Please note that the Isaac Brock Society has moved to Canada: Please see isaacbrocksociety.ca.
The Isaac Brock Society started as an informal group of Canadians who began meeting in person and through email to discuss their US tax and citizenship problems. Some of these people were taking part in a discussion at the Expat Forum in the Fall of 2011. I was in contact with one of them because she had commented on my blog, and when I saw what she was involved in a lively discussion at Expat Forum, I joined in there.
Then, we started to see censorship at the Expat Forum, followed by censorship of attempts to discuss openly the censorship. A whole new genre was born: the Expat Forum moderator joke, but I digress. I was horrified by the Expat Forum’s censorship of our important discussion. So I reached out to some of the people affected by it, and suggested that we begin a new site where we were in control. Then, I was brought into a e-mail conversation of five other Brockers. We decided to start this site at WordPress.com because I offered to administrate it and (1) WordPress.com was what I knew how to do; (2) WordPress blogs are great a product; (3) I didn’t know how to do a forum or run forum software; (4) it was cheap (our current hosting costs have been $25 total).
For awhile now, some people have urged me to leave WordPress.com. Here are some of the issues, which have recently converged into a major headache for me and I’ve had to take some steps to address them this week:
- Renounce contacted me early in the week to inform me that WordPress had taken down his very excellent blog. We did not know the reason, but he began to urge me to move the Isaac Brock Society to private servers outside the United States. We speculated about the reasons, including a conspiracy theory that the US government or Obama operatives had put pressure on WordPress to remove his embarrassing site. If that were so, then it was only a matter of time before Isaac Brock would also go down. It turns out that it was an automated spam remover that took his blog down, and WordPress restored the blog the next day. Nevertheless, it was a wake up call to the potential power that the US government and WordPress have over our site.
- The United States claims jurisdiction over servers which are in the Untied States and over dot.com websites. We learned this when bodog.com was shut down. Please note that bodog.ca is still operational. Hence, the advantage of dot.ca domain. Furthermore, the United States claims jurisdiction over e-mail addresses with a dot.com address (gmail.com, hotmail.com, etc.). This means that we should change not only the location of Isaac Brock: We must move this discussion to Canadian servers and we should issue a dot.ca email address to anyone who contributes posts to the site who is currently using a dot.com e-mail address as their point of reference for this blog. Our concern isn’t to remove every claim of jurisdiction of the United States over us, but to reduce the possible pitfalls along the way. Certainly it is clear from bodog.com that the United States government can shut our current operations down at any time.
- We seem to have reached the limit of our ability to back up this blog using the export feature. This is a converging set of circumstances. Indeed, the last time I was able to do the full export file was the day Renounce told me that his blog was down. There may be a work around; however, this becomes seriously more work for us as the sheer volume of the blog grows. As I write we are at 783 posts and 18,019 comments.
- It would be excellent to integrate our forum with our blog on a single domain. Indeed, the person currently hosting the forum insists that we do this before the year is up.
My plan is to repatriate the Isaac Brock Society and to move this blog to Canada. I have registered the isaacbrocksociety.ca and purchased hosting from webnames.ca, whose servers are physically located in Vancouver, Canada. I have begun to work with wordpress.org — WordPress’s stand alone software that can be used on any server. It is a steep learning curve for me, and it is draining my time. Not only so, but I’ve found that I am not able to import our blog without technical help–the size limit for importing the blog is 2mb and we are currently at 38mb. In addition, it requires changing the php.ini in order to change the size of files that can be uploaded. I don’t have the technical knowledge to do this. I will have to pay someone for the transfer.
For a cost of $1.50 per month, we will get 100 isaacbrocksociety.ca email addresses and every author will receive one. Authors can set it up to receive these emails via pop3 or have them forwarded to any address that they want. But this will reduce the direct jurisdictional claim of the United States over the content that our authors provide.
One advantage, however, over wordpress.com is that we can generate revenue with our dot.ca. WordPress.com expects a 50% cut on revenues, and so it is hardly worth trying to find sponsors. So my suggestion for dealing with the finances of the blog are as follows:
- My company, Petros Research Inc. will maintain the site and receive sponsorships.
- Those of you who have wished to contribute may send a sponsorship cheque to Petros Research Inc. or find some other means of payment. A receipt will be issued.
- I will create a box at near the top of the blog for sponsors: Sponsor of the month: calgary411 (she will be our first sponsor, as she has already sent me money).
- Suggested price will be $150 per month for professional (e.g., lawyer or accountant) or corporate sponsor; or up to six individual sponsors can send $25+ each. As for pricing, some of you out there may think that this is too little to pay for a spot on a 5000 view per day site. Let me know if you think the pricing is fair or not. Also, the sponsorship is a “donation” towards the maintenance of this site, and it would not imply an endorsement of the services provided.
Since we have to pay someone to make the data transfer, I suggest that we shut down this site for a moment during the transfer. During the shut down, no author will provide new content and I will shut down the comments. I will aim to have this done within 24 hours, and since we have to pay someone to do it, it will probably happen on a week day. The whole site will be moved to Canada, and when start up again, we will operate only over at the new site; I will eventually have hits redirected from this site (dot.com) to our dot.ca. Things may be a little messy for a few days as people get used to the somewhat different software. However, we must deal with this problem now.
I open this topic up to discussion.
(Originally published Jun 1, 2012 @ 8:04)