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Sherry
02-16-2007, 09:07 AM
After reading through the many posts regarding our server issues, I have come to the conclusion that most people are in favor of an annual membership fee. I, too, think this could be a great idea! It would definitely help towards site maintenance costs.

I was thinking that $15 per year would be fair. If only 100 people sign up for membership, we'll be able to pay for dedicated server costs for 1 year.

Let's brainstorm! Let me hear your opinions. I am open to all suggestions. If we were to go with a membership fee, what areas of the website should be available to non-members?

And THANK YOU to everyone for your amazing support!!:cute:

Christie
02-16-2007, 09:12 AM
My only concern would be the members who couldn't afford to pay the $15. It's not alot but to some people it might be. I'm afraid we will lose members who can't afford it. JMO.

Sherry
02-16-2007, 09:16 AM
That is true and is a valid concern. Perhaps we could have incentives for users who cannot afford membership. For example, refer 3 users to our website, get free membership or post 1000 posts to the board and receive free membership. I'd hate for anyone to feel left out because of finacial reasons :(

I like that we're discussing this. I want to see ALL sides of the coin before making a decision.

Instead of a full membership fee, I could begin doing templates on a weekly basis and charging a monthly/yearly fee for those. The templates are a great resource and take quite a bit of time to create so I don't think it's unreasonable to place a fee on these.

spredbirds
02-16-2007, 09:17 AM
I think you should have some parts available so people can see why they should pay their $15 .... I too hope people pay the $15. -Chelsea

inkinupstamps
02-16-2007, 09:20 AM
Christie makes a good point about those who cannot afford it. I also think, though, that a membership fee IS important for us to have this wonderful site that Sherry has created. So what to do?

It is not unusual to expect to pay a service fee for membership to a web site and I think that $15 is VERY reasonable. I think too that perhaps $20 might be a better price per year only so that unexpected costs could be managed with the excess above the $1500 you need to operate.

Now, about those who cannot afford this. Would it be a very complicated process to allow non-paying members of Stamp Shack to post posts, but NOT have access to the extra features such as templates, gallery, chat room, etc? They could then read about daily chit chat and card making discussion and be part of the group, but the added "treats" would be for paid members?

I'm in no way computer saavy so perhaps this would be difficult.

As for a membership fee, I think that if Sherry sets it slightly above the bare minimum it would allow for unexpected expenses without having to continually do fun raising.

Just some thoughts........

Jennifer

Far North
02-16-2007, 09:20 AM
So Sherry are you thinking it would be an optional fee? If so maybe you want to suggest a few levels for contributions--I am sure this group could find great titles. Something like $15-$24 Shack supporter $25.-$49. Shack angel $50 plus Shack Charter Member And of course we would need to be a little creative with some recognition for each level.
....Jan

Sherry
02-16-2007, 09:24 AM
Now, about those who cannot afford this. Would it be a very complicated process to allow non-paying members of Stamp Shack to post posts, but NOT have access to the extra features such as templates, gallery, chat room, etc? They could then read about daily chit chat and card making discussion and be part of the group, but the added "treats" would be for paid members?

I'm in no way computer saavy so perhaps this would be difficult.


This wouldn't be difficult at all. The only issue would be the swap board but I could have Mark code this up so that only members of a certain usergroup could access it.

Jadyeebugsaunt
02-16-2007, 09:29 AM
Ok in my opionion, if you have the money to do this sort of hobby , then you should have a money for the annual membership. I mean this hobby is not cheap! I myself am on a fixed income so believe me I know about fincail hardships. I also believe that ou need to learn how to budget your money and decided what needs to be done, I understand tat there specail circustances but i hink in genral everyone can afford a yearl member of 15 or so , besideds it only once a year no monthly.

Far North
02-16-2007, 09:33 AM
While I am always concerned about people who might not be able to afford participating...I do think that most folks who are going to consider any crafting hobby must have some funds beyond the basics. Crafting supplies cost money! Of course we ALL have to make choices and for some it may be they would rather have a 1 time magazine instead of year long acess to this wonderful site.
Sometimes people unconsciously value things more when they have to pay for them...or are asked to contribute.
Rambling thoughts!...Jan

ccstampin12
02-16-2007, 09:36 AM
That I agree with the concept that if we can afford this hobby, we should be able to afford $15-20 per year for this amazing website.
So, skip that new stamp or 2 and send in your membership fee. I hope this doesn't sound "cavelier" because I understand about lack of money...believe me. But, I firmly believe that we can all do this.
Put all of your change in a jar for a while, and I'll bet you'll be surprised how quickly you will have that $20!
Joanie:rolleyes:

mahodgman
02-16-2007, 09:38 AM
I'm having a hard time picturing someone not being able to afford a yearly $15-20 fee, so I'm just going to thank God right now that I'm not in that kind of financial crisis! Could we have some sort of sponsorship thing where if you can't afford it, someone else could pay it for you? I'm not sure exactly how that would work, and we wouldn't want to embarass anyone. Maybe we could do some kind of nomination thing. I'll have to give it some more thought.

