Wordtrip Changes AKA State of the Website

Site Announcements
User avatar
Mlou
Wordtrip Fixture
Posts: 16613
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2004 10:24 pm
Location: Vermont

Postby Mlou » Thu Oct 19, 2006 8:26 am

X, you're not alone. I frequently have essays in the CSMonitor and one a month in the Vermont paper. Not daily like you, but I keep my hand in and am interested in non-fic/essay type writing too.
Yeah, I think most of us could live with a small annual fee. Um...will there be the usual senior discount? :D I didn't think so! :wink:
nothing is ever simply Yes or No. There's always a But...


GINGERBREAD MAN by Mary Lou Healy at Amazon.com http://www.publishamerica.com/shopping/ ... ogid=16658 at Publish America
User avatar
cherbo86
Wordtripper Extraordinaire
Posts: 640
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2005 9:51 pm
Location: Terre Haute, Indiana

Postby cherbo86 » Thu Oct 19, 2006 8:31 am

I was thinking along the lines of $14.95- $24.95 per year, Maybe a 10 or 15 day free trial for people who would come to the group later and want to possibly see about joining. They wouldnt be able to actually participate maybe but could look and see how things worked, something along those lines.
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer

The road to hell is paved with adverbs.
Stephen King
User avatar
charlesp
Site Admin
Posts: 13851
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2003 8:56 pm
Location: Lawrenceville, GA
Contact:

Postby charlesp » Thu Oct 19, 2006 11:16 am

CONTINUED:

I’ll run through some more details on the options I listed and what I think are the plusses or minuses to each. We’re certainly not limited to any one of these options, but obviously there would be one main business model and some supplementary ones. A part of any of the models would still be the Links to Amazon and GoogleAds as those are minimally intrusive, and sometimes very helpful (mainly the amazon ones) though neither of them has proved to be terribly profitable.

1) Paid annual membership (with some content/features remaining free for all and some being exclusive).
2) Corporate Sponsorship (with advertising campaigns and/or large branding and such)
3) Donation Drives (think PBS, something to show for your donation, but largely to sponsor the service)
4) Fiction/Poetry Magazine/e-Zine
5) Writing Newsletter (for subscription money or for advertisement money)

We’ve looked at a combination of 1 and 5 like bksp.org has done, where they charge $30 a year for access to their forums and critique group, but all their articles and interviews and such are free. If we did that however, we’d probably be more inclined to charge for the newsletter/article/interview information instead of for the forums. What we liked a little better for a membership feature was to have the fee (of $20 or so a year) be the way in which you could enter contests. Hopefully this would bring in more entries per contest and make for bigger prizes and a better contest experience for those who enter (and fund wordtrip a little better than previous contests which have given out more in prize money than we took in from entry fees).

Corporate Sponsorships would require some work to track advertising and also probably necessitate more activity on Wordtrip.

The PBS style “Donation Drives” would involve a large banner on the site for one month every 6 months (and a small one during other times of the year) that would work like PBS drives where you donate anything and you get a little “badge” on the site and if you donate $25 and you get a Wordtrip Mug, or $50 and you get a Mug and a t-shirt (these are rough figures, just for concepts sake). You’re obviously not buying a mug for $25, but supporting the site and getting a token of thanks in return. Eventually it could have the gifts be books from Wordtrip authors and things of that nature as well.

Fiction/Poetry Magazine/E-Zine is one of the less likely options right now IMHO because they’re not terribly profitable from all accounts (unless you’ve got some good financial backing up front). I’d love to be able to publish the work of Wordtrippers, and we may yet to a “Wordtrip Annual Anthology” sort of thing, but the market is such that I think that we’d most likely be taking on even more work for very little financial return.

Writing Newsletter has some of the same problems a Fiction ‘zine would, and would likely be more work (as for some time anyway the content would need to be Wordtrip “staff” created). This is more likely to be a supplement to some other effort and not the entirety of what happens. Mudge and I discussed the possibility of starting this as a “twice a month in your inbox” sort of thing with just one or two articles on writing per “issue” and hopefully work towards a more robust offering, but again there’s the longevity and “more work” aspect. I'd love to do this in conjunction with our Podcast, if we can work out the logistics and make them work.

I'll go over some of the other options as well.

