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    Discussion in 'Help, info & forum announcements' started by GarethW, Mar 24, 2013.

    1. GarethW

      GarethW Chief Clicker Staff Member

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      As you know we're always working to improve the Mechanical Design Forum. Last week we achieved a major milestone - MDF moved to a faster and safer server.

      Because of the extra costs, we need to include minor promotional content in the weekly “MDF Digest†and the monthly “MDF newsletter†emails we send out to you. We are also going to introduce a monthly “MDF Announcement†email devoted to mechanical engineering products & services.

      Income from these emails will keep the MDF running and enable future improvements. By default, you are currently subscribed to receive all of the above, and I urge you to please keep subscribed to them to support us! If you ever change your mind, you can adjust your settings at any time by logging into your MDF account.

      However, you can opt out of them right now by following this link: http://goo.gl/6gt3p

      Thank you very much for your continued support!

      Regards,
      Gareth
       
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    3. Parrleu

      Parrleu Well-Known Member

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      Hi Gareth,

      Has any consideration been given to alternatives? Spitballing here, but maybe:
      - place a donate button on the site (PayPal, for one option, makes this pretty easy)
      - raising money through a crowdsourced funding solution
      - asking for designs that members could donate and you all could place on sites like Shapeways and Kraftwurx to garner some of the bux each time one is printed
      - making some site merch designs for sale on places like Zazzle
      - etc.?

      While the advertising sounds fairly innocuous, as far as advertising goes, it is still ads. As such, it probably will reduce people's interest in receiving the newsletters.
       
    4. GarethW

      GarethW Chief Clicker Staff Member

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      Thanks for the feedback and suggestions. Any ads (if we have one to include) in the newsletter/digest won't be intrusive, and I very much expect them to be very relevant to everyone here, so they shouldn't get on anyone's nerves! Also, it's very easy for members to simply unsubscribe to anything they aren't interested in so I think it will all work out OK. Some of your suggestions are interesting. Regarding donations, well I'd prefer it if people receive something for their money, so at some point we'd like to introduce a "MDF Premium member" scheme. Members would pay a nominal sum to upgrade their membership and would get lots of nifty perks (e.g. larger avatar, larger inbox space, ability to upload images to the server instead of host externally, customised user title, image in signature etc).
       
    5. Parrleu

      Parrleu Well-Known Member

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      Personally, I find any ads grating. In the world of the online, in particular, as they are everywhere now, 1000s every day taking up seconds of our attention that we have not explicitly granted to be taken. I think they are mostly fairly ineffective background noise because we are so inundated with them, and they also take from the audience without giving.

      Donate buttons have been used recently to finance everything from a college education for the creator of a funny site about a bunny to garnering the funds for a new lab for a man who dedicated his life to Tesla's work after he was blackballed by the govt for doing just that to supporting some really kick butt antivirus software... and beyond. People gain value from the content of the site and supporting something they desire to see continue. Personally, I never click on ads, but often donate to efforts I support, knowing what they will explicitly use my funds for - It is a very good feeling that appeals to the analyst in me on many levels. Of course, if you don't feel content exchange is enough, then you could even have something specific people receive as a one off in return for different levels of donation, just like PBS or Kickstarter.

      In fact, Crowdsourced funding, as it often plays out today (in great part because of some ridiculous financing laws that don't allow more flexibility) can be looked at basically the same - People placing donations at different levels to get one off returns but also, even more so, to voluntarily put funds towards making sure something they want to see happen happens or keeps happening.

      These donation types, unlike advertising, are completely voluntary exchanges - and they rely on people who actually benefit from the product being the ones who exchange their time (in this case represented by the dollars that represent units of their time) for products they care about, like your forum.

      Membership can be cool, but a forum relies on content volume to be good and continuing volume to stay good. People are willing to exchange their time and freely created content for a good platform to exchange it with others. There are many forums out there for just about every topic, and a person could create one in 10 minutes or less today - even based on something as versatile and complete as DotNetNuke or simply using very pre-built and freely hosted options like Yahoo groups. You will have to provide some pretty major benefits that don't undercut your volume base for membership to be an option worth people's time exchange units.
       
      Last edited: Mar 26, 2013

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