What we need to remember is;
- Without funding there isn’t a community.
- Without posts/content there isn’t a community.
With that in mind there has to be an even balance to make both of the above efficient. Without one, there isn’t the other.
I can see this from both sides of the fence.
- The select few that keep this place afloat can’t solely continue to do so, as it isn’t sustainable, nor is it fair.
- Those that don’t contribute are not likely to ever take out a sub. And those who will, already are - or will get free access to the site via content they have generated (likely to avoid paying). Which somewhat negates the pay for approach as in a roundabout way it will never generate sufficient funding.
I would argue yes and no.
Ads displayed for people not logged in to the site would work, as mentioned there is roughly 8k visitors per day (a lot of these would be lurkers who haven’t logged in or even registered). This firstly drives the ad impressions up and secondly forces people who don’t want to see the ads to register/sign in - which organically increases content (and new lurkers).
Members who are logged in, thus creating content wouldn’t see the ads. Those that felt they wanted to help, could even go out of their way to click a few ads per day to increase the impression>follow through click rate and therefore return on impression. Imagine the Friday night coked up clickathons .
Obviously a lot of paid advertisers won’t want to be associated with us, but there will be some. And those that do want to be associated with us (paraphernalia shops etc) will likely pay a premium for the targeted advertising.
The donation model is another key aspect imo. This should be firmly placed in a permanent global sticky and a donation button at the top of the site rather than just tucked away on flip n split.
I would personally like to see a hidden donators section that is only accessible for 30 days following each donation of over £2.50 (hopefully there is a plug-in for this to minimise admin?). Yes this sounds like a paid membership subscription, as that is essentially what it is, but for many a ‘donation’ is more palatable than a ‘subscription’.
I know people have always been able to donate via flip and split, but it isn’t in your face reminding you that you can do so. Plus I suspect now people have seen this thread and are now realising that nothing in life is free (especially running this forum) and the impact the recent DDOS attacks have had, they will be more inclined to help out and donate - I know I certainly will be.
I like the idea of the DJ sets but I don’t know if we have matured enough to offer them yet as part of a membership subscription, considering many people have commented saying they are not interested in them. Possibly these could be kept in the hidden donators section as one of the donator perks. Other perks could be early access to EC results, discount codes for legit online companies who sell paraphernalia etc etc. And before someone says it I know this last paragraph massively contradicts itself - this comes back to the donations vs subscription thing, people don’t want to pay for something they don’t want to use, but will happily use it for free it it’s a perk from a ‘donation’.
A donator doesn’t have to be a donator to the site in general, it could be a donation to anything - DJ set, EC result, server costs etc.
This way there is two revenue streams, ads for those not logged in (plus coked up clickathons) and subscriptions donations. Both of which will work synergistically increasing in parallel over time.