Drako's Playground was founded as a personal project of Drako Swiftclaw and DWS.
The focus has been making a decent community with no money out of pocket.
That remains true to this day.
Our users are also part owners of Drako's Playground
as the Content Owners of the content they upload to our community
We utilize free hosting services to provide this community to our users
without anyone ever having to pay for anything.
Keeping the site free for life for everyone.
But, the internet isn't free.
It costs money to run the servers and to co-lo facilities.
Services that offer hosting have to pay to keep their servers online, and generally offer paid hosting to their users. (Which costs money.)
Some services offer FREE hosting, but have to make money somehow just to stay online - and therefore force ads onto users' sites. (Like us.)
Some sites, like FA, brag about having to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars every month just to stay online.
Making them place ads on their sites for guest visitors and those who have FREE accounts to see.
We have personally seen websites just like this one either have to close down completely due to a lack of funding.
We have seen other sites (Fetlife) limit free accounts to a certain number of posts and pictures - while making users upgrade to a paid account to get all posts, unlimited pictures, and videos.
We have seen even more sites have to switch to a pay-to-enter structure, just to remain open.
We don't want to ever impose these fees onto our users, and we don't want to worry about shutting down due to being unable to pay the hosting bill.
Therefore, we decided to utilize free hosting as much as possible to create this community.
So that our users NEVER have to pay to access any part of the site and we will NEVER have to shut down.
So we decided that if our users were NOT paying us for these community sites, we should do our best to NOT have to pay for hosting.
This way, we won't have to worry about having to pay to keep the site open - and that means our users will never have to pay to visit the site.
We have not seen a single website out there that does not monetize in some way.
Some sites require payment to enter, some offer paid subscriptions for more features, and a few rely solely on donations.
Most (almost all) websites also have ads placed on them somewhere or somehow.
Our hosting providers may force ads onto Drako's Playground (usually at the top and bottom - and sadly popup ads too) to help pay the bill for offering us the space for free.
They do offer a Paid Upgrade to remove their ads.
However, we are grandfathered into a Free Hosting option on Angelfire and Tripod that we can not get back if we upgrade.
Therefore, if we are to upgrade, it would be if at least one user was willing to pledge to donate $3 a month.
Since we are also run by a volunteer staff of webmasters, and we all need to eat, we have placed a small "DWS Ad Bar" at the top of each page - under the servers forced header ads.
We are only in charge of the DWS Ad Bar and the content of Drako's Playground - we have no say in the content of the server ads.
We also have placed banner exchange ads on the site to help us advertise our own site without having to pay for that advertising.
With our own ad placements, we do try to be as tasteful as possible.
If you would like us to remove the ads on Drako's Playground, you may pledge to donate $10 per month by contacting The DWS Team.
We do understand some will be a bit weary about our site due to the ads, and the fear that these ads could attempt harmful actions onto computers.
We understand this is a valid fear, and while we cannot control the ads place here by our server, we do attempt to keep harmful content off of our own sites.
If this is one of your fears, we do encourage the use of ad blockers to help minimize any issues.
We would like to thank all our users for their understanding in this matter and for continuing to support us.
We created this project as a FREE and SAFE site that will NEVER close down due to lack of funding, so that our users will never have to worry about losing all their stuff.
The DWS Team has also elaborated why you may be seeing ads on our sites here.