AhlCode and the Future of Code::Stats

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On the 11th of May I set up a sole proprietorship with the name AhlCode. It is meant to legitimise and properly handle any income coming from my side businesses. The main aim at this point is to get some money back to compensate the server costs of things I host. But I wouldn't complain if it resulted in some little profit also.

Code::Stats is a passion project of mine that I run for free for users. Of course it's not free for me, the current hosting costs are around 24 € per month for the server and around 13 € per year for the domain name. My plan is to be able to cover some of that.

How to do that is still open. I promise to keep Code::Stats free for users without any time limits with the current feature set, and all the code will stay open source. Other than that, it's under planning. I've sold stickers before and I might do that again (of course it would require some more accounting this time). There's also ideas of sort of premium accounts that would have a supporter badge and possibly some extra features.

What complicates things is the Finnish Money Collection Act. I've been asked some times if people could donate money to support Code::Stats. Unfortunately in Finland, collecting donations requires a permit. This permit is not given to private persons, and it costs money itself to apply for the permit. This makes all kinds of donations a non-starter. To avoid being considered a donation, something should be received by the payer in return. Just a supporter badge may not be enough. I admit I haven't studied this enough yet to see where the line is drawn, but I'd rather stay on the safe side.

But just to reiterate, I'm not going to turn Code::Stats into a cash cow. I care about the users and I want the service to be one that I would also enjoy using myself. I don't want a future where free users are second class citizens, but at the same time some differentiation needs to be made at least due to the aforementioned law.

Note that a sole proprietorship is not a company and more akin to a trade name. In fact the whole name of the legal entity is Tmi AhlCode, where Tmi comes from the Finnish word for trade name, toiminimi. Since it's not a company, there are no shares, and there are no other people involved. Ownership of the service and everything related to it is still in my hands, just as before. Probably the legal entity name in the privacy policy will change, and that's the only meaningful change to the users. This is just to deal with accounting and taxes in a proper way, which I cannot do as a private person.

I wanted to make this post to be totally transparent to users about the matter. If you have any questions, please contact me via the comments below, or in one of the Code::Stats channels, which you can find in the footer of the site.