Welcome to my guide! As you can probably tell from the date of this post, I posted this a long time ago, but over the months it has become the de-facto standard for sponsorship posts in this section (and I thank everyone for their continued support) c:
As of August 2014, I have released Version 2.0 of this guide. It features completely re-written sections, changes corresponding to the new EULA, and (most importantly) a new FAQ!
And again, as always, if you have any questions at all about anything in this guide (or just feel like chatting with me), feel free to shoot me a PM! I try to respond to every PM I get, and I usually answer all questions pertaining to sponsorships.
Also, if you like the stuff I have here, why not take a little time and write a little thank-you note below? It'd be much appreciated.
These are templates that I’ve created to facilitate the process of getting a sponsorship. They include everything you need to address, and if you address everything well enough, you’re pretty much good to go
The entire point of these is to go forth and use these templates for your own posts. Nobody’s making you pay for using these. If you've been redirected to this post from a message someone put on your thread, feel free to put the filled-in template in your own thread. It'll help.
Oh yes, and having said that, please do NOT post your applications in this thread! This is NOT a application collection thread, and nobody will look at your application if posted here.
If the proposed server DOES NOT exist (yet):
What fits into this category:
- Nonexistent servers of all types
- Personal servers that you’d like to transfer to a host.
Your age: Name of proposed server: How much RAM you want: (note: best to keep it small first. And by small, I mean 256 MB.) How many player slots?: Preferred server location?: (ex: Europe, North America, etc) Describe your server idea: (note: a minimum of 6-7 sentences is a good benchmark.) Why you want this server: (note: please do not say "I deserve a christmas present.") On a scale of 1-10, how badly do you want the server?: Proposed Plugins: How do you plan to generate money?: (Detail what ranks and perks you will have, if applicable. Remember the EULA!) Do you already have a community? If so, how many active players? If not, how will you be getting players?: What makes your server special? Why should I join your server instead of that other server?: Is there a reason why you can't pay for this server?: What is your preferred method of contact? Skype? PM?: What you will do for the company in return: (Note: If you are begging a company for a server, please don't put "and you can be op on the server", as most server hosting companies do not have time to play on all those servers.)
If the proposed server EXISTS:
What fits into this category:
- Large servers that already have a very strong community
Name of your server: Your age: How much RAM do you want? Do you want a dedicated machine?: How many player slots?: Preferred server location?: (ex: Europe, North America, etc) How long has this server been up?: Does your server have a website/topic? Please put links here: (note: if you have both, then put both.) How many dedicated players does your server have? Do you have proof?: (note: no need to post proof here; just be prepared to give it when hosts ask for it.) What makes your server special? Why should I join your server instead of that other server?: Is there a reason why you can't pay for this server?: Does your server get income? If so, why not buy a server with the money?: Why did you leave your previous host?: What will you do in return for the company that is hosting you?:
If you are looking for a YOUTUBE sponsorship:
What fits into this category:
- YouTube channels with over a thousand subscribers (maybe more)
Your age: Age: Channel Name and/or link: Partners' channels, if applicable: Preferred server location?: (probably in your region c: ) What do you plan on using this server for? (subscriber server, recording server, etc.?): What aspects does your channel specialize in? (let's plays, survival games, etc.?): What you can do in return for the host:
The key to anything in life is professionalism. It doesn’t matter whether you are looking to get into the circus or looking for a free server on the forums. Professionalism is the key. If you aren't professional enough, nobody will take you seriously.
However, this begs a question - What is professionalism?
That's a really good question, a question that I've been trying to figure out the answer to for the past five-to-ten years. There are three main ideals that you should follow when being professional, and they are:
Ideal #1) Grammar is the key
Now, you might be thinking: are we going to have to re-learn the difference between passive and active constructions? The answer, my friends, is NO. I do realize that English may not be everyone's first language, and that's perfectly fine. English isn't my first language either. However, you will need to mind at least your spellings, your punctuation, and your capitalization. This might seem like common logic to some folks, but - believe it or not - there are still people out there who ask for free servers with requests with no punctuation or capitals. Here's an example of one:
[quote]Plz can i have free server i m not willing pay i need 40 slots 3gb free and remember free if u want to mek me an offer plz skype me [SkypeName] thnx
Every time I see one of these sort of posts, I just want to throw up. I'm sure that everyone on these forums has at least a first grade education. If so, people should at least pay attention to their grammar.
