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What Would You Do with CHATBOTS.ORG?

Dear chatbot lovers,

In 2008 I created a very silly page with a chatbot listing. It was the first version of Between 2009 and 2011 I literally spend all my time and ALL my money on this website. I’ve even lended a 100K euro from friends because I believed in chatbots.. Unfortunately, I was to early. I decided to keep the site alive and to spend money on hosting and necessary upgrades of the CMS. I would have loved to do more, but I simply couldn’t.

I had to reshift my focus and went to health (supplements and technology). And although I love to see people improving their health and vitality, I still have a great passion for chatbots.

Now, the time has changed. I was asked to speak at the virtual assistants conference in San Francisco but couldn’t afford the flight ticket, I’ve been approached by formerly sponsors of this website, so far for free. And today, I was approached by American Airlines to advertise in their worldwide magazine. Something is going on! We are going to the next phase with chatbots.

In the mean time, I still don’t have money (actually still the debt position) and I have to focus to survive on a daily basis. I DO have a good health. Just the missing financial position. Also, my key developer is no longer interested to work with me on the website.

What I definitely need is a smart technology partner who can design, program and maintain the website (build in ExpressionEngine/PHP). I’m an idea guy, I’m very creative and everything you see on this website comes from my mind. But I did’t design it in pixels. And it would be cool have some financial stability. I’d love to continue my work and makes this website GREAT AGAIN (remember that slogan ? :-p )

My question to you is: when you would stand in my shoes, what would YOU do? What would you do FIRST?


  [ # 1 ]

I think, were I in the situation you’re currently in, the first thing I would do would be to reach out to the chatbot community (much as you’re doing now) to ask for help. I don’t think that anyone here wants to lose such a valuable resource, and may be willing to help in some way. I, for one, am willing to donate some of my time to help keep the technical aspects of the site going, and I’m sure that others here might be willing to help out in other ways. Perhaps it’s not unreasonable to ask for small donations to help defray the cost of hosting, and it’s not hard at all to put a small donations button in the footer of all of the pages to encourage members and guests to participate in the upkeep. Heck, even a single US dollar from all of the active members each month should be more than enough to cover not only hosting, but to also to help hire a competent web developer to maintain the site. Ok, maybe not the second part so much, but… smile


  [ # 2 ]

I would turn the directory listing into advertising programs: name, category and link listed for free, descriptions only for a fee, and rotating sponsored chatbots on the front page for a bigger fee, country-appropriate as per visitor IP. Your biggest asset is (commercial) chatbots and this site’s naturally excellent SEO, so it’s only logical to monetise that. However, this would also cost money to set up, so the actual first thing I’d do is research and calculate if the returns can be expected to cover the investment. (I’m not volunteering by the way, my goals lie elsewhere)


  [ # 3 ]

How about some discrete advertisements?
Along the lines of Don’s idea: a corporate sponsored chat bot that brings you revenue (eg banks and travel companies are are bragging about their chatbots, why not offer to display one here. Maybe Amazon developers want to showcase something) along with an un-sponsored chat bot from a non-corporate sources.


  [ # 4 ]

One thing I would do is make the forums/community more accessible to newcomers. I know at least one person (Stefan, admin of the Botmakers Slack) was unable to register an account because he wasn’t active enough on Facebook and was blocked by the spam filters.

Loosening the restrictions on sign-ups, and possibly using something like Google’s reCAPTCHA to help weed out bots/spammers, might go a long way toward making the community more inviting for newcomers.


  [ # 5 ]

I definitely agree with Noah. I get quite a few emails from people saying they are having trouble registering.


  [ # 6 ]

My question to you is: when you would stand in my shoes, what would YOU do? What would you do FIRST?

I would run the site as a forum first. I would not pollute it with advertising. I would petition my government for a basic income so I could run the site without worrying about monetizing it. It’s hard to put myself in your shoes since I have a deep-seated disgust for capitalism and the idea that money must be first on everyone’s mind. I just want to come here again after laying off programming for a while, and swap ideas and code and tips with other enthusiasts. Money sucks and I want to think about it the least I possibly can. That’s my humble opinion smile

Edit: a long time ago, you mentioned to someone coding some kind of FAQ bot or directory bot or something, and running it on this site. I think that would be a good challenge: a bot(s) that would showcase the site and that we could improve on. An open-source bot that anyone can edit like wikipedia ...


  [ # 7 ]

A different proposal for CHATBOTS.ORG is that we create and maintain a set of standards for inter chat bot communication. (I will try to explain myself in a separate post under the ” AIML and other Standards” sub forum).

A standards organization (like ISO, AIML, ICC, TCPIP, etc) that maintains a valuable standard,  gets money in membership fees and grants, from all kinds of places; especially if it licenses a “reference implementation” of the standard. If we act communally we can create value that translates to EVL’s security.


  [ # 8 ]

Are any of your other sites making money for you?

What can be done to hopefully increase the speed of the servers as they are and have been dreadfully slow for quite some time as have been reported by other members as well as my own experience in the USA.

Licensing fees and memberships and ads certainly takes away any notion of Open Source or sharing of ideas and methodologies especially if it’s going to be monetized, measured and calculated. No offense but if so, a lot of people will simply find other avenues.

Nowhere on this page did / do I see a “If you would care to contribute to the maintenance of this site, please consider a Donation by clicking the PayPal or <fill in the blank> button.”
Such a notion of a “conscious donation” might surprise you.

Just some thoughts.


  [ # 9 ]

I’d been trying to reach you via Skype for 4 weeks on this very topic, but no reply.(gpro45). I have a sizable paying sponsor and willing to help update the site and content to make it attractive to sponsors.

Let’s set up a skype call and discuss the details.

Best, Greg


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