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#195824 - 02/13/10 03:12 PM Re: Evaluating a "Premium" membership option [Re: MartinFocazio]
SwampDonkey Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1268
Loc: Northeastern Ontario, Canada
I would support a Premium Membership and would have no problem paying $25/year for it.

I agree that there should be a minimum amount of posts or time before membership is allowed.

I like the idea of a For Sale section, I have had only good expeciences selling/buying items with people I have met online.

I have a difficulty with the using of real names. I have an uncommon surname and routinely upset people in my profession; I like that ETS Forum is a place where my work does not follow me.

Mike

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#195828 - 02/13/10 06:06 PM Re: Evaluating a "Premium" membership option [Re: hikermor]
Brangdon Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1201
Loc: Nottingham, UK
I prefer the "benefactor" name as it doesn't imply you get anything much. If you do start to get extra stuff, people will start evaluating whether the subscription is value for money, and I think it'd be better seen as a pure donation. (But it would be nice to have some acknowledgement in the form of a badge next to your posts.)

I'd rather $12 than $25, but I'm concerned that the costs of administering it will outweigh the benefits.

Although I don't make a secret of who I am online, I'm rather attached to my nickname as I've been using it across many forums for decades. (I started on Usenet in the 1980s.)
_________________________
Quality is addictive.

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#195852 - 02/14/10 06:09 AM Re: Evaluating a "Premium" membership option [Re: Brangdon]
TomP Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/16/07
Posts: 56
It seems that money is the real need of ETS. We all just need to donate more to reflect the value of the site to us. Lets have a fundraising drive, publish the amount coming in, set some goals for donations, and repeat yearly.

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#195855 - 02/14/10 12:28 PM Re: Evaluating a "Premium" membership option [Re: TomP]
Pondering Offline
Stranger

Registered: 09/18/07
Posts: 9
I am in a similar lifestyle situation as an earlier poster where I usually don't get to threads until they have been hashed and rehashed, so other than a "me too" or "what he said" I usually feel I don't have much to add by that point. Couple that with my natural tendency to lurk, it will take me awhile to get to 200 posts for the premium membership. However, I value what I learn here so such a task and $12/year would be worth it to maintain access to ETS.

Unfortunately, a real name requirement for posting would be a deal breaker for me.

I used to have the attitude that if I had something I felt strongly enough to post, I should have the guts to put my name to it. I also try to never post anything I'd be ashamed to see put up on my church bulletin board. So, all of my early Internet postings were under my real name. And, my posts were pretty tame, often limited to "how to's" or software work-arounds. A few years back I was actually questioned about a post I had made a lonnngggg time ago on Usenet. The post was extremely innocuous, but I was asked about it in a meeting.

Creepy. Or, at least, the creep asking if I'd found what I was looking for 15+ years earlier was creepy.

While a very small bit of work would probably easily link my name to my handle, I still want to make 'em work at it. Googling and Facebook searches are now pretty much routine for not only HR types but also by anyone looking at just about anything which requires an application. So, I now use a handle.

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#195886 - 02/15/10 01:22 AM Re: Evaluating a "Premium" membership option [Re: Pondering]
Todd W Offline
Product Tester
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/14/04
Posts: 1928
Loc: Mountains of CA
Premium membership sounds good.
Already using real name too.
_________________________
Self Sufficient Home - Our journey to self sufficiency.

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#195890 - 02/15/10 03:12 AM Re: Evaluating a "Premium" membership option [Re: Todd W]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Making ETS pay for itself - It's a difficult question.

Virtually every site owner is fighting to answer the question of how to pay for the site and time spent maintaining it. By tradition web surfers are not willing to pay for anything directly. This is made worse by the fact that most first-time visitors are arriving by way of a search engine. Limiting and controlling content, establishing a two-tier membership, isn't compatible with this.

Advertising is a popular route to income but association with any particular product or manufacturer greatly increases management burdens and often conflicts with fair reviews, open opinion, presentation of all the options. Manufacturers with higher profit margins, those most likely to advertise, tend to be making higher end products. How do you square the circle of having to cater to a manufacturer while telling people the honest fact that the product just isn't all that.

Then again there are survival, preparedness, often quasi-military sites that cater to manufacturers. They seem to drift into gear fetishism and cease to function as reliable information sources and living community. I have been told many times, often in no uncertain terms, that it is simply impossible to survive without gear that costs less than some arbitrary figure.

Developing a two-tier system of membership is a popular strategy but one that seldom seems to work out. If the site was about art or specialized content it might work. People will sometimes pay for exceptionally valuable information or content. Particularly if the information allows you to make money. Several financial sites do this but content value, particularly in the light of the latest failures, is all over the place and results are highly variable. I'm somewhat surprised many of the financial websites and newsletters still exist.

A two-tier system of survival information is pretty hard to maintain. Pretty much all the basics are open source and just a well worded Google search away. From what I have seen the 'member content' of most of the pay sites, those that are still available and updated regularly, is pretty weak. In one case I'm familiar with the site just copied material lists off a public LDS site.

Then again many of those lists were just tarted up versions of USG/USDA materials. Which were lifted from various other sources. You can look up supply lists that go back to the Shackelton expeditions and Lois and Clark and a see a lot of commonalities. The requirements for food, water and shelter haven't changed in a few thousand years. As far as I can tell there is no inside information.

The one thing that a good survival forum has to offer is interaction, input, interpretation of events past and present, encouragement, and a community to bounce ideas off of. But a two-tier system doesn't tend to encourage any of this. If anything it tends to work against community by setting up claques, experts and insiders.

Even the idea of identity is not without issues. I post under a pseudonym in part because I think that who I am is irrelevant. I want my words to stand on their own. If they are useful and reasonable then make what you will of them. If not then ignore them. There is no point to setting up a system of authority or expertise. The history of survival situations is ripe with experts who fell and rank amateurs who made it through. There is also the matter of whether it is better to listen to people who constantly find themselves in survival situations or people who simply avoid them.





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#195899 - 02/15/10 05:52 AM Re: Evaluating a "Premium" membership option [Re: Art_in_FL]
Todd W Offline
Product Tester
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/14/04
Posts: 1928
Loc: Mountains of CA
Originally Posted By: Art_in_FL
Making ETS pay for itself - It's a difficult question.

Virtually every site owner is fighting to answer the question of how to pay for the site and time spent maintaining it. By tradition web surfers are not willing to pay for anything directly. This is made worse by the fact that most first-time visitors are arriving by way of a search engine. Limiting and controlling content, establishing a two-tier membership, isn't compatible with this.

Advertising is a popular route to income but association with any particular product or manufacturer greatly increases management burdens and often conflicts with fair reviews, open opinion, presentation of all the options. Manufacturers with higher profit margins, those most likely to advertise, tend to be making higher end products. How do you square the circle of having to cater to a manufacturer while telling people the honest fact that the product just isn't all that.

Then again there are survival, preparedness, often quasi-military sites that cater to manufacturers. They seem to drift into gear fetishism and cease to function as reliable information sources and living community. I have been told many times, often in no uncertain terms, that it is simply impossible to survive without gear that costs less than some arbitrary figure.

Developing a two-tier system of membership is a popular strategy but one that seldom seems to work out. If the site was about art or specialized content it might work. People will sometimes pay for exceptionally valuable information or content. Particularly if the information allows you to make money. Several financial sites do this but content value, particularly in the light of the latest failures, is all over the place and results are highly variable. I'm somewhat surprised many of the financial websites and newsletters still exist.

A two-tier system of survival information is pretty hard to maintain. Pretty much all the basics are open source and just a well worded Google search away. From what I have seen the 'member content' of most of the pay sites, those that are still available and updated regularly, is pretty weak. In one case I'm familiar with the site just copied material lists off a public LDS site.

