I think you should do it. But, like others have suggested, there should be a free grace period. At least a month. This would give people time to see what DRN is all about. Ya never really know what you had til you lose it.
When I found DRN I was pretty new to the internet and I probably would not have paid to stay. Now, three years later, I can't tell you how much fun I have had here. Not to mention having aprox. 35 new riding buddies that I didn't have 3 years ago. But, I did have to go through a learning period to get comfortable with posting.
The VIP idea is good for those that want to share their wealth of knowledge with us. Maybe a one year free ride for them renewable at your discretion.
I will gladly pay $39.00 a year to see this site go on.
BTW. My $39.00 for next year is coming your way. :thumb:
Whatever your doing, it seems to be workin'. Keep up the good work. :worship:
At least in my post, I was referring to the 14-18 year old crowd. Sure there are a few kids like tigger, but I think that the vast majority of "kids" posting/active here are the teenagers that could pay for a subscription if they really wanted to. There's always the gift option. Or spend an afternoon going door-to-door collecting returnables. We're all familar with the girl-scout / boy-scout / little league / soccer fund-raisers to help pay for uniforms. How do all these teens pay for their cell-phones, movie tickets, video games, etc.?
Also, can you even register here if you are under 13? A lot sites don't let you if under 13.
Re: Trial Membership
It took me more than a week to get hooked. I slowly got back into riding over a 6 month period. During that time I'd go weeks on end without visiting DRN. As I got closer to getting a bike, I spent more time online - about 95% just reading and learning. Needless to say I was amazed!
I like the idea of a month free membership. Or free unlimited reading, but no posting. Or free for up to x number of posts (5?) per month.
Re: Subscription Fees
Like most here, I also feel somewhat guilty with getting away with a $109 lifetime fee. I get way more value here compared to the AMA, and that's $39 per year, or $750 lifetime. I think that DRN lifetime fee needs to be more in-line with other clubs (but not $750!). Or is a lifetime deal really in the best long-term interests of DRN. Perhaps a yearly renewable fee of say $50 would be better for the overall cashflow of DRN.
Re: 3409 have posted since 9-1-2002
Is that number of distinct users that have posted, or 3,409 cummulative posts? If unique, I'm surprised/impressed. If there are that many unique members posting, then the upside potential for new subscribers is higher than I thought.
All of this is a little hard to speculate without having access to analyze all the numbers like Okie does. What existing revenue streams offer the most potential? Advertising? DRN logo store? Subscriptions? DirtWeek? And I wouldn't feel like DRN doesn't need to earn a nice profit off things like DW. I imagine that it is a ton of work, coordination, and effort by a lot of good people, and it appears that it's getting more popular each year. Use the proceeds from DW to help support the DRN site throughout the rest of the year so that we don't have to worry about stuff like this as much.
Finally, a big thank you Okie, the admins, mods, founding members, chapter coordinators, and everyone else that has helped grow this site into what it is today. You should be very proud of it and what you've accomplished!
I think a person should get a set amount of free post when they first find this site. I found DRN via. Canadian Dave’s Just KDX site. :thumb: I don't own a kdx anymore, (but I still lurk in the kdx sub. form every now and then) And I do way more reading than posting. I spent a lot of coin doing the mods. That was suggested on the kdx site. (That last part was for any advertisers that might read this post!) I will continue to support this site for the information and entertainment value alone. Darin
Advertising was the original model, but like most other dot coms, falls way short. Even though DRN has as many readers as the number 1 dbike pub, it's nearly impossible to convince advertisers it's a better deal. Let's say you put a $6,000 full page ad in Dirt Rider Mag. It has the potential to be seen by 150,000 readers. Can DR Mag tell you how many people actually saw it and how many times? No. DRN can. There are endless reasons why effective, targeted web advertising beats paper, the old school just doesn't get it. At least not yet. If you convince them to get on board, how do you value it? I see ad rates from $10 to $1000 per month on the web. The most exposure a company can get on DRN costs less per month as a 1 inch tall, B/W ad in the back of Dirt Rider lol! Think DRN is a better deal? You'd think it would be a no-brainer.
Bottom line is this; the income has to be generated by the subscribers/STM's and what advertising we can land.
The DRN Store? That's generated exactly $120 since it went up. It wasn't intended to be a money maker, just an easy way to make DRN stuff available to those who want it. There is a small "commission" amount paid on each item. The item costs are high, doen't leave much room for mark-up, but hey, it's a hands-off deal, no inventory, no minimum order qty's, etc.
But if at all possible i do not think that you should do so until they have posted XX number of times or have been posting for a period of around 3 months (not 1 week).
I found this site when i was buying my first (in many years) bike and my wife was getting her very first bike.
I stumbled on to something called the MidWest Spode Fest 2000 (MWSF2K) now DW. It wasn't too far away and sounded like a pretty cool event. I would have paid to join the site to go to the event as long as it was a reasonable fee (say $35 annually). After MWSF2K i began to post and use DRN much more - it took me a while to learn about my bike and just how usfull DRN can be.
If it was 1 week or get out - i may have gone elsewhere.
