To subscribe or not subscribe

Discussion in 'Photo.net Site Help' started by melissa_eiselein, Mar 7, 2004.

  1. A poster recently begged for a subscriber-only site in hopes of a
    better place to read and post. In his post, he mentioned the
    correlation between readership and advertising. Being in the
    journalism field (though not in marketing) it should have occurred
    to me that numbers are likely the main reason Photo.net doesn't want
    to go pay-only. Subscription-only means fewer "members" which means
    fewer dollars from paid advertising. I would bet this is why
    Photo.net has been dragging its feet about making photo uploads a
    subscriber-only benefit.

    I understand the need for advertising dollars. I understand the need
    for member support. Just today, I forked out $68 for a three-year
    subscription because I think it's the right thing to do. But
    sometimes what's right isn't exactly smart. Who the heck in their
    right mind would pay for something they can get for free???

    There's been a lot of talk about subscriber benefits but I've not
    seen any changes that make it worthwhile for me, or others, to dig
    into our pockets and hand over our money. So my question is this:
    When will subscribers start seeing some sort of benefit over and
    above the basic services that non-paying members have and what will
    that/those benefit(s) be?

    I think it's a lot of Photo.net to ask people to be loyal,
    supportive and generous with their hard-earned cash when Photo.net
    doesn't offer anything in return. Surely there's some way to strike
    a balance?
     
  2. Who the heck in their right mind would pay for something they can get for free???
    I don't know about you Melissa, but I tip the wait staff when I eat out at restaurants. I know some others don't because they feel like the staff already gets paid or come up with some other 'reasons' usually concerning people making their own choices. But I realize these people have provided a service which is valuable to me. And they have provided it without knowing whether or not I will tip them.
    The people that run photo.net also provide a service and I imagine are not compensated fairly for what they do. I, personally, think that is worth something whether or not others are getting the same service for free. Also, I don't understand how you can say 'Photo.net doesn't offer anything in return.' Have you thought enough about that statement? If you need help understanding what it means to not offer anything in return I suggest you compare the services offered by http:// www.example.com/ to those of photo.net.
     
  3. Pay - You don't get anything except no tower ads.

    Don't pay - You still have all the privileges, establish ten, twenty accounts under differents names, and be respected just as much.

    Conclusion - Don't pay.
     
  4. Mellisa<p>I visit and participate on other photography sites but IMO photo.net is the best general photography resource on the Internet. I’ve recently renewed my subscription for the next three years regardless of any additional personal benefit and have done so merely to support this site. I’m pleased that photo.net has attracted advertising support though I’m equally pleased that as a subscriber I don’t have to look at it. I’m fairly sure that Brian has additional benefits for subscribers in the pipeline but even if he hasn’t the site is still worth supporting. Those who don’t subscribe through choice have no real grounds for complaint, as the service they receive is free, something for nothing.
     
  5. Peter Morgan: I would normally delete your post, but I'll use it as a springboard for a point.

    IF YOU ARE GOING TO USE PHOTO.NET AND NOT SUBSCRIBE AT LEAST HAVE THE BASIC DECENCY AND COMMON COURTESY NOT TO DISCOURAGE PEOPLE WHO, UNLIKE YOU, DO FEEL THE OBLIGATION TO HELP PAY FOR SOMETHING THAT THEY USE.
     
  6. Has there been a change in the way Photo.net uses PayPal? I'm sure last time I looked at subscribing I was asked to set up a PayPal account, which I was reluctant to do. I was therefore holding off subscribing until there was a non-PayPal online option.

    I had another look today, and was offered the option to subscribe directly with with my credit card. Still using PayPal, but at least it's a one off transaction.

    As a result, I've coughed up for a year. Maybe if this was more commonly known you might get some more subscribers out of it. Of course, being based in the UK, it helps that current exchange rates against the dollar are the best they've been for ten years or more!
     
  7. directly to the point of sean.

    i am also reluctant to setup another account just to pay for photo.net . the point hase been discussed on several occasions so i wont go into the dabate again. i will be in the USA in two weeks time for a couple of days and ask myself if there is a way o pay there "locally" either in cash or by card. perhaps someone can pay for me and i give him the money? any suggestions?

    as to the original topic: i just love the idea of the sponsorship the way it is right now. after experiencing so many exciting contacts and always helpful comments to my posts as well as friendly responses to many of my own answers or comments to other peoples posts i feel that i really should support this outstanding forum - and be it just for the fun of it. do i get something in return? i am confident that i will do so - but i know that i got already more out of it than what i am going to pay for.


    and btw: to all out there who might not know - there is more to the world (of photography , but also beyond ) than purely commercial thinking and pennies counting.


    just my -perhaps not- 2 cent worth of opinion.
    cheers
    walter
     
  8. Please, let's not forget Melissa's main point -- establishing clear and meaningful benefits for subscribers. I agree there is an ethical responsiblity to support the cost of services you consume, otherwise you are just freeloading at the expense of others. That is why I contribute to PN, public broadcasting, and other organizations. Nonetheless, human behavior and basic economics being what they are, most people will not pay the price of subscription until they see a clear advantage in doing so. Most people will maintain a "why pay for the cow when you can get the milk for free" attitude. That's life.
     
  9. Actually, at this point, photo.net is technically a subscription site.
    When people sign up, they are told that if they use the site extensively, they will be expected to subscribe.

    We give complimentary access to people while they become acquainted with the site. Also to people who reside outside the United States and may have difficulties to pay the subscription fee -- at least temporarily until we solve that problem.

    Finally, we also allow free access to students, retired persons, and others who cannot afford the subscription fee. (We don't expect that this last category to be very large, since almost everybody involved in photography must have the means at least to purchase equipment and film, and probably is also affording a computer and Internet access.)

    It is basically on the "honor system" for each person to decide when his or her "getting acquainted" period is over, or whether he or she fits into one of the groups to whom we offer complimentary access. We don't nag people to suscribe, except for occasional posts like this; but someone who is using the site regularly and isn't in one of the"complimntary access" groups is basically like somebody who downloads shareware, uses it regularly, and never pays for it.

    To me, when there is no subscriber icon next to a person's name, it means: (1) newcomer, infrequent visitor; or (2) student, retired person, person of limited means; or (3) person without a credit card accepted by PayPal; or (4) somebody whose subsciption is in the mail, or (5) procrastinator or (6) freeloader.
     
  10. Brian, I think the point that some people have tried to make is that the some of the freeloaders you mentioned are reducing the quality of the experience for the non-freeloaders (through outlandish ratings, etc.). If something has no price, it is often perceived as having no value. If something has no value, it is easy to to treat it with abuse.
     
  11. As Non-US resident, some effort was required to subscribe. Nonetheless, after some time it felt the right thing to do. I guess you would have more subscribers if you had a simpler method of subscription and wouldn't require registering at Paypal. I don't expect better treatment as a subscriber, but want to repay for the advice and service I already enjoyed previously.
     
  12. I feel Martin has put it best. Actually, it's the same reason I subscribed a few years back when the site was much smaller. If someone chooses to spend a decent amount of time here and take advantage of PN's services, doesn't it simply feel like the right thing to do?
    I used to also belong to another site which was completely free. Joined them when they were small. The other site eventually went to subscription or free, with limitations, much as PN. I left without subscribing. Not for the cost, but the content. It became permeated with garbage. PN is much more a "class act" and always has been.
    I'll not get into advertising support and all other discussion of subscribing or not. Is $25 annually really going to drive me broke? Those that run this site, though not perfect, do a very good job of it. I can't imagine the amount of time it takes for them to do what they do. Is subscription simply the right thing to do? Think the answer is obvious
     
  13. MELISSA not Mellisa. Sorry :)
     
  14. Those who support "free" services such as this site, public broadcasting, and the local library do so because they feel a greater sense of obligation and responsibility than those who can but do not. I suspect that attitude carries over to other aspects of their lives as well. They don't expect something in return. Wouldn't the world be a rather miserable place (or even more miserable depending on your perspective) if everyone did only what they derived material benefits from?

    Bill
     
  15. << Who the heck in their right mind would pay for something they can get for free??? >>

    Which is why I'm glad I'm in my left mind. :)

    I support photo.net because...I want to support photo.net. Yes, having additional subscriber-only benefits would be nice (ala livejournal) but not necessary. I support because I want photo.net to be around for a long time.
     
  16. Peter Morgan (Photo net user ID#662105) said:
    Don't pay - You still have all the privileges, establish ten, twenty accounts under differents names, and be respected just as much
    Then we'll just have to do something about that won't we. Thanks for the wakeup call Peter. We'll be paying extra attention to those points in future.
     
