Do box creators get paid for their work?

Idk why but I was just thinking about this earlier today. Do box creators get paid for having their boxes accepted or is HtB running the best business model possible, doing zero work and collecting 100% of the money?

LMAY75
Always happy to help, DM me if you need anything!
Link to Profile

Comments

  • @LMAY75 said:

    Idk why but I was just thinking about this earlier today. Do box creators get paid for having their boxes accepted or is HtB running the best business model possible, doing zero work and collecting 100% of the money?

    As far as I know - and I could be wrong here - box creators do not get paid.

    I am not totally sure I would describe maintaining the servers, providing the platform etc counts as zero work.

    Also, as you can work on any of the live boxes or challenges for free, 100% of the money is still nothing.

    Part of the money provided by VIP members is going to have to cover the costs of the overwhelming majority of users who access this on free servers.

    Note: I am not going to be available much in September.

    TazWake

    Note: https://www.nohello.com/

    Happy to help people but PLEASE explain your problem in as much detail as possible! If you say vague things like "It's not working", I cant help. This isn't Twitter so my DMs are always open.

  • I could be wrong - I've never created box - but I cant see a sane mechanism for box creators getting paid.

    I suspect most do it because it is fun, help them learn stuff and it is always good to give back to others. (No one pays me for helping out here :smile: )

    @sparkla said:

    I also had this question before, do box creators get payed? But at the same time I had the question how they finance the whole thing at all. There seem to be company sponsorships involved as well + there's the labs that cost more. Still that little money can hardly buy you running all these servers, I assumed HTB tried to find a balance between a community project and something commercial that should be affordable by poorer people like me.

    I think (and I have no special insight into HTB business) that they are a very tightly knit company so costs are minimised. Also there are companies that sponsor (Fortresses for example, but others just sponsor) and I believe they create private labs for specific companies.

    I do as well see an issue with box creators not getting payed, but at the same time I can't see a solution, except everyone paying 99€/month or HTB selling out all user data and flag access requiring to watch this short 2min clip by our sponsor: Squarespace!

    Agreed. I see no solution. If they tried to monetise users aggressively I think LOTS would leave.

    Note: I am not going to be available much in September.

    TazWake

    Note: https://www.nohello.com/

    Happy to help people but PLEASE explain your problem in as much detail as possible! If you say vague things like "It's not working", I cant help. This isn't Twitter so my DMs are always open.

  • Type your comment> @TazWake said:

    I could be wrong - I've never created box - but I cant see a sane mechanism for box creators getting paid.

    I suspect most do it because it is fun, help them learn stuff and it is always good to give back to others. (No one pays me for helping out here :smile: )

    @sparkla said:

    I also had this question before, do box creators get payed? But at the same time I had the question how they finance the whole thing at all. There seem to be company sponsorships involved as well + there's the labs that cost more. Still that little money can hardly buy you running all these servers, I assumed HTB tried to find a balance between a community project and something commercial that should be affordable by poorer people like me.

    I think (and I have no special insight into HTB business) that they are a very tightly knit company so costs are minimised. Also there are companies that sponsor (Fortresses for example, but others just sponsor) and I believe they create private labs for specific companies.

    I do as well see an issue with box creators not getting payed, but at the same time I can't see a solution, except everyone paying 99€/month or HTB selling out all user data and flag access requiring to watch this short 2min clip by our sponsor: Squarespace!

    Agreed. I see no solution. If they tried to monetise users aggressively I think LOTS would leave.

    These are fair points, I was just kinda wondering how they did it. All I have to say about the maintaining the servers thing is that every company has to maintain their servers so thats not really any effort.

    I'm not trying to bash HtB, I love the service and think this whole thing is really great, it was more of a question out of curiosity.

    LMAY75
    Always happy to help, DM me if you need anything!
    Link to Profile

  • I know @sparkla has complained about some of the box quality recently and certainly paying creators $500 a box or something would boost quality across the board.

