Board, and, finally, vBulletin, the Spyderchat Community has endured to remain open both to Guests and Registered Members free of ads and membership fees. We've held fundraisers through the years - always with overwhelming success -.to remain what we have become - one of the world's most comfortable and informative online communities.

SPYDERCHAT THREATENED
While we have endured flame wars, stolen threads (who can ever forget Kenny copying our posts for his own forum?), crashes, hacks, and other assorted attacks, the 4th Quarter of 2013 brought an incredibly serious event by the Syrian Electronic Army which threatened the very existence of our Community. Not only did they manage to obtain our Administration passwords to replace our Forum software with a string of anti-American and pro-Syria propaganda, but they also employed a MySQL injection which enabled them to launch a Paypal scam using our server. Upon seeing the damage, I worked with our hosts over the next two days to undo their changes and secure our site. If that wasn't enough, in February we started experiencing a hack which prevented our Forum interface from being seen. That was traced to a no longer supported add-on which enabled us to embed pics in our posts.

Back in 2000, I knew virtually nothing about designing websites or even how Forums and their databases worked. All I knew was that I loved this car I just bought and knew I'd be driving it for a very long time. I needed Spyderchat, and the people and knowledge it contained. I still do...

The knowledge I acquired in fourteen years was not adequate for what occurred last year, and I was genuinely scared about losing Spyderchat's amazing Community and its database of knowledge. I am very, very grateful for our host, InMotion Hosting and the community of vBulletin for getting us through that intact.

SPYDERCHAT IS MOVING INTO A NEW ERA
About a month ago, I received an email from the folks at Autoguide.com, a company with over 300 websites and over 13 million registered members. Now, over the years, I have received these emails before and have always ignored them, but the events of 2013-14 made me look at this as a serious consideration to guarantee the safety and continuation of Spyderchat. Over the next week, I vetted the company and found that a sister site, MR2OC.com signed with them last year. Along with Google searches, I read MR2OC's posts associated with the transfer and what I read assured me that what Autoguide.com told me in our discussions was true: that they recognized Spyderchat as a very unique Community and their purpose was to preserve what we have. After evaluating the overall situation, I transferred ownership last week to Autoguide.com, and joined Spyderchat to scores of other Automotive Forums across the world.

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOU?
You, as a Registered Member, will notice very little change to your current experience on the Forums. Autoguide.com has moved our site to their servers and you probably have noticed an immediate speed improvement. They will also preserve the "flavor" and "look" of our Forums, and will introduce extra features to enhance our experience. We will continue with our current Moderator structure, and I will continue to Admin the site. There will also be a new Administrator working behind the scenes to ensure safety and continuity. They know we have a choice to be here, and they will work hard to protect our enjoyment of this Community we created 14 years ago

I am deeply appreciative of your patience with me over my tenure, and I am confident that this move is the very best thing for the Enthusiasts of the Toyota MR2 Spyder!
 

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Hello Everyone,

Just wanted to introduce myself to you all. My name is Marco, I am a community manager for Autoguide.com and will be joining the site to assist with the Web Master duties.

I am here to help primarily with the technical end of things and help make the jobs of the current staff easier. I posted a real basic run down to answer common questions below. If you have more questions or concerns please feel free to post them or send me a message.

What are our intentions?

We bring reliability, support and the infrastructure needed to ensure that the community will be around for years to come. It’s our goal to work with your board staff to help provide the resources and required to give this community a broader reach, to attract new members to better the overall knowledge shared in the community.

Will leadership change?


Continuity is the focus here, You as the membership work very hard to keep building this community while staff keep the walls and the roof up in this place; We are primarily here to make sure the lights stay on. Every community is unique and should always be respected in that regard. You guys have established your own unique rules and regulations and a strong reputation that is carried by all of this and it’s paramount that we maintain this level of integrity.

What am I here for?

My primary role is to be the technical contact as I said earlier you all built the foundation and keep the roof from falling, I am here keeping the lights on inside. I will be on the forum checking in daily to make sure regular maintenance is all taken care of and keep things running smoothly from behind the scenes.

I do look forward to getting to know you all and this unique community better.

Thanks,

Marco
 

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Hi my experience with VerticalScope which I believe is the parent company of Autoguide.com has not been pleasant. I have seen there forums go to trash. Gone un-moderated, turned into spam cities with banners and ads all over the place as well as banning of members for even the mention of other competing forums. We have a good group here and we don't need much in the way of moderators but I am concerned with all the rest. With that being said I will hold off judgement for the meantime.
 

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So, Spyderchat has been sold? Predictable, but I thought there was enough money under the mattress for another year or so of operation. I understand it's more complicated than just the money. Since this is a done deal, I just hope this place doesn't go to crap like the other commercially owned car boards. Are kill stories and pics in sigs going to be allowed?
 

