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Thread: How can Keith fund SMC in the future?

  1. #1

    How can Keith fund SMC in the future?

    I'm doing this in the open to get opinions from Members and Contributors. Ad revenue is down due to ad blocking software and it takes money to operate this site. As I understand it, in a year or so, something will need to change to keep the site open, unless he sells to a big company.

    Please chime in with YOUR ideas for how to fund SMC in the future. What things about SMC matter most to YOU? With those ideas in mind, how would you fund SMC?

    Some thoughts I've had, some of which echo points made by others in a recent thread....
    * In my opinion, we have a lot of Members who add really valuable knowledge and content. Some of these folks will not stay with us if we go "subscription only". (For example, I don't choose to subscribe to the FWW pay-for-content site. I don't get enough there to justify the cost.) To me, it's extremely important to find a way to keep free Memberships - and full, free google searches. Even if I need to pay more personally to offset that. Yes, that opens us up to an occasional freeloader - I accept that for the future as I do now. But that might be the cost of maintaining the quality of this site. YMMV.

    * When I go to websites that restrict me unless I subscribe, I don't go back. Likewise for sites that let me read 5 free articles and then block me. "Phooie on you - I'll go elsewhere." Again, YMMV.

    * I dont know anything about web software. But if there was a way to allow someone to join for free for one year and then lock the account, that might be a compromise. Another admittedly long shot is find a way the non-paying Members have to view ads. (I cant see pictures unless I log on. Is there something like that feasible with ads? IDK.)

    * And here's a totally out of the box idea - incorporate SMC and sell shares. Or make it a Co-op. I'm not looking for financial gain - I'm trying to figure out a way to make people who contribute the required minimum get something more than those who don't. (Nobody really uses the Lumberyard and $6 is pretty cheap advertizing for a host of people who only seem to post when they have something to sell.)

    * Maybe give future paying participants a vote on site rules and policies, but not Members. IDK, I'm spitballing ideas.

    Fred
    Last edited by Frederick Skelly; 08-04-2018 at 11:42 AM.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    5,321
    #1 - keep the bashing out of the forum & I'll reup my membership.

    I don't come here for the political BS and the forum rules say to keep it out,,,but,,yet again there's another thinly veiled bashing thread going on - yeah it the tariff thread.

    I bit my tongue over the last one and ignored it, but, this time this one coincides with my membership coming due. I decided not to renew - after 11 years of doing so, just because I can get political bashing anywhere.

    I didn't come here for that kind of crap and I'm not staying if it continues.
    Every loaf of bread is a tragic tale of grains that could've become beer.......but didn't....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    I would like to understand how the ad revenue is generated. Is just for having the ad appear on a web page or is it generated when someone clicks on the ad? I turned my ad blocker off for this site some time ago because I thought it would help with ad revenue.

    This site has much knowledge to share with members. I do not know how it would affect membership if the site was made a paid membership site after six months free. I suppose people could make up new names to keep a free membership.

    I increased my contribution this year to help the site financially and will up it again when it comes time to renew because I find a lot of useful knowledge here. I have not found any woodworking site with as much knowledge as this group of members has.

    Maybe a poll of the contributing members only to see what level of subscription they would support?

    Come on everyone step up and increase your contributions to keep this site alive.
    George

    Making sawdust regularly, occasionally a project is completed.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    USA
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    My first thought is to figure out a way to not get ads blocked and then gather income from ad revenue. This must be possible. Next step is to require a minimum contribution (monthly or annual for members, per visit for non members after a maximum number of free usages per period). It may be that the site will need to modify the rules a bit, for example, not be so "moderated" and allow, again for example, political debate (just not personal attacks against members).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Barry View Post
    It may be that the site will need to modify the rules a bit, for example, not be so "moderated" and allow, again for example, political debate (just not personal attacks against members).
    Keep political topics off the site. They can lead to a hostile environment which I personally do not want here.
    George

    Making sawdust regularly, occasionally a project is completed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Central MA
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    1,174
    I personally quit contributing after many years when the selective and targeted moderation got ridiculous. I still read and continue to post when I have the answer that someone is looking for but I won’t pay to support ideology that I don’t believe in. Lots of valuable contributors left for good, and it’s no secret why.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Western Nebraska
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    What's the budget number needed per year?

    Use the classified section as a revenue stream. It'll need a few tweaks, but charge a fee to list. As a seller, I'd happily pay a fee to get my listing in front of educated consumers. Limit it to relevant products, but not too much so sellers feel welcome.

