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Subscriptions absolutely destroyed our site

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  • Subscriptions absolutely destroyed our site

    We had, I repeat had a site with over 15 million hits a month and over 4000 users. We just recently threw on a front end PayPal requirement to sign in and it detroyed our site.

    Only 100 members came back....The rest started up a board of their own similar to ours but for free, and they practically have everyone resigned there


    Our site it now a ghost town

    Subscriptions was the main reason I was upgrading to VB3, now I won't be upgrading at all...

    Just letting you all know of one users crappy experience.

    Maybe it would have been different with an integrated pay system, but most people felt jilted by having to pay for "their" content.

    Crap...we're out of business quicker than a 90's dot com

  • #2
    He who sows winds reaps tempests. Remember that.
    You're my Prince of Peace
    And I will live my life for You

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    • #3
      You should realize that using paid subscriptions is only handy in such situations as (i.e.) A company that only gives paid support for clients, .. a community that relies on their members to download cool 'full featured' addon and let their members provide with a one time fee.

      Anyway,

      Most forums who will implement this, will have it as an extra forum, like a unmoderated section for members who are willing to get the most out of the forum, and returning a little bit to make that happen.

      If you have 4000+ members and suddenly demand them to cough up money, lol- ofcourse they will not return.

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      • #4
        i would definitely recomend against making a board pay only. we implemented subscriptions in order to get added features (avatars, sigs, search, etc) and managed to convert a decent number. however, anyone can come in and use the forums.

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        • #5
          Moved to Chit Chat because it isn't a vBulletin 3.0 suggestion nor is it feedback on how vBulletin 3.0 works.

          I am sorry for your experience and hope you look on it as a learning experience. I suggest you go visit successful subscription based sites and see how they operate and try to emulate their business model in the future.
          Translations provided by Google.

          Wayne Luke
          The Rabid Badger - a vBulletin Cloud demonstration site.
          vBulletin 5 API

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          • #6
            To be honest it is a bad idea making everyone have to pay to be a member. The idea is to give "extra" features to paying members and that upgrade their account...

            - miSt
            Dean Clatworthy - Web Developer/Designer

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            • #7
              I'm not quite sure what you expected.

              $60/year per user is extreme for "just keeping the server running". It's hard to plead poverty when you are asking for $240,000 a year income from a forum.

              Is the site worth $5 a month to its users? What invaluable resources does your site offer besides just a place to chat/meet? Do you collect and provide information that is not available anywhere else?

              When I go to www.calforums.com, I cannot view the forum at all, so I don't have any idea if the site is valuble or not. Obviously, new users will have no way of knowing if it is worth registering. Hell, at least a porn site gives me some example pictures.

              Not knowing your situation, I would have tried:
              • Free access for 2 months
              • $3.95 per quarter for a regular account
              • $7.95 a quarter for all the forum features switched on
              (including attachments, private messaging, and a free @calforums.com e-mail address)

              Did you try a Paypal donation box first?
              Last edited by feldon23; Thu 17 Apr '03, 11:50am.

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              • #8
                Very interesting thread.

                I'm waiting for 3.0 to come out so that I can use paid subscriptions.

                My approach was going to be, since I'm switching from a none vBulletin board and one you can't convert, all users will have to reregister...

                1) First month users can use both boards and hopefully get most to reregister at the new board.

                2) Second and Third months make the old board read only. Goal is to get 100% of the users that had used the board in the previous month to sign up on the new board in the next 3 months. At the same time I hope my usual new member volume continues.

                For the above 3 month period all reregistering and new members will get either 6 or 12 months free.

                3) Fourth month and beyond new users will have to start paying $9.95 a year subscription. Hopefully all the old users will stay around for free their 6-12 month period and start paying the new subscription at renewal time after being use to the new board.

                I find users hate changes with the board, so if you're switching to a totally new board and at the same time asking for money, there's not much motivation for them to stay. Even the smallest of niche boards has competitors now and it's just easy to start a new one.

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                • #9
                  the whole idea of subsciptions n trying to get members to pay to be members is wrong imo...you started the board n its up to you run it within the bandwidth or whatever you have that needs a little extra expense...find a cheaper host etc...not just you rjav8r...this goes for anyone n everyone...


                  x

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DR€@M W€@V€R
                    the whole idea of subsciptions n trying to get members to pay to be members is wrong imo...you started the board n its up to you run it within the bandwidth or whatever you have that needs a little extra expense...not just you rjav8r...this goes for anyone n everyone...

                    x
                    I completely disagree.

