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moderated Re: Samuel's Paid User Proposal #suggestion

txercoupemuseum.org
 

As a long time “owner” of multiple cats people have thrown out (to their great loss), I thank you for your service to felines everywhere. That said I respectfully point out that by paying annually for a Premium group with your own funds is, quite literally, funding the lurkers who comprise the great majority of your present member.

Your group presently enjoys the prestige of numbers these many lurkers “bring to the party”, even though the great majority of them would quickly disappear were you to ever impose a “subscription fee”. It is fortunate that the value of your services rendered is both immediately apparent and tangible.

My groups are a single amalgamation of people owning or interested in a particular aircraft that is relatively unique in design, operation and maintenance. The “technical” discussions are kept separate from the “social”, which is really the only reason we maintain two groups.

Subscriber’s interests may be historical, operational or mechanical (maintenance). We have requested financial participation from them twice.

The first time was to help the Smithsonian restore the first example of our aircraft, then in restoration. By the time it was donated, it had period-inaccurate metal for the front cowling, and the “right” part had popped up on eBay. I requested donations, and about twenty people stepped forward, we bought the part and sent it to Washington.

The second time was our migration from Yahoo to Groups.io. My crystal ball was cloudy, so we didn’t make it in until there was a $220 charge mandatory for a year’s “Premium” membership, after which we could (and did) revert to “Basic” (free) status.

The exact same twenty (or so) were the ones who again stepped forward. So, of almost 900 subscribers, so some 2% “support” the rest.

The fact that information we discuss could frequently relate to “safety of flight” means it may be possible to reconfigure some minority of this bunch to pay nominally to belong. That might significantly increase the number that view what we do is of value, and get greater participation. That’s been a long term wish that has never “caught fire”.

So that’s the “good news”. The “bad news” is this would greatly increase my uncompensated administrative time “invested”, and I’m really not in a position to do that. Of course, delegation is certainly a possibility.

So again, it appears we confront, in common, human nature…everyone wants something for free; thus some things are possible for “free” that aren’t possible when a charge is involved. And then there is the matter of our own egos, finances, and desire to help others help themselves from accumulated wisdom.

One size definitely does not “fit all”.

Best!

WRB

On Jan 8, 2021, at 3:14 PM, Tanya's Feline CKD Website <helen@felineckd.com> wrote:

I utterly reject this idea that lurkers should get membership for free. They are contributing nothing to the group other than increased numbers (which clearly will soon be far less attractive than it once was), and would not pay a penny for the information they receive, whilst those who give freely of their time to help others (I fortunately have a small number of excellent hardworking selfless contributors) would have the dubious privilege of paying for doing so.

I have a large group that, if not grandfathered in, would cost almost US$4000 a year under the original proposal, which clearly I could not and would not pay. I also have zero interest in additional admin work regarding membership fees for my mods and me that would not benefit us in any way.

My group offers help to people with sick cats, often with an urgent need to consult others in the same boat. I would have no problem with people wishing to join my group being asked to pay US$5-10 a year (which pales into insignificance against their vet fees) directly to groups.io. Ideally they would have 15-30 days in which they could cancel, which those whose cats died or who didn't like the group could then do.

HTH

Helen (out of lurkdom since this is an important topic)





moderated Re: Samuel's Paid User Proposal #suggestion

 

On Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 12:26 PM, Scott Chase wrote:
As it is now, only owners are able to give Mark money.
Exactly; tapping the users seems the next logical choice to me, I guess how to go about that is the question, through groups or directly, or maybe a combination of both.  But regardless of this,

>>> I still think a Wikipedia-style 'Groups.io depends on donations' button needs to be added to help support the funding of individual groups and Groups.io as a whole.

I also like the concept of having a Wikipedia-style donate/contribute/whatnot button on the top ribbon somewhere, it could also be beneficial because anyone can donate whatever amount, to whatever (group or Groups.io); maybe when the button gets clicked, a screen is presented where the donor can select where his donation/contribution is going, either to one of the groups he's a member of as a donation/contribution to the group yearly fee fund (or possibly some other fund drive), or to Groups.io directly as a donation to Groups.io's operating fund; or maybe allow the person in that screen to be able to split the donation/contribution amount between the two categories, and/or also possibly within the group dues list as well, i.e. donate/contribute to two groups I belong to whose yearly fee date is coming up soon.  Who knows, maybe also allow the ability to have the donation be a recurring monthly/yearly one.
So,
(a). If I'm just any owner/user out there, and I want to donate x amount of money to Groups.io as a personal donation/thank you contribution, no need to use the group-temp-upgrade workarounds used now, just click on the button and in the next screen, and tell it all your donation is going to Groups.io.
(b). If I'm an owner, and I want to get the members involved in a fund drive, they click the button, and donate/contribute whatever, selecting the group as the destination.  Proceeds go to that group's account and accumulates there (so this way donations/contributions can be done at anytime, not only during a fund drive once a year), and when yearly fee comes due, payment is attempted from that group's account first; if funds are enough, cool, if not, the owner's payment method (as happens now) is then used as a "backup" payment method, and then the same downstream process takes place if no full payment is received at payment due date as happens now.