    I agree about the politics, tariffs threads are thinly veiled political attacks. I get enough of that on the news.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by George Bokros View Post
    Keep political topics off the site. They can lead to a hostile environment which I personally do not want here.
    Or just keep them to one place so that people who are not interested don't have to see them.

  9. #9
    The problem isn't this site necessarily when it comes to ads, but all online advertising. The reason for the prevalence of ad blockers are the obnoxious advertisers. So long as advertisers are such obnoxious idiots, people will block all ads everywhere. That's just a fact of life. They can force ad blockers off the site by simply not having the site work for anyone running an ad blocker, but as others have said, a lot of people will just leave.

    My real question is what do contributors get for contributing except a "good feeling"? What is it that they get that they do not get not contributing? And honestly, I don't see anything. There are private forums that never get any messages. There used to be manufacturer giveaways that don't exist anymore. What is it that contributors get that nobody else does? I think that's the first place that Keith needs to look.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Another idea would be to make this a non profit organization wherein member contributions are tax deductible. I bet that some big hitters would appreciate a tax deduction. The staff would still get a salary but the bills would be paid by deductible contributions.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Barry View Post
    Another idea would be to make this a non profit organization wherein member contributions are tax deductible. I bet that some big hitters would appreciate a tax deduction. The staff would still get a salary but the bills would be paid by deductible contributions.
    I too wondered about that. I just couldn't figure a legitimate approach to making it one. But it's an idea for one our CPAs or Lawyers to weigh-in on....
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Henderson View Post
    My real question is what do contributors get for contributing except a "good feeling"? What is it that they get that they do not get not contributing? And honestly, I don't see anything. There are private forums that never get any messages. There used to be manufacturer giveaways that don't exist anymore. What is it that contributors get that nobody else does? I think that's the first place that Keith needs to look.
    ^^^^^^^ This is the key, and Brian stated it better than I did.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Florida
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    GET RID OF THE REAL NAMES POLICY!!!! It's a major act of faith to register on an internet forum with your real name. Maybe none of you (the other 75 members currently on-line here along with 1260 guests) are bothered by it but I assure you I am. It's naive to think that's not keeping people away. I thought about it long and hard before I registered here four years ago and I'm not sure I'd do it today.

    As a comparison look at Rimfire Central (https://www.rimfirecentral.com/forums/). Although the subject matter is obviously different, RFC is equally authoritative in its field and costs about the same. Right now it happens to have about the same number of viewers on-line. The difference? 28% are members vs 6% here. (Sawmill Creek: 75 members, 1260 guests. Rimfire Central: 325 members 841 guests.)

    If people want to use their real names - fine - but there's no reason to require it and some big reasons not to.

    As for subscription policies - subscription-only will not work unless you have something people need and will pay for in order to make money themselves. In a forum like this you should have 20-30% members and I think you can do that if you don't drive them away with the names policy.

    [Edit: I realized I over-simplified the comparison of memberships between the 2 forums and I was thinking of "cost" in terms of my own contributions. But IMO the names policy is a problem, regardless of anything else.]
    Last edited by Alan Rutherford; 08-04-2018 at 5:36 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Chagrin Falls, OH
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    4,475
    Contributors get access to the classifieds right? Members donít right? Thatís worth it to me right there as Iíve bought and sold here.

    Regarding political threads, the mods do a pretty good job of keeping the peace. Itís a fine line though. You obviously can just ignore the thread instead of getting your panties in a wad. But, banning political threads might be a good idea as I know I see some crazy opinions and I keep that in mind for regular woodworking topics. BUT, banning political threads have no impact on revenue. The reason people left in the exodus was mainly over-modding IIRC.

    Lumberyard seems like a waste of space as itís so unpopular.

    Increase contribution to $8 or $10. If youíre giving $6 and value the forum, asking for a few more bucks shouldnít be a problem.

  15. #15
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    Interesting Frederick that you mention Google searches. One of my biggest complaints of late is not being able to find some of my old posts using the SMC search function. If the same terms are entered in to Google, they are usually right on top.

    Another one of my gripes is with the moderation. On another BBS one of my duties is to moderate discussions. One of the rules is if we 'jail' a post is we have to contact the person who posted it and explain why it was put in 'jail.' Moderators can not edit posts on the other BBS.

    To me some of the valued people who have left in the past left due to sloppy editing and lax moderation.

    At times some unpleasant replies to my posts have made me feel my time could be better spent on other activities.

    At other times the value of the information shared here makes me think my contribution is money well spent.

    Heavy handedness is never a useful tool to attract new contributors.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

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