ccstampin12
02-16-2007, 09:40 AM
Do you mean, like a scholarship? That could be interesting!!!
An application process?
Hmmmmm.
Joanie

mahodgman
02-16-2007, 09:45 AM
Do you mean, like a scholarship? That could be interesting!!!
An application process?
Hmmmmm.
Joanie

Yes, I was thinking something like that. If someone really couldn't afford to join, I'd be happy to sponsor them. We would have to figure out a way to make it private and prove there was a need. I agree with everyone else, this hobby is expensive! But, life happens and people get themselves into unexpected circumstances.

kimmylynnd
02-16-2007, 09:53 AM
I think putting a label on the amount you paid is really a status symbol IMHO. If there is no criteria for each payment level, then it appears this is merely a status thing. Why should everyone know that Mary could only afford to pay
$15, but Sue was able to pay $50.

As far as allowing people to stay even if they can't pay the $15, but not allowing them to go to the gallery is not right. Which of you would agree with being able to read what is being said, but not be able to see the samples of work, if you couldn't afford it?

There are over 500 people on Stamp Shack (but let's just base this on 500)
and if only half the members paid the $15 dollars per year to subcribe, you would bring in $3,750 dollars, OVER 2 years worth of hosting, and $750 left over. To me this is a bit much, and if more than half of the people pay your annual subscription fee, you will collect far more than the $3,750. So the fee for the website is $1,500 per year, what would happen to the other $2,250 dollars? I think this is an excessive amount.

I also think someone having to prove a need to be sponsored would be humiliating for the person. How exactly would you expect one to prove they really didn't have the money? I don't know about you, but I would tend to keep these things to myself and not want to prove this fact to anyone!

I think charging for the templates is perhaps a good idea. This is above and beyond what is normally on a group, and I would think people would glady pay to use your templates. There are many paysites for templates and your templates are wonderful. I know I would pay to use your templates.


I know my opinion doesn't really matter as I don't post alot here, but this idea of a $15 annual fee really didn't sit well with me. I think there are many other options that should be looked at before you set this as a rule of membership.

Just my 2 cents worth....
Kim Prince

ctmhgirl
02-16-2007, 10:06 AM
How about a fee of $7. I bet you would get a lot of people to pay that much. $7 is not a lot of money because you pay that when you go get fast food.

Nancy
02-16-2007, 10:20 AM
fine, anyone who is a rubber stamper already knows the kind of money you put out. If you couldn't afford the yearly fee, stamps, supplies, and postage are costly. Most stampers have in their stamprooms, thousands of dollars of supplies. I think this would eliminate anyone who is a flaker and just looking in and you end up with a club that all people know the rules and abide by them. -Nancy

Christie
02-16-2007, 10:20 AM
I agree with Kim. The fact of having people have status could make another who can't afford $50 feel bad of not being able to pay the same. I know I couldn't afford $50. I think that some people do this hobby on a tight budget(I don't spend much on it, I buy most of my stuff at the dollar store).

I think by saying people SHOULD afford it is unfair. There should be a way to make blind donations or hold acutions on a yearly basis, or even throughout the year. I think charging for templates is a great idea or even a $5 membership fee, something that isn't so high. I also think that if there is a high membership fee the membership will go down and people won't want to join.

This is such a touchy subject and I don't want anyone to get their feelings hurt. These are just my thoughts and I'm sorry in advace if they hurt any feeling that isn't my intent at all. I'm just trying to be fair to everyone.

inkinupstamps
02-16-2007, 10:44 AM
I'm in agreement with Kim but only to a point. I'm not keen on a status level of giving. That doesn't sit well with me either and I really don't see that that is necessary, nor is a "scholarship" fund. I think that would get dangerously close to either humiliating some, or affording the opportunity of a free ride for those who want a free ride to take advantage others. I've always felt that "donations" should be a private/personal decision and not to be published that Jane gave more than Sue.

However, I do think that a membership fee is perfectly acceptable since we pay membership fees for a myriad of group participation activities.

And, I still think that non paying members should be allowed to the message board but not to the perks. There are several reasons why I feel this way:
(1.) New members. If there is a join fee but someone new would like to check out Stamp Shack but can't sign on to Stamp Shack, then they'd have no idea what this site has to offer, without some type of limited access they wouldn't know why they would want to join a payed site. Having a limited access would allow people to get a feel for the quality of this site and they can decide if the gallery, chat room, templates are worth a small membership fee. I don't see anyone joining a site, sight unseen so limited access would help the membership to continue to grow.
(2.) Sherry has made the point in the past that she doesn't appreciate Stamp Shack being compared to other sites. I believe Stamp Shack does indeed offer a more personal and attention to detail type of stamp site. It ISN'T like SCS, 2Peas, PCMB, though there are some similarities. I think that to be able to remain the unique site this is, the fee is going to be necessary to continue to offer the specialties it has to offer. If someone doesn't feel that Stamp Shack is unique enough to continue to provide the opportunities, information and friendships that we enjoy here and are really more interested in freebees, gallery ideas there are plenty of other sites out there that are free.
(3.) Without a way of funding this site, which a minimal membership fee would provide, Stamp Shack probably won't be able to survive in its current format and will be just another stamp site.