Here is the same post as above, but re-written in semi-correct grammar:
[quote]May I please have a free server? I am not willing to pay. I need forty slots and about three gigabytes. Remember: FREE. If you want to make me an offer, please add me on Skype. My name is [SkypeName]. Thank you.
Better, right? That doesn't make me want to throw up as much. However, this is not going to do. As someone from a hosting company, I want more information, which leads to the second rule:
Ideal #2) Remember who and what you're dealing with.
A sponsorship request is a business request. It's pretty serious. Think of it like this: you would not give your teacher/professor a paper written in texting language, would you? You'd get marked down quite drastically. The same is true on the Forums. People want to see the serious side of you.
Also, since this IS a business deal, you need to provide as much information as you possibly can in your post so that hosts know what you want, and what - exactly - you will be doing for it. I would suggest you take the time to write your own, handcrafted, post, but if you don't have the time or the level of focus to do that, you may use a template, like the one I put up above (link for the lazy). Templates like these tell the hoster exactly what you want, down to how you want to be contacted. Like I said before, mind your grammar when filling out this template.
If you DO decide to handwrite a post, make sure it covers the important details of a sponsorship request. See the template for more information. However, remember to keep your message short, sweet, and to the point.
However, I've seen posts out there that are crafted really great-like but don't know what they're asking for. They might say "You can have whatever you want in return for the server" (which is a bad idea, by the way), or maybe "I don't know what this server is going to be yet, but I'll figure it out soon enough". Nobody will take you seriously like that. Which brings me to my third point, (click the “Show” button)
Ideal #3) Know EXACTLY what you want and what you are going after.
This rule may seem very arbitrary, but it is actually one of the most important. I cannot tell you how many requests I have seen in my time here that have said, "Whatever the host wants". That's not acceptable. You need to know precisely what you want in your server and how you can go about implementing it. It's going to need to be at least semi-plausable if you want people to trust you.
Some examples of "semi-plausable":
[quote=""]"My server will have 10 or so resource-intensive plugins" (asking for a 2GB server)
"As we have a very active community, we will be happy to give you 25% of all donations we receive" (coming from a request for an already-established server) Some examples of not-so-plausable:
[quote=""]"I don't have money to buy a server" (If you don't have money, you shouldn't be asking for a server. You should be worrying about if you're going to eat for the next meal)
"We will give you mod status on the server" (If everyone accepted these requests,the hosts of the forums would be overloaded with things to do.)
"I deserve a ______ present." (There are orphans in Africa who can't even get clean water to drink. #FirstWorldProblems, anyone?) Also, you need to know your limitations. If you have a tiny community, don't go out asking for a 64 GB dedicated server. If you claim to have a very large community, 1) go solicit donations from them to buy a server, and 2) don't go for things like a 1-2 GB server. Go for a dedicated 8GB+ server instead. If you only want to play with friends or a small community, don't ask for a 2GB server. Ask for a 256MB-512MB server.
So, you're going to have to know what you want, know your limitations, and also know what is realistic. For example, if your server involves the use of a commissioned custom plugin, some hosters may ask you why you would have enough money to commission a custom plugin, and yet not have money to buy a $5 a month package. Also, (this is really important), I'm sure you know that servers cost money to run and support. A 4GB server costs a good $25 a month just for the hardware, not to mention the time and effort that the hosting companies have to put in to ensure that their support is top-notch. Do NOT ask for a 4GB+ server just because, "Oh, it's only 4GB." You're going to have to have a really good reason if you want companies to give you that kind of money.
Oh, yeah, and while we're on the subject of being realistic, I'd thought I'd put this out there: NOBODY will sponsor you for YouTube videos unless if you have over 1,000 subscribers or so. So, to all you fledgeling YouTubers out there, I'm sorry, but you're going to need to find something else that works. May I suggest Hamachi?
Once you have gotten exactly what you want thought out, it's time to WRITE. Detail your server in the most detail possible. Instead of saying,
[quote=""]My server will be a magic-based server with 5 different routes to success Write about WHAT your magic-based server will be like. Will it be set in Victorian London or in future New York City? What are the five routes to success, and what will each one be like? If you can go into fine details on what you want your server to be, with an original idea, you will very likely get a sponsorship.
If you follow all of these ideals when writing a request for a sponsorship for an awesome idea for a server you have, you will most likely receive a sponsorship. It's been proven many times.
If you need a real-life example to follow, check out TheKiwiHead's post here: http://www.minecraft...lock-community/ . It is a prime example of what you should be doing. Your thread doesn’t need to look that fancy, but the content has to be of that quality.
This list is by no means the complete list of everything hosts want. There are many, many, MANY more possibilities than these few. These are only a few examples that have been proven to work in the past. It's up to the host. If you think you're eligible for a sponsorship, by all means, go ahead and ask on the forums! Nothing's gonna stop you.
What Hosts Want:
These points are ordered from what hosts absolutely love and will be jumping over themselves to sponsor to something that might not get sponsored if you're unlucky. The ones that hosts love are towards the top of the list.
An already-existing server with a very strong community or a lot of traffic.
If you have a pre-existing server, you're already three (or more) steps ahead of the rest of the game. Building a community from scratch takes a LOT of time and effort, and if you have a bunch of people (50+ daily is the minimum) who are willing to play on your server, go ask. hosts love that. A strong community is what makes a server special, and hosts want that special server to be under them. Lots of traffic on the server also is a really effective way to advertise things, like the name of the server company. The more a name is put out, the more people are aware of it, and the more people will think of them when they're going to go buy their server. If you're hungry in a foreign land, will you head for the McDonalds or the Hariyama's Noodles?
An already-existing server with lots and lots of donations.
This is one of the biggest changes with the new EULA. Since you are only allowed to buy cosmetics, you will need to have a better and more donation plan than before. I won’t go into too much detal about which cosmetics perform better than others (although I encourage you to try it for yourself), but the end result needs to be a lot of money flowing in. Mounds of donations means quite a huge profit, and a huge profit with maybe 30% or so going to the host means a lot of moneh for everyone. However, be very careful! Many people will ask you why you can't buy a server with the donations you get. You're going to need to come up with a good reason.
A non-existent server with an original (and plausible) idea and/or perks that no other server has.
Hosts love this one, and I know from personal experience. You never know what ideas someone’s coming up with. But, not to burst anyone's bubble or anything, that original idea has to be very plausible and somewhat easy to implement using pre-existing plugins. Hosts do not want to see, "and I have a custom plugin being made for me", as that shows that you have enough money to commission a plugin for yourself. If you have that sort of money, why not buy a server for yourself? They're cheap, $15 per month at the most, and what's more, you don't even have to give anything back to the server host other than maybe your money! And then, if you get your server up and running, and it turns out to be very popular, you could possibly qualify for one of the top two criteria! o_O
If you still want some sort of partnership with a server hosting company for whatever odd reason, your best bet is to ask for a discount, not a total sponsorship. Discounts are very plausible and are more likely to get accepted.
It could also be beneficial if you include a small test gameplay video, even if your server or gamemode is in pre-alpha and generally extremely buggy. It’s a great way of letting hosts know that you do actually have work being put in on a final product (no matter which stage it is in), and it also lets them have a first-look at the concept of whatever you’re making. A win-win situation if I do say so myself.
A deal in which the applicant has some sort of useful skill to give back to the host.
Please note, many hosts do not want advertisers! I was one of the lone exceptions, as I happen to have a pretty extensive literary background, which is something that not many people have. You are most likely to get a sponsored server if you can design things, like Wordpress websites and pretty graphics. Hosts are always looking for ways to make their website look better than the one from that of the company over there.
