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!! *Very* important Oracle-L message !!

From: <>
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 14:10:31 -0700
Message-ID: <>

Ok, now that I have your attention, please read the following message from Bruce Bergman,
owner of It concerns the future of this list.

Please read the entire message before replying.

Thank you.

Jared Still ( List Owner )

Hello ORACLE-L list members --

I would like to take a few minutes of your time for a "State of the Union" address, if you can call it that. This is a rather serious message, and I request that you take the time to read this message entirely. I've got a problem that needs resolution this week, and I'm hoping you folks can help me come to a conclusion. This message turned out to be fairly long-winded, so please excuse me for that. :-)

Fat City ( is my company, and I am the provider of the list services that you receive ORACLE-L through. I've been hosting Internet mailing lists for over 10 years, and carry quite a few lists, including a big selection of Oracle-related lists (14, in fact). Fat City has always been a labor of love for me. Over the years it has rarely generated any income at all, and it usually does not cover my expenses -- most of the time
it is a monthly loss for me. The vast majority of my 60+ mailing lists have
been hosted for free, at my expense (as is the ORACLE-L list, for example). Yet I have absorbed these costs because I enjoy hosting discussion lists and I know a lot of lists can't afford to pay for quality service.

I am soon to be one of the Rhythms Orphans. Rhythms, my DSL provider, has gone bankrupt and will be out of business by 10-Sep-2001. I need to find another provider of high-speed Internet in order to continue operations. I am at the point of either folding shop completely and going out of business myself, or trying to make Fat City a viable, money-making endeavor. I need to make this decision by this Friday (for financial and planning reasons). After Friday, I am committed one way or the other.

My upstream ISP and I are on very good terms, and in fact, I've been a customer of theirs since 1985! As a result, they have graciously offered to help me out of this situation at considerable expense to themselves. I'm not at liberty to discuss the terms of the contract I would engage in with them, but suffice to say that is one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that I'd be a fool to pass up. I have this offer personally from the President of that company, if I want it. Simply said, my ability to take them up on their offer and switch Fat City over to a dedicated T1 or
better solution revolves around being able to generate quite a bit of additional
income per month, and very soon. In an effort to be open and up-front with you folks about this, I basically need to generate an additional $500 more per
month. Right now that seems daunting, but I've been working hard to line up that
additional income, and I believe I can do it. Just not right away. My estimates are that it will take me four or five months to come up to that level. I need to get out there and sell website hosting and list hosting packages, and get new customers. That takes time, unfortunately. I need a buffer to enable me to get past this startup phase.

After some discussions with Jared (the list owner), and some encouragement from him, I am coming to you to ask for you help in keeping Fat City financially afloat until I can be self sufficient. I'm not asking for a specific dollar amount from anyone, nor am I *expecting* anything from you folks. But if it is within your power to contribute some money towards this
end (and yes, I know these are hard financial times for everyone), I am hoping you can help. If I can get sufficient promise of funds that will see
me through the next few months, I am willing to jump in with both feet and make Fat City a viable business. If it looks like the contributions are not
sufficient to enable me to do that, I will cease operations within the next 45-60 days.

Let me be clear about a few things: If I *do* cease operations, I will give all of my lists time to find new list providers, and will make every effort to aid the shift over to the new provider, provide list dumps, archives, mail forwarding, etc. Even though Rhythms goes out of business on 10-Sep-2001, I have secured service until at least 10-Oct-2001 to enable this to happen. So don't worry about having to rush into your conversion if
things don't work out. I would also like to clearly state that this is not some attempt to blackmail or coerce anyone into coming up with money. This will either succeed or fail based on what you folks can comfortably and willingly contribute. If I had the ability to cover this startup period myself,
I would definitely do so. If Fat City ultimately goes under, it wil NOT be your fault, and I hold no one to blame. That's just how the Internet cards are right now. I do not want anyone to contribute if they don't have the money, or if things are tight at home, or anything like that. I would like contributions to be made from those who are able to make such a contribution willingly.

Also, I don't want anyone to send any money right now. Basically I just want a show of hands of those who could contribute something to this cause. Send me ( or Jared ( an E-mail saying what amount you'd be willing to contribute. If you would rather donate anonymously, perhaps Jared could collect those donations. I will "pass around the hat" until Friday morning, at which point I'll see if there were sufficient pledges to enable me to move forward. If it seems like there is,
then I will come up with a way for you to honor your pledge (probably either
directly to me via check or via PayPal, most likely). The funds can be collected in the next few weeks, but I must make my decision on Friday. I apologize for the late notice on this, but I was not given this offer by my ISP until late last week.

In return for your contributions, I promise the following things:

Please note that the ODTUG organization is already making a considerable contribution by way of a monthly payment for service, so they are already aware of this situation and are actively helping out. There are a good number of people here who are on the ODTUG lists too, so I wanted to point that out ahead of time and let you know that they are being very helpful.

Another way you could contribute would be to come to Fat City for your list hosting or website hosting needs. I had just started offering website hosting services before this mess started, and obviously, a monthly paying customer is far better than a one-time contribution. If you go to and click on the "Website Hosting" link, you can check out the packages I offer. In an effort to get new customers, I am willing to waive all setup fees in order to bring new customers on board. If you become a customer here in the next couple of months, that would help tremendously. If you have an interest in hosting your website (personal or business) with us, -or- a want to start a new mailing list, please contact me for details.

I know this is a lot to ask of you folks. You are entirely welcome to just tell me to jump in a lake, and that that's how business is right now. But I
know many of you personally, either from ODTUG conferences or from other Oracle events, and I also know how staunchly you support this mailing list with useful information, humor, helpfulness and an eye toward quality. I would like to think that you find Fat City to be the best place to host your
list, and that you will want to help me out so that I can continue to provide the list to you folks free of charge. I made a promise to Jared years ago to host this list for free because I think it is one of the best and most valuable resources out there. I intend to honor that promise to him by continuing to provide it for free. If it turns out that I must close
shop and call it quits, at least I will have known I did my best to make it succeed, and I did so without having to reneg on committments I had made in the past.

I am being open and honest with everyone because I believe that this is the best way to succeed. I believe you appreciate this kind of approach, and I want you to know that regardless of what happens, I certainly appreciate every consideration you give this request. Whether or not this succeeds, I know that you are a great group of people and I wish this list the best luck
in this life, or the next. :-)

Remember, time is of the essence. The sooner I hear from people who can help, the sooner I can nail down a line of approach. If you have any questions or concerns, please E-mail me.

Thanks everyone!

Bruce Bergman
President, Fat City Network Services

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Received on Tue Aug 28 2001 - 16:10:31 CDT

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