I felt no pressure to become a LTSM and thought that $109 was a bargan. I agree that there should be some sort of annual maintenance fee - understnading that a site like this can not run without $$ coming in.
So Okie - i think many people will pay - you just have to make sure that they believe that what they are paying for is of worth before they run off. AS you know - once you get us hooked you can not shake us - even after beating with a stick.
If you could make the age (birthday) input a determinating factor as to if members have to pay maybe we could let the young ones (12 and below) have a free ride. Once they hit the teens - make them pay.
With all respect, I think you'll be sorry. I believe you are asking the wrong people, what you are considering has no real affect on those of us here so it doesn't matter, we have nothing else to gain. The ones it will affect are the ones that don't see this and they are the ones you are dependent on. They are the potential subscribers.
You can't come right out and ask, pretty much the way it has been done in the past, why they don't subscribe, people are very defensive when it comes to loosing privileges and it will only deter future growth. If it were my site I would make the changes gracefully and only inform on a need to know basis. In other words lead them to where they need to be. As I said before, it was the raffle for JG was what caught my eye. I had no idea who JG is and at the time really didn't care, the chance to win a motorcycle for $25 was all I was interested in. That was my incentive. Of coarse I almost feel ashamed to admit that part after I understood the meaning behind it all.
The way the Internet operates, there are still so many "free" sites with seeming limitless access. DRN is special but it takes quite some time for the average person to realize this. IMO, you are going to have to entice potential subscribers to pony up a lot sooner and what better ways to do so than make them see the value. What you are going to have to do is come up with a means to make people give up their cash as soon as they walk in the door or shortly afterwards. (Like I don't need to tell you that) My suggestion of offering something people can purchase directly on line from DRN at a price that's unheard of as an enticement.
Here's my example:
There are X number of RM owners out there. Every one of the RM's will need a kitty litter handle that cost $15 everywhere else. This is something that has to be replaced about every 2 months so demand is going to be high. A potential subscriber surfs the web and comes across DRN and notices we have a couple of them on auction for $3 and along with that we also have Barbie stickers and tow ropes. The only catch is you have to be a registered subscriber to bid on the items and the bidding closes in 2 days. There are other items as well so the chances of needing something else from here is pretty good. This could work the same for a raffle. The total bill will be $10 for the products and $12 for subscription, $22. The person can subscribe, have a chance to win the bid and still save $15. You now have several new subscribers that registered to win, the cost of the products was pretty much a wash but the subscription is directly in the DRN kitty. Registration is still free. The subscriber now can bid on other items that come up until the subscription is up for renewal. At that time it will start over yet a bond will have began to develop and for a flat fee the subscriber can register for a year or a lifetime and not have the hassle of re subscribing.
This may not be what you are looking for but the fact is DRN is a business that has to generate an income otherwise it will go down the tubes. It must be self-supporting. The trick is getting people to want to sign up and put their money where their mouth is. Hell, it took me 2 years to pay my part. If not for the raffle and free registration in the first place, I would have ever been back. It took months of posting before I ever considered hooking up with other DRNers and it was still months after that and a DW before I financially supported DRN.
Best of choices Okie, I'll be here. I hope others have the same opportunity as I to experience what DRN is all about.
This is one of the hardest things to achieve-you need more money but people dont understand why they have to pay for anything on the net-you can get antivirus programs, firewalls and so much more for free.I fear it will put off some people with a vast knowledge of mx but i know this wont pay the bills-my only constructive advice is to aim to get a small amount off many menbers-maybe even $1 or 2 a month(instead of yearly) as all can afford this, if you try to get bigger amounts i believe people will be turned off as they will not understand the need.
And to add my bit on the ganging up-i was ashamed when i saw the Gcooper thread-it was obvious what was happening and it should have been locked-if i was a non member it would have made me not walk but run away.
The fresh blood will come... just a little slower at first. At Mototalk they were really slow after going pay to post... now the membership in increasing and it seems to be doing quite well. It has a much more clubbier feel than DRN but that is part of the attraction to those that will pay.
Having said that. I don't like the idea of pay to post. However, I cannot see any other way DRN can generate revenue. From my personal dislike of it I say Don't do it but I support it if it happens. I don't like that MT is pay to post but I support it. That is just how life is... nothing is free.
I'm for it Okie. It's a small price to pay for such value information and the pool of knowledge to draw it from. Try buying the books or going to class to gain the same info and it would cost a lot more. :thumb:
Okie, you have the stats to look at and only you can make the most informed decision. It is unfortunate that there is no real "proven plan" to follow. Everything I have suggested is coming from my uneducated perspective. I make notice that my ideas will be a pain in the butt and possibly not the right choice for DRN but they are suggestions none the less. It just took me so very long to put up my share and I'm a pretty generous person, I hope the other members are quicker to react than I was.
Limiting the number of posts may in fact cut down on your expense but will it quickly entice new paying members? I don't really see how in the short run. Over the long haul things may turn around, like Ivan said, but how much time are will willing to wait? I think the ultimate goal here would be to rapidly increase income more so than cut expenses, though it never is a bad idea to spend less as a means to increase income. I'm sure you can come up with an amicable plan after all, you did come up with DRN.