So from my perspective, a small membership fee for full useage and limited access for trial useage would be an acceptable solution to the financial burdens it is now accruing.

Jennifer

Jadyeebugsaunt
02-16-2007, 10:50 AM
I agrree that we sould ot give "status" but I do think we neeed a fee.

Ryan'sGirl
02-16-2007, 10:51 AM
Ditto to the last three posts!!!

hutchink
02-16-2007, 10:53 AM
Okay after much thought...I think that a membership fee to access parts of the website is good idea, for example the templates. Sherry what about designing another stamp (like the vintage santa) that we could do as a fun raiser? We would all buy a stamp. I also still like the idea of T-shirts...I could organize it since I have order many shirts for the college that I worked and the college that I went too! We could form a committee and get the ball rolling!

~K

toao
02-16-2007, 10:56 AM
Jennifer hit the nail right on the head. I don't think $15.00 or even $20.00 is too much to ask for all of the service that Sherry offers us. That's less than $2.00 a month. I am also in agreeance on the status thing. I don't think that would be a good idea with giving someone a title as to how much they donated.

A question for Sherry: If we "pay" a membership fee, will you have to pay some sort of taxes? If we called it a membership "donation" would that be better? Just thinking of the legal side of things.

Mary

flyingflower
02-16-2007, 10:58 AM
Here are some of my thoughts:
A "trial" membership of 30 days free when you sign up to be part of the stamp shack.
After the 30 days, a "basic" membership of $5/yr allows access to the written forum sections, swap board & viewing of the gallery
A "full" membership of $10/yr allows you to post photos to the gallery, participate in chat and download templates.

Sherry
02-16-2007, 10:59 AM
I agree with Kim and Christie - I don't think having status levels is a good idea. If we did go with a membership fee, I think it would be best to go with one amount. There is always the option of sending donations if someone is feeling really generous :)

As far as membership fees go, perhaps $15 is too high. While I wouldn't expect to take in as much money as Kim forcasted as we only have 160-180 users who frequent the site on a daily basis, there would be a potential surplus. If all 180 members were to subscribe (which is highly unlikely) at $10 per year, that would be $1800. $1540 of this would go to server fees leaving a remainder of $260. Where would this extra money go? Well, users are requesting additional features on the swap board and, let me tell you, paying for custom coding is NOT cheap! I have already spent over $1200 out of my own pocket for swap board coding not to mention the $300 that was donated by Shack members. There is also the forum software license which will be up for renewal in October. And, what if the site grows even more popular? We would have to upgrade the port or add another one to allow for faster connections and more members. There is no doubt about it - the cost of maintaining a website, especially a popular one, is not cheap.

I would love nothing better to keep this website absolutely free, but I cannot afford the cost of upgrading to a dedicated server on my own. If we want to keep this website alive with all of the features it currently has, we must ralley together and come up with a way to raise money.

We could do without membership fees and rely soley on donations OR we could implement a yearly fee for templates OR I could always do what most other website do and install advertisments. While this is unsightly and EXTREMELY annoying in my opinion, it can create revenue if it is done properly.

Christie
02-16-2007, 11:00 AM
Here are some of my thoughts:
A "trial" membership of 30 days free when you sign up to be part of the stamp shack.
After the 30 days, a "basic" membership of $5/yr allows access to the written forum sections, swap board & viewing of the gallery
A "full" membership of $10/yr allows you to post photos to the gallery, participate in chat and download templates.


Here's my thought,
How about a $5 full membership fee then we charge per template. Like maybe a dollar per template, that will help bring in more money throughout the year.

ccstampin12
02-16-2007, 11:04 AM
Yes, after giving this some thought while taking my shower, I decided pretty much the same thing about the scholarship ideas. Too much potential for hurt feelings....misuse...etc.
I do like the ideas of members...all members paying the same amount...and having full access to the site. Trial members would be able to view everything, but not post to the Gallery, download templates, and possibly other limitations.
I know we can work this out to everyone's liking!
Joanie

