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Important... your feedback needed on a possible way to defray BB costs

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  • Important... your feedback needed on a possible way to defray BB costs

    OK folks, please settle in and read this WHOLE message carefully before responding.

    As most of you know, the BB is rather expensive for the COTH to maintain. Those of you who have been around long enough know about the big pay-to-post brouhaha of a year or so ago... the folks at COTH were debating whether or not to charge for BB membership in order to offset the costs.

    We haven't had to do that yet because we've been able to implement other steps that have helped lower costs... we moved to a different Infopop software that is less expensive, which has helped greatly.

    But for some reason, people just keep showing up here and posting a lot and ruining our plans. Last month, we had 116 GB of traffic. Our limit was 70 GB (although I have just had it upped to 100 GB... the highest level Infopop offers), and we get charged extra for each GB we go over our limit. We are, I think, the busiest Infopop BB using the UBB.x software.

    Of our 116 GB of traffic, more than 30 GB were from attachments. That's about a quarter of our total traffic.

    Now, obviously, we all like to be able to post photographs of our cute critters. But the main reason the COTH started these forums was to promote discussion of issues... and photos of our cute critters don't have a lot to do with that.

    So, what I am thinking of doing is making the ability to post photographs part of a "premium" BB membership of some kind. And yes, the premium membership would be a PAID membership. I have no idea what the cost would be.... that's part of why I'm posting this, to get feedback on what people think would be appropriate.

    How would it work? Well, you'd pay $X for a "premium subscription" that would last a certain period of time (3 months, 6 months, a year... who knows), and you would have the same photo attaching privileges that you do now. Basically, nothing would change.

    If you didn't want to pay for the membership, you would no longer be able to attach photos to your posts. You WOULD be able post links to your photos on your own website or in an online photo album or whatever... so you would still be able to share photos. You just wouldn't be able to use COTH's bandwidth to do it.

    The reasons for doing this are two-fold. First of all, obviously, it will provide a little bit of income to help pay for bandwidth. And secondly, it will cut down on the number of photos posted, so we won't have to pay so much for bandwidth in the first place.

    I know that everyone loves being able to share pictures, and of course we want to continue to encourage that. But, to be blunt, you guys are going to need to chip in a little bit to help defray the costs of it. There ain't no free ride.

    Now, before I get asked a million questions let me go ahead and answer some of the ones I know are coming!

    No, this is not set in stone yet... I'm looking for some feedback on what people think of the idea, what they personally would be willing to pay, IF they'd be willing to pay at all.

    No, we could not charge per photo, although Infopop is planning some changes to the software in the future that might allow for various "levels" of attachment-posting privileges. (i.e. each level would have a certain amount of bandwidth.) But for now, that's not possible.

    Yes, people who didn't elect to upgrade to a premium membership would still be able to show their photos (see my explanation above)... they just wouldn't be able to upload and attach them the way everyone can now.

    By the way, there are other things in the works as well that will hopefully help the BB pay for itself a little bit (and some of them I think you will REALLY like!)... but this is the one that would affect you guys the most, so I wanted to get some feedback.

    So... whatcha think?
  • Original Poster

    #2
    OK folks, please settle in and read this WHOLE message carefully before responding.

    As most of you know, the BB is rather expensive for the COTH to maintain. Those of you who have been around long enough know about the big pay-to-post brouhaha of a year or so ago... the folks at COTH were debating whether or not to charge for BB membership in order to offset the costs.

    We haven't had to do that yet because we've been able to implement other steps that have helped lower costs... we moved to a different Infopop software that is less expensive, which has helped greatly.

    But for some reason, people just keep showing up here and posting a lot and ruining our plans. Last month, we had 116 GB of traffic. Our limit was 70 GB (although I have just had it upped to 100 GB... the highest level Infopop offers), and we get charged extra for each GB we go over our limit. We are, I think, the busiest Infopop BB using the UBB.x software.

