Hello everyone, you know how I like to make long dramatic posts :) This will be one, possibly the last one, but it’s important, so bear with me, please. So, what happened: yesterday I learned that the FTR Adsense account has been shut down, which means there is zero income for me and FTR from ads from now on, I am not even talking about the money from ads that was due next week, that I was to use on some significant FTR upgrades (more on that later in this post). It pissed me off not only because of the money lost, but also because of the fact you readers have kept this site going this way (ads are pretty much the only way a site can support itself in long term and I want you to know I appraciated everyone’s support) and suffered the ads. The reason for disabling the account is quite a weird one: I didn’t break any policies, I didn’t break any rules, the official reason was this: “Our specialists have found that your account is related to an account that was disabled for violations of AdSense policies. As previously mentioned, publishers whose accounts have been disabled are not eligible for further participation in the AdSense program.” At first I was “what the hell”? I never had any second adsense account, let alone one that got disabled. What me and Edrard think happened: about two months ago or so, Edrard got his own adsense account disabled for some strange reason (like wrong positioning of banners). He since then switched to Yandex (Russian version of Adsense). The important part is: Edrard logged once or twice on FTR google account to set up the banners for example, because I am hopeless with IT. Thus, his IP showed in the access log, Google figured I am just helping Edrard circumvent his Adsense ban and disabled my account too. I filed an appeal, explaining the situation, but Google appeals are largely automated and I am not optimistic about overturning this decision. Please note that while I have no doubt this will make some useless WG EU staff-members happy, they almost certainly had nothing to do with this. So, what now? For the Record has been one hell of a ride. Since January, the blog grew in visitors from just a random blogspot site to the most visited non-Russian WoT blog in the world. You, dear readers, are why it happened and I am deeply grateful for that. It wasn’t all for free however. In one interview months ago, I said that I work on FTR roughly three hours a day. Well, that was somewhat true then, but it turned out to be wishful thinking. The truth now is that it is usually more, sometimes significantly more. I was always joking that FTR was like my second job, but in last months, this became true practically literally. You can imagine how “well” that worked with real life relationships, but at some point I decided this tradeoff was worth it. Most of the “work” on FTR includes information scouring: where I used 3-4 sources earlier, I check dozens now for every bit of info from the developers. Most I sum up in the QA thread, the important ones get their own posts. I must admit that it is sometimes tiring. Even the WG EU fails are tiring: as you can imagine, writing something positive is more relaxing than describing that some idiot screwed something up and it reached the point where I ignored one weekend fail in the German community (something about buying two packages and getting third for free, which didn’t work, resulting in a whole bunch of pissed Germans). Few months ago, this blog was moved from the original blogspot site to this one. The reason behind this was simple: the ads – it allowed me to get something for all the effort I did put into it. But not just that: it allowed FTR to grow – things I couldn’t do before, Edrard could do (setting various WordPress mods, the whole programming work) and I would never be able to do it without his help. As you can imagine, there is a lot of effort behind this site from both of us, let’s not however forget the other contributors either: mainly Zarax, Priory of Sion and Ensign Expendable did a great job writing about various stuff and I am grateful to them for that. So, this is how it looks now: Yesterday, when I learned the news, it was in a sort of mixed sadness and relief. Sadness because for all its flaws, this site had an enormous amount of work by me and others invested in it. Relief, because the strain on real life has become a bit too much and the income I had from it (and it wasn’t much) was one of the few ways I rationalized the effort to myself (and others). Plus, as an added “bonus”, this month I have to deal with some nasty personal crap, that (amongst other things) requires a lot of money, so I’ll have to work even harder. I could go back to blogspot of course and run this stuff there. But honestly, that’s not what I want to do. I am trying always to go forward, not back and not to do things half-way. Cutting back to previous levels is not what I do. In short: I am ready to shut this site down and step away. I am sure that would make WG EU quite happy. Or… There is one more option. I could go all out pro and kick the whole FTR thing into overdrive. It was like a second job before, I could actually make it my second job (even first job, under certain circumstances). Here are the plans I had for this month before the Adsense shutdown: - new graphic design: with Edrard’s help we’d hire an artist, who’d make some really cool interface for FTR (the money was supposed to go for that) - new materials and “unveilings”: buying a certain bundle of copies from certain archives (sorry, not going to mention details, promised not to and I don’t want others jumping at it) would produce some very interesting results for German branch - whole new portal for other games, with more contributors: World of Warplanes, World of Warships, possibly even War Thunder (as you noticed, I didn’t like the tree, but what the hell, won’t judge until I try it out) but, most importantly - direct questions to developers (well, daily, possibly every two days, needs to be tested): I made an agreement Continue reading →

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