As the head of Retro, I have to be the boring Lane Pryce of this operation, and that involves doing all the coding, troubleshooting, support e-mailing, peace-keeping and book-keeping for the site.
Because those things aren't fun, we only bring this up once a year: we are a fully member-supported site. We rely on your donations in order to continue bringing you news, making cool features and being all-around badasses. Running a site this large runs up a lot of charges, from the electricity powering our server and our licenses to the ability to go get things no one else will, For example, we've been working on getting various Mega Drive games that still haven't been dumped from around the world and will be releasing those in a pack later in the year. You guys have felt the annoyance of us running on a shoestring budget: we had to cut our music service because of our outgoing bandwidth metering. We're looking to raise enough money to bring those MP3s back, among many other things. Although everyone on staff volunteers their time for Sonic Retro, we can only do what our resources allow us to do.
We choose a donation model over advertising or other revenue streams not only because those things are annoying, but because this is the point of Retro: we're all in this together. I'm an old codger of the Sonic scene and I remember well the time when it was cool to be a jerk and when people who didn't like what you liked were to be shunned. We're somewhat famous because we actually let people yell at each other and get upset, because they're going to do it anyway and it helps reach a healthier consensus. The dozen annoying guys in the Generations thread and the hackers and the researchers and artists and musicians and guys who write apologetics for Big the Cat (hi, David!) are all under the Retro banner because, at the end of the day, it's Sonic that draws us all together. We can disagree about various things (and outside people can latch on to our shout down of one person about "green eyes" and turn that into some dumb attack), but we're all here striving to make change in a way that no other video game community does. Other places bitch; we correct. We do. We help out. It only makes sense that we'd also pitch in together to keep this thing going.
We're doing some new things this year: while we have things to mail to our top donors, we're also going to be giving all our donors a shoutout at the beginning of every month and are allowing for causes and services to donate for recognition. To get the lowdown on everything, please visit http://www.sonicretro.org/donate. Thanks for your time, and we hope to see you on the donor list. And just so you don't feel like you're going out of this post empty-handed: