The initial plan was to pay for our servers with the help of Supporters, and in return let Supporters explore openings in greater depth. We had no idea if this would work so set ourselves the target of being financially stable within 30 days when our Azure free trial would run out.
Unfortunately, while we were able to draw a large crowd to our website with top posts on reddit and Hackernews, getting people to pay money for a new (and honestly not essential) service was another matter. It became pretty clear as the 30-day deadline loomed we would be unable to meet our target.
We have decided to pivot our financial model to a donation, and possibly advertising based approach. We found that whilst the Janusgraph server was an interesting part of the project, it was unsustainable purely on ad revenue. While it was unfortunate to shut it down, we found we could increase the size of the free dataset using CloudFlare’s free CDN to keep costs low for us. We also added the free option to download a much larger version of each dataset.
With our costs much lower, the website should be sustainable in the long term, and we can look into adding new features to attract users. Next we have plans to collect datasets from specific GMs, like Magnus Carlsen, these are much smaller datasets so we should be able to show them in their entirety for free to everyone. We are also updating some of our UI based on feedback from reddit and Hackernews.