    Of our 116 GB of traffic, more than 30 GB were from attachments. That's about a quarter of our total traffic.

    Now, obviously, we all like to be able to post photographs of our cute critters. But the main reason the COTH started these forums was to promote discussion of issues... and photos of our cute critters don't have a lot to do with that.

    So, what I am thinking of doing is making the ability to post photographs part of a "premium" BB membership of some kind. And yes, the premium membership would be a PAID membership. I have no idea what the cost would be.... that's part of why I'm posting this, to get feedback on what people think would be appropriate.

    How would it work? Well, you'd pay $X for a "premium subscription" that would last a certain period of time (3 months, 6 months, a year... who knows), and you would have the same photo attaching privileges that you do now. Basically, nothing would change.

    If you didn't want to pay for the membership, you would no longer be able to attach photos to your posts. You WOULD be able post links to your photos on your own website or in an online photo album or whatever... so you would still be able to share photos. You just wouldn't be able to use COTH's bandwidth to do it.

    The reasons for doing this are two-fold. First of all, obviously, it will provide a little bit of income to help pay for bandwidth. And secondly, it will cut down on the number of photos posted, so we won't have to pay so much for bandwidth in the first place.

    I know that everyone loves being able to share pictures, and of course we want to continue to encourage that. But, to be blunt, you guys are going to need to chip in a little bit to help defray the costs of it. There ain't no free ride.

    Now, before I get asked a million questions let me go ahead and answer some of the ones I know are coming!

    No, this is not set in stone yet... I'm looking for some feedback on what people think of the idea, what they personally would be willing to pay, IF they'd be willing to pay at all.

    No, we could not charge per photo, although Infopop is planning some changes to the software in the future that might allow for various "levels" of attachment-posting privileges. (i.e. each level would have a certain amount of bandwidth.) But for now, that's not possible.

    Yes, people who didn't elect to upgrade to a premium membership would still be able to show their photos (see my explanation above)... they just wouldn't be able to upload and attach them the way everyone can now.

    By the way, there are other things in the works as well that will hopefully help the BB pay for itself a little bit (and some of them I think you will REALLY like!)... but this is the one that would affect you guys the most, so I wanted to get some feedback.

    So... whatcha think?

    Comment


    • #3
      I think it's a fabulous idea- saves COTH money and those that want to post pictures on the board can pay for it! Anything to keep our favorite board going!

      Dressager
      You don't throw a whole life away just because its a little banged up - Tom Smith

      Comment


      • #4
        At first glance, it seems like a reasonable idea. It doesn't take away the ability to post photos, it just limits the ability to do so on COTH's dime. Heck, if we have to click to see the photo now, just put in your URL if you don't want to pay to post it.

        My only concern is that this could be the slippery slope to paid membership. Frankly, I don't think that's at all a good idea. COTH BB is one of the few places where upper level riders and the masses like me can mix and truly converse, and if it's paid, it becomes imo (and I suspect in the opinions of more of the masses) just a place for rich, upper level kids to type unreadable shorthand about the horrible jackets Suzie X was wearing. If that kind of exclusionary elitism is what COTH wants, that works. If a more accessible place is the goal, it doesn't.

        Why not simply allow a new forum for paid advertising? The print ads could offer an online BB component for a small extra fee; BB only ads - including photo ads - could be another great source. Believe it or not, not everyone gets the Chronicle in print (I admit I subscribed back in January but still haven't seen my first issue, so I remain unimpressed with the subscription folks and the general print customer service attitude) but we MAY want to read or even send in an ad!

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Trust me, going to a fully paid membership would be the last possible option we would consider, after all others had been exhausted. Basically, it would have to come down to closing the BB or charging for membership for us to go down that path.

          So don't worry about that aspect of it. I'm really just looking for feedback on the attachments stuff.

          And as I said, other ideas ARE in the works... including, possibly, an ad forum.

