Now that I'm done laughing at how insane it is, let me provide my insight. There are two scenarios where this decision makes sense:
1. You are trying to prevent ped spam "abuse" from people with low quality RP - Fair, but youre just saying "well if you pay us enough we don't care". That is a concerning thought, that as long as they make you enough money they can do what they want (hmmmmmmmmm)
2. You are just greedy - Scary, but also valid. I for one think EA themselves would be proud of you. New update with bugs and unplayable on release, and already releasing paid DLC. Dope.
You should really think about asking the question "where does my money actually go" before giving money to anything really. Have you noticed the server costs page disappeared? Same with the list of donators. Sure, lets blame tebex. But throwing your money in the void and saying "I know this is going to be used for good" is like saying a stripper loves you. They really only care as long as you keep paying them. I for one would love to pay for the DLC where all my friends don't get banned cause an admin had a meltdown (twice now I think, but its being worked on copium). Anyway this will probably get deleted so I'll just stop typing as its not really worth the time anymore. Its the same cyclical process since rivalry. I never thought I would say this but maybe Scoresetter was right.
I don't mind providing a reply to each point:
1. Yes it's to prevent ped spam. Nobody can "do what they want" just because they pay money. Even as a ped model they would be held to the same standards as everyone else in terms of having to follow all of the server rules and guidelines. Being a ped model doesn't somehow exempt someone from the rules.
2. Looking around at a lot of other servers and their stores the price point at $50, +tax for some, seemed fair and close to the average market price of what other servers are offering it for. In response to your "EA release" comparison, yes we had a rocky release and we already explained why. If you were actually playing on the server and giving it a chance after a lot of changes/updates/fixes have been implemented then perhaps you would have a different outlook on things but alas you haven't even set foot in 2.0:
3. Yes you are correct. Tebex. Servers are no longer allowed to take donations directly to pay for server costs or what have you. Pretty much everything has to go through Tebex. Have you looked up the fees and costs related to receiving Support through Tebex? I doubt you have. Let me break it down for ya. Tebex takes 15% off the top right away, you have to also pay Tebex a monthly fee of about $15. Then you have to also pay the gateway processing fees for Paypal or stripe or whatever another payment gateway you accept and these fees are from 3% up to 20% depending on the gateway the person uses. Turnover for most payments is 3 days but can take up to 30 days to process or "settle" as they call it. The other thing about Tebex is that it allows communities to actually make a profit and the proceeds no longer have to cover only server costs but can also be used to pay for assets and developers and other benefits and progression for the community. You are right that Tebex has basically enabled FiveM servers to be profitable if they are successful. Anyone can do this and anyone that is able to accomplish it I applaud. Anyone who bashes or flames someone for being successful is just jealous IMO.
4. I already addressed the bans in a ticket. I made it clear that I did not agree with the shadowbans at all. The players who received a ban did not receive any actual warning points and were not permanently banned, they left of their own accord. I reached out to DLO100 (Ed Banger) and I am hoping to have a chat with him to reassure him that something like this will never happen again and maybe he will return, maybe not, but I feel like I need to talk to him to gauge that. Anyone else is welcome to join the conversation or reach out to me directly to get clarification. Mitch (Cooper) has reached out to me, gained clarification, and has returned now that he got that clarification. I totally understand his hesitation to return after he found out about the shadowbans but it seems even he is willing to give it another shot and that's awesome.
5. No your message isn't going to be deleted and no you aren't going to be banned for speaking your mind.
Let's be real the most vocal group is the group that was the most affected by the recent actions of 2 staff members. I totally understand why you/they are upset. Trust me when I say I am not happy about it either.
I do like @DanobotOfficial
's constructive suggestion of potentially making ped models an application thing and only having actual custom ped models be a package. I'll continue to read feedback.