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I agree with ewest that you want to create a place where you can bring people in. The forum is what brought me to Pond Boss. After I was digging onto forums, I bought the magazine and a few books. If you cut people off with costs up front, they will leave. The will never discover what a great resource Pond Boss is.

Imagine in ESPN was pay to look at. I would go elsewhere. Now, if I want in-depth stuff, I pay for the "Insider," which is a subscription after I have been brought in.

I think the main page of the site needs reworking so it directs people to different locations. You can also monetize with Google ad-words and the like to bring in more revenue.

Just my quick two-cents.

At this point I would pay for the forums and the resources, but I would have never visited if I had to pay to get started.

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I have to agree with Eric on most things he said. Would I have looked at this form if it would have cost me? No I doubt it. I would pay for it now yes! But at first right out of the gate no. Maybe you need to do something like a 45 day membership and then if you want to stay then you will have to pay a fee to continue. That way that particular person would have a chance to really see how good this site is and not be so quick to want to leave. I would not mind a donate tab as long as it was secure!!! I would like to keep my PB Mag! I like having the Mag it's easier to share with people. I have had a couple of people already ask me hey what are you reading. Well BINGO there you go that could be the PERFECT time to let them know what the PB is all about. The picture thing could be better for sure but it's not to bad. The search function is quite mysterious? It works somewhat but could also be better like Bob said. I am not a big fan of hijacked threads, I know a lot of you all may not be real concerned about the original question answered in the thread as you may have heard it a million times, but the person that was asking it asked it for a reason and wants an answer not someone rambling on about something else or something that does not pertain to the post. Being funny in a post is one thing that doesn't bug me as long as it somewhat stays on track. That really needs to be watched if your going to start having people PAY for memberships. A new person could get quite upset if they are paying for a membership and asking questions and someone is hijacking the post. This is just my opinion that's all and you know what they say about opinion's hey! \:\)


The only difference between a rut and a Grave is the depth. So get up get out of that rut and get moving!! Time to work!!
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You couldn't charge me enough to make me leave.

I figure I've saved between 25,000-50,000 bucks by being a member of this site. Countless mistakes not made.


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Bruce, I was trying to put some dollar figures together in my head earlier, but figured that even more important than the 1000's of dollars was the YEARS of mistakes not made. It would have taken me 20-30 years to get all this info figured out.


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Bruce, n8ly,


Yes I agree with that as well and I have only been a member for 8 or 9 months, but that is easy to say now. Hind sight is 20-20. The catch is would a NEW person see it that way and pay something right out of the gate?? Not sure about that? It would be one of those try and see things.


The only difference between a rut and a Grave is the depth. So get up get out of that rut and get moving!! Time to work!!
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"I guess you are right. Just tell Bob Lusk he has it all wrong and should blog more often even though he feels like me posting photos is a royal pain."

Stay civil, Pond Frog.


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"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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I also found the website first, then subscribed. I would not have stayed on the website if it was pay-to-enter and probably would not have become interested enough to subscribe. With that said, I love the magazine and love the website.

Do you know how many subscribers you can attribute to the website? Do you think that people don't subscribe because they get their information from the website? If so, allow everyone ninety days of free membership to the website. If they don't subscribe to the magazine, boot 'em off. Do you think that your consulting has grown because of the website or suffered? Is the website fueling the growth of the consulting and the magazine? If so, would doing anything that would cause fewer members to enroll actually slow the growth of either?

I believe that there are ways to make money off of the website without having it come from the members. Perhaps that is because it suits me. I don't currently have a pond, but want one. I probably could not justify paying to be on the website, too.

I tell everyone I run into with a pond about the website and insist that they subscribe to the magazine. I have yet to run into one person who has heard of either. You have a large untapped customer base with much upside, IMO.

I would read the magazine in e format, but would not like it as much.

Ditto on charging people for hijacking. (I would have paid once or twice by now, too.)

Hope this helps. Best of luck with figuring it all out.

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Guys now is the chance to speak your mind. There is no right or wrong answer. Bob is asking for what you think and why so he can weight our collective opinions. Your opinion counts or he would not have ask.

Please state your opinion and not criticize anyone else's opinion. Everyone needs to feel comfortable speaking their mind freely.
















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I don't like pay sites. However, the majority of the members/posters here don't help financially support the Pond Boss organization thru mag subscriptions. Bob and Mike are paying for this out of their own pocket and I don't figure the site gets them any business. They are both way past that point.

I don't care for E Magazines or pay per post.

