You did it for the badge, #20? I did it because I liked the site ;)
Thibault pls add an option to donate via other methods. For example paysafecard or simply set up a mailing adress to recieve cash, gold or cigarettes or whatever currency you need, or fanmail.
How much is the lifelong lichess patronship? That should be an option too.
First of all I have to out myself as a non-donator :P Maybe I'm a bit spoiled on this issue, but since I have never played for playing chess since 3 years it doesn't even come to my mind to pay for my hobby :P
Nevertheless, I really enjoy your site, especially the graphics. It is really much more enjoyable (and prettier) than chess24, chess.com and schach.de If you just want to play a fast game, you have everything here, even funny chess modes suited to your style. So honestly, great job (and that for a non-profit organization!)
But on the other hand, coming from my economical study point of view, I really cannot imagine why you do this for free (more or less). Yes you did it an the beginning for fun, but now you have seen you did a great job and contribute big things in the chess art. I really see no reason for you not to expand further. Not to make money with it, but to spread/contribute even more based on your done work. This whole thing has a big potential, is much more user friendly and motivate people to enjoy chess freely, you SHOULD make something bigger of it. I'm not telling you to change anything, your values are great. Also you don't have to repeat anything the other chess platforms already do, but I think you have your own ideas what you can do, some services suited to lichess, like a series of 101 in Horde for example, some threads (or even videos) to explain these basics by experienced (not even nesessarly strong) players. Like the lichess.tv, but an expanded version, teaching the basics, or video series on trivial chess. NOT for masters (like all the other are focussed on), but for average players. Lichess is a platform for average players who love chess, provide them with what they want. And then you of course have to think how to get some income (sponsors or premium charging; but i would advice a sponsor compatible with lichess so everyone could enjoy it) for this, but it would be worth it for the chess players. I don't want to criticize your noble opinion, but I truly believe, as a chess lover, a fan of your site and someone who teaches chess, the chess community might benefit if you would reconsider your approach. It doesn't have to spoil your site. But of course, it's easy for me to speak without having any work done for this site in the last 6 years like you did :)
So thx for the site and thx for reading my message. Have a nice evening and keep it up!
The option to pay/donate for other players would be nice, too.
I also believe the new donor-system will help lichess to get more money to work with.
I don't like that the earlier donors lose there icon as it was taken away, if i understood it correctly. I didn't donate, yet. So I didn't have a donor icon but I believe there should be a reward for the earlier donors.
#24 These are good thoughts.
My professional background is ex-corporate strategy for a big tech co and now I'm a founder of a tech co building AI software apps. So I have a lot of experience in building, proposing, and refining new or existing tech business models.
Thibault, you can definitely keep lichess free for everyone. You can also maintain the open source model you have. My one suggestion as a business model would be 'tournaments'. Here's a very simple calculation to show how much revenue lichess could make.
Lets say you have a weekly or monthly tournament. The tournament is split into 3 categories - 2000+, 1600-2000, sub-1600.
Prize money for each category is
$1000 for 1st place
$500 for 2nd place
$250 for 3rd place
The entry fee per player in any category is $10.
Lets assume, this is a weekly tournament and a thousand people pay $10 to join the tournament.
Revenue for lichess = 1000 * $10 = $10K
Costs for lichess = ($1000 + $500 + $250) * 3 = $5,250
Profit per week = $10K - $5.25 = ~$5K
There are three key assumptions (or variables) in the above calculation which relate to 'demand'.
1. A 1000 people
2. $10 entry fee
3. weekly frequency
These are assumptions or variables to test through trial and error. But here you have an idea that keeps chess free for everyone, adds a unique selling point to the site - you have a big money tournament which attracts player volume, and pays for the infrastructure and the development and design effort.
Tournaments are well established in chess culture. Maybe within the lichess community, there are tournament organisers who can shed some light on kind of prize money attracts volume entries.
Only way to keep that fair without having to worry about programs would have to be bullet chess. You put money for prizes into the mix anything above 1 min will more certainly be suspectable to program usage.
With that being said I would have no problem paying for a membership here. Imo this is the best chess site on the internet and has been for years. I think it would also cut down on people using multiple accounts. Keep the unrated games free and charge for memberships to be able to play rated games and tournaments, also to post in the forum.
#27 The problem with online chess is cheating. Money will just attract more cheaters and they're already a huge problem. Your idea works in the real world with real people but it is terrible on the Internet.