          Comment


          • #6
            Erin,

            I think your idea of a special membership with extra benefits is a good one. Perhaps include a COTH chatroom and the ability to customize your title (like what you did for Aiden's auction). The classified section would also be a great benefit. I would pay money for those things!

            I think pictures should still be free, but maybe they could be deleted automatically after a couple of weeks.

            ximmer

            Comment


            • #7
              I think it's a great idea and would gladly pay for the privilege.

              Comment


              • #8
                Yes I would pay for it or the customized titles.

                "Proud Member Of The I Loff Starman Babies, Sunnieflax and Horse Boxes Cliques" Bora Da
                http://community.webshots.com/user/cotswoldjr
                http://temp.hillcresttrainingnet.off...m/default.aspx
                [url]
                Starman Babies

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think it is a good idea as well. It amazes me that there isn't a charge. Where else can I get free entertainment/therapy/gossip/ etc...???? I would gladly pay a fee for this. It is worth keeping it going.

                  ~~Lisa~~
                  Organ donation: a gift for kids to grow UP on
                  ~~Lisa~~

                  www.caringbridge.org/fl/aiden

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    What about no posting pics unless you are a COTH subscriber. That might encourage subscriptions.

                    **Courtney**

                    "I may not agree with what someone has to say, but I will die for their right to say it" every American

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Sounds fair to me! So, since I have my Photoisland account, I will still be able to post pictures, using that link? Could we make something like other forums have, a little [IMG] thing, so that the picture could show up directly IN the post, with no clicking on links or anything involved?

                      And, if we don't pay for the picture posting rights, will we still be able to look at pictures other's post?

                      Any ballpark figures for how much this privilage would cost? I would pay for the abilities to have special titles.... lol

                      * B E L E N *
                      My Pictures / My Journal
                      Hey, come on try a little, nothing is forever
                      There's got to be something better than in the middle
                      Belen
                      http://community.webshots.com/user/lovingit09
                      \"I\'m looking for a dare to be great situation\"- John Cusack

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Erin, is there anyway we can help to make this easier on COTH, financially? Maybe we can arrange to donate some money to the cause of keeping COTH alive and ticking. Anyone else have any ideas?

                        Dressager
                        You don't throw a whole life away just because its a little banged up - Tom Smith

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          IMHO, I think the "premium subscription" charge, even on a volunteered base, would alter the "feel" of this BB. And, realistically, how many will actually sign up for the premium sub, if they could instead link the pic and not have to pay at all?

                          I was going to suggest every user be limited to the number of attachements allowed say...per month or year, but that could create problems too.

                          Personally, I'll go with whatever COTH decide....I'm in agreement on the no free lunch/ride issue, but I don't see myself signing up for the premium subcription if it's an elective issue....I think I've posted MAYBE a dozen pics over the years, and I have photo storage pages all over the place.

                          .....I wonder how many bandwidth this thead will use up??



                          "I loathe being annoyed. It makes me feel angry and malicious" -- Lestat de Lioncourt
                          "fighting stupidity; one step at a time" -- a wise COTHer

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by dressager:
                            Erin, is there anyway we can help to make this easier on COTH, financially? Maybe we can arrange to donate some money to the cause of keeping COTH alive and ticking. Anyone else have any ideas?

                            Dressager<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                            "Proud Member Of The I Loff Starman Babies, Sunnieflax and Horse Boxes Cliques" Bora Da
                            http://community.webshots.com/user/cotswoldjr
                            http://temp.hillcresttrainingnet.off...m/default.aspx
                            [url]
                            Starman Babies

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              I guess the ballpark I was thinking of was somewhere between $10-30 a year, but that's just off the top of my head. Most likely it would be for a shorter period than that, though... 3 months, 6 months, something like that.

                              Yes, paying for user titles is another thing we are probably doing... you guys are spoiling all my surprises!

                              Yes, anyone would be able to look at pix that are attached... you would only have to pay if you wanted to upload a pic.

