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Jon 03-07-2013 08:50 AM

Paid membership now live!
For some time, I have been asked to put a donation button on the site. Well, that time has come. Now, we have 3 different paid membership options available that can be found here:

That page describes what you get for each of the three different choices.

Bear with me as I try to improve the look of the paid membership bar. There is too much space below it at the moment. I am working on it!

pwbrown 03-11-2013 07:24 AM

Re: Paid membership now live!
I'm sorry but that is ridiculous what you get for donating, none of those options are appealing.
I would much rather see one donation button where a user can select how much they wish to donate.

Ads don't bother me, don't care about some stupid badge, no-one will use the private forum as you'll get more help on the non private ones. I don't use pm's often and if I did could easily save and delete them so a limit is pointless. Finally I only need one line for a signature, prefer it simple.
I feel this is just a method for the site owner to make some extra cash. It wouldn't be too bad if you possibly incorporated a paying system for people who give correct answers so they are rewarded. Possible if they get a certain amount of correct answers can get free "membership".
Anyway I'd better stop my rant and end on: I'm the sort of target audience you're looking to donate for membership and I don't like the options, maybe that should be a worry?

I came to the site to get help in Access and after receiving some great help, in return offered my help to others. I would happily donate if I felt it was going to a good cause!

Jon 03-11-2013 07:37 AM

Re: Paid membership now live!
Well, what can I say? You object to the site generating revenue. You don't like the optional membership. You think contributions to the site is not a good cause. Yet you still get the forum for free and benefit from the knowledge here. Frankly, I don't see what you are complaining about.

pwbrown 03-11-2013 07:54 AM

Re: Paid membership now live!

Originally Posted by Jon (Post 1241010)
Well, what can I say? You object to the site generating revenue. You don't like the optional membership. You think contributions to the site is not a good cause. Yet you still get the forum for free and benefit from the knowledge here. Frankly, I don't see what you are complaining about.

That's not true, I'm all for contributing to the forum but I'd want just one option for a person to donate whatever they feel appropriate.

For example I'd donate a small amount every time I needed help and got an answer.

I feel the amounts are far too excessive, especially for only one year!
I'd like to see members who contribute answers to get some sort of "reward" and if I knew the cost to run the site my opinion could be changed.

I'm sure the site is still getting a good bit of revenue without the membership because the amount of traffic the site has. You'll be getting a good amount of money from the ads.

Jon 03-11-2013 08:01 AM

Re: Paid membership now live!
There are two routes to go: a donation button or a subscription button. I chose the latter, because at least there were additional benefits in return. Also, there are minimum transaction fees that eat into the revenue with lots of small payments. The additional accounting time further makes them less worthwhile.

Also, do remember that its not just about hosting costs, plugin costs or software licenses. There is a lot of time that goes into keeping the site going, fixing things, promoting it and more. You don't see this stuff but there is a lot of it. For example, its week 3 now and we still haven't worked out why we need 4 CPU's to run this site now rather than the 1 we had before. No one pays me for those 3 solid weeks of work on this one issue.

Bob, I appreciate your comments. If I was just trying to milk all the visitors, I would have implemented a donation system years ago when it was suggested. Instead, I wanted to give something in return, considerable time researching what the options were and how to implement them, doing all the coding myself. To my mind, removing ads in the most prominent locations was a priority for paying members. We get loads of people who lurk and bounce of the site. Some of those leave via ads. However, we also have lots of regular members who ask questions or help out others. To my mind, if they donated I would like to get the ads out of the way to improve their user experience.

pwbrown, I am not saying I am right and you are wrong. Instead, please consider that I have to chose one of two main options for forums and also that running forums is a fulltime job.

