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Support row2k

Ever since we started row2k right before the women's Sprints in 1997 to address the complete lack on online information at that regatta, row2k has exploded into the world's largest and most popular rowing Web site.

We'd like to think we helped to change rowing for the better; more and faster information, results posting without prejudice for the "importance" of the racing, and a little bit of fame for rowers and boats at all levels of racing in our photo galleries.

As you can imagine, and anyone in the Web business knows, running a Web site of the scale and immediacy of row2k is a tough, expensive proposition.

We've broken our behinds and our banks to get to this point, and countless readers, athletes, and coaches have thanked and encouraged us over time. These folks express their hope that row2k will continue, and many have asked how they might contribute to the survival of row2k.

I've come to think it foolhardy not to offer these folks this option, and we can certainly use the help; in fact, we need it to continue to grow. As a result, we are instituting an entirely voluntary "fund drive." If you use row2k regularly, whether for entertainment, to chat among friends, or to use all of the free services we provide at no cost, please consider making a contribution to the survival and continued improvement of row2k.

As one reader wrote us: "I give money to NPR, and I use row2k much more than I listen to NPR. I suppose it only makes sense that I support row2k as well."

Very few companies are making Web journalism and fan sites pay for itself; even giant companies with almost bottomless resources haven't been able to do it. We hope to beat the odds.

Expenses are climbing. In the past few months, we've built and launched a sophisticated, databased results system. We've upgraded our servers to accommodate the increase in traffic to the results, photos, Boards, and classifieds sections. We've bought and rented new cameras to get better photos of you rowing. Costs are going up.

We will use your contributions to pay for photos, camera equipment, travel and lodging, software licenses (including the Boards, Classifieds, and other services), laptops to update from regatta sites, general computer hardware and software, Internet access, gasoline, telephone bills, and hosting, hosting, and more hosting. Once those bills are paid, we'd like to pay the people who work on the site. This is something we've never done, and this includes the founder, yours truly. All of us maintain full day jobs. When you see how much content we churn out on row2k, you realize how hard we're working to bring this site to you for very little or no compensation. We need to change that.

We considered running this fund drive through Amazon's Honor System, but believe we can put the 15% they'd take right off the top to better use. As we are already running the row2k mall, and our credit card system is fully secure and safe, we thought it better to keep the process in-house, and put your contributions to better use. (If folks would be more inclined to give through, let us know; we'll make the change. We want this to be as easy and comfortable as possible.)

If coaches or organizations would prefer we invoice them, we are happy to do so. Simply send complete contact information, and the amount you'd like to contribute, to Ed, and I'll generate an invoice asap.

This might even let us lose the Pop-up ads, something that will make us ALL happy - I, too, must endure these things when monitoring the Boards, inputting results, and more. I'd be more than happy never to see one again.

As an incentive, all contributions over $60 will win you a row2k tee-shirt - be sure to indicate t-shirt size in the Comments.

One last thing, on a slightly less positive note: supporting row2k does not exempt readers from our terms of use, especially on the row2k Boards. We've all seen the problems that ruling with a loose hand has created there; we want those Boards to get better as a result of your contributions, not worse.

If you're an occasional reader, consider an annual donation of, say, $12 - $1/month. If you're a regular reader, perhaps $60 will work - it's less than $1/week after we send you your t-shirt! If you're a real fan, feel free to give more; we'll use it well, and to benefit our sport.

Some individuals or organizations may want to be full-scale sponsors. The only reward is our eternal thanks, and the maintenance and expansion of the site. We'd also like to acknowledge you by setting up a page on our site, listing our sponsors and supporters, like any other charity event. Contributors who give more than $100 a year will be listed as a Bronze Sponsor. Contributors who give more than $500 will be listed as a Silver Sponsor. More than $1000, we'll list you as a Gold sponsor. If you'd rather remain anonymous, of course, we'll list you as Anonymous. That doesn't mean we won't be extremely grateful.

To make a contribution, please click here.

Your support means a great deal to us, and would guarantee the continued growth of row2k.

Ed Hewitt
Founder, Publisher, and Waterboy, row2k

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