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Get rid of subscription fees, and replace with ads/software sales

   
5:23 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



after reading through some of the suggestions in this feedback forum, it looks like a few of them are aimed at making the site more money... like ad and software sales. which is fair enough. there's probably loads more money that can made with this site, and you cant blame the boss for going after it.
but if i can make my suggestion... if its money that you're after then i would much rather the subscribers/supporters forum was scrapped so the vast majority of readers can access it (im guessing its a majority). because judging by the forum names there's some useful information in there that will keep us returning.

and in return, i'm all for you sticking some more ads and that software-sales and classifieds section on. they would probably make you more money in the long run than the subscribers fee anyway.
6:52 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I can see where you are going with this londrum, but I'd rather keep the fees. The reason is simple, the supporters forum is a step above because of the fees. Sadly, it is true, add a fee and the quality tends to increase. I for one, will always pay the fee here and attend PubCon in Vegas. I got my break at my first WebmasterWorld in '05 and have learned countless key elements here - and I will always support WebmasterWorld. Personally, I'd like to see the fees jump to a grand a year and Brett could throw in a comp'd ticket to a PubCon during the year.
6:57 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



The topics in the subscription area seem to be good, but I have never seen them.

The subscription is far to steep for me.

There is another webmaster forum that does not charge subscriptions at all, and its range of topics is very similar to Webmaster World. So I use both forums.

If it was $10 a year I'd pay it.

If you want to or need to make money I would run some banner ads on your site. (But they would need to be realistically priced - all internet advertising is too dear for the number of hits they supply.)
7:30 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member topr8 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



i really, really want to keep the subscription forum, imho the standard of posting has slipped (in the main forums) over the years - of course there are still lots of superb posts, but i don't mean those, i mean there is just so much more fluff than there used to be, although i understand this is inevitable as the user base gets bigger.

thus the subscription forum seems less cluttered and more on the point to me.
8:10 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator mack is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



How would you feel if the subscription forum was kept, and ad serving was introduced, perhaps not showing ads to subscribing members?

Mack.
8:18 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



As we well know ads can destroy a site, if done smartly they enhance it.

This site needs its non-subscribers or its ask and get info model probably will suffer, that said most people are accustomed to ads and if they don't see them start to wonder if the site they are on is reputable or not.

Subscribers probably would not care if they are shown truly good ads that match their needs and are not repetitive or creep across a screen, that said I'd say 90% of the ads I see are garbage and not related to what I need.

So many sites I look at for info I'd rather strip all the ad images and scripts than see what "I am missing".
8:21 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I would prefer a cheaper subscription fee as I am an occasional user. I wouldn't mind on-target adverts.
8:33 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I really like the subscriber forum and it's a nice return benefit for the donation. It's not like it's super-special in there and they're serving free drinks all day; it's just good that you're in the company of people who care enough to pay for their education and you can be free of the concerns about being in the immediate eye of John Q. Public all the time. I wouldn't even mind if the whole site was fee based, as the asset is huge. I am sure there's a lot of differing opinion on that and great reasons why that's not a good idea, but I like it.

I'm not sure I like the idea of ads on the public pages. The simplicity of the site is definitely a lure. It's kind of a hard-core vibe. I think it could use a few cosmetic changes, while still keeping it simple.
8:40 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



What about a new level?

Like maybe a donator level, at a lower cost than a full subscriber. Donators could be allowed to view subscriber threads, but not post. Maybe even limit how many subscriber threads could be viewed per day or month.

Full subscribers would still have full access like they do now.

It would still keep the subscriber threads more focused than the public forums, as people are saying they like, and still let people contribute if they can't afford the full amount or don't feel they participate enough to justify it.


Or if a subscriber topic looks really interesting on the homepage or in an RSS feed - how about paying a tiny fee ($1-$2) for permission to view it without buying a full subscription?
8:47 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I'll just say this ... and no offense intended ... if you find the fees too high here then you aren't putting the advice into play.
8:52 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I'm not a subscriber (I spend too much time here as it is, I fear subscribing would only make it worse). But, sheeee, by all means keep the subscriber forum for both as a filter and for the income. And take a look at offering ads on the subscriber section only to an exclusive advertiser.
9:50 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I'd actually like to see different subscription levels. Low-level for access to 1 or 2 special forums of your choice; regular access for all forums; premium access for special services (reviews and possibly others).

The thing is, you have more than webmasters here...or else what defines a webmaster has broadened. So your market has different subscription needs. When it's all or nothing, it meets the needs of only one group (albeit probably the biggest one), and you're leaving the proverbial money on the table.
10:03 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I haven't been here from the beginning, but I believe I once read where ads were tried here. The result was insufficient to run the site. I use WebmasterWorld a lot, but have not subscribed. In spite of that, I don't think the subscription fees are outrageous for a focus business forum. If the members feel they get added value for the fee they pay, so much the better for them.