Jon 03-11-2013 08:14 AM

Re: Paid membership now live!
Bob, I basically went to see what the other sites were doing and did the same. I had no idea or previous experience on how to price such things so took the status quo. It was difficult to set up because you have to choose a payment processor that deals with VAT, one that integrates with this vBulletin, find out if they allow repeat subscriptions (they don't using my option, but they do if you only allow payment by PayPal). Lots of these niggly things took ages to find out. Its like missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that you need to find to finally get it done. Bit like programming really!

I am looking at the possibility of adding further benefits, but it all depends on the uptake of subscribers. One such thing is to follow the model of one website where you pay for a classified ad, but this will only be open to subscribers. A similar model is run at the Warrior Special Offers forum on a popular marketing site. Over there, you pay something like $25 to make a post in their Marketplace section. This might give an avenue for some members here who are looking for additional work. Its just an idea.

Vassago 03-11-2013 08:20 AM

Re: Paid membership now live!
I do agree that they are a bit excessive. I wouldn't mind donating, but not everyone can afford the costs given above. HOWEVER, I don't see any reason to complain about it. No one is losing anything by not being able or just not wanting to donate. What's the big deal?

pwbrown 03-11-2013 08:35 AM

Re: Paid membership now live!

Originally Posted by Vassago (Post 1241034)
HOWEVER, I don't see any reason to complain about it.

I'm not complaining just offering a view point. It's more like a debate, I need to be convinced to differ my view. :)
Honestly I can't see many people paying for diamond and I think they should lower the costs.
Something more realistic like: $15, $35, $75, would be a better range and I would be happy to donate $15 at least!

Jon 03-11-2013 08:52 AM

Re: Paid membership now live!
Just a quick thank you to boblarson who is our first ever subscriber and went Diamond! :)

CJ_London 03-11-2013 09:33 AM

Re: Paid membership now live!
From my perspective you have three types of users:
  • those who ask questions
  • those who provide answers
  • those who do both to one extent or the other
I am a self employed developer and it may just be my business model, but I would not expect to pick up business from a site such as this. Most of the questions come from people looking for help to do it themselves and if they are looking to sub work out they are either looking for someone local or someone who will provide a budget service. I use other sites to network and find new business in addition to other initiatives.

I suspect if you started a subscription, you would have a big dropoff in expert subscribers unless they can stay as a free member. I once subscribed to such a site for a few months but found a) quality of responses were very poor or b) non existent which I think was due to expert users not being prepared to pay to use the site.

I understand the site needs to make a profit or at least breakeven so I don't have a problem with ads and donations.

I consider myself to be a net contributor - and although a relative newbie I answer many more questions than I ask and therefore think of myself as an asset to the site:).

I give of my time freely but would not be prepared to pay a subscription unless I could see a benefit to me - in this respect I am in line with pwbrown.

Jon - there are a lot of access forums out there so if you are going to charge a subscription what are the USP's that differentiate you from everyone else? - I don't think what is on offer is sufficient.

pr2-eugin 03-11-2013 09:39 AM

Re: Paid membership now live!
Just shouting out..

Originally Posted by Jon
These forums will always be free, but for those of you wanting to help support the site you have the option of several types of paid membership.

You can Upgrade your Free membership, if you chose to.. It really is not a compulsion.. If you are okay with the ads popping up and limited number of messages.. Okay no big deal.. I for one am not bothered.. Also, I am not against this idea that Jon has..

CJ_London 03-11-2013 10:26 AM

Re: Paid membership now live!
I did day this


unless they can stay as a free member.
Which I accept you can

ColinEssex 03-11-2013 12:58 PM

Re: Paid membership now live!
Why are the fees in US dollars on a British run site? How does that work with the UK vat payments? Is it a dodge to pay less vat?

I might have guessed who would be a diamond.:rolleyes: it just had to be. Was it free?


Jon 03-11-2013 01:06 PM

Re: Paid membership now live!
Currency was based on two factors:

1. The main currency on my PayPal account.

2. The country that brings the most visitors.

VAT is all taken into consideration.

Jon 03-11-2013 01:29 PM

Re: Paid membership now live!

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