www.whyville.net Apr 11, 2002 Weekly Issue

History of the Why-Pass

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History of the Why-Pass

City Hall
City Worker

Time and again, we at City Hall have received emails requesting that we stop having Why-Passes. For those of you who are thinking of emailing us, PLEASE read the following. It explains why Why-Passes exist, why the Waiting Room exists, and why they both need to remain in order for Whyville to continue. Thank you for reading.

We can't get rid of Why-Passes because if we do, we'll have to shut Whyville down.

Not every Whyvillian has been with our town for 2 years now, so not everyone knows our history. Let me do a recap for you:

We started Whyville about 3 years ago. For 2 years, we kept Whyville free and open to everyone at any time. We thought that we had such a cool site, we'd be able to find sponsors very soon. But we tried and tried, and sponsors didn't want to give us money. Why? Because sponsors are used to giving money to magazines, TV shows, and websites that are seen by MILLIONS of people. Even though thousands of people came to Whyville, that was just small beans for them. They didn't think it was worth giving us any money.

But Whyville takes money to run every month. We have to pay for our computers, our Internet connection, our rent, our insurance, our phone bills, and of course our workers. Every month, even though there are so few of us that we all work extra hours every day to keep Whyville up, it costs more than $20,000 to pay for everything.

So, for two years, the founder of Whyville paid for everything out of his own pocket. It cost him A LOT of his own money. Finally his money ran out. We didn't have any more money. What could we do? We started Club Why to see if citizens would help by paying real dollars to join Club Why. Back in those days (March 2001), it cost $25 real dollars to join Club Why.

It didn't work.

About 30 citizens gave us real money. If you multiply that out, you'll see that it's not enough to keep Whyville going for a week. We dropped the price to $12. Still, not enough. We were very discouraged. We thought that we would have to shut Whyville down.

But we kept going because we loved this city. We used what little money we had to pay for the Internet connection and rent, but we stopped paying ourselves. In 2001, some of our city workers didn't get paid for more than 7 months just so we wouldn't have to shut the site down! Can you imagine that? Can you imagine your parents not being paid for 7 months? I don't know if you know, but we are all grown-ups with families to support, and our salary is important to us, but so was Whyville, so we made this sacrifice.

Finally, there was no way we could go on any longer. We were out of savings. We had to either come up with a solution, or we would have to go and find other jobs so we could support our families.

So, we decided to try Why-Passes.

Why-Passes have helped us. They don't pay for everything we need. They only pay us about 10% of what we need every month. But investors now are interested in us because they see that we can actually earn money. Investors have given us some money to us because they think eventually we'll be able to earn enough money to keep ourselves alive. This is the ONLY reason why Whyville is still available.

Many people -- investors and smart business types -- tell us that we should make it that ONLY the people who pay for passes are allowed to come on. Us city workers, however, really want to keep it possible for people who can't buy passes to still get on at least some of the time. This is why we have the Waiting Room.

If we got rid of the Waiting Room, not only our computers would crash and Whyville would be damaged, but no one would buy Why-Passes. If we got no Why-Passes, our investors would get angry and want their money back.

And where would we be then? We'd have to shut Whyville down and go get other jobs that we like less but will at least pay the bills.

This is the history of Why-Passes. I hope this helps you understand our situation. We're not trying to be greedy or mean. We are just trying to survive.

City Hall



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