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Hi my experience with VerticalScope which I believe is the parent company of Autoguide.com has not been pleasant. I have seen there forums go to trash. Gone un-moderated, turned into spam cities with banners and ads all over the place as well as banning of members for even the mention of other competing forums. We have a good group here and we don't need much in the way of moderators but I am concerned with all the rest. With that being said I will hold off judgement for the meantime.
We don't plan to make sweeping changes to anything on this site. You all set the tone here and this is a good community and a place to share knowledge with all generations of enthusiasts. As mentioned by Don, we also acquired www.mr2oc.com late last year. Very little has changed since we have acquired mr2oc and the community in there are still very active.

I am open to suggestions if there are things you feel can help improve your experience on the site.

- Marco
 

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We don't plan to make sweeping changes to anything on this site. You all set the tone here and this is a good community and a place to share knowledge with all generations of enthusiasts. As mentioned by Don, we also acquired www.mr2oc.com late last year. Very little has changed since we have acquired mr2oc and the community in there are still very active.

I am open to suggestions if there are things you feel can help improve your experience on the site.

- Marco
I recomend keeping the $20/thread one-time fee for an individual doing a GroupBuy or a home grown product. That's how most of the innovation has come for this community and most boards are only interested in squeezing advertisers for money. I run AdBlockPlus so ads will not likely be seen by me, but they will be very counter to what this community was.

I'm sure your company paid a lot of money for the site and want to recoup your investment and make money going forward. Otherwise, why offer to buy the site? Please don't insult my intelligence by claiming that it's to keep the community preserved and out of harm so it can forever be enjoyed. It is about money, plain and simple. I just hope you can achieve your goals without damaging the site. If ads are coming, then maybe offer a low cost paid membership that sees no ads.

Speaking of the funds to run the site for another year, what is going on with that money? I would be fine with a guarantee that the site will be ad-free for the remainder of that time. I was one of the many who donated each year (at $100 each to be specific) and I would be fine with that as an outcome. Or is this sale one last screw-job to the members that have built this community into a place that is desirable enough to draw offers for purchase? Why wasn't the site offered to a member that is capable of handling the servers and development of the site?

As you can likely tell, I'm not that happy about this change. But, there is little I can do about it aside from not contributing anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If you'd care to do a search, you may see that our last fundraiser was in 2010. At that time, I stated we had about 4 years funds. It is now 2014.

Contrary to your supposition, it is not about the small amount that was paid. I live a very comfortable life and I'd fended off other requests even back in the day when the site was much more active.

Go back and read the first two paragraphs of my first post and you'll see why. I am looking for the long term preservation of this site and I felt that a corporate solution would be best.

Don
 

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I recomend keeping the $20/thread one-time fee for an individual doing a GroupBuy or a home grown product. That's how most of the innovation has come for this community and most boards are only interested in squeezing advertisers for money. I run AdBlockPlus so ads will not likely be seen by me, but they will be very counter to what this community was.

I'm sure your company paid a lot of money for the site and want to recoup your investment and make money going forward. Otherwise, why offer to buy the site? Please don't insult my intelligence by claiming that it's to keep the community preserved and out of harm so it can forever be enjoyed. It is about money, plain and simple. I just hope you can achieve your goals without damaging the site. If ads are coming, then maybe offer a low cost paid membership that sees no ads.

Speaking of the funds to run the site for another year, what is going on with that money? I would be fine with a guarantee that the site will be ad-free for the remainder of that time. I was one of the many who donated each year (at $100 each to be specific) and I would be fine with that as an outcome. Or is this sale one last screw-job to the members that have built this community into a place that is desirable enough to draw offers for purchase? Why wasn't the site offered to a member that is capable of handling the servers and development of the site?

As you can likely tell, I'm not that happy about this change. But, there is little I can do about it aside from not contributing anymore.
I am not quite sure to which site you are referring to in regards of a group buy fee but each forum is different base on the market that is available to the community. The case could be that the particular forum may have a large vendor market active in the forum therefore we work with the staff team to put together an exception for small market/home grown product to allow them to sell without interfering with the site vendors.

I would be lying if I say there will be no ads as there will be basic ad placements for unregistered members viewing the forum.

The idea of a low cost Paid Membership program is something we can consider, thank you for the suggestion. We can look into more as we complete the transition over the next few days.

As I mentioned, we are very much open for new ideas! Just let us know what you would like to see.

- Marco
 

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I
Contrary to your supposition, it is not about the small amount that was paid. I live a very comfortable life and I'd fended off other requests even back in the day when the site was much more active.
Don
Perhaps there was a GOGV involved.........
 

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I have no experience with autoguide, so I'm open to this.

Despite the wars and strife that occasionally mar the place, this is a great community. I appreciate Don's interest in trying to preserve the community and keep it safe. His reasons seem legit to me, and I think that many of us would do the same if in his position. Let's skip the armchair quarterbacking and sniping that will probably come in response to this move, and play an active role in moving this forward to serve the best needs of the community.

They seem open to suggestions, so let's provide them with CONSTRUCTIVE suggestions that will maintain or improve the community. And then let's see what happens. If you don't like the outcome, you vote with your feet - that's always an option. It's a great community, let's keep it that way by participating in the evolution.
 

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Well banmepleasebanmepleasebanmepleasebanmeplease.
 

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Cool

Suggestion one is that you let those of us who have been here a long time take care of dealing with trolls and other ilk that stink up the boards. Our methods are unconventional but if you read some history here you will see they are truly effective. Also try not to stick ads in the threads. if you put them off to the side or at the top bottom that is preferable to having them integrated into the conversation. This could also be very dangerous as when someone comes here and asks about how to get 400hp with a 500 dollar budget that ad for the electronic supercharger will appear to the dim wit as an enthusiast providing a legitimate suggestion.

Look forward to see how things change or don't change.


Now a question, is that your car in your avatar? I am guessing no and as such I would ask you to take it down because I find it a little patronizing. We understand your corporate roll here there is not need to put up a pic of a spyder as your face here. Honesty and credibility are important components of the culture here you don't have to like the car to run the board. Now if you buy a spyder and embrace the car feel free to post your own picture.
You have nothing to worry about dealings on the forum. We are here more so for the technical aspect of the forum and leave it up to the current active moderators to continue with their day to day moderation in the forum.

I will get more details in terms of ad placement for registered users but I can assure you that there will be NO ads in between post for Registered/Login users.

It is not my vehicle on my avatar but I can tell you that I am an avid tuner myself. Unfortunately, they never released the mr2 spyder here in Canada so I couldn't get my hands on one :(

I can understand the honesty and credibility that this community have so if it is a bother, I will remove the avatar. Can I replace it with my IS350? :biggrin:

- Marco
 

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So, Spyderchat has been sold? Predictable, but I thought there was enough money under the mattress for another year or so of operation. I understand it's more complicated than just the money. Since this is a done deal, I just hope this place doesn't go to crap like the other commercially owned car boards. Are kill stories and pics in sigs going to be allowed?
Sorry didn't see your last request on this post. Regarding kill stories and pics in sig, these are things that we will have to run it by with the current staff team (moderators) on this site. They may have been disabled for a reason and we do not step in any toes overruling this policy.
 

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IS350 is a great car. I see nothing wrong with using that as your avatar or posting pics in the "Other cars on the road" forum.

I'll wait and see how the changes come in and how they affect the community before making more judgements or speculations. Luckily, we have another forum if this one falls completely.
 

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Hi my experience with VerticalScope which I believe is the parent company of Autoguide.com has not been pleasant. I have seen there forums go to trash. Gone un-moderated, turned into spam cities with banners and ads all over the place as well as banning of members for even the mention of other competing forums. We have a good group here and we don't need much in the way of moderators but I am concerned with all the rest. With that being said I will hold off judgement for the meantime.
Vertical Scope bought Pirate 4x4 a couple years back. Some aspects didn't change, but the annoying as piss hyperlink words in posts started popping up, and a few extra banner ads. I wasn't a fan of that.


You have nothing to worry about dealings on the forum. We are here more so for the technical aspect of the forum and leave it up to the current active moderators to continue with their day to day moderation in the forum.

I will get more details in terms of ad placement for registered users but I can assure you that there will be NO ads in between post for Registered/Login users.

It is not my vehicle on my avatar but I can tell you that I am an avid tuner myself. Unfortunately, they never released the mr2 spyder here in Canada so I couldn't get my hands on one :(

I can understand the honesty and credibility that this community have so if it is a bother, I will remove the avatar. Can I replace it with my IS350? :biggrin:

- Marco
Current moderators, I'm assuming you mean the whole two of them?

I would suggest the same amount ads for registered/login users as we currently have, which is none. It's part of the reason many of us like the site. There's another spyder site that some of us frequent that is also without ads, keep your possible competition in mind.

I agree with T-bone about the avatar, it's kind of like walking up in to a gang wearing their colors and obviously not being one of them. Be an individual, that's what the other members here do, respect the board, and we'll respect you.

As I'm sure you're finding out, this isn't a normal site of teenagers, it's mainly middle aged people who don't tolerate much in the way of change or general BS. I would relay that to your bosses, although I'm doubting they give a rat's ass about anything but ad revenue and vendors fees.
 

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Sorry didn't see your last request on this post. Regarding kill stories and pics in sig, these are things that we will have to run it by with the current staff team (moderators) on this site. They may have been disabled for a reason and we do not step in any toes overruling this policy.
The pics in sigs isn't disabled, it's just highly frowned upon and no one does it out of respect. It's a distraction. Much like ads. As to the 'kill stories' and street racing stories and vids, those are shunned as to not promote asinine behavior.

Being a newb, perhaps you should do a bit more reading and searching to get a feel of this site.
 
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