1. Mar 18, 2004

Greg Bernhardt

I want to raise the question of offering premium memberships here at Physics Forums. The goal is to not only raise money for the Physics Network, but to equip all of you with useful and fun new features. I am interested in your opinons and feedback on the following two possible membership plans.

Silver Membership
------------------------

* Membership title
* 200 PM limit

$25/yr Gold Membership ------------------------ * Membership title * 200 PM limit * No ads * Ability to give members reputation points * PF IE toolbar (spell check, search references, calulators...) * PF Journal (like a personal blog on the forums, a personal comment area for you to write in) * Can choose from several forum skins * PF Email (hotmail style in the forums) * 5mb of webspace (yourname.physicsforums.com) on request For:$75/yr or $225 lifetime 2. Mar 18, 2004 cookiemonster Membership title: Never much cared about that... 200 PM limit: ? No ads: Got software to replace ads with "This page cannot be displayed" anyway Ability to give members reputation points: Sounds like a$75 toy. Besides, nothing's stopped anyone from making fun of them anyway, right?
PF IE toolbar: Wouldn't use it, and I despise spellcheck.
PF Journal: See toolbar.
Forum skins: Blah, not too picky.
E-mail: School's going to give me e-mail anyway.
Webspace: School's going to give me webspace anyway.

$75/$225: I'm trying to afford tuition whilst not starving... =\

That's just me, though.

3. Mar 18, 2004

jeff

Sitting-Duck Membership: Ability to be sh*t on by paying members.

Silver Membership: Same as sitting-duck membership, except you pay $25/yr. Gold Membership: Ability to give members reputation points. Platinum Membership: Ability to post your psychological evaluations of other members. Weapons-grade plutonium membership: Ability to actually order hits on other members. 4. Mar 18, 2004 Bystander You're going to have to offer something "active" in the way of feedback/interaction with the site for even$25 --- instead of "reputation points," how about the ability to "gag" other members --- say, oh, what --- 20 members hit the "gag" button for an individual in a particular forum, said individual is unable to post until such time as he/she/it has figured out which members are gagging him/her/it, and works out some arrangement through PMs (no gag) with enough gaggers to get under the "20 gag, no post" feature.

5. Mar 18, 2004

I would think PF in and of it's self is worth $2/m The reputation system can be worked on to include such features. The reputation system is very flexible and feature rich. It's not as if a nutcase can destroy a persons reputation. I guess what it comes down to is what would you all like to see and be willing to chip in to PF. I don't want to have to install popups, disable latex, disable signatures, avatars... j/k Thanks for your comments, I welcome more! 6. Mar 18, 2004 jeff Seriously greg, the idea of allowing paying members to "officially" pass judgement on other members is just plain nutty. 7. Mar 18, 2004 Greg Bernhardt Staff: Admin Ok fair enough 8. Mar 19, 2004 wolram GREG if you want$ for PF, gimmics not needed, how about
information? quick fact find, alert to new papers by
subject etc.

9. Mar 19, 2004

jeff

I think that charging kids for assitance with their studies, just like one would do with a tutor, makes sense. I'm sure some parents wouldn't mind paying for such a service, especially at the prices you're talking about.

10. Mar 19, 2004

Greg Bernhardt

Yeah I was reminded of a service I think google has where people bid for answers or help.

11. Mar 19, 2004

Loren Booda

How about a limited time (a month, say) for new members to try Physics Forums, after which they would pay a small, one-time initiation fee ($5, say). That would be similar (but much cheaper) to other websites we have seen. With 6,710 current PF members, the fees would accrue$33,550! The ads aren't egregious, just an annoyance, but the permanent initiation fee would render them unnecessary.

Unfortunately, this policy would void the free forum we are used to, and discriminates against those without much resource (homeless, third world, etc.)

12. Mar 19, 2004

Nereid

Staff Emeritus
I think you'll find it's not so much not having  (or €, £, ...), rather having no way to make the payment.

13. Mar 19, 2004

Greg Bernhardt

That is definately an option, but personally not something I could actually go through with. I want basic use of PF to always be free.

Paypal has always be an easy way to make a payment, most currencies and credit cards are accepted.

14. Mar 19, 2004

Greg Bernhardt

In addition to my previous post: What if we slit the site into two sections. What you see now will be for paying members and we can create an alternate set of forums for non-paying. The alternate set would only consist of just a few forums with very basic posting and community abilities. Would that create a revolt?

Last edited: Mar 19, 2004
15. Mar 19, 2004

wolram

how much for paying members? do we pay by week, month, year
this forums success is due to wide audience, if we have to
pay it will end up like sky tv, this forum is unique, and
needs unique solution to stay afloat.

16. Mar 19, 2004

How much is an interesting question. It depends on how many people would sign up. I figure we have maybe 1000 members who return on weekly basis. So if we can get 3/4 of them to pay then the yearly rate would be extremely low, something like $10. I agree we need creative solutions, this is a good thread and hope other chips in their 2c. Last edited: Mar 19, 2004 17. Mar 20, 2004 Evo Staff: Mentor Greg, you have done an incredible job on this site. I for one would be willing to pay a membership fee to keep PF going. Even$25 annually is not much when you consider that's the equivalent of a large order of fries each month. You could charge $15 for a 6 month membership or$25 for a full year.

Of course the lower the fee, the more members you'll have.

Paypal would be a very good option, you definitely do not want to handle cash, checks, money orders and credit card transactions on your own, especially on a global basis.

Your idea of segmenting the site for paying and non-paying members sounds good to me.

18. Mar 21, 2004

Monique

Staff Emeritus
Ok, so how does paypal work? Would someone from a not-so-developed country be able to use it too? How does it work for under aged people? Does it require a credit card? If so, it is only in the US that people actually own a credit card..

19. Mar 21, 2004

Segmenting the site sounds kind of counter-productive to me. If there were only discussions between established members, it'd wouldn't be such a lively place. Lots of the questions and ideas come from brand new members, members who probably aren't willing to pay $15 or$25 just to ask one question.

20. Mar 21, 2004

Monique

Staff Emeritus
I too think it shouldn't become an exclusive site. I think it should be the responsibility of the ones who use this site most and enjoy it, to chip in some money on a yearly basis.

The way to do that, I think, is be very open about donations and giving an award for doing so. Make a list of all the contributers and make it visible, maybe give them an title under their avatar 'PF contributor'. Advertise it by sending a goody like PF on a CD (as has been done in the past). Ofcourse t-shirts would be great advertisement in the real world :D

Also, I think the extra forum features should then be a reward, rather than an incentive.