    If that meant requiring everyone to get a VIP membership then maybe that's the only way, which of course isn't the preferred path but idk just an idea. It seems as though HtB has moved away from the complete beginner with the steps for easy boxes being well over the heads of complete noobs so maybe this wouldn't bother everyone since we all spend a lot of time on this hobby anyways. Then again, it does seem like they have a good tiered system as of now, with plenty being offered as incentive to upgrade.

    It would be kinda cool to have this discussion with someone higher up and see if they had even considered something like this before.

    LMAY75
    Always happy to help, DM me if you need anything!
    Link to Profile

  • Type your comment> @sparkla said:

    @LMAY75 said:

    every company has to maintain their servers so thats not really any effort

    As a freelance administrator I feel kinda misunderstood. It's quite a lot of effort to maintain servers.

    And not as cheap as most people think. Big hosting companies advertise with "Get 1 year AWS for free" or "99 cent hosting" but the real cost is at least 20€ / month per server not including the service technician, and all cloud companies charge a lot more than that.

    But lots of people seem to misunderstand me these days, some on purpose. Didn't mean you, @LMAY75

    After sitting in a dark room working 16h / days 7 days / week for almost a year and even paying for this madness all I can say is:
    Nobody in the world should work for free and without social- and health insurance. Box creators, Pentesters, Ippsecs, Forum Moderators, ... actual state-of-the-art is to pay Apprentices like us, too. Well, not in IT but in the normal world, where we apparently don't live in. Except when we have to buy food, pay rent, take care of our kids, ....

    I didn't mean it like that lol I understand its quite a bit of work, more coming from the companies angle of well they would have to do that regardless, so it becomes kinda a base entry cost.

    Absolutely agree that when people put out work for a company they deserve to get paid. Of course the rebuttal here is that they do it for fun as a hobby, the only thing I can say is the guys who make skins for CS:GO are clearing high 6 figures every year.

    The reason that I am bringing this up is that what does the VIP really do for you? Well it gives you access to retired machines. But those retired machines weren't made by HtB they were made by the creators who kindly gave them to HtB. Therefore, really HtB is just collecting money from the work of other people.

    Once again, not bashing Htb. This is a really smart business model and good for them that they have built this community and everything, I really appreciate it and I know a lot of others do as well. Just kinda curious as to how everything worked, seeing as though I've never made a box before.

    LMAY75
    Always happy to help, DM me if you need anything!
    Link to Profile

  • Type your comment> @sparkla said:

    Except I wouldn't be able to pay more and atm I wouldn't be willing either. Don't forget there's competitors, too.

    Yes, which is the foil to all my previous ideas and a very important thing to keep in mind. The objective of a company is to make money and I would want nothing less for HtB. They have created a great service here.

    I was not suggesting that they raise the price, $15 is a solid number for a subscription service just like Netflix or anything else, but requiring VIP would do several things for the company:

    1. No loss in revenue, all paying customers would stay anyways

    2. Less infrastructure costs with a reduced load

    3. A growth in revenue, as many people would shift over into VIP

    Even doing a two tiered system, where VIP as it is stays, but there is a lower tier replacing the free and giving you access to the live machines for like $9.99 a month.

    LMAY75
    Always happy to help, DM me if you need anything!
    Link to Profile

  • @LMAY75 said:

    These are fair points, I was just kinda wondering how they did it. All I have to say about the maintaining the servers thing is that every company has to maintain their servers so thats not really any effort.

    I'm not trying to bash HtB, I love the service and think this whole thing is really great, it was more of a question out of curiosity.

    I dont see this as bashing HTB, it's an interesting line of discussion. It is good to be curious about things.

    So to circle back to the first bit - every company maintains their servers is only partly equivalent, but even if it isn't "effort" it is certainly cost as @sparkla mentioned.

    It also slightly confuses the difference between the servers/services you maintain to run the business and the business itself.

