I believe our energy would be better spent defining the problems then focusing everything into solutions.
The big problem
Lack of money?
Here's a rant to help get some ideas flowing.
Solution #1: Sell Memberships
Membership is obviously aimed solely at developers, I would assume makes up a small percentage of the 4,600 players currently online(less than 500?). There's a largely untapped market within the standard players.
How does BYOND leverage this majority?
What would these potential customers be willing to pay for, and how much? Making hub entries and file hosting may not be much of an incentive.
Perhaps a lower priced membership option that is more suited for players? (Pager, avatars, game perks etc)
Solution #2: Help Developers
As a 'developer', I want to make games. My job is harder than it should be a lot of the time. Example: Most people have to build their own 'chat system' then spend time fixing bugs, exploits and oversights.
While you should be expected to do everything yourself, it's great to not have to reinvent the wheel sometimes.
I believe the community could be the solution here; a group of developers who collaborate to provide resources that most games need. Almost every game needs a good communication system, administration, debugging and various other things.
Solution #3: Game Hosting
What else can you sell or up-sell to your customers?
Many games requiring hosting and many are paying for this.
One potential method is for there to be an 'official' BYOND server hosting. This, of course, should be outsourced to another company with BYOND merely acting as the middleman/reseller.
The provider would obviously have some deal worked out and somehow be able to keep the installation up-to-date. (MySQL databases would be necessary too, with phpadmin or something similar)
Yes, we can just get our own VPS, spend however long figuring out how to install BYOND and solve the potential issues, learning enough linux commands to get it running and then get back to what we're supposed to be doing; making the game. Again wasting developer energy.
There are numerous benefits, especially if it had integration into the BYOND accounts.
Solution #4: Game Subscriptions
How can we help developers make money(and take a small cut of the pie)?
The % of the cut isn't the problem, it's the size of the pie that matters.
If BYOND helps to get 100 subscriptions; their 20-30% is justified; but if the developer could have gotten 80 subscriptions without BYOND then there is an issue.
Anything BYOND does here should be about making the pie bigger, not about taking larger slices.
Solution #5: BYONDimes
Easy method to buy game subscriptions, memberships and such. I understand it had it's pros and cons but it should be listed anyway.
Microtransactions are also becoming widely accepted by gamers.
Having the money sitting in an investment account is always useful too. Which also brings up the idea of a simple "for every $5 in your account at the end of the month you go in the draw to win one of 3 free one-year membership".
If a player has money sitting in their account, they'd be more inclined to pay for a service than having to make many individual credit card payments.
Solution #6: Game Ads
While I'm not a big fan of this, it should be mentioned.
Flash games have MochiAds and various other things. They're not too intrusive if done right.
If developers get a share of this revenue, I'm sure many would be happy to have it available in their game.
My opinion is if this is done, it should be done tastefully and with developer consent.
Disabling ads could also be an incentive to subscribe to that individual game.
I better stop here or I'll be late. Haven't had time to proof-read, sorry.
If you disagree with something, be brief and then get back onto the solutions. Don't waste too much energy on the bad idea.
Thanks in advance for keeping this topic constructive and solution-focused.