The potential problem/complication I see though, besides the "accepting donations" part that has already been discussed, is that (b) is what a certain percentage of paid group owners do already, except instead of having a Groups.io donate button, they instead have a Paypal account and people send the contributions there; in the meantime they may take care of the payment and reimburse themselves from the fund, or supplement it if not enough, etc.  So implementing (b) is akin to Groups.io now becoming Paypal which now shifts the logistical and accounting onus (and headaches) of keeping accounts and keeping track of things, to Mark; before all he had to directly-worry about was to get payment from the group at renewal time, now he would have to (both -indirectly and somewhat-directly) also worry and keep track of the fundraising process, I don't know, maybe more though is needed on this part.

Cheers,
Christos


moderated Re: Samuel's Paid User Proposal #suggestion

Jeremy H
 

On Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 09:11 PM, J_Catlady wrote:
I thought it was an alternative, not an addition. Will have to reread. Still complicated for members.

<snipped>
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu

From a members perspective, I would say pretty simple. Either have a 'free' membership, but only be able to be a member of groups that have room for you (because someone else is paying).
Or pay a bit for 'premier' membership, and join as many as you want...

Jeremy


moderated Re: Samuel's Paid User Proposal #suggestion

Jeremy H
 

On Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 08:55 PM, Jim Fisher wrote:
On 7 Jan 2021 at 14:11, Mark Fletcher wrote:

What else am I
missing?
Don't payment processing compaies like Stripe and Paypal impose a minimum fee
per transaction? Isn't there a danger that this would make these small payments
per member non-viable?

Jim Fisher
Yes: Mark's proposed 'per member' charge was 55 cents per year - to pay that much by Stripe, you need to start with $1.

I think 5 or 10 dollars (reasonable for an 'unlimited (or at least many) groups premier membership', excessive for a per member. per group, charge), is about the minimum that be economically charged. A (different) organisation I'm in gets £1.60 from a £2 payment.

Jeremy 


moderated Re: Samuel's Paid User Proposal #suggestion

 

I forgot to say, my group is premium and I pay the annual fee out of my own pocket, even though the group does not benefit me directly.

Helen


moderated Re: Samuel's Paid User Proposal #suggestion

 

I utterly reject this idea that lurkers should get membership for free. They are contributing nothing to the group other than increased numbers (which clearly will soon be far less attractive than it once was), and would not pay a penny for the information they receive, whilst those who give freely of their time to help others (I fortunately have a small number of excellent hardworking selfless contributors) would have the dubious privilege of paying for doing so.

I have a large group that, if not grandfathered in, would cost almost US$4000 a year under the original proposal, which clearly I could not and would not pay. I also have zero interest in additional admin work regarding membership fees for my mods and me that would not benefit us in any way.

My group offers help to people with sick cats, often with an urgent need to consult others in the same boat. I would have no problem with people wishing to join my group being asked to pay US$5-10 a year (which pales into insignificance against their vet fees) directly to groups.io. Ideally they would have 15-30 days in which they could cancel, which those whose cats died or who didn't like the group could then do.

HTH

Helen (out of lurkdom since this is an important topic)


moderated Re: Samuel's Paid User Proposal #suggestion

 

I thought it was an alternative, not an addition. Will have to reread. Still complicated for members.


On Jan 8, 2021, at 1:04 PM, Duane <txpigeon@...> wrote:

On Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 02:57 PM, J_Catlady wrote:
I said I would not sign on if Samuel's (new proposed) plan were in effect. I was perfectly happy with Mark's original proposed plan.
Samuel's proposal would be in addition to Mark's tiered number of members, if I understand correctly.  Basically, a site membership would be used to help group owners, but not required.

