600 Fan Funders!
The 600th fan funder hit the LockLab two days ago! Wow, I never thought we’d reach that number. We did TWO random drawings; one for fan funders #501-600, and a second for all 600 funders. The winners and prizes are on the “You WON!” page.
To give you an update, the average donation is $1.42, the highest $250, and the lowest 0.01. The total amount received to date is $1,417. So far on the reviews and postage I’ve invested $3102, so my reimbursement rate is a bit low at 46%.
A huge expense was postage. The last month alone I spent $424 mailing items to winners of the free drawings. As a cost cutting measure, winners now have to pay their own postage. Sorry, but there was simply no way I could afford to keep paying all the postage.
There IS good news. The Patreons have truly made it possible to continue these reviews. Right now there are 127 Patreons that have pledged $315 for the first video every month, then roughly $40 for each video thereafter. Most of the Patreons are funding the videos, but I’m using the proceeds to fund the LockLabs’ Consumer Reports theme. So, while the Paypal contribution option has dried up in the past month, the Patreons are helping gain back lost ground. Combined with the postage savings, we should get back to break-even in two months.
Lock Picking Course
Many of you may have noticed but I’ve completely rebuilt the lock picking course under the LockLab University tab. It is much more extensive, contains better pictures, and incorporates some short instructional videos available only on the website. Whether you are a brand new to the hobby or an advanced picker, there is something for you there. If you have ideas for more “courses” please let me know!
We’re still incorporating the changes you suggested three weeks ago. Many of them are minor, cosmetic changes, but some require some extensive programming. I am still determined to put up a LockLab Forum, but integrating it into the website is not an easy task. It is much more than simply installing some software, particularly if you want to maintain security, which I insist on. The technical support rates are quite high, so please give me a little more time to make this happen.
Free Drawing Entries
Registering for free drawings on the website is working out well. We had some glitches with the first attempt – it was easy to scrape the password – but now everything is done in the back end. After each drawing we wipe the database so no data is retained. So, it took some experimentation but we finally devised a secure, reliable way to register for the free drawings. A by product is that the YT comments are now cleaner and much more readable. Many people said they didn’t receive the automated response after registering. We’ve tracked this down to two possibilities; either your spam filter it catching the message, or the ISP has some filtering. Automated messages have firstname.lastname@example.org in the header, making them easy to filter out. Bottom line: If you get the green “your are registered” after pressing submit, then don’t worry about the auto-response email.
You’ve probably noticed the Green Icon in the address bar. Yes, we are encrypted now and pretty secure, but I’m still working on obtaining the highest level of SSL. The process takes time as the have to do a background investigation, but hopefully within a couple of months we’ll have the conveted “Green Bar” SSL.
As always, please send in any suggestions you have for improvements. I’m a one-man shop and can’t do it without your help.