Paid Subscription Web Site

Discussion in 'Moderator Section' started by JoeCamper, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. JoeCamper

    JoeCamper Eastern, Pennsylvania

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    OK, Steve and I have been talking about making the PUP a paid subscription site and we need your feedback and option. As you all know me, I’m going to ramble and get my thoughts and our conversation on paper... well here anyway.

    The portal gets very little donations, not even enough to cover the expense of the site let alone other things we want to do to make improvements. We are looking into advertising but it will be very difficult because of our member base. We have 17,500+ members, they are what we had… over the last 6 years. Steve is running web stats but its more like 3k and 500 or 600 active. It’s very hard to sell a campground ad in Bumfuc, Michigan when we only have 25 active members in a 150 mile radius. We also aren’t big enough for Cabelas, Bass Pro and Camping World. We will be looking into Google ads or similar but we are worried of they over run the site. (PUX) We have a great site, with great people and a lot of useful and entertaining information. We want to keep it that way.

    The new layout might look something like…
    We will have a welcome page much like the existing page with two main changes. (1) The welcome paragraph at the top will include the features and details of the site with a very broad over view of our forum boards. (2) The right side will have non-subscription buttons at the top and paid-subscription buttons under that.

    Now, here’s how it might work? All people coming to the site must become a member and receive a user name and password to access the site. (in other words, they must sign-up).
    1. The non-paid member with 30day limit, which must become a paid membership after that.
    a. They will have access to all threads and able to post for those 30 days

    2. Paid member
    a. Continued access to all threads and able to post
    b. Email capabilities???
    c. Maybe instant messenger (maybe NOT)
    d. A photo gallery with sub albums (limit size and number of photos)
    e. Access to manuals (fyi – more members access of site by searching for manuals then any other reason)
    f. Access to campground search (maybe using Google ads and maps)
    g. Sweepstakes (once we got it back up and running)
    h. Other ideas???

    Cost:
    1. New members to the site will have a $9.99 fee for the first year and $5 each additional year.
    2. Existing non-donation members will have 30 days notice for a $5 per year membership free
    3. Existing donation members will keep full access and add the new features
    - $10 - $40 one year
    - $50 - $90 two years
    - $100 – up three years
    4. Donations still available if someone is feeling generous

    With these options, our member count shouldn’t really change any… average 400 new members a month (maybe increase) and our total growth shouldn’t change any. What will change is the 500 active members will pay a $5 year fee and the portal will have the ability to pay for the site, offer giveaways and promotions, give gifts to the rally coordinators and sponsor our annual moderators rally weekend. :) It is possible for a member to create a new user every 30 days (which we could track) but who cares? They aren't getting much out of the site if they need to create a new idnetity each month.

    Coming from a guy who was laid-off a week ago… I think that the 6 years of information and entertainment collected and available to our campers is worth $5 per year.

    Please voice your thoughts a concerns, this web site has grown to what it is today because of you. From Steve and I, thanks!
     
  2. Digger

    Digger Foothills of Central Virginia

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    My initial gut reaction....it won't work. Particularly in the economic state our Country finds itself. I think one of the major news sites (NYT?, Newsweek?) has said recently they are going paid...it'll be interesting to see what happens with them. It certainly has not worked for previous news sites that have tried. CNN tried to do pay for video...I believe they gave up...and I remember another news site that tried and quickly gave up.

    When you put out a call for donations, and receive few, I don't believe that requiring a paid subscription will garner more support. Porn sites seem to me to be the only (general interest) sites that get away with paid subscription....unless there is an industry of which I'm unaware.

    Perhaps having a paid section where pics of 'doing it in the popup' would work.... [:O] [LOL] [:(O]
     
  3. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    So what you are saying Carl is if we have picture of naked PopUp campers, people may pay for the content.

    BTW: I no longer get my news from MSNBC or CNN but now get all my news from http://www.nakednews.com
     
  4. Digger

    Digger Foothills of Central Virginia

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    Yep...and the homepage pic could be the one of your girlfriend passed out on the picnic table [:D]
     
  5. Storm Trooper

    Storm Trooper Home is where you park it!