  17. John Orban wrote: "If something has no price, it is often perceived as having no value. If something has no value, it is easy to to treat it with abuse."
    Yes, John. That's exactly my point. I've been with Photo.net a year and haven't uploaded 100s of photos that take up huge amounts of server space. My bet is that most of those uploads are from non-subscribers. I pay because I think it's the right thing to do. But some people just don't care what's right and what's wrong. Those of us who do pay will always be carrying the deadbeats.
    Brian Mottershead wrote: "Finally, we also allow free access to students, retired persons, and others who cannot afford the subscription fee."
    Brian, I'm very happy to see that Photo.net is ready to make allowances to those really in need. Perhaps there might be some sort of scholarship set up where students and seniors who make excellent contributions can be awarded a subscriber icon with full benefits. As a single mom with a cool, but low-paying job, (and support payments that run out in two months) I'm going to be feeling a huge pinch very soon--yet I would gladly contribute a few dollars a year to provide full access to those who are less fortunate than I.
    I'd just like to see more incentive for other people to subscribe... and more crack down on non-subscribers who abuse the site.
    And finally, I'd like to thank my ex-husband for his (court ordered) support payments (due to me for my dozen years of unpaid services as a homemaker: cook, maid, mistress, dishwasher, secretary, toilet cleaner, nurse, slave) that have allowed me to put together a really nice digital Canon setup that will last me throughout my future years of freedom.
     
  18. jbs

    jbs

    I only signed up to get that cute box after my name...


    P.S. If any one has found a better site than PN you just shoot me an e-mail...:)

    ...;)...J
     
  19. In response to:


    Brian Mottershead:

    To me, when there is no subscriber icon next to a person's name, it means: (1) newcomer, infrequent visitor; or (2) student, retired person, person of limited means; or (3) person without a credit card accepted by PayPal; or (4) somebody whose subsciption is in the mail, or (5) procrastinator or (6) freeloader.


    John Orban:

    Brian, I think the point that some people have tried to make is that the some of the freeloaders you mentioned are reducing the quality of the experience for the non-freeloaders


    Make you a deal. You contact the administrators that laid myself and the other 22 people off 1 1/2 months ago (of course they still got thier bonuses), and I'll be glad to support photo.net by joining/supporting via payment instead of "Freeloading".

    I used to be arrogant and pompous when I was working too...guess what; reality can bite you square in the ass when you least expect it and that "extra" $30-$40 bucks isn't so extra anymore.

    I applaud those who can and do support this site via monitary means; but don't be so quick to assume that those of us who can not are merely "freeloading".
     
  20. Wade, if you are unemployed and can't afford $25, you fall into the category of "student, retired, person of limited means", not freeloader. Read what I wrote. Hope things work out for you.

    I have no way of knowing who falls into the "negative" groups in my list; that is, procrastinator or freeloader.
     
  21. I can't begin to list the people who've helped me out and the pure enjoyment I've got from this site. For me too, it's just the right thing to do...and to do for those who truly can't, to help keep this valuable resource up and running.
     
  22. "Good manners means if you enjoy and use a service then you should pay...it isn't a complicated ethical dilema is it...?"

    It shouldn't be a complicated, ethical dilema, but it is.
    Lately, we've been experiencing horrible server problems that slow the site to a crawl and sometimes make it inaccessible. Meanwhile, there are non-paying patrons who abuse the photo upload limit, filling up the servers will their family photo albums. More than once we've heard how easy it is to jump from one bogus name to another in order to abuse fellow members. And now we hear that people accessing Photo.net via offline readers are racking up hits on the site making it even harder for others to navigate.

    It's kind of like welfare. There's definitely a need for it, but when you're spending your hard-earned money to buy ground beef and generic cereal for your kids, you have trouble accepting the unfairness in life when the person in front of you used food stamps to buy steak and their welfare check to buy Heineken--both which were paid with a portion of your tax money. (BTW...California doesn't use food stamps anymore and checks are deposited right into a checking account--probably so hardworking lower income folks like me wouldn't see the abuses and complain about our welfare system.)
     
  23. To me it's simple. If you value the site and want it to be around you support it. In this case financially. Personally I felt guilty spending a lot of time here and not "forking up" $25 which is really equal to two rolls of film with developing. I realized this about a year ago.<p> I would however like to see some restriction on non subscribers. Possibly limiting to 25 photos. The people who mainly post to the forums only, are in a way contributing and not taking up space with their photos. But again $25 is a small sum which I would guess 90% of the people could easily afford.
     
  24. To me it's simple. If you value the site and want it to be around you support it. In this case financially. Personally I felt guilty spending a lot of time here and not "forking up" $25 which is really equal to two rolls of film with developing. I realized this about a year ago.<p> I would however like to see some restriction on non subscribers. Possibly limiting to 25 photos. The people who mainly post to the forums only, are in a way contributing and not taking up space with their photos. But again $25 is a small sum which I would guess 90% of the people could easily afford.
     

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