If you don't mind... I'd like to share my thoughts after reading all above... Hopefully following ideas would count as "supporting" and "encouraging".Or at least rise some sort of "community" discussion about certain ways to support your ever-growing project in most substantial way - financially.
Now, I'm neither economist nor marketing specialist but everything below comes from my RL experience with financing and promoting several niche projects (that would be "underground electronic music" in my case - but hey!). What I did in the past also started as a "hobby" and ended as fairly successful way to make my living out of it - reassuring me, that my "marketing" decisions were correct.
But back to the point...
There are some things which have to be said first, though - even if Phalynx ommited them in his own write-up:
- vBAddict is undisputably most comprehensive and sophisticated service out there, full of features created for people who either want to measure their "skill" or simply prefer more mathematical and statistical approach to game they play;
- even quick look through the site shows what huge amount of work it takes to keep high quality of service you provide - and it's all done by one person;
- while you mention technicalities of data processing and storage - there is so much more to what makes vBAddict attractive: simple and hassle-free way to install ADU and associated mods, clear and user friendly site layout (including proper scaling for mobile devices), transparency and constant communication between provider of service and its userbase concerning eventual bugs and upcoming features;
- scope of the service which can be roughly measured simply by looking at: amount of data stored, processed, displayed and re-used by countless "third party" tools out there via API - on daily basis.
Why all those things needs to be mentioned? Because next we are inevitably going to talk about money.
@ Phalynx: While I respect your decision to run this service off donations (and being extremely modest while asking people to donate) - I honestly doubt such system is going to cover 263EUR on regular, monthly basis. Hence, there is no point being too shy when trying to consider more... open ways of "monetization". You don't want popups and adverts? Fine - no one like these. Couple months ago myself and other users mentioned implementation of some informative gauge or bar - indicating what sum still needs to be donated to cover your monthly expenses. With almost doubled costs of planned server improvement - realistically speaking - I wouldn't dare to relay on people's charity...
I might understand how "average" vBAddict user moan, groan and cringe when someone starts talking about "paid features". vBAddict is - after all - third party site for "free to play" game isn't it? Lets put it all in slightly widerperspective, then, shall we? Remembering about quality and complexity of service provided by vBAddict, there is Phalynx - guy who runs it as a hobby, voluntarly sacrificing hours to deliver what we have here.
Even most dedicated passionate starts to lose his enthusiasm when, on top of invested energy and time, he also have to pay for what he do from his own pocket. For those having difficulty to calculate "value for money" factor: 263 EUR equals roughly ingame 80.215 Gold. Three years of Premium account. And that's monthly.
Besides - "3rd party tools" with much lower content quality are being sold in Apple Store for over 3 EUR/piece (some vague WoT "guide" if I recall correctly).
On the other hand - definitely useful and polished software - Tank Inspector - announces "Pro" version, with monthly subscription model - while at the same time using data from vBAddict...
Hopefully these arguments convince not only some "average" vBAddict user, but also you, Phalynx, that question from the poll shouldn't be "should I upgrade the vBAddict server" (because there is only one answer - "yes") but rather: "how users can help me to cover costs of improved service"...
Considering how unvaluable vBAddict is for 28245 WoT players using your service - there is no shame in asking for money to run it...
In my humble opinion, it's worth trying to figure out which features should be considered "basic" and which could be safely moved to "premium" section of the site.
Obvious candidate for creating paid "plans" (similar to model used by services like "Soundcloud" or "Dropbox") would be replay storage time. Even from my own experience - amount of crappy replays ADU is uploading daily... It would be safe to assume, that average vBAddict user needs about a week to review games he wants to keep or share with friends. Those who like to use your servers as their replay library could be easily presented with some micro-payment for "extended" time of unlimited storage space.
Overhauling clan statistics and adding features to create integrated online clan management tool (with calendar, CW data, activity and skill progress monitoring of clan members). Same with posibility to draw strategies (with arrows, POI, symbols) or leaving timestamped comments on Battle Simulations or Heat Maps and then share it between Clan members or save them, or embed them on forums.
Such features could be excellent selling point for "Premium Access" option - worth for many people few bucks/month.
Basically - with all respect to creators of other sites out there - vBAddict, taking into account features already implemented and polishing few to cover more "social" aspect of WoT - have huge potential to be one stop site for all those slightly more "involved" in WoT. There is already news feed for all important WoT blogs. Replays. Statistics. If all those guys who ask for donations helping with costs of running camo calculators, tank compares, clan management just moved right here - I bet we, users, would gladly afford some minimal monthly fee to have access to it.
Food for thoughts with help of some basic math and simple asumption: with only one-third of current 20k+ users finding selection of "Premium Access" attractive and worth tiny fee of 1EUR/month (yeah that's 1.3$ or 4.3PLN, cheaper than any ingame Gold batch option available) - it could cover a year of vBAddicts maintenance costs. ONE FULL YEAR.
P.S. Sorry for wall of text. I hope it was at least partially understandable and digestible.