    For example, my company maintains its servers for email, file sharing etc. If we decided to open up a service so people across the globe could VPN in, spin up countless virtual machine instances, supporting 400,000 members (with around 2k simultaneously), there would be an additional effort and significant (ongoing) costs. Doing this for free to end users would need it being funded from somewhere else.

    For me (and it is important to clarify I have zero insider knowledge), there must be quite a cost to maintaining and delivering this service. I assume they offset this cost by VIP, private labs and sponsorship.

    While it would be nice to pay box creators, it would create a lot of complexity and pressure about review time, release schedules, responsibility for post-release issues etc.

    I dont have an answer to any of this though.

    Note: I am not going to be available much in September.

    TazWake

    Note: https://www.nohello.com/

    Happy to help people but PLEASE explain your problem in as much detail as possible! If you say vague things like "It's not working", I cant help. This isn't Twitter so my DMs are always open.

  • @sparkla said:

    Besides data selling and their huge advertisment biz most of them are Stock Market companies that get billions from shareholders and investors. We know where this money comes from (us) and how it turns out once tables turn (like Yahoo, AltaVista, or even Netfilx ..) they're suddenly worth nothing.

    Hey man hop in on the options trading business lol. Print money during the day, pentest during the evening

    LMAY75
    Always happy to help, DM me if you need anything!
    Link to Profile

  • Type your comment> @sparkla said:

    Hey man hop in on the options trading business lol. Print money during the day, pentest during the evening

    I considered but don't have any starting capital - most people who do this don't do it with their own money but sell "investment funds" to old people.

    I started with 1k about a year ago. Has worked pretty well. Wouldn't want to put anymore than that in at first too -- its a tricky game.

    LMAY75
    Always happy to help, DM me if you need anything!
    Link to Profile

  • I guess you could always ask a box-creator if they got rewarded for their effort?
    You do get an HTB Badge (Machine Maker) by creating a machine :)

    Always happy to help others. 100% human

    https://www.mindfueldaily.com/livewell/thank-you/

  • I am not sure paying box creators would actually result in better boxes. Think of it, i assume currently, boxes are built by people really passionate and challenging us. If the driver becomes money, we might end up with pretty sloppy boxes from people who just wanted to get their $500.

    Having said that i don't know if they are paid or not....

    lebutter
    eCPPT | OSCP

  • If I would submit a box that eventually gets accepted, I'd expect some credit, minimum 1 year VIP+ or so.

    k4wld
    Discord: k4wld#5627

  • @lebutter said:
    I am not sure paying box creators would actually result in better boxes.

    Boxes need to be accepted first, pass a quality gate (I hope). Pay the box creators, make it transparent, then I'm willing to invest time and think about creating a box with some weird tech stack you only find in corporate enterprise environments (think of the time and research it will take to figure out license terms etc.)

    k4wld
    Discord: k4wld#5627

  • @k4wld said:

    If I would submit a box that eventually gets accepted, I'd expect some credit, minimum 1 year VIP+ or so.

    As far as I understand, the reward is a badge.

    Note: I am not going to be available much in September.

    TazWake

    Note: https://www.nohello.com/

    Happy to help people but PLEASE explain your problem in as much detail as possible! If you say vague things like "It's not working", I cant help. This isn't Twitter so my DMs are always open.

  • Type your comment> @TazWake said:

    @k4wld said:

    If I would submit a box that eventually gets accepted, I'd expect some credit, minimum 1 year VIP+ or so.

    As far as I understand, the reward is a badge.

    Sad.

    k4wld
    Discord: k4wld#5627

  • I was asking about it because I have some ideas for boxes and I found this discussion.

    Even if I understand that paying 500$ per box is a lot I think it's a shame that Hack the Box doesn't offer anything in return, even if it's only a VIP or VIP+ subscription for x months depending on the difficulty of the box (it wouldn't cost anything to htb).

    It's partly thanks to the box creators that the platform lives, it seems normal to me that they have something, especially when you see that Hack The Box is expanding with HTB Academy.

    @Peter Pan#9999 on discord

Sign In to comment.