If you have something good to offer a host, be it a new website or a bit of help managing all the servers they have, many hosts will probably welcome you. But remember: web design and coding experience are the only two things that I have seen that are surefire ways to get a free server. All the others (advertising, working for the company) aren't exactly surefire. You just need to be very professional and very lucky.
What Hosts Do Not Want: These, like the points of the section above, are listed from the ones that nobody will accept to the ones that are just a bit implausible and might actually get accepted if you are lucky. The ones that nobody will accept are near the top, and the slightly implausible ones are towards the bottom.
Absolutely nothing in return (or something worthless for what you're asking)
Yes, there are people like that. Apparently, some people think that they deserve a server for whatever reason or another. Hosts don’t like that attitude. "Oh, hey, look, I just turned 10-years old. I deserve a free 4GB server for two years, and I won't give you anything in return". Guess what? There are innocent babies starving in Africa. There are millions dying because they cannot get clean water. What makes you think that you deserve a free server? If anything, I'd rather donate $20 a month to the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders than give it some random stranger halfway across the world who will give absolutely nothing in return. At least donating to a charitable organization makes me feel good inside.
I'm sorry. I think I got a little too carried away there. The point is: don't think that you deserve a server for whatever reason. Offer something nice in return that is NOT one of the things on the top list.
A co-owner position on your server (or something like that)
Nobody will even take a second glance at the rest of your server unless you tack on something else. This is possibly the most useless benefit of them all. If all hosts accepted all of the applications that we get only listing this point, 1) we wouldn't have any more servers left to sell, and 2) we'd be overloaded with all the responsibilities of being a co-owner. Plus, many people working at hosting companies have our own little server communities to run. You would be better leaving this off of your application. It'll possibly increase your chances.
A server whose idea has been used at least a hundred times already and has no perks to make it different.
Not very many hosts are going to be very keen on things that have already been done. There’s a very small chance that your Mindcrack server will be sponsored because there are already so many out there. Nobody's going to sponsor your Survival Games server because there are already hundreds out there. Things like that. If you really want to start a server, hop onto the "PC Servers" section and spend a bit of time looking through the servers there. Pretty soon, you're going to come up with a fabulous idea that nobody else has come up with, and then maybe your idea will be special enough to make hosts actually pay attention.
*If you really, really, really want that tiny little Mindcrack server, solicit some money each month from your friends. It can't be all that hard. Trust me.
This would be farther up the list if there weren't any sponsorships that have been accepted. So far, I only know of three Youtubers that have ever been willingly sponsored. All of them have more than 1,000 subscribers. Considering that most of the people asking for sponsorships have channels with max 100 subscribers, that's nowhere near enough publicity for server hosting companies. Besides, I don’t know of anyone who has ever bought a server just from watching a few Youtube videos. If you want a server for Youtube, and you don’t have at least 1,000 subscribers, you’re going to need to think up of something creative or possibly buy one yourself.
100% of donations from a nonexistent server
Donations are fine, as long as you don't offer 100% of them. That shows that you do not have a future plan for your server, and that's never a good thing. If you'd like to use donations, you're going to need a game plan for when your server becomes vaguely successful. You're going to need to come up with a sweet spot where you get a portion of the donations as well. However, if you plan to go this route, you need to have a list of donators' perks or ranks or whatever on your application. If you have something on your list that nobody’s ever seen or heard of before (for example, a “pig launcher”), be sure to include screenshots or describe it thoroughly.
* Even though it's been proven that less than 10% of all servers posted on the Forums actually do. But it's always nice to have one.
A banner/mention/advertisement on a nonexistent server's website
I honestly know of only two servers (Survival Games and WallsPVP) where players actually need to go on a website in order to participate, and the advertisements on the side are usually so annoying that I end up using AdBlock, something that I despise.* Not very many people actually go to many server websites, and therefore, those advertisements won't do any good. Advertisements on the server itself (MoTD, broadcasts, etc.) are not much better if your server doesn't get much traffic.
* Let them have their revenue, eh?
Advertisements on the Forums
If I were to say that this didn’t work at all and nobody would look at these sort of applications, I’d be a hypocrite. Advertising in return for a server is actually how I got started on this entire sponsorship thing. However, you’re going to need to have a very professional background in order to at least attempt to accomplish this. If you often post things in txtng language, or you use Capital Letters For Every Single Word You Type Like It’s A Title, or you dont use any punctuation, you’re probably not going to be very successful along this route. However, if you have a background of being friendly and at least using semi-correct grammar most of the time, then you’re possibly good enough for this path. Be careful, though: many hosts (myself included) won’t take the time to look at your profile unless you tell them to. If you have a very professional background, by all means, tell us in your app!*
* However, if you aren’t being very professional in your application, this is kinda not necessary.
There are many reasons. I'll quickly go over the most common: You were being too unrealistic / seeming like you were lying.
This happens quite a lot, more than you would expect. If you are claiming that you once sold servers and made thirty-grand off of that business, then why are you asking for a server? If you have thirty-grand, you should have $6 to get a little server for at least a month. If you have a really elaborate custom plugin being made for your factions server, then why can you not afford a server? You might want to leave out some things that you may think might help you get a sponsorship (I mean, hey, look, I already have this plugin being made for me; I'm so prepared and I've put in so much effort), because, in reality, they will hinder you.
There's also another aspect to being unrealistic, it's not doing enough research. If you need a server to run maybe 5 plugins and host 4 people, 1GB is enough. Don't ask for 4GBs because "oh, it's only 4GB." A 4GB server is $25 a month at the very cheapest; nobody's going to give that to you unless if you have a really good reason for them to.
You were being unprofessional.
One of the best (and worst) things about the internet is that age doesn't really matter. I have accepted requests from 12-year-olds and rejected requests from (so-called) 40-year-olds. If you want to get anywhere in the forums, you're going to need to act in a really professional manner. I've written an entire chapter on that alone, you can scroll up to read that. I'm not going to go into too much detail here.
Grammar and usage also falls into this category. if You Randomly capitalize Words, or you make to many splelling/usage errors, people won’t exactly be very willing to sponsor you. Try to brush up on your English grammar if this sounds like you.
You were giving nothing / very little in return.
Guess what? Servers don't grow on trees. If they did, then the economy would collapse. You need to feel what it's like to be the person on the other end of the deal, the representative of the host (AKA me or other people like me). You wouldn't give out $10 every single month to a random person on the street just so they can waste it on beer or something. However, if that random person on the street happened to be working for a non-profit that was trying to raise awareness for mental disabilities, you'd probably give some change every time you walked by.
It's the same thing with servers. Like I said about two minutes ago, you're not going to get that kind of money unless if you can convince server hosts that you have a darn good reason to. I'll get more into detail on reasons in possibly a later chapter, I don't know. I'm not making any promises.
Your idea was not original enough.
There are already hundreds, if not thousands, of little Mindcrack servers. There are too many Hunger Games servers to count. Do a simple search on the forums, and if more than five or ten servers with your idea pop up, then it’s time to either get a new one or modify your idea until it’s different.
There might just be a few parts of your idea that the hosts don’t agree with. For example, not very many hosts are willing to sponsor a cracked server, as cracked servers are very likely to be hacked into. You might want to consider editing these sort of things out of your application. Trust me, it will help.
You didn’t include enough information, or you didn’t give more information when asked to.
This one isn’t a very big problem, but it’s a problem nonetheless. Many times when hosts ask you for more information on donations, they want to see if your plan for donations is plausible. This is especially true with the recent EULA changes - hosts want to know what cosmetics you are offering and whether they will be of any effectivity in your server. When hosts ask you why you can’t pay for a server, they want to genuinely know your reasons. Why won’t your parents pay for you? Why can’t you ask your friends? You might think these sort of questions are annoying, but they help hosts understand you and your ideas, and in the end, a possible sponsorship.
If you don’t want to answer these questions publicly on the forums, you can also PM the answers to the host. As long as they get it, you’re fine.
Entei’s Guide to Servers and Sponsorships - TL;DR Version:
- Use that template I provided and fill everything out.
- Put it in the Hosting Requests section when you’re done.
- Don’t ask for unreasonable stuff
- If you get rejected, try to improve your idea/money plan.
Of course, as with anything I write there’s a lot more to it. Even if you’re short on time, I still suggest at least a quick skim through this guide.
What is a sponsorship? Is a sponsorship really “free”?
A sponsorship is basically an agreement with a server host that allows you to have a server for no up-front monthly costs in return for services performed for the host. In reality, it’s not free, since although you aren’t paying up-front you still need to give something of yours back to the host. Donations are usually the most common, but other services work too.
Help! Where do I post my application?
Right here, in the Hosting Requests subsection. Create a new topic, title it accordingly, put your app in the main post, and wait. If nobody responds, then wait some more c:
Can you host my server? You’re a nice moderator, aren’t you? c:
Unfortunately, no. As of January 2012, I’ve stopped hosting servers. Although I’d love to give everyone who asks me a server, I don’t have the time nor resources to manage everything properly. There are plenty of other people who may be willing to host your server though! c:
Okay, if you’re not going to host my server, then who will?
A number of hosting companies, especially in the hosting section, will gladly take up your offer if it’s reasonable and profitable. It does, however, need to be mutually beneficial as you do need to realize that they are companies that need to turn profits. If you want more info on this, read “What Hosts Want” in this guide.
My parents don’t want me to have a server for [insert reason here], but I want one! Should I ask for a sponsorship?
No matter what you may think about your parents, always heed their advice. If they’re worried about getting scammed or that you won’t have time or any other reason, they have right to be worried. They’re much older than you are and they (should) know more about how the world operates than you do. Besides, there’s always gonna be the nagging feeling of “what if my parents find out?” in the back of your head, and that’s not a good feeling to have c:
What do you mean by “be realistic”
Basically don’t ask for 256mb if you’re planning to run a 50 slot server. You may think that’s a joke, but believe me, it happens a lot more than you would think.
So how much RAM should I ask for?
However much you feel is reasonable. If you need to, overestimate. Knowing your way around basic server specs will go a long way and will help convince the host that you know what you’re doing.
A host asked for more information than I provided in my application. What should I do?
Add more information, of course! It’s your server idea, you should have everything thought out before you apply. Don’t worry if you forgot to include some aspects of your server in your app - it happens to the best of us. If a host asks you for more information, then write it into your main post or quote the host directly telling them. Sometimes, though, it may be more beneficial to include a few screenshots (particularly for cosmetics) or gameplay videos (for new gamemodes), in which case, do it! Anything goes when you’re trying to make yourself more clear.
Who are you, anyway? What qualifications do you have to write this guide?
Name’s Entei Suzuki-Minami, nice to meet you. I used to be part of a hosting company myself, and I was the one who handled all the server sponsorships. This guide is a collection of the stuff I learned and observed from that post.
Version 2.0 is a joint venture between me and kokiboki. He’s a servers-section veteran and has owned a few fairly popular servers in his time here.
Will you play on my server?
I can’t, unfortunately. My workload has become insanely busy, and I can rarely find time for playing many videogames anymore. Besides, even though I’ve been playing for four years now I’m still not very good at the game c:
kokibokifor helping me to write version 2.0 of this thread. Much love! Xirianfor helping to write version 1.0 of this thread.
timoffexfor pressuring me to improve the "what hosts want" section.
And all the hosts of this section for making this thread official. I love you all! ^__^
Also, you should try out for Sectional Moderator for this section. You know what you are doing, and you enforce the rules properly. You have great grammar, and you know how to help others. Give it a try...
I've added a new section to the guide for all your sponsorship needs. It's called "Why did my application get rejected?", and, as the title states, describes a few various possible reasons for rejections.