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My (limited) understanding of Internet advertising is that ad views alone earn the site little or nothing - it's when people click on the ads that the site gets paid. Occasionally in the past I've clicked on things I didn't actually intend to buy, so the site would earn a few cents (this tends to lead to me subsequently seeing a lot more ads for the same sort of thing), but there's no way I'm clicking on an ad for a dubious-looking dating site!

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I can't imagine anyone visiting this site clicking on the ads that have been observed or described so far... it's unclear to me what this accomplishes for anyone.

 

Don refers to "paying members". Are there paying members? I'd never even known that was an option! What does it mean to be a paying member, how does one do it (or even discover one can do it), and are there benefits (besides knowing you're supporting a worthy website and, potentially, avoiding ads)?

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No, I was trying to suggest that something like a premium membership could exist which would have the benefit of not displaying ads.

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Looking at the Invision site it looks like Paul will need something north of $1,000 pa for the site, maybe quite a bit more.

 

I, for one think, that it would be tragic for the community if this site with its history was in danger of disappearing. I am certainly prepared to contribute what I can.

 

Maybe contributors could be given a new title in recognition. Maybe 'Patron' instead of 'Heavyweight Boxer' etc...

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Looking at the Invision site it looks like Paul will need something north of $1,000 pa for the site, maybe quite a bit more.

 

 

 

I'm curious what the economics of some other comparable instrument-focused or folk-music-oriented online forums are, which feature similar discussions among like-minded communities. Melnet, Mandolin Café, Chiff & Fipple, Banjo Hangout, Fiddle Forum ... and places like the Session and Mudcat, too ... are any of them paying north of $1000 pa for their forum software?

 

If so, where does the money come from?

 

If not, what other forum software(s) are they using, what are their annual costs, and would cnet gain or lose functionality if it switched to any of those other platforms?

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AKAICT Paul is somewhat stuck.

 

The concertina.net forums use IPBoard software which once was free, or nearly so, and that could easily be installed on any hosting site. Then INvision decided to monetize their software. They created a new version and stopped supporting the old free versions. The new version can be installed on non-Invision hosts, but it looks to be tricky so Invision are now offering to do the hosting as well as provide the software - for a nice fee.

 

The version of IPBoard that we presently use is old and has security breaches in it that have not been fixed and never will be fixed. We really should move on.

 

Mel.net uses a different forum software from http://www.simplemachines.orgwhich is free and, I think, open source. Again, this can be installed on independant, cheap hosting sites.

 

I guess Paul is looking at upgrading to the current version of Invision forum software and running it on the Invision servers. This is probably the easiest, least risk route but it is is not cheap.

 

I think that Simple Machines has a migration script that could be used to move messages and users over to a Simple Machines based forum. Theo is an admin/owner on mel.net so he certainly has a better insight on this stuff than I do.

 

Leaving Invision would be attractive except that it is likely to involve a lot work on Paul's part and there is some risk that the migration of old material would fail.

 

Rock and a hard place.

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AKAICT Paul is somewhat stuck [...]

 

It's not so bad, but yeah, for almost two decades I've had people tell me to switch to lower cost hosts, or use free software. I think every single one of those hosts have now gone out of business ("free" ain't much of a business model, ha ha!), had terrible security/data breach problems, and the free software, well, you generally get what you pay for (not to mention the cost and hassle of migration).

 

I've been in discussions with Invision and we're working something out. Not too expensive and they should be able to take care of the upgrade to the latest version for us to minimize the risk of losing any data/images/attachments etc. Well, anyway, the 3.x branch we're on now is a dead end (normal in the software business, you can't support legacy systems forever if you want to stay current and keep up with new developments and security), so I feel it's probably for the best. Eventually some security flaw in the old system could lead to disaster, and anyway, so many people now browse on mobile, and as everyone knows, the mobile version in place here is very old and does not work well.

 

And yes, the new version apparently makes it possible to sell membership levels, so I'll maybe fool around with that once it's up and running to see if I can offer a few perks to people who kick in a few bucks, like additional upload space and things like that.

 

Stay tuned.

 

Paul

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Posted (edited)

Another music oriented forum I used to be active on (fingerpicker.de) has a different model of cost covering. There are currently three sponsors - independent German guitar builders who have their logo on the forum's front page AND have a sub forum each moderated by themselves in which they can both advertise and initiate discussions about their products. I don't know how much the sponsors pay in return, but if Don's figures are transferrable, there would be about 300/a year each which I believe would be well within the budget of an instrument maker.

 

This setup has been stable for well over ten years now and in part also works because the sponsors are active on the forum anyways, are well respected and active members and also engage in discussions outside of their respective subforums. Even if they weren't - open (and contributing) topic-related advertising appears to be better accepted and tolerated than the occasional outsider who signs up just to make a sales pitch for his record. In one sponsor's case, it is obvious that his forum presence has secured him a good number of instrument sales.

 

Maybe something along those lines would be realizable in this forum as well considering that a good number of well respected concertina makers are active on this forum anyways.

