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Poll
Question: How much would you be willing to pay to subscribe to this forum?
Nothing - 29 (67.4%)
$1.00/month - 1 (2.3%)
$2.00/month - 3 (7%)
$3.00/month - 4 (9.3%)
$5.00/month - 6 (14%)
$10.00/month - 0 (0%)
$15.00/month - 0 (0%)
More - 0 (0%)
Total Voters: 38

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Author Topic: Subscription to Board  (Read 4214 times)
Len Silva
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« on: August 12, 2008, 05:55:18 AM »

Since MAK has announced that the magazine is for sale, I fear for the future of this forum.  It is, in my opinion, the best on the web by a considerable margin.

So, I wonder if, in the event it is not maintained by the magazine, could it be made self sustaining by subscription.  I have no idea what it costs to provide this service and perhaps pay a small stipend to the moderators.

We now have more than 1800 members, I would guess that 60% or more are serious busnuts and appreciate the value of this group.

The technical expertise, friendship and fellowship, arguments and debates, self policing and excellent moderators, make it a very special place.

I, for one, would be more than willing to pay to support it.

Len
« Last Edit: August 12, 2008, 06:34:00 AM by Len Silva » Logged


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JackConrad
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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2008, 06:32:13 AM »

    Might be better to add a choice of $2 or $3 per month. This would be inline with the cost of a subscription to Bus Conversions Magazine.  Jack
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Len Silva
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« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2008, 06:46:14 AM »

    Might be better to add a choice of $2 or $3 per month. This would be inline with the cost of a subscription to Bus Conversions Magazine.  Jack
Jack,

Can you do that for me?  I can't find where it will let me modify the poll.  I guess I didn't think it through before I posted (never done that before  Cheesy).

I guess I was just trying to find out if folks would be willing to support the board if the current support goes away.

Not having any idea what it costs for the servers, software, maintenance etc. plus paying someone to manage it, I don't know what numbers are realistic.

Anyone else, please chime in with suggestions and sentiments.

BTW, this board is far more valuable to me than the magazine.
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JackConrad
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« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2008, 07:10:20 AM »

I added a $2 and $3 choice. I cleared all votes, so everyone now has a chance to choose from all the options.  Jack
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H3Jim
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« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2008, 07:21:40 AM »

While I might be interested in supporting it, I dont think its a good idea to bring this up here.  Anyone in the ownership position will see this and jump right on it.   I don't want to pay if it can be free.  We are  long way from any actions being taken, lets just see how it goes.

In the long run, the diehards would support, but it would probably stop new memebers, especially casual ones (that later turn into full nuts) from enjoying this.  I  suspect that fees would stop its growth, also a key to its ownership.  Greater number of readers (hits) equals greater revenue from the ads you see here.  So paying for it might acually be a bad idea.....
« Last Edit: August 12, 2008, 07:23:38 AM by H3Jim » Logged

Jim Stewart
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« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2008, 07:31:06 AM »

Jim is right. Google is free because the ads support it. Not saying this board could rival Google but the principle applies. The potential for ad revenue with more members should outpace the potential for subscription fees.

TOM
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luvrbus
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« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2008, 07:41:01 AM »

I don't know how much a server cost but it couldn't be much to many boards that don't have any action on them around I was told that the software for this board any one can download it for free.I am not in favor of paying anything like Jim said this is the wrong time to bring this up starts wheel turning.And as for the magazine leaving there will be someone that will start a new one like the Myers
« Last Edit: August 12, 2008, 07:55:33 AM by luvrbus » Logged
HighTechRedneck
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« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2008, 07:57:16 AM »

I don't think there is any harm in asking the question as Len did, it's not something that any potential owner wouldn't have thought of.  Especially if a publishing house bought it.  And it actually opens the discussion so that any such potential owner would be informed of the issues that scenario would face. 

But I agree with the others on it not being a viable long term approach.  I personally would pay a small monthly subscription fee if the quality and diverse membership held up.  But I believe a lot of people would object and the majority of the community would migrate to other boards and something great would be lost. Then even those who had been willing to pay would leave.

Non offensive advertising can support a forum like this.

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H3Jim
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« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2008, 08:04:47 AM »

While asking questions is generally harmless and it good to get answers, in this case I believe that asking that question take us down a path we don't want to go.    I believe asking questions can many times lead people in different directions.

More importantly, if the answer to that question is yes, we'd all be happy to spend $5 a month, now that is information that the new or old owners could not have surmised.  And will not take us in a direction that any of us wants.
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Jim Stewart
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luvrbus
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« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2008, 08:09:18 AM »

They guys like Phil,Nick,Richard, Dallas,Jack and the members made this board if someone didn't put a idea out to Mike we would still have the rag tag board of old
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HighTechRedneck
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« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2008, 08:10:02 AM »

I think the key is that the point has been made and will no doubt be echoed by others, that while some might be willing to pay a small amount, the majority of the community would migrate elsewhere and the forum would die out.  Then the paying ones would leave because it was no longer worth it.  All this would likely happen in the first few months.  Investment lost.
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Jeremy
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« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2008, 08:15:20 AM »

Yes, there shouldn't be any need to charge for the forum - the software is free and can be operated easily by amateurs (I run a Simple Machines forum myself). Whilst ad-supported server space can also be had for nothing, more to the point is the fact that there must be dozens of people on the board who have spare server space from their business websites etc.

I think if you tried to make people pay to use the board it would immediately die - sure, some people would be happy to pay, but not enough to maintain the quality and diversity of the board - and other free boards would very quickly step in and take over anyway.

Jeremy
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« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2008, 08:34:10 AM »

Yes, there shouldn't be any need to charge for the forum - the software is free and can be operated easily by amateurs (I run a Simple Machines forum myself). Whilst ad-supported server space can also be had for nothing, more to the point is the fact that there must be dozens of people on the board who have spare server space from their business websites etc.

Ad supported free hosting is definitely not workable, 500 sites on a single sever and page loads that take forever.  A MySQL based forum of this activity takes a pretty fair amount of server resources.  More resources than $10/mos. shared hosting plans provide.  This forum spent time on a Virtual Dedicated server (the next step up) and even that was overloaded periodically.  Managing a website in shared hosting is something many individuals can do themselves.  Administrating a dedicated server (or even a virtual dedicated) takes more specialized skills or has to be hired out. (A lot of people think there isn't a big difference and try anyway.  That is why there are so many compromised servers out there dishing out spam, viruses and warez.)

What I mean by ad supported is the way it is now.  Banners and google adsense ads. And potentially other non intrusive ad revenue streams.  As I said before, this business model does work on a sufficiently active forum.
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bobofthenorth
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« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2008, 08:37:49 AM »

I voted nothing.  In its present form this forum is probably worth $20-30 annually to me.  I pay that for access to a very few other forums.  The reason this forum is worth that to me though is because of the activity here and I think that would quickly dry up if there was a membership fee.  In other words, I didn't think most people would pay that much for access and the results once I voted confirmed what I suspected. 
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« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2008, 09:48:01 AM »

I'd be more in favor of donations - sort of like PBS - the more you donate, the more perks you get (like free classifieds?)

I think that charging a fee or subscription will have a huge detrimental effect on the board.

I do hope the magazine stays around in printed form . . . . All too easy to lose info otherwise.
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