Thanks to Brett and staff for bringing us this forum.
10:07 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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My fear would be "subscription area creep" - I'm not too miffed by the subscription only area, but I would be miffed if it expanded.
This forum offers great stuff for people just starting out, people who are just making a few dollars a day - who really want to learn but don't want to be shelling out even more cash. I can understand that someone earning $100,000 a year might find a few dollars just small change, but the guy earning $100 dollars to supplement his income would view it differently.
10:17 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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The competing ad-supported free sites are so much more lively than WebmasterWorld...I think that's the lesson to be learned.
11:02 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I have always told myself that I would be able to consider myself a success at web design when, and only when, I could afford a subscription fee (of course, I could always get a higher paying day job...). As can be seen by my profile, that hasn't happened yet. But I like ( and maybe I need) having it there, beckoning, tantalizing, taunting. I wonder what's in there all the time :)
11:10 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member keyplyr is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I support more ads for doing away with the subscription only forums.
12:48 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I don't object to the subscription forums existing (though I'm not a paid member) and I wouldn't be offended to see adverts on the site showing to non-subscribers.

Just promise that if you do introduce ads, they'll be textual and relevant. Graphical ads, especially animated ads, are guaranteed to get smart people installing NoScript and RequestPolicy. And there are a lot of smart people here.
2:41 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I'll just say this ... and no offense intended ... if you find the fees too high here then you aren't putting the advice into play.


Never a truer word...
4:13 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



@swoop, the competing ad supported sites are so much lower quality as well.

They are also very similar to each other. Take just the text of a discussion and you could not tell which was which.

If subs are too high, why not have a monthly option? It would suit people like me whose usage of the site is is bursts.
5:45 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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The reason is simple, the supporters forum is a step above because of the fees.


And some of those folks in the supporters forum acted as if "above", in my brief encounter. It did seem a bit cliquish to me.
5:49 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



How would you feel if the subscription forum was kept, and ad serving was introduced, perhaps not showing ads to subscribing members?


Sounds more than fair.
6:44 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I think most of the people here that do pay the supporter fee have gained alot of intrinsic value from that membership, and it solidifies in many ways the more frequent users.

If it was $10 a year I'd pay it.


The reason why it works well is because it is not $10 a year, and therefore not everyone can signup. I hate to put it this way, but the ones that truly glean the advice they find in the supporters area - and leverage the connections they make there - find a way to generate the funds to do it.
7:54 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I would say that if we ad advertising to site, remove support subscription but keep that part of site active by allowing invite only or available to active member etc. I mean you set the bar for it.
8:05 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I've never understood why Brett has kept it ad free for so long - as someone else said, if ads are aesthetically placed, and not too many, it isn't in my view of any importance - not a downer at all.

And if the introduction of ads also meant the subscription could be reduced, then that could be worthwhile.
8:18 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



I would say that if we ad advertising to site, remove support subscription but keep that part of site active by allowing invite only or available to active member etc. I mean you set the bar for it.

that's got to be a good idea, surely. if the aim of the supporters area is to allow in the knowledgeable people, then sticking a fee gate on it doesn't necessarily do that. what happens if someone like incredibill didnt have the money to pay it? you'd still want him in there i presume. if you do it invite only then there'd still be a community-type feel to it.
8:27 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



if the aim of the supporters area is to allow in the knowledgeable people, then sticking a fee gate on it doesn't necessarily do that. what happens if someone like incredibill didnt have the money to pay it? you'd still want him in there i presume. if you do it invite only then there'd still be a community-type feel to it.


Beyond a certain level of expertise it must be surely almost impossible NOT to be making money off of the Web, be it in affiliate marketing, PPC arbitrage, Adsense-supported blogging, domain name trading, ebook writing/marketing, etc. etc.
9:20 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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more money doesn't equal more brains. if its brains you want then invite-only would be a good way of ensuring that only good people get in there. but its basically open to anyone at the moment, regardless of skill. because its only 89 dollars. its not like only university graduates can afford it.
9:41 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member topr8 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



How would you feel if the subscription forum was kept, and ad serving was introduced, perhaps not showing ads to subscribing members?


i'm happy for ads to be shown to subscribing members

infact as others have noted if the ads are well targeted then it could be an enhancement.

naturally ads will change things, but i guess they are inevitable, especially on the basis that the forum software will eventually be licensed and most buyers will want ad serving built into the system. so on that basis too, i'm happy to have ads as i'm a potential licensee whenever that happy day comes.
10:20 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Mack:
How would you feel if the subscription forum was kept, and ad serving was introduced, perhaps not showing ads to subscribing members?


That sounds good, I wouldn't mind ads as long as it wasn't plastered everywhere, one or two and that would be good. I don't post that much so thatís maybe the reason why I don't subscribe to the other forum however I will pay my dues eventually, bad me for not doing so earlier.
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