                    My paper costs for my forum with the old host were $30 a year for vBulletin, $154 for hosting, $20 for domain registration.

                    My paper costs for my forum with the new host (I was over-bandwidth for a long time without them telling or billing me, go figure!) are still $30/yr for vBulletin, and $90/month for hosting.


                    My actual costs?

                    I spend probably 30 hours a week on the forum. I have no guilt about putting up a Paypal box and hoping to get a few hundred a month for my efforts.

                    find a cheaper host etc
                    My bandwidth needs are 30GB a month and 10,000 MySQL queries a day. What do you suggest that I can afford out of my own pocket ($50 a month)?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DR€@M W€@V€R
                      the whole idea of subsciptions n trying to get members to pay to be members is wrong imo...you started the board n its up to you run it within the bandwidth or whatever you have that needs a little extra expense...find a cheaper host etc...not just you rjav8r...this goes for anyone n everyone...


                      x
                      Not everyone starts forums for it to be free. Many people start them as a business venture. If you want to keep your board free, then by all means do so. However when it is very popular and costing you thousands of dollars per month to run your community, you might think otherwise.
                      Translations provided by Google.

                      Wayne Luke
                      The Rabid Badger - a vBulletin Cloud demonstration site.
                      vBulletin 5 API

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My site, with 25,000 members, has been operating free for all members...from the beginning and now.

                        However I find ways to offset the costs (very very expensive...over several thousands a month in all costs including bandwidth, hosting fees, datacenter tech support, sysadmin, dev costs)

                        Although the site remains open and free for all, I offer additional features for subscribers... From avatars to custom titles, icons next to the username of this special subscriber group....their name in public to thank them, photogallery use for upload in our members section and soon, greeting cards.

                        I also sell advertising on my site to help with costs. the site supports itself with the subscribers and the advertising and I think its a very good combination for our site.

                        I think each site and its community must be taken into account how to handle subscriptions. I think my community was about 10,000 members when I made subscriptions "voluntary". Its still that way today.

                        Sorry to hear about your community.
                        Fan Club member for VBulletin Dev and Support Team ;)

                        Hysterectomy - GirlsGetGoing.com - Fabulous Fifty

                        I'm frequently asked about the skin designer for my forums. ForumSkin.com

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                        • #13
                          Arstechnica has a subscription model. They use infopop's Opentopic software, which I guess costs mucho dinero. They wont release exact figures, but speculation has me to believe its something like a few thousand a month or something, due to bandwidth etc. They even had to take out loans to keep the site running.

                          They started with a donation model, then moved into the subsciption model, $25 a year for basic, $50 for premium (HTML allowance, download PDF articles, webspace for images). The only forums where subs can post are the off-topic ones, i.e. Lounge, Soap Box and the Velvet room. The rest of the fora, the technical stuff, is still free. You just dont get the perks that come with the basic or premium account.

                          Paying for content I kinda disagree with, i.e. having to pay to read or post on any forum. But if its something thats not really needed (but well liked) like an off topic lounge on a forum thats largely technical for example, then I think thats ok. For Ars, it was either a sub model for the off topic forums, or shut those forums down totally, and leave it just a tech oriented forum. According to Caesar, the owner of Ars, the subs really pulled out Ars from almost going under totally.
                          website: joe.pcfx.cc
                          forums: pcfx.cc
                          gallery: here

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Wayne Luke
                            Not everyone starts forums for it to be free. Many people start them as a business venture. If you want to keep your board free, then by all means do so. However when it is very popular and costing you thousands of dollars per month to run your community, you might think otherwise.
                            id rather close it down than charge people to view n post etc...its like saying to the dss...ok i dont have a job...thanks for the job seekers allowance...can i have a new three piece suite too...

                            ok business ones yes but most other ones are hobbies n i dont asked people to help me pay for vinyl ive bought off ebay do i ?


                            x

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DR€@M W€@V€R
                              id rather close it down than charge people to view n post etc...its like saying to the dss...ok i dont have a job...thanks for the job seekers allowance...can i have a new three piece suite too...

                              ok business ones yes but most other ones are hobbies n i dont asked people to help me pay for vinyl ive bought off ebay do i ?


                              x
                              Why don't we just stick to you running your site how you want to run it and allowing others to run their site how they want to run it even if it includes charging people hourly fees.
                              Translations provided by Google.

                              Wayne Luke
                              The Rabid Badger - a vBulletin Cloud demonstration site.
                              vBulletin 5 API

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