Duane

--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu


moderated Re: Samuel's Paid User Proposal #suggestion

Duane
 

On Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 02:57 PM, J_Catlady wrote:
I said I would not sign on if Samuel's (new proposed) plan were in effect. I was perfectly happy with Mark's original proposed plan.
Samuel's proposal would be in addition to Mark's tiered number of members, if I understand correctly.  Basically, a site membership would be used to help group owners, but not required.

Duane


moderated Re: Samuel's Paid User Proposal #suggestion

 

On Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 12:39 PM, Mike Hanauer wrote:
Related to Catlady's thinking,
 
Groups.io High Level Pricing Concerns:
  1. If a current member, without grandfathering, might not sign on, is that not a clue of an unsustainable pricing structure?
You totally misread and are misstating what I said. I said I would not sign on if Samuel's (new proposed) plan were in effect. I was perfectly happy with Mark's original proposed plan. My sole objection is to a structure wherein members have to pay rather than the group owners.
 
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu


moderated Re: Samuel's Paid User Proposal #suggestion

 

On 7 Jan 2021 at 14:11, Mark Fletcher wrote:

What else am I
missing?
Don't payment processing compaies like Stripe and Paypal impose a minimum fee
per transaction? Isn't there a danger that this would make these small payments
per member non-viable?

Jim Fisher


moderated Re: Samuel's Paid User Proposal #suggestion

Samuel Murrayy
 

On Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 09:11 PM, Marv Waschke wrote:
I prefer a model where I as owner pay for the service and figure out myself how to pay for the service.
On Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 09:18 PM, J_Catlady wrote:
I would not start my group today if members had to pay.
My suggestion does not preclude any group owner from paying.  If a group owner wants to pay $220 herself and tell all of her [potential] members "there is no need to become paid members of Groups.io if you want to join my group; joining my group is free [for you]", then that is perfectly doable within the suggested system.  Or if a group owner wants to pay $220 himself and then tell his members "you must each pay me $25 amount per year to be a member of this group", then that is also perfectly within the design of the system.

Samuel


moderated Re: Samuel's Paid User Proposal #suggestion

Mike Hanauer
 

Related to Catlady's thinking,

Groups.io High Level Pricing Concerns:
  1. If a current member, without grandfathering, might not sign on, is that not a clue of an unsustainable pricing structure?
  2. If there is a monthly charge per user per group, how much do you think you can take from one person per month where some might belong to more than one group? Would that not limit the number of groups he/she would join?
  3. Is there provision for an owner/moderator to get part of a fee if that is desired?
  4. How much control can/should you take from an owner? Owners, group creators, are perhaps the most important person.
I think most of the plans, including the presumed one, are leading Groups.io in a difficult direction.


Consider Better, not Bigger. So many advantages. Just ask. USA adds a Chicago to our overpop each year.
"Still more population growth is not our way to a healthy community, a healthy planet, OR enjoyable cycling."

    ~Mike


On Friday, January 8, 2021, 03:18:56 PM EST, J_Catlady <j.olivia.catlady@...> wrote:


I’m agreeing w Marv. Would not start my group today if members had to pay. I keep coming back to that. Many of our membets are volunteers there to help other people with their cats’ illnesses, and for some, including out volunteer but eminent specialist referral vet who probably charges hundreds per hour, we are the only group they belong to. If I had to start my group with any of the member-pay structures being proposed, I would have to figure out a way to front these people the membership fee. It would be I appropriate for me to expect them to donate their services AND to pay for the privilege of doing so.


On Jan 8, 2021, at 12:11 PM, Marv Waschke <marv@...> wrote:

The proposal is fine as an option, but I don't think I would start any more groups on groups.io if I had no choice but to follow that model.

I prefer a model where I as owner pay for the service and figure out myself how to pay for the service. I might charge users a fee based on usage, (lurking is free, but members pay to be heard), I might run a yearly donate-a-thon until I receive enough to pay the fee, I might request that a core group pay something to keep the group alive, there are many ways I can think of to do this and they would all depend on the nature of the group and its membership.

Stating it a little differently, I like things just as they are in that group owners are left figure out how to fund a group for themselves. I don't like the idea, no matter how much I respect Mark, of having groups.io collecting directly from members of groups I own. In my view of online group ownership, that's my responsibility, not something I will relinquish to the platform. I expect having an online group of any kind will become more expensive as time goes on and the nature of tech business evolves, but I accept that as my problem.

