Besides myself, I get some help here from a friend who does some coding when he has free time and is very generous with that. You may have noticed that some stories now give you the ability to increase or decrease the text size. I also work with beta readers and editors. Not only do these folks not get paid, as I'f stated, I pay to place my own content as well as any I host. Some of you are aware that I thought to let people bypass waiting for a weekly post and donate a nominal amount - as little as one dollar - to read the entire story ahead of time.
Over the last thirty days the main page for Things We Found has been accessed 592 times. The pre-purchase page has been accessed 597 times. Only four people elected to donate. Is the address easy to guess and people have no compunction about taking it? Have I made errors that have allowed people to take the story ahead of time? Have those links been shared?
I don't have the ability to make a page password protected so that only one person can get to it. I'm incredibly confused and disappointed to find out people have taken advantage. I'm not sure how else to provide a way to not have the site be a financial drain each year yet still present what I have. Does discontinuing the ability to read all at once fix any of this? Not really. So I'm trying to figure out what to do before my next serial is available. I'm open to suggestions.
I donated, and I know I've accessed the pre-purchase page several times to re-read or check individual chapters, but at most perhaps a dozen or so times. I wonder if a lot of those accesses might have been searchbots of some kind?
I doubt that the accesses would have been by search bots. Bots generally start at the home page (or some other page to which they've been given a URL) and follow links; since there are no links to the pre-purchase copy of the story on the site, a bot is very unlikely to find it. Bots don't generally retrieve directory listings and access everything in the directory, and on this site I don't think they can even if they're supposed to.
Unfortunately, I don't have any helpful suggestions, except to possibly generate a random name for the pre-purchase main page the next time around, just in case ease of guessing is the problem.
One other thought - I don't have the faintest idea what fraction of your readers visit this forum, but I suspect a significant number do not. You might get more participants in the pre-purchase program if it were announced on the Welcome page at dabeagle.com and not just here. That is, of course, more work, with no assurance of any return.
Perhaps you could put the entire story in a PDF format instead of HTML and distribute that, instead, though if the problem is people sharing the link, that might not stop it either. I'm, personally, stumped. I know I have the story on my phone and, every time I run out of juice, it reloads the main page, which I have saved. But... even THAT couldn't have been more than a few dozen times and I am not even sure if it counts as a new "view" when I do that.
I love that you have the pre-purchase option, but, if people are going to abuse it like that, then I am afraid the few will just have to ruin it for the many, or rather, in this case, the many for the few.
I'm, personally, stumped. I know I have the story on my phone and, every time I run out of juice, it reloads the main page, which I have saved. But... even THAT couldn't have been more than a few dozen times and I am not even sure if it counts as a new "view" when I do that.
I had a similar thought, in that I made the pre-paid link an item in the Safari Reading List on my iPhone rather than as a regular Favorite or Bookmark. I've noticed sometimes that some items in that Reading List seem to update themselves just by my opening the list without my accessing the item myself. Makes me wonder whether every item on the Reading List might be accessing its associated link each time I open the list.