Sorry for the click-baity title, but this is genuinely turning out to be a stressful issue for me right now.
On the weekend I launched a little side project I'd been putting some spare time into: https://virtualmuseums.io. It's basically a Google Map of the world's best virtual museums, designed to help people relieve some of the boredom of being stuck indoors.
Long story short, it took off more than I was expecting it to, and it's nearly at 20k users over the last few days. More importantly; even though I've stopped promoting it, the numbers keep growing almost exponentially.
This sounds great, and in some senses it is, but I have a problem. I'm on the free tier of the Google Maps API, which I'm about to cap out on within the next 24-48 hours. After that, I'll be paying over a grand a month to Google just to keep the site live.
I'm at a bit of a loss on what to do. I've tried reaching out to Google a number of different ways. I'm looking at ways I could take small donations. Ads aren't a sustainable option; they wouldn't cover costs, especially with the plunge in ad prices over the last month.
Super keen to hear ideas that anyone has?
UPDATE: Someone at Google was able to point me to a fairly well hidden form, for applying for Google Maps credits to help out in times of crisis. Within 5 minutes of completing the form, I got a ton of credit added to my Cloud account, which will keep me going for a month or three!
For people asking how I got the traffic, I posted on ProductHunt (I think ended up #7 on Saturday) and on HackerNews. Those together provided a few thousand visitors, but I think from there on it was just people sharing/writing about it.