                              Tying things in with subscriptions would be kind of hard because I don't have access to the subscriber info. And a subscription is also pretty pricey... if you're not a subscriber and just want to post a cool show pic on the BB, you'd have to lay out $50 to do so... which I'm guessing people wouldn't be too happy about.

                              This whole thing would probably be run through a PayPal account, BTW, and I'm sure COTH would be happy to accept donations as well.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                As a longtime poster, I think it is reasonable to either charge a premium for photo "subscription" or greatly limit the number of attachments allowed.

                                I have seen posts that start out "Want to see a picture of my horse?" and another and another and another until there are 10 photos by one person. Not that I don't enjoy the photos, but if it is causing financial strain on the BB, then by all means it needs to be looked at as a potential place to "cut back".

                                Formerly "Cashmere"

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Jane:
                                  IMHO, I think the "premium subscription" charge, even on a volunteered base, would alter the "feel" of this BB. And, realistically, how many will actually sign up for the premium sub, if they could instead link the pic and not have to pay at all? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                  Hey, that would be totally fine by us.

                                  Remember, the idea is not only to generate a little bit of income, but also to reduce the number of photos COTH hosts. We don't have to pay for the pix posted elsewhere and simply linked to a post.

                                  What this plan would probably do is raise a tiny bit of money, but SAVE the COTH heaps of money because not as many photos would be uploaded.

                                  Oh, and sorry, but I think the COTH mod squad (and others) are totally auctioned out. I doubt we will EVER attempt another venture like that one! Heck, we may not even have THIS one sorted out by this time next year...

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Erin:

                                    Tying things in with subscriptions would be kind of hard because I don't have access to the subscriber info. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                    Could take some work, but not a big deal, I don't think...basically peopel would provide their subscription info and you'd cross reference with the sub. department's database?



                                    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>And a subscription is also pretty pricey... if you're not a subscriber and just want to post a cool show pic on the BB, you'd have to lay out $50 to do so... which I'm guessing people wouldn't be too happy about.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                    It wouldn't be $50 just to have the ability to post pics on the BB, it'd be more like money well spent...where else can you spend $52 for 52 issues of a great horsey magazine every week, PLUS the bonus of being able to post pics on the BB to share with the world?

                                    If the bottom line is to reduce the number of photos COTH hosts....maybe we can start by reminders, asking folks to cooperate by getting too....umm, picture posting happy?



                                    "I loathe being annoyed. It makes me feel angry and malicious" -- Lestat de Lioncourt
                                    "fighting stupidity; one step at a time" -- a wise COTHer

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Jane:
                                      IMHO, I think the "premium subscription" charge, even on a volunteered base, would alter the "feel" of this BB. And, realistically, how many will actually sign up for the premium sub, if they could instead link the pic and not have to pay at all?

                                      I was going to suggest every user be limited to the number of attachements allowed say...per month or year, but that could create problems too.

                                      Personally, I'll go with whatever COTH decide....I'm in agreement on the no free lunch/ride issue, but I don't see myself signing up for the premium subcription if it's an elective issue....I think I've posted MAYBE a dozen pics over the years, and I have photo storage pages all over the place.

                                      .....I wonder how many bandwidth this thead will use up??



                                      _"I loathe being annoyed. It makes me feel angry and malicious" -- Lestat de Lioncourt_<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                      Jane, just for another perspective...I would happily pay to have the ability to add attachments ....but free or not, I never *ever* click on the links to photo sites to see pics. I either look at the ones attached or I skip them. I can't stand to go to those free photo site links because on some computers it slows the whole computer down (and even causes times that rebooting is necessary) and/or you get innundated with pop-up ads....clicking on those links make me crazy. So some would never use them, free or not.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Sounds like a good plan to me. It would be easy enough to link to pictures rather than posting them here....it's just not as easy. So having to pay for that privilege makes sense, especially since it costs COTH money.

                                        visit www.victorianfarms.com

                                        Comment

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