Lots of great comments and I hope we can continue this conversation (as much as I love Twitter being restricted to a handful of words in order to include others in thread is frustrating, but that’s a rant for another day). The financial conversation is an important one and I think an important aspect of it that you point out is how different cultures, generations, and geographical regions all handle this differently (in essence it’s not simply an issue of whether someone has the funds, but also whether they have the ability to pay for things online at all). One thing Kin Lane clued me in on early on that I had looked at but not been able to work into Reclaim Hosting at the time was Cashtie (https://cashtie.com/). I don’t know how well this works globally, but the essential idea is that you go to buy something online, you’re given a printout that you then take to a local department store, and can pay with cash. The transaction is then handled completely online automatically as if you had paid with a card. It’s used primarily in situations where folks need to pay utility bills without the means to pay online with a credit card but I see the obvious benefit here as well. That might be a start.
I’ll confess I’m completely torn on the conversation of subsidies. DoOO already is subsidizing accounts for students while they’re in school and it’s not a permanent solution. Hiding and offsetting the costs only cheapens the value of what getting a domain and space on the web is. I say that recognizing the privilege of my position and knowing that affordability is absolutely and always at the forefront of our mind. People have begged us to charge more for our services and I always point out to them that they should first put themselves in the shoes of a college student perhaps struggling to buy textbooks or figure out which meal plan they can afford. I can honestly say we have built Reclaim Hosting currently to be as cheap as we could while still being sustainable (cheap hosts that go out of business don’t benefit anyone) so as we discuss ways to make it more affordable or subsidize the cost for others I would hope we could keep those points in mind. To say it’s a difficult nut to crack is putting it lightly, but it’s an important one and thank you again for raising questions like this.