TO BE CONTINUED AGAIN:

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C Clarke
"Coffee is sufficiently advanced technology" - Merlin Mann
One day I realized that sadness is just another word for not enough coffee." - Wally (Dilbert)
User avatar
timberline
Wordtrip Junkie
Posts: 1468
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 9:54 am
Location: Back home in south Jersey
Contact:

Postby timberline » Thu Oct 19, 2006 3:55 pm

Two thoughts come to mind as I scan the comments:

> Donations might be problematical unless you incorporate as a 501(c)3 non-profit.

> Why don't you take a moment and put up a survey to sample Wordtripper opinions?
 Cruising the Green of Second Avenue is available at Barnes & Noble and other online book sellers. More good stuff at http://allotropiclucubrations.blogspot.com
User avatar
Anblick
Wordtrip Fixture
Posts: 14774
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 9:57 am
Location: In that instant between then and now...
Contact:

Postby Anblick » Thu Oct 19, 2006 10:06 pm

You know with the "gift" for donation ideas on the PBS-like idea Charles, it might me a good idea to allow them to pick the gift (based on level): WT merchandise, Amazon Gift Certificate, etc. slightly more incentive for the donor...
User avatar
charlesp
Site Admin
Posts: 13851
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2003 8:56 pm
Location: Lawrenceville, GA
Contact:

Postby charlesp » Fri Oct 20, 2006 9:02 am

Timber:

Donations shouldn't be a problem without being 501(c)3 unless people try and deduct them from their taxes :D Though if we did go the 501(c)3 route we could then look more into some government grants for the arts as possible means of paying the staff, etc.

This is the sort of informal survey right now, while we feel out the options that look best and then once we're more narrowed down to plan A, B, or C we'll do a more formal survey.



Anblick;

Thats the sort of details we'd need to work out... how many options there are? do we offer just one incentive per "drive" and change them up every 6 months/year? are there levels of support?

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C Clarke
"Coffee is sufficiently advanced technology" - Merlin Mann
One day I realized that sadness is just another word for not enough coffee." - Wally (Dilbert)
User avatar
timberline
Wordtrip Junkie
Posts: 1468
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 9:54 am
Location: Back home in south Jersey
Contact:

Postby timberline » Fri Oct 20, 2006 9:30 am

Some of the dot.org sites I submit or go to include Northwoods Journal (www.americanletters.org) and Orchid (www.orchirdlit.org). Being a not-for-profit doesn't mean a site director or staff can't be paid. The government grants idea also got me thinking, about support for investigation into media trends, interviews with Yaddo's director, a roundup of "best" college writing, etc.
 Cruising the Green of Second Avenue is available at Barnes & Noble and other online book sellers. More good stuff at http://allotropiclucubrations.blogspot.com
User avatar
charlesp
Site Admin
Posts: 13851
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2003 8:56 pm
Location: Lawrenceville, GA
Contact:

Postby charlesp » Fri Oct 20, 2006 9:57 am

Yeah, the 501(c)3 concept is an interesting one... though we've not gone that route yet for, what I assume are, the obvious reasons: Govt regulation and paperwork. BUT it is an option out there. One of the other donation concepts that we liked was what NaNoWriMo does where half the donated money goes to the site and half goes to build libraries in 3rd world countries (though I'll admit I think we'd start with medical help or water/food sort of charities).

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C Clarke
"Coffee is sufficiently advanced technology" - Merlin Mann
One day I realized that sadness is just another word for not enough coffee." - Wally (Dilbert)
User avatar
bfsooner
Wordtrip Grand Master
Posts: 3350
Joined: Mon May 30, 2005 7:49 pm
Location: Dallas, TX

Postby bfsooner » Fri Oct 20, 2006 10:11 am

CP, I like the NaNoWriMo concept.
Rebecca

"The name's Kaknockers...Vod Kaknockers." ~~ Jake, Two and Half Men
User avatar
tigerlily
Wordtripper Extraordinaire
Posts: 440
Joined: Mon May 03, 2004 11:00 am
Location: Lochgelly WV

Postby tigerlily » Sat Oct 21, 2006 10:40 am

Wow. Bummer. You guys do what you need to to keep going, but I'm going to have to bow out. I'm more here to goof off and express my opinions than I am for serious writing instruction--which is good, because I'm only here once a week, at the most. I don't have a computer or internet access. As a result, I rarely participate in the writing challenges, and when I do, I'm at least a week behind. I'm an extremely lonely person, and I come here for the community of like-minded individuals. That's not something I think I should pay for.
This is a really cool place, and I wish you the best.
tigerlily chickenstew42@yahoo.com
"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
User avatar
xcheck24
Wordtrip Fixture
Posts: 9733
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2004 5:29 pm
Location: Dirty Jersey
Contact:

Postby xcheck24 » Sat Oct 21, 2006 11:15 am

tiger, i dont think anyone is saying we'd make this a closed community. i would be completely against that.
Behind the Press
There's always a bloody ghost.
User avatar
charlesp
Site Admin
Posts: 13851
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2003 8:56 pm
Location: Lawrenceville, GA
Contact:

Postby charlesp » Sat Oct 21, 2006 11:17 am

Tiger, I hope you stick around long enough to see what we actually decide, as this is all a work in progress and a discussion of the options Wordtrip has. Some of it will probably require paying for, some of it may not, and we don't know yet what it's going to look like.

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C Clarke
"Coffee is sufficiently advanced technology" - Merlin Mann
One day I realized that sadness is just another word for not enough coffee." - Wally (Dilbert)
User avatar
hyperfine
Wordtripper Extraordinaire
Posts: 500
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2005 9:55 am
Location: Canada
Contact:

Postby hyperfine » Sat Oct 21, 2006 7:52 pm

Hmmm....I probably wouldn't end up paying a membership fee, what with being broke and American dollars and already spending too much time goofing off online and all.
Me fail English? That's unpossible!
User avatar
CycoMerlin14
Wordtrip Junkie
Posts: 767
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2004 7:29 am
Location: Lawrence, KS
Contact:

Postby CycoMerlin14 » Sat Oct 21, 2006 10:14 pm

I'm sure I can make donations. I work well with donations. Blah blah blah.

Hey, Charles, what's a reasonable donation? $5? $10? Every month or so...?
User avatar
Anblick
Wordtrip Fixture
Posts: 14774
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 9:57 am
Location: In that instant between then and now...
Contact:

Postby Anblick » Sun Oct 22, 2006 12:49 am

CycoMerlin14 wrote:I'm sure I can make donations. I work well with donations. Blah blah blah.

Hey, Charles, what's a reasonable donation? $5? $10? Every month or so...?


Well, if he was talking about a $20 annual, then approximately $2 per month (or about $0.07 per day) would be the requested donation/fee.
User avatar
xcheck24
Wordtrip Fixture
Posts: 9733
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2004 5:29 pm
Location: Dirty Jersey
Contact:

Postby xcheck24 » Sun Oct 22, 2006 12:52 am

if it's a donation. . .wouldnt the price be up to the person donating?
Behind the Press

There's always a bloody ghost.
User avatar
Anblick
Wordtrip Fixture
Posts: 14774
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 9:57 am
Location: In that instant between then and now...
Contact:

Postby Anblick » Sun Oct 22, 2006 12:58 am

True, I was just giving examples going off the high-end price Charles mentioned earlier (and showing just how small it really is). We also mentioned the PBS style fund-raisers with "levels" of donation...
User avatar
Dreamcatcher
Wordtripper Extraordinaire
Posts: 415
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 12:14 am
Location: Wollongong, NSW, Australia (or thereabouts)
Contact:

Postby Dreamcatcher » Sun Oct 22, 2006 5:00 am

hyperfine wrote:Hmmm....I probably wouldn't end up paying a membership fee, what with being broke and American dollars and already spending too much time goofing off online and all.

Me neither.

If it ended up that to access all but the most basic functions of the site necessitated payment of a subscription fee, I hate to say this but I'd probably end up leaving. I honestly can't afford it. That, and I don't have a credit card...
Slán go fóill,

Aeryn @-->--- | My writing space | The Tightrope

Magick is Intention amplified by Emotion
bfdc

Who needs pay for Hummer if the Hondas are free?

Postby bfdc » Sun Oct 22, 2006 7:28 am

There's another option no one has spoken of that I see: Free Host Sites

There are several free sites that host forums. Some have annoying (to some, but not to me because I can block most of them) pop-ups, and they're not guaranteed to work because they're free, but every site goes down from time to time. However, they work most of the time and they're highly customizable. I used to have two, one on proboards (dot com) and the other, I forget at the moment. I liked proboards better anyway. It was for a family type of board, but my family is so north versus south I got rid of it (the board, not the family). The other was for a website I had, and while writerbuddy was dissolving into abd, my writing group used it as a forum.