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    Carl,

    You just left me speechless with your comment about " pics of doing it in the popup" [:O]
    You are supposed to be the sane one around here.

    Steve, Joe, Carl, Joe, Dave, Phil,

    I think we need to direct this to the membership.
    We need to be very frank with them and tell them that the very existence of the site is up to them.
    Starting with asking them how much the site has helped them?
    How do they use the site?
    What do they like or dislike about the site?
    There can be many more question, but Number 5 is alive needs input? (Short Circuit one of my favorite movies)
    We need to help the members tell us what they would be willing to donate?

    Maybe a monthly contest where a member who donated that month is picked at random and offered maybe 10% of the donations that month?
    I think most would return it to the site.
    I'm not done with this, but here is some food for thought.
     
  6. pgordemer

    pgordemer Guest

    Lets wait until after I meet with Steve and Joe here on Thursday. I have some options to save a bunch of money if we don't go forced commercial.
     
  7. dschlosser

    dschlosser Active Member

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    So apparently I missed this somehow…

    Like Carl, my (rather large) gut tells me its probably not going to work. NY Newsday tried the subscription thing - it flopped big time. They have been charging for access to Newsday.com and have only managed to get 30 subscribers in 4 months. They have also lost several advertisers because the site hits are way down. The point being is that people are not going to pay for something they can get for free elsewhere – and I think the long run its going to hurt us.

    I do like a lot of the ideas that Joe posted for paid members, how about making them
    available to members who donate a certain amount?

    I also agree that if we go down the advertisement road we have to be careful, otherwise we’ll end up looking like PUX. I think we need to try every road before we start charging for access to the boards.

    Hopefully this makes some kind of sense; my brain is mush from studying all day.
     
  8. Xolthrax

    Xolthrax Franconia, Pa.

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    I think this would be an excellent topic to discuss at French Creek. My concern is that it really isn't possible to estimate what will happen to those 500-600 active members if a fee is imposed. We could wind up alienating a significant number of contributing members and therefore reducing the appeal of joining to non-members. As Carl pointed out, this is a challenging economic environment to impose additional charges on people. As discretionary income continues to dwindle, the reality that membership to a website is non-essential will become more accute. In my experience, popup campers are already a thrift-oriented bunch.
     
  9. JoeCamper

    JoeCamper Eastern, Pennsylvania

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    All points well taken. Steve and I are planning to met with Phil this week (snow?) about a few ideas and we can make some decisions as a group at French Creek. Bottom line: if you guys don't think we should do it, then we will have to come up with another way.

    I personally think we should consider using Google maps and ads for our campground section and CG search but then we will most likely throw away all CG data that we have collected from members.
     
  10. pgordemer

    pgordemer Guest

    and some of this may involve some new features by making some alliances.....
     
  11. Xolthrax

    Xolthrax Franconia, Pa.

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    I'd love to hear some of the fundraising ideas. We should also brainstorm on possible merchandising opportunities, too. How about some buttery PUP-corn?
     
  12. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    Well, I'm working on the banner ads and maybe with Joe B's help we can get that rocking. CafePress is nearly $0 revenue. I thought the decals would sell better then they are but it is winter so maybe that will pickup soon.

    Maybe we should do a calendar like the NYFD does every year. Do you think that would be a big seller?
     
  13. Xolthrax

    Xolthrax Franconia, Pa.

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    We could cross link it to the National Bulemia Foundation's website!

    LOL, nobody wants to see me in a beefcake picture!
     
  14. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    Yup, with me there's a bit more "cake" then "beef"!
     
  15. dschlosser

    dschlosser Active Member

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    hey...who needs a 6 pack when you have a keg
     
  16. dschlosser

    dschlosser Active Member

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    This guys had a good point - just something to keep in mind as we move forward… In whatever direction that may be.
     

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