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Future of Site - Discussion


CJF077

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  • The Noble Leader
  • +God
  • Member For: 19y 1m 18d
  • Gender: Male
  • Location: Sydney Australia

Hi Guys,

 

I know it has been a long time since i have posted on the site, and been active. However it is good to see the site going with so much passion, and enthusiasm and the member base change from first time owners (such as myself with the XR6 Turbo back in 2002) to generations of owners, who absolutely love the car, the brand and everything in between. It still gives me goosebumps hearing the sound of a XR6 Turbo or a Typhoon (yes i had one too) howling past me on the street. 

 

The reason for our post is simple. We have been around since 2002 with over 1.4 million posts, 59,000 topics, and 60,000 members the site has been here from the start. It is good even to log in on a Friday night at 8pm to find over 100 guests and many members (some from the beginning) still active and enjoying the site for its value.

 

The site has always been paid for via its advertising base, and generous member donations, but with the invention of facebook, instagram and others unfortunately communities like ours are a dying breed. Whilst facebook allows the instant gratification of being able to comment, it doesnt allow the depth and knowledge to be shared time and time again, and kept sort of like a story book for people to have a look at months or years later. It actually gave me goosebumps to look at photos this evening of my first XR6 Turbo ever purchased. I loved that car, and I loved the community that I created around it, and more so the great people I met sharing the passion I shared.

 

Today we are at a point where the advertising revenue the site is generating monthly is barely covering the costs of the site. It does not leave us any wiggle room to pay for upgrades, addons, license renewals, or even offer things like the good old site stickers, hats, or tshirts. We actually haven't done that in years due to not making enough money to just cover the costs to keep the site going.

 

Whilst advertising on the site is relatively cheap for an advertiser $150 per month with a forum and rotating banner, they find facebook, and other methods more appealing, when sites like ours give them the much targeted market that they require.

 

The point of this post is to open up conversation for what potentially the next steps are for the site. I have spoken to the mod team, and some recommendations are as follows:

 

1. An advertiser drive - through methods such as the community, talk to workshops, repairers, upgrade workshops, to re-invest in the community that in some cases kick started their business. 

2. A change in structure to the donating members, and potentially a patreon model - This would give the members that use the site having the ability to tip in a nominal monthly amount - the ability to help with keeping the community afloat. Possible associated benefits if there exists a demand/desire (to be decided - add free tier, gallery size, prestigious titles, input into the direction forward of the community etc).

 

However as this community was created by you... And you as members enjoy the benefits I am keen and open to discuss the situation, and what you suggest as the way forward..

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  • Currently in primer
  • Gold Donating Members
  • Member For: 6y 10m
  • Location: South Australia

I've found the search bar incredibly helpful over my time here and while it might take a while to dissect information from a search output, it would take many times longer to find the details blindly.

 

As a suggestion, I think that a monthly, forum wide, search bar subscription wouldn't be unreasonable. Of course it could be scaled for a yearly amount and could be on a per month basis.

 

If you wanted to search for something then an amount such as $1.50 to $5 could enable unlimited searches for a 30 day period. If you didn't need to search for the next month then you wouldn't pay, you would still have full access, minus the search function, to the forum however. $10 per year for unlimited searches is a very fair amount, given the amount of specific information here.

 

I frequently use the search bar to help new members and also to help myself. Perhaps a point based system based upon successful search recommendations could be instated to provide free search facilities to contributing members, based upon their thread/comment recommendations from their own use of the search bar and/or relevant experience of the forum. It would give some incentive to help other members, although the dollar value suggested is quite low. Most of us aren't here for the money though.

 

In this vein perhaps a sub-forum search fee, as detailed above, could be used. If you want a 500rwkw car then you could just pay to search the specifics of the 500rwkw sub-forum. No need to pay extra for the 300 and 400 subforums. This would be a smaller amount but that's the general gist of what I'm getting at.

 

Anyhow, that's what I thought of just now.

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  • WOT?
  • Moderating Team
  • Member For: 8y 9m 4d
  • Gender: Male
  • Location: Frankston, 3199
34 minutes ago, arronm said:

Surely frequent users can afford $20-$50 a year. Seems plenty of CASH spent on cars....

 

I know I would be happy to put in a $5 or $10/month Patreon style pledge.