Then again many of those lists were just tarted up versions of USG/USDA materials. Which were lifted from various other sources. You can look up supply lists that go back to the Shackelton expeditions and Lois and Clark and a see a lot of commonalities. The requirements for food, water and shelter haven't changed in a few thousand years. As far as I can tell there is no inside information.

The one thing that a good survival forum has to offer is interaction, input, interpretation of events past and present, encouragement, and a community to bounce ideas off of. But a two-tier system doesn't tend to encourage any of this. If anything it tends to work against community by setting up claques, experts and insiders.

Even the idea of identity is not without issues. I post under a pseudonym in part because I think that who I am is irrelevant. I want my words to stand on their own. If they are useful and reasonable then make what you will of them. If not then ignore them. There is no point to setting up a system of authority or expertise. The history of survival situations is ripe with experts who fell and rank amateurs who made it through. There is also the matter of whether it is better to listen to people who constantly find themselves in survival situations or people who simply avoid them.






I hate to disagree, but what you said regarding subscription sites is very far from the truth. They are a great way to control features, and generate income for a website. (Also a good way to 'weed out' spammers, or potential trouble makers in a for-sale area since their "real information" is normally required in their payment form.) People are NOT paying for content, or to post, or share information... they are paying for specialized features not available to the average user. Most forums that have a private area for 'paying members' are relatively slow unless an "expert" is known to only post in there or there is a tight group in their own private area.

I do agree that a clique may become a problem however this has nothing to do with subscription but more of who stays on the site the most, posts the most, and has the attitude that they are somewhat better and then these people start banding together against others / mostly newbies.






_________________________
Self Sufficient Home - Our journey to self sufficiency.

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#195900 - 02/15/10 07:36 AM Re: Evaluating a "Premium" membership option [Re: MartinFocazio]
Homer Offline
Antithetic
Newbie

Registered: 12/26/05
Posts: 42
Loc: Sacramento, CA
Sorry everyone, but I would consider discontinuing my use of this site if it comes down to paying directly for a membership of any kind.
_________________________
"The reasonable man conforms himself to the world around him. The unreasonable man conforms the world around him to himself. Therefore, all progress is dependent upon the unreasonable man." Unknown

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#195905 - 02/15/10 02:02 PM Re: Evaluating a "Premium" membership option [Re: TomP]
clarktx Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/01/08
Posts: 250
Loc: Houston, Texas
Originally Posted By: TomP
It seems that money is the real need of ETS.


Actually lets not let this thing get away on a downhill slope. (its not you TomP, I just feel that we're losing sight of the origin)

1) This thread was started by Martin in response to another thread where someone said "hey, why don't we have a marketplace here". Martin independently linked the idea of a marketplace and generating revenue for the ETS foundation. Martin is a great forum moderator with good intentions but has no formal role in the foundation at large that I am aware of.
2) Anyone can donate money to ETS - yesterday, today and tomorrow - by going to this link. This has ALWAYS been the case. its tax deductible and its on the front page. I have used that link to donate money and I can tell you I didn't have my identity stolen. You don't need to wait for some cosmic event to help ETS, you can do it today. i'm sure you can ask to be grandfathered if they start a program where you get a special forum badge tomorrow. I've dined with Doug, he is a very reasonable person. In fact, often they say that an organization's spirit "comes from the top" and thats why our forum is such a good place to be.
3) We already have a marketplace forum that anyone can use.

Hopefully when Doug is done with the Shot show he can weigh in. Until then, I would encourage any of you who have said "I would happily donate" to ... do so. I have a lot of respect for you but lets not predicate our decisions on future events that may or may not happen.



Edited by clarktx (02/15/10 02:25 PM)
Edit Reason: I'm always editing for accuracy
_________________________
You can't teach experience.

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#195906 - 02/15/10 02:12 PM Re: Evaluating a "Premium" membership option [Re: clarktx]
Russ Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4932
Loc: SOCAL
Another way to donate is to buy a Doug Ritter Knife. But that's way OT. How about we get a grandfathered membership based on our DR knife collection? wink

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