However, I think the hijacks are OK. They show a friends and family type atmosphere while the questions are still being answered. I wouldn't change that.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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I would not mind an E-Mag option just because my eyes are stuck on a screen for many hours a day. However, I can see the problem that someone could print them out and pass them around thus loosing subscriptions.

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Def. fix search engine.
Hijacking needs to be lessened greatly but let's not get too stiff collared.
I look to the mag. as paying my dues first. So I would keep the hard copy but would like an electronic esp. if they were easily searchable.
You can’t argue with better organization, it’s always good.


What are your opinions of paying a nominal annual fee to be a member of the forum?
OK, but I would prefer to have it included in a cost increase to Mag. subscription.

Would you rather have a copy of the magazine in the mail, or an e-magazine?
Both, esp. if the e-mags were search friendly.

If you got the e-magazine, would you stop subscribing to the printed copy?
No

How to you feel about having a free membership that has limited access to content? This may be a "read only" version of the forum. It may mean being able to access some articles, podcasts, videos, but having to pay for selected e-information.
Unsure. But the thought “Keep it simple” comes to mind.

Then, a "small" membership fee that has access to all the content, some of which is 'pay as you go', such as some of the e-information? This includes all privileges of the forum, including posting.
See above.

Or, a "gold" membership, where you can have access to all the website, along with a "members only" forum where you get specific advice to specific problems from the top pros in the industry? This membership also includes a subscription to the magazine.
I would like this best.

Finally, how much is this stuff worth? What should someone pay for a "medium" membership and what would you expect to receive. And, same question for the "gold" membership.
Not a clue. If you’re asking what would I pay .. a lot. My advise: charge what is needed.


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I think it is a royal pain to post photos. Please be civil and don't tell me it is easy.

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Take a breather... Is it really that big a deal?

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 Originally Posted By: The Pond Frog
I think it is a royal pain to post photos. Please be civil and don't tell me it is easy.


I won't tell you it's easy, it's a piece 'o cake (if you have a photobucket account). But, I agree with you on the slightly increased difficulty part, plus I'd rather have them stored here rather than a 3rd party. I re-organized my photobucket account, and had to come back here and edit a lot of posts. That was a PITA.


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 Originally Posted By: The Pond Frog
I think it is a royal pain to post photos. Please be civil and don't tell me it is easy.

It was over 2 yrs. before I ever posted pics. I guess it's not THAT hard once you have an account set up with one of he photo sies; you have stored jpegs in your 'my pictures' or whatever...but, you cant really think it is a breeze to do it.
I feel that Pong Frog has photos that would interest me, such as his varieies of Water Lilies, but he is not contributing. It could be MUCH easier. Just my opinion from and older, less tecky type. Yes. I am an electronic engineer, but dont feel like dillying with a computer to figure out things that should be simple. I also think the search function is pretty much useless. I have assumed that if you place + sign between the words, then only those words inclusive would be searched for. I have never been able to zoom in on even a handful of posts on what was originally an obscure topic.


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I wonder how many visit, read, learn, and leave without posting or buying anything? Are they in the minority or majority?

It does definately take money to make this website go. It is very valuable if you have a pond and want some answers from people with experience. So, so many have never heard of it. The trick is to lure them, jiggle the bait just right, and then do a little catch & release - although no harvesting is allowed. I doubt any overpopulation will occur.

A) I would pay to participate. Information here is good stuff.
B) I want both paper and electronic.
C. Paper and electronic should be available to subscribers.
D. Pay for selected items is okay IMO. I've encouraged for a couple yrs now an online, pay for electronic back issue infor either by article or issue. I have all issues indexed, why not fully utilize it? Maybe also pay for other special items - video, themed information sets, etc.
E. Small or limited Membership is okay. Maybe 6 mo, annual, 3yr or 5 yr or life member?
EE. Gold Membership - Life member? One time fee?
F. Free introductory access for 7-30 days. Then charge maybe just to read, and another small fee to post and ansewer & questions. All these fees could get complicated & confusing, but could be simplified with a couple membership levels.

Increasing subscriptions. Why don't pondowners subscribe? Considering how many ponds are in the USA, the number os subscribers is way less than 0.5%. Is it they really don't care about their pond enough to spend $35.00 per year, or is it they don't get enough applied how-to-do-it information from the mag to make it worth spending $35.00 or is it they don't even know about the magazine? Probably some of each in varying amounts. Determine what bait it takes to entice average "Joe" pondowner to bite. Then tie up that bait and present it in an irrestible fashion.

I don't post many pictues because it is IMO a pain. I have slow dial-up internet, I have to go to another site to load, retrieve and then link a photo. Plus I save most of my pics for future articles to encourage mag readership.

