Rosetta Code:Finances

From Rosetta Code

This page should document everything about's finances that I can (and have time to) make public. I will revise the time-dependant portions as I have time, and the rest it as I see fit.

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Public data was last brought fully up-to-date August 5th, 2011.


Rosetta Code is, a DBA for me, Michael Mol. (Business registration here.) Rosetta Code does not have 501(c)(3) non-profit status, or any other non-profit status.

You can see the present finances as I've calculated them at Google Docs: (HTML) (Google Docs interface)


Since fall of 2008, server costs for the Rosetta Code website (yes, the website existed prior to the entity name) have been out of my pocket. I'm no longer in a position for this to be comfortable or, necessarily, maintainable.

Past expenses (Google Docs)


Expenses (Google Docs)


Currently, Rosetta Code has two recurring expenses:

  • Every three months, a payment to to keep the primary VPS running.
  • Every month, a payment to Chase for the bank account.

Recurring payments (Google Docs)

Fee oriented[edit]

  • PayPal applies a transaction fee. (Too some transactions. I don't know which or why, specifically.)
  • Chase has been charging a recurring fee for the checking account.


Income (Google Docs)

Working[edit] currently has two working sources of income:

Paypal Donations[edit] can receive donations via PayPal, at [email protected] As donations are received, they are documented in our public finances, donor anonymous. You can make a donation using this button:


To date (29 Dec, 2010), there have been nine donations, totaling $688 USD.

Amazon Referrals[edit]

MediaWiki version 1.16 introduced functionality that made it fairly easy to fix the AmazonPlus extension for use within templates. Thus Template:BookLink is now functional.

If you're a published author, please see Template:BookLink's page for guidelines that should be of interest to you.


The Amazon links from this wiki all go to the United States site. Unfortunately, Rosetta Code's affiliate ID will not produce referral income through any domain other than The AmazonPlus extension does not support locale selection, but I'll extend it if there is sufficient interest. (i.e. if you'd like to make the purchase through the refferal code, but it's problematic ordering from the US territory; Of course, you can still try the <paypal></paypal> button.)

Solidly Planned[edit]

Cafe Press Upgrade[edit]

If the Cafe Press store consistently earns enough to pay for the $6/mo upgrade, I'll upgrade it and add a larger variety of products, including things specific to various programming languages and other site topics, as well as programmer humor. At the current markup, that's just six purchases through the store each month, by the way.


Book sales[edit]

Books derived from content on the site are a real possibility, but will be helped along immensely by migration toward using Semantic MediaWiki for site structure.


Google AdSense[edit]

Google Adsense produced less than $30 in income over six months. Not worth annoying users and visitors.

Gear and Swag[edit]

Purchases of Cafe Press swag earns Rosetta Code a small commission. Currently, this is configured to "Low tier". I'm more happy with people flashing the Rosetta Code swag around as living billboards than the slight increase in commission percentage I could get by increasing the markup. ;)

Formerly using Cafe Press, now using Zazzle; Zazzle is much more flexible for a lower price. Commission rates range from 13% to 20%, as I try to keep item prices near round numbers. With this setup, a single sale through Zazzle would net four or five times as much as a sale through Cafe Press.

No longer doing any swag sales, currently; the print-on-demand services have too high a cost overhead to draw any notable margin while retaining a reasonable product price. I've got a local company I'm looking at, and may eventually do sales directly.

Text-Link Ads[edit]

Text-Link Ads are a pay-per-view text ad system, as opposed to Pay-Per-Click. Currently tied in, but only visible on Main_Page and Category:Programming Tasks. One sale so far, income for $6.94.

Pages need to be submitted to TLA's inventory individually, where they will manually review a submission and choose whether or not to add it to their inventory. Unfortunately, they've rejected some good placements. In any case, if there is a specific page you'd like to have available through their inventory, email me, and I will submit it.

I've dropped TLA because:

  1. It was not possible for me to easily get large numbers of pages registered with their service
  2. They're too broadly-targeted to be able to target a community and user base like RC.

I'm working on an internal solution which would allow users with wiki accounts to place ads on particular pages themselves.

How income is planned to be used[edit]

Goals (Google Docs)

Emergency expenses and forced expansion[edit]

The first priority is to cover immediate and emergency expenses, such as server payments, overage fines (which I haven't had the misfortune to hit yet) or added expanded services (such as the second VPS node). These are the most basic operating costs, since my time is technically free of charge.

Saving forward for costs[edit]

The second priority is to accrue enough savings in's name to satisfy all projected payments over the span of the longest-period payment. (So, for example, since charges $102.60 every three months, and Linode charges $25.10 every month, that means saving enough for one charge, and three Linode charges, or $177.90).

Discretionary spending[edit]

I don't know what will go here. Possibly something silly like printing 100 T-shirts and sending it to a university somewhere, or sending gift swag and the like.

Repayment for services[edit]

Repay Michael Mol for past static costs.