Nancy
02-16-2007, 11:08 AM
would be fine and everyone pay a certain amount for yearly dues. This ends up also as a bookkeeping feature, that could take a lot of time. Anyone who doesn't pay with in a certain period of time is out. I think Sherrie should put it to a vote and take it from there. Anyone not liking it, would just be out. Sounds tough but that is how it would have to be. Yearly sign ups and payment should be no bother except, of course, to Sherrie. For the cost of one stamp you would have yearly enjoyment access to this site. - Nancy

ellie
02-16-2007, 11:11 AM
Count me in. I think that is more than reasonable.:nod:

Far North
02-16-2007, 11:17 AM
If we are speaking of a fee, is the amount we are talking about in Canadian $?

hbpuppy
02-16-2007, 11:35 AM
I tend to favor the more creative ways to fund the Shack. I like the idea of creating something that people would want to buy. Especially if is something like a rubber stamp that people outside of the Shack would want to purchase. If everyone here bought one, made cute stuff and posted it on their blogs with a link on where to buy the cute stamp, a lot of people would want that cute stamp.

The financial burden is an issue but I am more concerned about creating a deterrent for people who are not already in love with the Shack. I love it when new people join us and bring their ideas and outlook. I don't want someone to click in, see a fee thingy, click out and never return.

What about doing a product spotlight on the newsletter and having the product pay for the exposure.

We are creative people. Let's think of something creative. Why can't some of the money come from outside the Shack users?

Jadyeebugsaunt
02-16-2007, 11:55 AM
me personally, I see creative ways o fund the shack as a supplement way t o fund. Don't gt me wrong it would be great to get people from he outside to cotribute by buying stuff but less face it we are all busy and o take time ot o make something to see if it sells is a bit "cocky" to me. I mean not all people apprieciae handmade items toand to solely put the fate of the sack in that is caeless to me. I vote that we have a 5-10 dollar annual fee and then supplement with selling stuff also,
This is just my opionion

directmailscrapper
02-16-2007, 12:16 PM
I think a $15 annual fee is more than reasonable. Sherry is putting a TON of her own time and resources into creating and maintaining this site -- and we should all do whatever we can to support her efforts. And this is NOT a business venture for her -- she shouldn't need to set up a complicated accounting system.

If there is an easy way to provide someone access to parts of the site for free for 30 days -- I think that would be terrific. I doubt that I would have paid to join the site if I hadn't gotten addicted to it -- it took me a while to wean myself off of the PCMB and get hooked on this site.

The free sites that I am aware of have advertising. Someone has to pay for the site! And we don't want to turn Sherry into a fundraiser. She isn't getting paid for the time she puts into the site as it is.

The members of the Shack come from a vast variety of lifestyles. We need to be sensitive to everyone -- but also realize that there are real costs associated with this site -- like it or not. I'm grateful for the discussion.

Nancy

Erin K
02-16-2007, 12:28 PM
here's Erin's input:

I'm personally comfortable with an annual membership fee. But I definately think we should be considering the downsides of it. There will simply be people who will not want to or cannot pay. It's all a matter of priorities, this site is a huge priority for me but if not for some people that's totally understandable and they might not want to pay to use the entire site. I think we can pretty much garantee that there will be people who do not want to do it and we will see the end of them if we have a fee. We need to make sure that sits ok with us before we decide to have a fee. I personally still think a fee is ok, but I will be sad to see those people who disagree go.

A free trial is a good idea I think, there is no other way I can see to get new members...

I also am really happy that we are having this discussion with respect for eachother. I am proud that we can discuss something like money and putting a price on the shack without it becoming nasty in any way. This is because everyone here rocks. :)

kerry
02-16-2007, 12:29 PM
I'm happy to do a "donation". I can only do that at work since my internet connection is not secure at home (Thank goodness for that or I'd be broke with impulse buys!).

I'm also all for doing fundraisers now and then too.

This is more than a full time job for Sherry and she is not getting paid for it so, why not give her some benefits too??? In my opinion, she gives, gives, gives and bends over backwards to make everyone here on HER site happy, why doesn't she deserve some monetary reward or financial support for her work???

And...since I'm going to start producing my own stamps, I would be happy to make a stamp design for the stamp shack...I think it would be neat to have a back of the card stamp (a new one each year) for cards mailed and swapped for this site. What do you think of that??? Maybe this stamp can be a perk for membership??? You pay the fee each year, you get the stamp free as a perk.

Kerry

Erin K
02-16-2007, 12:41 PM
I love the idea of an exclusive member stamp. :)

smkymtsu
02-16-2007, 12:46 PM
I'm just now reading through all of this. Wow....what a headache! I have no problem with a membership fee and would gladly pay it. I am very gratefull for all the hardwork Sherry has done and would be glad to donate or pay a membership fee to keep the site going. However, my only concern with a membership fee is that it might stop future memberships. I have had a taste of SS and know what it offers and know that it is worth the fee. However someone searching the net who stumbles on to this site might see there is a fee and move on without trying to check it out first. That's my only concern. Otherwise I have no problem with a membership fee.

hutchink
02-16-2007, 12:50 PM
Kerry...

I love love love the back of the card stamp! Way cool idea!

~K

iupindiana
02-16-2007, 12:57 PM
Here goes my opinion. I think a membership fee giving access to the full site is okay. Non member would have access to the site but limited to viewing the gallery and template without being able to download or upload. This may encourage them to join since the membership fee would be relatively nominal. We are talking about two trips to Starbucks for coffee.

The stamp idea is great. Keep all the ideas coming. I will donate once the decision is made regarding membership. JoAnn

Tantalize
02-16-2007, 12:59 PM
Thats a fabulous idea, Kerry! I have read what you all have written and I am in agreement to both sides of the story. I havent been on the board all that much the past couple of days, but am willing to pay a membership/donate. Most of the time, I would be opposed to this, but because the Shack is such a tight community, I am more than willing to participate.

StampKutie
02-16-2007, 01:01 PM
I am new here...and it didn't take me long to see the value in this site. While I haven't posted a whole lot yet, I plan to! :D

I fully support the idea of an annual donation of $15/20...call it a subscribtion, then you really do relate it to just buying another magazine!

As far as the excess funds (over and above the costs of running the site and maintaining a slush fund for emergencies and the like) that this may produce, if that really becomes a problem for Sherry figuring out what to do with it...the shack can always come up with a 'cause' to support. One of my motorcylce groups does that...at a certain time every year, the amount of 'excess funds' in the treasury are donated to one or more charities selected by the group.

well..those are my initial thoughts on the matter! Sherry, you have my support in however you decide to proceed!

Melina

Swanie78
02-16-2007, 01:13 PM
Now, about those who cannot afford this. Would it be a very complicated process to allow non-paying members of Stamp Shack to post posts, but NOT have access to the extra features such as templates, gallery, chat room, etc? They could then read about daily chit chat and card making discussion and be part of the group, but the added "treats" would be for paid members?


I think this is one of the best options, especially for the sake of The Stamp Shack.
Now that I am a member here and love you guys so much, you can bet that Im going to pay to be a member. However, if I was just stumbling along the site and saw that I had to pay $15/$20 just to post, or just to see what Id be getting on this site, Id walk away and find some place else free.
I think giving them limited access will help draw more people into paying the fee. We still have the ability to interact with them and if we are mentioning stuff in curiosity, it will make the new/unpaid members want to be part of it.
Theres going to have to be a set of rules that comes along with that though, like agreeing not to post our cards/projects in posts (assuming the gallery is a paying thing), not copying and forwarding "hidden" info to members that cant see it, etc. Otherwise, that defeats the purpose of having a paying membership.

Kreative Dryve
02-16-2007, 04:33 PM
Wow, so many good ideas!
I personally have to budget all of my purchases, and a fee of $15/20 might not be much to some, but it sounds like a lot to me. I am one of those who have been in the spiral of life, and money is extremely tight. Due to my shoulder, not being able to work, and not knowing when it will get better.
I could afford something smaller, but I feel also like some of the others that a fee to some new people will be a real turn off.
I have never used the templates, so I really don't know if it would be a good idea to charge for them. I like the idea of a auction. I could donate something.
I do like the idea of another "Shack Only" stamp, I know when I did buy the Shack Santa, and posted my cards on another site, they wanted to know where I got it. I think that would be a big revenue maker, as well as the t-shirt. (just so fun to have a t-shirt to inspire me even more)
Whatever you decide Sherry, just remember you will never be able to make everyone happy, so just make it easier on yourself. I thank you so much for making this site and keeping us all involved in the process. -MJ :D

veronica
02-16-2007, 04:36 PM
Hey count me in on whatever everyone decides. I just know I don't want to lose this wonderful place!!!!!!!

scrapsoon
02-16-2007, 05:07 PM
I dont know if its the right or correct topig.
But i just make a donation for this site.
For now it's not much,but a start and for this month i cant spend more.
Dont know when you need the total of the money.
But over a month or something i can make another donation.

cindi
02-16-2007, 05:20 PM
how proud I am of everyone for discussing such a touchy subject like money in such a friendly way:notworthy:
Erin was right on to praise everyone for that
I love all the great ideas being brought forward..great thinking ladies.
I have no problem paying a fee..I think it's the fastest way to solve the immediate problem.
I'm wondering if we pay a fee now, then fund raise all year maybe next years fees could be cheaper,,due to monet raised? Is something like that [possible? Is it too hard to do?
Anyway I love this site, appreciatye all that Sherry does & want to makeit work as smoothly as possible
I love all you ladies & would hate to lose touch!:kiss:
:)

Swanie78
02-16-2007, 05:26 PM
Wow, so many good ideas!
I personally have to budget all of my purchases, and a fee of $15/20 might not be much to some, but it sounds like a lot to me. I am one of those who have been in the spiral of life, and money is extremely tight. Due to my shoulder, not being able to work, and not knowing when it will get better.
I could afford something smaller, but I feel also like some of the others that a fee to some new people will be a real turn off.