Losing sites like this is a shame, but at the same time, I don't see the sense in having a business one can't afford to run. Other sites are going through the same problems, and it's beyond me why.

If the idea is to have a place where writerly types can converse, have groups that are closed to all but group members (and site owners), and hold contests, then a free site does all that with almost as many bells and whistles as this one does. Certainly all the necessities of use are present on the free sites.

I would set it up on a free host site, build up some sort of financial support system, and then go to a pay site, if there's too much money left over after paying winners of contests and whatnot. Every free service usually offers ad-free rates and are happy to take your money, I'm sure.

Bob
User avatar
bfsooner
Wordtrip Grand Master
Posts: 3350
Joined: Mon May 30, 2005 7:49 pm
Location: Dallas, TX

Postby bfsooner » Sun Oct 22, 2006 7:54 am

CP, there hasn't been very much discussion regarding corporate sponsorships. How would that change the look of the site? I'm assuming there would be banner ads and what not like I see on myspace.
Rebecca



"The name's Kaknockers...Vod Kaknockers." ~~ Jake, Two and Half Men
User avatar
CycoMerlin14
Wordtrip Junkie
Posts: 767
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2004 7:29 am
Location: Lawrence, KS
Contact:

Postby CycoMerlin14 » Sun Oct 22, 2006 4:41 pm

xcheck24 wrote:if it's a donation. . .wouldnt the price be up to the person donating?


Some places like free museums do suggested donations, like three dollars or so. It doesn't mean that you have to donate that amount, or donate at all.
User avatar
xcheck24
Wordtrip Fixture
Posts: 9733
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2004 5:29 pm
Location: Dirty Jersey
Contact:

Postby xcheck24 » Sun Oct 22, 2006 5:57 pm

Mlou wrote:X, you're not alone. I frequently have essays in the CSMonitor and one a month in the Vermont paper. Not daily like you, but I keep my hand in and am interested in non-fic/essay type writing too.


how did I miss your post, mlou :lol:
I think of you more as our poetry expert around here ;)
Behind the Press

There's always a bloody ghost.
User avatar
charlesp
Site Admin
Posts: 13851
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2003 8:56 pm
Location: Lawrenceville, GA
Contact:

Postby charlesp » Tue Oct 24, 2006 7:14 am

bfsooner:

The look for a corporate sponsorship would probably not change a whole lot. What would probably happen is our main header area would have a large logo/link to whatever sponsor we happened to have. The Corp sponsorship route would be a tough one as we'd need some serious numbers to really get anything of note out of a sponsor. One thing that userfriendly.org does is the donation drive and if you're a donor you can turn off the adds from the sponsors... which might be a combo we could look into

bfdc;

The free hosting sites have never been an option for Wordtrip because of how little they allow for customization AND because it wouldn't be worth it. The running of Wordtrip isn't a huge financial burden just to keep the site hosted (that's relatively inexpensive), it however does take a lot of TIME from a variety of people to manage (remove spam members, keep things updates and fresh, create new challenges, etc) and that's more what we're looking at. I've had sites for about a decade now and am very frugal in how much I spend on hosting. But to offer contests with actual prizes one has to have money involved, and to pay the people doing the heavy lifting require money. The actual hosting cost is nominal.

If the Wordtrip staff/moderators/etc are spending X many hours a week keeping Wordtrip going then that's time we aren't spending writing, or doing a paying gig. If we can make Wordtrip more self-sustaining (which, prior to 2006 it did an OK job of paying it's own bills from contests and our few advertisements) so it can actually compensate all the people who are putting time into creating content and environment for the members it will hopefully allow them more resources (if not time) to do writing. For me, trying to pay the family bills, making a few bucks from the work put into Wordtrip means I don't have to take other side web design jobs to supplement my main income. I'd much rather put my time into building content for Wordtrip than making websites for construction companies, but if the time put into Wordtrip doesn't bring in any money to pay for food/clothing/diapers/etc then I still have to take the other extra work.

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C Clarke
"Coffee is sufficiently advanced technology" - Merlin Mann
One day I realized that sadness is just another word for not enough coffee." - Wally (Dilbert)

Return to “Announcements”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests