greediness, overcommericalism, or just mis-guided?
Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I have no problem with WebRing trying to make a profit. I don't even mind if my efforts help them do it...I only mind when they expect the WebRing managers pockets to be the source of the profit!
I already volunteer my time and creativity with no expectation of payment. I find it absurd to think that someone who does not have a commercial site to promote would be willing to pay fees to do this. I've been around long enough to remember a certain manager (not me) who was widely criticized for plastering his own advertisements all over the navigation bars of the large number of rings he adopted. Its likely the current course will lead to a WebRing of managers with only their own commercial interests.
There are wonderful opportunities for WebRing to make money, and I think enhancing the "featured site" concept to provide greater benefit to those who want to use it, is the direction to go. People will pay for services that provide a benefit to them. Its not greed...its commerce. The big internet winners are those that ENABLE commerce. Instead of partnering with their ring managers to drive business growth, the new direction appears to be driving them away.
My hope is that this gets realized before the balance in my WebRing account is depleted. That means I have about a year of giving WebRing back their own money before I fade into WebRing history.