Not picking on you here, just using you as an example :)
In a case like this, maybe we could have "Shack Sponsors"? It could be public or private knowledge. Not like "look at me, I sponsored X" but if you saw X couldnt afford membership you could PM Sherry and pay all/part of her fee. And then Sherry could just send X and email saying something like "Your membership has been partially/fully paid by Y (or to be annonymous "your Shack Friend").
Did that make sense? lol Im supposed to be sleeping so I can work tonight, but its not happening.

Kreative Dryve
02-16-2007, 05:59 PM
Not picking on you here, just using you as an example :)
In a case like this, maybe we could have "Shack Sponsors"? It could be public or private knowledge. Not like "look at me, I sponsored X" but if you saw X couldnt afford membership you could PM Sherry and pay all/part of her fee. And then Sherry could just send X and email saying something like "Your membership has been partially/fully paid by Y (or to be annonymous "your Shack Friend").
Did that make sense? lol Im supposed to be sleeping so I can work tonight, but its not happening.



It's okay pointing me out. But here is another felling I have about this, I personally wouldn't want someone to pay for me. I take a lot of pride in making my budget work for me, and still enjoying my hobby. I feel this would still be excluding a lot of people, all because of a monetary value.
Don't flame me. Just my opinion. While I will gladly pay my fee, I will not be on the site until I can pay for it out of my budget, and that will make me very sad not to be on this site. -MJ

Swanie78
02-16-2007, 06:04 PM
But wouldnt it also make you feel good to know that 1 (or more) people like you so much they are willing to help you out to keep you here?
Ive got a lot of pride also. And I rarely submit to letting anyone doing anything for me that involves their money. But Id also feel touched that I made that much of a difference to someone that they'd be willing to help me out to keep me active :)

Thats kind of off topic since my original was just a suggestion. But I'd really feel bad if you had to distance yourself from the website because you couldnt afford to pay the fee whenever its implemented (assuming its implemented).

scrapsoon
02-16-2007, 06:08 PM
Sorry when it's late and i get tired i cant read perfect a specially in english.
But if i get it right the option is to do an membershippayment??
And just like Kreative Drive said if im correct she also cannot pay the membership.
And i will not be able to pay anny membership.
Thats why im so happy with the internet,cause i get a lot of inforation and tips for my hobby's.
And ocacionaly i buy an magazine.
And the rest of my products i buy in sale.
Or i have to save a lot.
So for now i could mis a few dollars for the donation,but there is no more.
Couldnt even think of an membershippayment to pay.
So to make a long story short,i really hope this never would happend.
Cause i like this site verry much and learn every day of it.

Kreative Dryve
02-16-2007, 06:16 PM
But wouldnt it also make you feel good to know that 1 (or more) people like you so much they are willing to help you out to keep you here?
Ive got a lot of pride also. And I rarely submit to letting anyone doing anything for me that involves their money. But Id also feel touched that I made that much of a difference to someone that they'd be willing to help me out to keep me active :)

Thats kind of off topic since my original was just a suggestion. But I'd really feel bad if you had to distance yourself from the website because you couldnt afford to pay the fee whenever its implemented (assuming its implemented).



I am a very prideful person, rarely letting someone do me a favor no matter how nice the gesture. I recently had a house fire, and a lot of these ladies helped me out, by sending me gift cards, household items, craft supplies, etc.... I just feel this would be a different sort of gesture, to pay my fee.
By all means don't exclude this as a option for someone else, but for me I wouldn't feel comfortable. The fee would not hold me from being on this site for long, because I would pay it. But I would have to fit it into my already tight budget. JMO! Thanks for listening to my side. -MJ

Vintagegal
02-16-2007, 06:45 PM
Everybody who's posted before me makes awesome points. I agree with Jennifer's suggestion of allowing ONLY paid members accesss to certain sites. But......Jan's suggestion of giving those who can afford more extra perks is also a great idea.

I don't know what those perks would be, but say, for example, if you paid $20 in membership you would be allowed to buy a Stamp Shack exclusive rubber stamp? If you paid $30, you would be allowed to buy TWO Stamp Shack exclusive rubber stamps, etc. etc.

Erin K
02-16-2007, 06:47 PM
I LOVE the idea of there being a special stamp each year, say we paid $20 but got the special stamp for "free". How much does it actually cost to do a stamp? and of course it would have to be shipped...