 

Edit: Of course I wouldn't mind contributing as a regular member which certainly beats being pestered by (topic unrelated and sometimes tasteless up to outright criminal) third-party placed ads, but I think that the admin's work would be so much more time cosuming trying to collect contributions from individual members than a few who might even get sales opportunities out of the deal...

Edited by RAc

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Another consideration is that explicit dating ads not only are troubling for those of us already here, but also make a less than favourable impression on newcomers.

 

Not to mention the fact that this is supposed to be a "family friendly" web site.

 

I wonder how many (if any) of our members are under the age of 18. 16? 14?

 

And keep in mind that one doesn't even have to be a member to browse here.

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I'm curious what the economics of some other comparable instrument-focused or folk-music-oriented online forums are, which feature similar discussions among like-minded communities. Melnet, Mandolin Café, Chiff & Fipple, Banjo Hangout, Fiddle Forum ... and places like the Session and Mudcat, too ... are any of them paying north of $1000 pa for their forum software?

 

If so, where does the money come from?

 

If not, what other forum software(s) are they using, what are their annual costs, and would cnet gain or lose functionality if it switched to any of those other platforms?

 

 

Melnet uses SMF, but the big hurdle for c.net would be migrating the existing forum across from Invision. It might be easy, but it might not! The functionality of SMF is different from Invision in some ways, but it does have add-ons available which add other features, but are of variable quality. Such is the nature of open source software.

 

We pay for our own hosting and have now found a host who gives us a very high standard of support. My co-admin is an IT professional which is also a big help. Donations from members who use our Buy and Sell forum comfortably covers hosting costs, but there is a much larger market for buying and selling melodeons than for concertinas, so this would not necessarily work for c.net.

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I have been using phpBB (free) for about 10 years, and it's worked fine, but the availability old threads is an incredible resource, and I'd hate to lose that through the migration to some other forum platform!

 

If there is a membership offered for $$, I will buy one.

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Maybe contributors could be given a new title in recognition. Maybe 'Patron' instead of 'Heavyweight Boxer' etc...

 

I, for one, would be happy to contribute, but I would prefer not to have such a fact advertised to the general public.

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If I get unsavoury pop up adds I would probably be saying goodbye to all the rest of you.

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A couple of ideas to fund an ad-free forum:

 

1) An annual crowd-funding appeal for sufficient monies to keep concertina.net alive for another year. This could work a bit like the way that NPR in the States raises money for its operations. Define a target amount and nag users until the goal is reached, then turn it off for another year. The only ads that we would see would be the appeal ads for the crowd-funding campaign.

 

2) (Longer-term, hopefully) Encourage folks to leave a concertina to the forum in their will. This could then be sold or auctioned on the forum to raise money for the future. This may seem a bit macabre, but I suspect that many of us are getting on in years and perhaps wondering what will happen to our concertinas once we 'cross the bar'. I do not think that a non-playing relative would have an easy time realizing the value of a concertina, and I suspect that many just get put on a shelf and mostly forgotten about.

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A couple of ideas to fund an ad-free forum:

 

1) An annual crowd-funding appeal for sufficient monies to keep concertina.net alive for another year. This could work a bit like the way that NPR in the States raises money for its operations. Define a target amount and nag users until the goal is reached, then turn it off for another year. The only ads that we would see would be the appeal ads for the crowd-funding campaign.

 

2) (Longer-term, hopefully) Encourage folks to leave a concertina to the forum in their will. This could then be sold or auctioned on the forum to raise money for the future. This may seem a bit macabre, but I suspect that many of us are getting on in years and perhaps wondering what will happen to our concertinas once we 'cross the bar'. I do not think that a non-playing relative would have an easy time realizing the value of a concertina, and I suspect that many just get put on a shelf and mostly forgotten about.

 

Thanks Don. Yes, I think we'll go with option #1 once I evaluate the ongoing costs. The upgrade is now in motion, coming soon... fingers crossed it goes smoothly!

 

Paul

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A couple of ideas to fund an ad-free forum:

 

1) An annual crowd-funding appeal for sufficient monies to keep concertina.net alive for another year. This could work a bit like the way that NPR in the States raises money for its operations. Define a target amount and nag users until the goal is reached, then turn it off for another year. The only ads that we would see would be the appeal ads for the crowd-funding campaign.

 

2) (Longer-term, hopefully) Encourage folks to leave a concertina to the forum in their will. This could then be sold or auctioned on the forum to raise money for the future. This may seem a bit macabre, but I suspect that many of us are getting on in years and perhaps wondering what will happen to our concertinas once we 'cross the bar'. I do not think that a non-playing relative would have an easy time realizing the value of a concertina, and I suspect that many just get put on a shelf and mostly forgotten about.

 

Thanks Don. Yes, I think we'll go with option #1 once I evaluate the ongoing costs. The upgrade is now in motion, coming soon... fingers crossed it goes smoothly!

 

Paul

 

 

Just out of curiosity: Has my suggestion in #28 simply gone out of focus or considered unworthy even discussing right from the start?

 

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