Best, Marv

--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu


moderated Re: Samuel's Paid User Proposal #suggestion

Jeremy H
 

My thoughts:

Groups.io service benefits both groups (i.e. group owners) and members (in varying proportion), in a three way relationship. As Groups.io costs money to run (including providing a living for its owner), it is reasonable for both categories to contribute to the costs, and unreasonable to expect the costs to fall only on one category, of those Groups.io has a relations

Mark's original model was that, to a large extent, it would be free, to both groups owners and members, being paid for by some group owners, who would for a flat charge per group get extra features ('Premium' and 'Enterprise') for their groups, Subsequently, he rebalanced the features and benefits between 'free' and 'paying' groups, with the intentention of improving Groups.io financial performance. He has had a long term policy of 'grandfathering' their original terms for existing groups.

But he has come to the conclusion that this model (of some group owners paying a set charge per group) is not working.

His proposal was that new free, basic, groups would have their membership number severely restricted; and that new, paying, groups would have an additional, potentially unliimited, charge for extra members (but payable by owners) beyond a base number: charges would continue to be payable only by group owners. Existing groups would retain their current terms (features and prices). 

A point: any scheme which charges owners for members (in whatever manner) imposes a burden on owners, will lead to them to have to make decisions as to whether a member (new or continuing) is 'worth it'. And for existing members, groups.io does not provide the tools to judge how valuable a member is.

Samuel's proposal is (AIUI) that (for new groups):
  • Groups would have a base number (dependant on plan - free/basic or paying/premium or enterprise) of 'free membership' slots; with the ability to purchase/pay for more
  • 'Free' members of Groups.io would only be able join groups with 'unoccupied' free membership slots; but could pay Groups.io to upgrade to a 'premier' or 'contributing' [name wanted] grade of membership, entitlng them to join any group, whether or not it had 'free' slots available, and without taking up a slot, in addition to other benefits: future extra membership (profile) features, and the satisfaction of contributing to groups.io. 
My comments on this:
  • I am - given the need - in favour of this proposal: it seems the best, and simplest, way of improving Groups.io finances, while balancing the burden of costs between members and owners (let me be honest: I'd prefer a fully free service: but I recognise this is not possible).
  • Someone has to pay!
  • There is no good (easy, simple and fair) option in going forward: it is a case of choosing which disadvantages are preferable.
  • It lets those owners who are willing and able to do so to fully fund their groups; and those who are not to be able to rely on payments made by their members for theirs.
  • Possibly there should be a 'free to owner' 'premium' group category, with no 'free' slots, open only to 'premier' members?
  • How goup owners pay for 'extra' members is something else to debate (extra block for so much? so much per member, with a limit on number?) 
  • Whether existing groups should continue to receive all their current benfits is debatable: my suggestion is that they continue to enjoy their current features; with number of 'free membership' slots based on current membership, plus an allownce (the higher of X% or N extra members?)
  • If a 'premier' member stops paying, they down grade to 'free' membership, and if there is not a 'free' slot available, they lose their membership of any groups they are in (unless they are the group owner?)
  • If a 'free' members upgrades to 'premier', they free up a 'free' membership slot.
  • If the number of 'free' slots in a paying group reduces (by owner not paying, or paying less) below the number of 'free' members of it, then the owner should be required to reduce the membership (by expelling members), failing which groups.io will do so, based on some arbitrary basis (last in, first out? priority for moderators? frequent contributors?)
  • Should only 'premier' members be able set up (and hence own) new groups? Should 'paying' group owners get free 'premier' membership? How might these be related?
  • A pending 'free' member contigently occupies a slot - they either either fully take or lose it when their membership is confirmed or not.
  • If a 'free' member attempts to join a full group (i.e. no available slot), they should receive a 'sorry, group full. please consider taking out a premier membership' type message.
  • It is up to Mark to decide to what extent he 'encourages' people to take up 'premier' membership.
  • Possibly there should be a free. trial, period of 'premier' membership? 
My tenpennyworth!

Jeremy


moderated Re: Samuel's Paid User Proposal #suggestion

 

I’m agreeing w Marv. Would not start my group today if members had to pay. I keep coming back to that. Many of our membets are volunteers there to help other people with their cats’ illnesses, and for some, including out volunteer but eminent specialist referral vet who probably charges hundreds per hour, we are the only group they belong to. If I had to start my group with any of the member-pay structures being proposed, I would have to figure out a way to front these people the membership fee. It would be I appropriate for me to expect them to donate their services AND to pay for the privilege of doing so.


On Jan 8, 2021, at 12:11 PM, Marv Waschke <marv@...> wrote:

The proposal is fine as an option, but I don't think I would start any more groups on groups.io if I had no choice but to follow that model.

I prefer a model where I as owner pay for the service and figure out myself how to pay for the service. I might charge users a fee based on usage, (lurking is free, but members pay to be heard), I might run a yearly donate-a-thon until I receive enough to pay the fee, I might request that a core group pay something to keep the group alive, there are many ways I can think of to do this and they would all depend on the nature of the group and its membership.

Stating it a little differently, I like things just as they are in that group owners are left figure out how to fund a group for themselves. I don't like the idea, no matter how much I respect Mark, of having groups.io collecting directly from members of groups I own. In my view of online group ownership, that's my responsibility, not something I will relinquish to the platform. I expect having an online group of any kind will become more expensive as time goes on and the nature of tech business evolves, but I accept that as my problem.

Best, Marv

--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu


moderated Re: Samuel's Paid User Proposal #suggestion

Marv Waschke
 

The proposal is fine as an option, but I don't think I would start any more groups on groups.io if I had no choice but to follow that model.

I prefer a model where I as owner pay for the service and figure out myself how to pay for the service. I might charge users a fee based on usage, (lurking is free, but members pay to be heard), I might run a yearly donate-a-thon until I receive enough to pay the fee, I might request that a core group pay something to keep the group alive, there are many ways I can think of to do this and they would all depend on the nature of the group and its membership.

Stating it a little differently, I like things just as they are in that group owners are left figure out how to fund a group for themselves. I don't like the idea, no matter how much I respect Mark, of having groups.io collecting directly from members of groups I own. In my view of online group ownership, that's my responsibility, not something I will relinquish to the platform. I expect having an online group of any kind will become more expensive as time goes on and the nature of tech business evolves, but I accept that as my problem.

Best, Marv


moderated Re: Samuel's Paid User Proposal #suggestion

Joseph Hudson
 

Well if so, that proposal that you just made would look nice.

On Jan 8, 2021, at 1:42 PM, Duane <txpigeon@gmail.com> wrote:

On Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 01:35 PM, Joseph Hudson wrote:
And then I guess the pricing structure could look like $50 per six months or $100 for a year
I may be wrong, but I believe Mark is thinking less than $10/yr, though that hasn't been made clear yet.

Duane


moderated Re: Samuel's Paid User Proposal #suggestion

Duane
 

On Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 01:35 PM, Joseph Hudson wrote:
And then I guess the pricing structure could look like $50 per six months or $100 for a year
I may be wrong, but I believe Mark is thinking less than $10/yr, though that hasn't been made clear yet.

Duane


moderated Re: Samuel's Paid User Proposal #suggestion

Joseph Hudson
 

Hi Duane, I like your idea. And then I guess the pricing structure could look like $50 per six months or $100 for a year

On Jan 8, 2021, at 5:33 AM, Duane <txpigeon@gmail.com> wrote:

On Thu, Jan 7, 2021 at 04:11 PM, Mark Fletcher wrote:
I am concerned about how to explain and present it clearly. I also think getting the implementation right would be tricky.
I may be going off on a tangent, but thought I should toss this in. How about offering an annual membership to anyone that wants it, regardless of which groups they may be in or join. Even different levels if it might someday be tied to additional features. (Or a minimum charge to make sure the Stripe fees are covered and there's some income, but allow additional payment, for those existing owners that want to support the site without upgrading their group to Premium.) Their account would store the expiration date, so that could be used when determining whether they would use a 'free slot' on any new group. On Premium/Enterprise groups, it would keep the owner cost from increasing with 'extra' members unless they exceed the 'free slots'.

One thing I'm not clear on is whether this Paid User Proposal would be a per group fee or a per account fee.

Thanks,
Duane


moderated Re: Samuel's Paid User Proposal #suggestion

Tom Madden
 

I like Scott's proposals too. Except.... in the craft/hobby fields (which covers all the groups I own or subscribe to), participants seem to always be on the lookout for ways to not spend money. (Which is slightly different from saving money.) I've seen people with six figure incomes at flea markets trying to get sellers to cut 25 cents off the price of a three dollar item. Most of us have multiple email addresses available. I can see subscribers dropping out at the end of their "free" year, then resubscribing from a different address. Whether it's the notion that you're getting a better deal than the next guy, you get your jollies from thinking you got away with something, or you take satisfaction in "putting it to the man", everyone seems to want to bend the rules.

Don't have an answer, just offering something for consideration. Because, in this case, I want to support "the man".

Tom Madden


moderated Re: Samuel's Paid User Proposal #suggestion

 

100% agree with everything Scott says here, including his suggestion.
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu

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