 

Wouldn't even notice it.

 

Am pretty sure it'd end up working out more in the end than the amounts I'd put in via an occasional donation, be far more reliable for the forum to budget around but would be far less noticeable from my end.

 

13 minutes ago, Puffwagon said:

As a suggestion, I think that a monthly, forum wide, search bar subscription wouldn't be unreasonable. Of course it could be scaled for a yearly amount and could be on a per month basis.

 

I think what makes the forum work so well for so long has been the accessibility, ease of use and the community itself.

 

I wouldn't really like to see anything put in place that limits that functionality in any way.

 

Lol - a fee for anyone asking a question that is easily found by using the search should be the way we go :P

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  • Currently in primer
  • Gold Donating Members
  • Member For: 6y 10m
  • Location: South Australia

Yeah limitations will stop people from interacting as much, yet they come by the thousands and leave without so much as a thank you in a lot of cases.

Perhaps an option for a donation after a length of time might be more suitable. If it's needed then an occasional nag screen won't be the end of the world.

 

It's gotta be said, a lot of people leave with a sour taste in their mouth and if that is addressed then we might see an uptake of contributing members.

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  • less WHY; more WOT.
  • Site Developer
  • Member For: 13y 7m 19d
  • Gender: Male
  • Location: Melbourne

A pay gate on search queries could be a way to go, but I can't help but think it would push people away, even if you make it as "incentive based" as you possibly can... :idunno:

 

Patreon is the way go to, I reckon. I suggested it to Chris. If we get 20-100 people paying a small amount per month, we could easily float this site ourselves.

 

Once advertisers are not necessary anymore, financially, we can then open up the rules on comments, language etc, imho.

 

The more "open" we are to member contributions (as bogan or areshole-ish it can possibly get), then it will invite people back from bookface because that's why a lot of people left in the first place.

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  • Currently in primer
  • Gold Donating Members
  • Member For: 6y 10m
  • Location: South Australia
4 minutes ago, k31th said:

A pay gate on search queries could be a way to go, but I can't help but think it would push people away, even if you make it as "incentive based" as you possibly can... :idunno:

 

I knew it'd be a long shot but maybe something can be pulled from it. It doesn't matter if nothing is though. It was only a suggestion.

 

6 minutes ago, k31th said:

I think open communication with how money is going in and out of patreon is the way to go. Suggestions from us on how to save money based on the current hosting situation and costs involved. Once advertisers are not necessary anymore, financially, we can then open up the rules on comments, language etc, imho.

 

Most folks don't know what it takes to run a site so I don't think "transparency" would help.

 

I'm happy to contribute any reasonable amount, as suggested. Lets think about what needs to happen to make others feel the same way.

 

Imo if you open the forum up to every degenerate comment that'll inevitably come, as it has, it'll fall on it's face.

 

My 2c bro's.

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  • less WHY; more WOT.
  • Site Developer
  • Member For: 13y 7m 19d
  • Gender: Male
  • Location: Melbourne

Appreciate your input, Nath (and anybody else who contributes), most definitely :) just throwing around my thoughts in relation to your thoughts, with that first quoted sentence.

 

You're right that transparency in a complete sense may not be necessary due to the knowledge required to understand it, but I think a profit/loss bottom line and optional-reading follow-on discussion of details within the situation, would be a good way to ensure you're trusted by the community to head in a direction that everybody (most people) agree with.

 

With regard to degenerates, we already get a few every now and then and we can easily moderate them when we feel they've gone too far. What I'm really pushing towards is that the fact that the most "fun" things that we do with our cars are all topics that are disallowed, for the most part, on this forum, not necessarily the type of personalities, in particular.

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  • WOT?
  • Moderating Team
  • Member For: 8y 9m 4d
  • Gender: Male
  • Location: Frankston, 3199
5 minutes ago, k31th said:

What I'm really pushing towards is that the fact that the most "fun" things that we do with our cars are all topics that are disallowed

 

Only any illegal stuff.

 

This thread is not the place for that discussion.

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  • less WHY; more WOT.
  • Site Developer
  • Member For: 13y 7m 19d
  • Gender: Male
  • Location: Melbourne

you're right that this isn't the place for that discussion... just keep it in mind that it might be a way to attact people to contribute more to this forum and not feel "restricted" in what they're contributing with.

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