A donate tab or address for sending a check for forum and/or Jesse West Foundation supporting Fishery research at So.Dakota State Univ. is a good idea. Secure payment is very important. I use electronic payment, but in today's world is any electronic account secure? Maybe a small one item, monthly online auction would help generate funds? Maybe auction or raffle an attendance fee / admission to the PB conference?.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/21/10 10:12 PM.

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Bruce's Bigbluegill sight is certainly nice as far as photo sharing goes. Not having to use a third party photo storage site is very nice. Some forums can get away with making photo adding more difficult, however this forum photos are invaluable and therefore the adding of photos should be an easy process, even for the less tech savvy. I know it took me sending Sunil a PM to figure out how to do it the first time...

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I don't want to take this into discussion about the ease, or lack of, in posting photos, but I don't want to be misunderstood.

Most of the difficulties mentioned for posting photos are self-limitations, in my mind (ie/ slow connection, not using a picture hosting site, wanting things effortless). If Pond Boss has to actually host the pictures vs. just a live-link to the where the picture is stored, I have to think it will translate into Pond Boss needing more server space and then more cost to what is now a free site.

So posting a picture takes some minimal effort. Anything good takes some effort, and here, we're talking a few keystrokes at best. I agree at first, it is a new concept. But the pictures have to be stored somewhere, and that is what sites like photo-bucket are for.

I just don't see it as Pond Boss responsibility to make life effort free, especially at it's own cost. Those who do post pictures here put forth the effort, and we are all rewarded for those efforts. Those folks have taken the responsibility upon themselves.

Can I get a Golden Shriner and some green frog boots?



Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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No, but how about Peroni?

If the forum stays free, I agree with it staying a third party photo server for said reasons. However, if it becomes a fee to use, then I think an upgrade me be called for. With one of those upgrades being on site picture storage and posting capabilities.

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Oops!

sorry.

finally. What a pain!

another problem with it, is folks dont know the correct size for the image; then it causes all the posts to be outside the frame.


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To follow up my original post.

I think what a few have said is correct: If the site cost money to start with, I wouldn't have become involved. That being said, now that I am involved I would be sad not to.

Would it be possible to sell ad space on the site? Currently I see no ad's and generally advertisers will pay for that space. This site probably gets enough traffic to keep some people interested in having ad space on it.

As far as picture posting, it seems pretty standard to how pictures work on forums. I don't think I have ever been a part of a forum where it wasn't necessary to host your photo's elsewhere and link them.
Maybe a video of how to do it would be helpful. If that is the case, I would be willing to make one for the site. It wouldn't be very difficult at all.

Thread hijacks- I can see how some people would be frustrated by it, but in my opinion it is what makes a forum interesting, is people letting their personality come out. I suppose if someone had a question they were very concerned about becoming answered they could simply note at the beginning of their post "Please do not hijack." I for one have grown honored to have my posts hijacked, as it makes me feel like a connected part of the group. Then again, I don't have any money resting on answers to my questions.

I suppose if it really is an issue, we could have a "Super Serious" forum, where we only allow for very serious answers and no fun? (no disrespect intended)

All in all, of all the forums I have been a part of, this is the friendlies, most informative, and most enjoyable forum I have found. On no other forum do I know of a group of people so willing to help one another on a personal level, be it finding a home for Mason, or praying for one anothers' families.

I totally understand needing finding a way for the forum to support itself better, I just think maybe there are better ways then charging for access to the site.

Thanks.


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Screw third parties, I'm not into that. I just want to copy and paste right off my puter. It should be that easy. I promise I would post tons of how to and real life photos, of everything. No jokes or goof off stuff, but stuff I do everyday managing ponds, plus lots of fish photos and photos with kids and fish. In my humble opinion it would make the forum a better place.

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Pond Frog, I understand what you are saying.

How much would you be willing to pay per year to have the ability to "copy and paste right off my puter."

Not speaking for Lusk, but I think that is one of the considerations he has to grapple with, and thus why he's asking that question.


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Do any forums allow simple copy pasting? I don't know of any that do. Even the ones that have hosting on the forum website themselves still require you to upload to their server and then link there.

Photobucket does include a batch upload, where you can upload many photo's in one shot. I will be doing a video on uploading photos in the coming week.


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There is a balancing act... No one is right or wrong here. However, web sites don't pay for themselves and the fancier a web site is the more expensive it is. Thus the more expensive a possible membership to it would be. I don't have an issue posting from Photobucket to the forum, but others apparently do. This is where the balancing act is.

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