If you were among those whom attempted to access the site during the previous however many hours, then you'll no doubt have been at least slightly surprised to be greeted to a ginormous message which read something to the tune of, 'the webmaster dude forgot to pay his bills - the prat.'
I was probably more surprised that most.
And when I say 'surprised', I don't mean surprised to learn that I've been a bit of a dippy prat, that much has always been obvious, but that the domain renewal window was closing-- had closed. Dammit. In the 13 or so years that I've been in this racket, I've never, ever managed to somehow overlook something as absurdly important as renewing a domain name. Until today. Double dammit.
How did this happen? Why was the site allowed to become inactive for a number of hours? I have no excuse - it's a rookie mistake that shouldn't have been made. But those email reminders being unknowingly zapped straight into Junk inbox didn't help even one iota... Still - my bad.
If you were to allow me one opportunity to provide a pitiful (but still genuine and sincere) excuse, however, it'd be this: I unfortunately do not have the money to be quite as cavalier with my bill payments as I used to be. For years, I've had to rely on my 'brand loyalty' as my excuse for late payments. My dedicated server host, bend over backwards to accommodate my constant last-minute payments. For example, if a bill comes in at the first of the month, I'll typically be allowed as much as 2 weeks to pay off the balance - sometimes a shade longer. I dunno how much longer exactly, to ask for any more time would be to take advantage.
I pay the bills when the income generated from the sites hits my bank account, which is typically towards the tail-end of the month. It's hardly ever on time, and it's never enough to cover all hosting expenses. It hasn't cut it for the past 3 years (roughly) now, as a matter of fact. I'd say that site 'income' counts towards 50% of the bills, and the other half being down to an ever-dwindling inheritance that my parents left me. If one of the other 'income' avenue expires in the next few years - well, I'll certainly have to consider my options for this place. As it stands at present, we're okay.
Fun fact: If I'm ever able to pay a bill on time, it's because the site received a hearty donation.
/pitiful (but genuine and sincere) excuse
When my wife mentioned there was an error message present (which was brought to my attention shortly after I came home this evening), the first thing I thought was how I hoped the kind people whom recently donated and invested in Gold Memberships wouldn't think that they'd been swindled. It's the awesome, super cool charitable folk that help to put those dents in the bills around here, and if it weren't for you guys, I wouldn't be able to cover the monthly costs of running this network (which includes the equally sexy frequenters of devilmaycry.org, dinocrisis.com, etc.)
Fun fact #2: Because I've never actually been late on a renewal payment before, I didn't actually know for certain how exactly to fix the situation, so one of the first things I did was fire off an email to the chaps whom manage my dedicated server and see what's the dealio. Thankfully, all that was required was for me to pay a premium renewal fee (ouch!), scold myself for being such a wally, and then wait patiently for the situation to unfudge itself. Triple dammit. On the plus side, it was a very recent donation (anonymous, I might add) made by a very kind soul on this site that helped make up the funds to pay the premium renewal fee and secure the domain for another 2 years. So, in that respect, we're good for another 730 days; approximately 500 days of which were down to the anonymous donator. Hurrah!
Before this turns into too much of an essay, I just want to make it clear that although I'm not nearly as active as I used to be (I blame the kids - blargh!), I'm here literally every day trying to make this place the best Resident Evil community out there. I love this place, and it kills me that I don't have the time or money to really inject it with the cool features that I'd like to, as quickly as I'd like to. I think they're cool, anyway.
I'm a one-man band and, in truth, I've struggled for a while to keep on top of everything. I wouldn't ever call this a job - it's too much fun to be a job. Plus I don't get paid, so I suppose it's more like a volunteer gig. Hmm. I'm probably thinking about that one too much...
Okay, to wrap up: I'm a tool and I'm genuinely sorry that the site went down for as long as it did, and even more sorry that it looked like we weren't coming back. Today has been a long day and it's late in the evening now so I'ma go crash on the sofa with the wife and watch crap TV. Most likely Castle Series 3, FYI.
If anyone would care to help financially, I humbly request that if you have a few bucks to spare, please consider using the Donate form to send some in our direction and I'll make sure it goes towards ensuring that the domain remains ours for as long as possible. It costs £12.60 (approximately $22) to add another year of ownership to the domain, and should anyone be willing to help us add another year or two (or hopefully more!) then perhaps the wife and I could screenshot or record and commentate the renewal process for lulz or something. Just an idea. My wife likes small cars and I like collecting novelty Mega-Drive games, so you know we have lots of exciting things to talk about and stuff. Just sayin'.
Thanks for being brilliant and understanding, gang. Much love. <3
tl;dr: site broke because of me, but t'is fixed now so s'all good.