Anyhow whatever we decide we have to SAVE THE SHACK. I cannot go back to PC, I'm totally spoiled now.

tojoco
02-16-2007, 07:24 PM
Has anyone ever heard the saying "nothing is free"? In order to get something, someone has to pay for it -- either the giver, the taker or a third party! Although I don't think anyone is questioning the fact that we need to contribute to OUR cause, we have to realize that Sherry set this site up for our enjoyment; Sherry puts a lot of her own time and money into this site for our enjoyment, unpaid which I might add; Sherry is always here to answer our questions and complaints--almost ON THE SPOT response time. The time has come where this site is getting too big for Sherry to control on her own and she needs our help. I've read through all the suggestions and ideas; and although I think that everyone has some good thoughts, remember that it may cost even more to do some of the things you are all suggesting. Who is going to control and monitor "30 day trials"? Who is going to pay to set it up? Who is going to separate certain forums from non-paying and paying members? Girls, this is all going to cost money -- extra money if I'm not mistaken. Most other websites charge some type of a membership fee or they have advertisers. I think even SCS has a fee to reach a specific category.

IMHO, I think the least costly way to achieve what we are after is as low an annual fee as we can manage. Whatever overflow there is (if there is any) would be held in abeyance for future upgrades or possibly for prizes during event challenges. I also think to depend on auctions and selling of items to keep this site running would be fruitless as we may constantly be in need of funding and if we didn't get the money in time, who would end up making the monthly payment to keep the site going? I don't think we should lay that burden on Sherry. Having money in reserve only seems like a safe avenue to go down in order to continually run this site.

We also can't expect others to shell out money for our obsession -- everything has a price tag including running this website. We are not here to force anyone to do anything they do not want to do or cannot do and I would hate to have some people not be able to afford to continue to be a member but everyone has choices to make. We cannot please everyone all of the time.

Yes this is a fantastic website, and it's going to get better and better and better and MORE costly. We can't expect such a wonderful thing to continue as it has been.

I hope I didn't offend anyone as that is not my intent. I just hope that this can be resolved in an amicable way to please as many folks as possible.

Sherry, you have my vote on whatever way you choose. Please just take everyone's opinions and decide which way is the easiest, least costly way to make our "second home" readily available for us to continue all our friendships.

Erin K
02-16-2007, 07:29 PM
I agree, if any of our cool ideas are going to cause a lot of work or extra expense then they just won't work. Also as far as fundraising goes we don't want to be always having to do this or that fundraising activity you know? So I'll go with whatever the decision is but please Sherry don't take on more than is reasonable in terms of monitoring or anything. Once we get something figured out it needs to be something that is very easy to keep up with.

tojoco
02-16-2007, 07:31 PM
Erin, that's exactly my point. We should not have to go month to month wondering if we have enough money to "pay the bill" or what we should do this month to raise enough money to pay the bill. It needs to be something solid.

Swanie78
02-16-2007, 07:36 PM
Has anyone ever heard the saying "nothing is free"? In order to get something, someone has to pay for it -- either the giver, the taker or a third party! Although I don't think anyone is questioning the fact that we need to contribute to OUR cause, we have to realize that Sherry set this site up for our enjoyment; Sherry puts a lot of her own time and money into this site for our enjoyment, unpaid which I might add; Sherry is always here to answer our questions and complaints--almost ON THE SPOT response time. The time has come where this site is getting too big for Sherry to control on her own and she needs our help. I've read through all the suggestions and ideas; and although I think that everyone has some good thoughts, remember that it may cost even more to do some of the things you are all suggesting. Who is going to control and monitor "30 day trials"? Who is going to pay to set it up? Who is going to separate certain forums from non-paying and paying members? Girls, this is all going to cost money -- extra money if I'm not mistaken. Most other websites charge some type of a membership fee or they have advertisers. I think even SCS has a fee to reach a specific category.

IMHO, I think the least costly way to achieve what we are after is as low an annual fee as we can manage. Whatever overflow there is (if there is any) would be held in abeyance for future upgrades or possibly for prizes during event challenges. I also think to depend on auctions and selling of items to keep this site running would be fruitless as we may constantly be in need of funding and if we didn't get the money in time, who would end up making the monthly payment to keep the site going? I don't think we should lay that burden on Sherry. Having money in reserve only seems like a safe avenue to go down in order to continually run this site.

We also can't expect others to shell out money for our obsession -- everything has a price tag including running this website. We are not here to force anyone to do anything they do not want to do or cannot do and I would hate to have some people not be able to afford to continue to be a member but everyone has choices to make. We cannot please everyone all of the time.

Yes this is a fantastic website, and it's going to get better and better and better and MORE costly. We can't expect such a wonderful thing to continue as it has been.

I hope I didn't offend anyone as that is not my intent. I just hope that this can be resolved in an amicable way to please as many folks as possible.

Sherry, you have my vote on whatever way you choose. Please just take everyone's opinions and decide which way is the easiest, least costly way to make our "second home" readily available for us to continue all our friendships.

While I understand what you are saying, the tone of your post sounds like a handslap. And its also demeaning.
The title of this post, posted by Sherry, was what do you think? So people are telling her.
I think most, if not all, of us realize that it costs money to do this. But most of us do not run message boards as part of our daily activity. Most of us are not knowledgeable on what it takes, who has what capabilities, how things can be handled.
I also dont think anyone expects their suggestions to be done just because they suggested it. Without knowing how to run a mb, all we can do is suggest some options until we are told it can or cant be done.
I think Sherry is being VERY nice and very fair with all of this. She could have very well said "deal with it", its a free site. She could have just gone and set it up to charging a fee to be part of the community, to do the upgrades that she wants to do. But instead, she is asking her community what we think. She wants our suggestions, and in the end it is up to her to choose what to do, she obviously cares enough about the rest of us to consider our opinions.

Vintagegal
02-16-2007, 07:54 PM
OK.....here's another suggestion........how about pay month-by-month, OR....pay for one ENTIRE year........and see how that goes.

Only $2 to join The Shack and participate in EVERYTHING, but to continue on, it would be $2 each month.

But, if you would like to go ahead and be a member for a year, and not deal with month-by-month payments, then pay a $12 membership fee. That's $1 per month to have FULL ACCESS to everthing at The Shack!

If you've gone for two months, paid $4 to access The Shack for those two months, and now would like to switch to a full year's membership, you would only pay $10 (that would be $12 minus $2 for two months of regular FULL annual memership). Yes, in all you would have paid $14 for your membership, but that's because you opted for the month-by-month memership to begin with (does this make sense)?

If you paid month-by-month for three months....that would equate to $6 in membership. Now, you want to a regular membership, it would cost $9 (that's $12 minus $3....not $6....)

The point is...it's probably better to pay the $12 up-front. But, if your financial situation doesn't allow you to do that, then you still have the option to pay $2 per month. If you find that the Shack isn't "right" for you, you can leave at any time, and not have to pay any more into it (for the month-by-month members).

Erin K
02-16-2007, 08:11 PM
Ethel, I like the idea but would that be hard to keep track of?

Vintagegal
02-16-2007, 08:16 PM
Not really. I don't know how the lady on AMRSC (A Monthly Rubber Stamp Club) does it, but she can't pay for the area of the website that allows members to get discounted rubber stamps.

So, what I do is pay month-by-month. It's $1 each month. You have the option of paying for the full year ($12) or $1 each month. When you click on "Pay $1" or "Pay $12" it immediately shoots you over to Paypal.

Once you've paid your fee, you automatically get an email giving you a password that you MUST use in order to access that part of the website. The password changes each month, so you can't just jump in next month and expect to access the site (if you're not a full-year member). Also, the email gives you a URL to copy and paste, and THAT changes each month. Basically, she has safe-guards so that you can't just pass the URL or password to a friend so they could get free access to the site.

This past month, when I returned, it asks me "Pay $1" or "Pay $11." Since I'd already paid $1 towards one-year's membership, it reduced my annual fee. But, see, there's no incentive for me to pay for the full year.

If I had the option to pay $12 upfront or pay $2 month-by-month, I would pay the $12 because for me, it's more cost-effective.

But, for someone who is not "sold" on what the Shack has to offer, maybe just a $2 fee in the beginning would be all I would commit to.

ETA: Just wanted to add that I would be willing to go along with whatever Sherry decides. I think Sherry is completely generous (sometimes, to a fault....and I mean this in a very, very nice way), and whatever she decides will be quite fair (and maybe over-generous) considering the amount of energy she devotes to this site.

Erin K
02-16-2007, 08:19 PM
Well whatever can be set up easily. I just don't want it to become some huge time consumeing thing for Sherry you know?

Vintagegal
02-16-2007, 08:23 PM
Well whatever can be set up easily. I just don't want it to become some huge time consumeing thing for Sherry you know

Of course. Of course. But, for the long-term viability of the site, it should be thought-through, and something that can be sustained for the long-haul. Sherry, if you read this, (and if you like the idea I have) it might be worth contacting the owner of the AMRSC website and ask her how she handles the $1/month membership for the "discount deals." (Or, if you like, I can contact her for you).


EDITED TO ADD:

After reading Kimmy's concern of "overpaying" up front, my suggestion would eliminate this to a degree. Say, we have 500 members. So, each person only wanted to pay $2 for March membership. That would be $1,000. With what is already contributed, we're SOOO CLOSE to hitting our $1,500 goal, already! But, we know some folks will go ahead and pay $12 up front. Not everybody.....but some will. Not only will one person have access to the site for a full year, but the extra $10 they were able to pay up front will "make up" for five other folks who don't wantto or can't pay anything right now (or at all).

So....here's the "rough math" of where we stand......

If we asked each person to pay $12 (that's $1 per month)....we would need about 90 people to commit to this to cover the cost of running this site for one year. For everybody else, who can't afford it right now, that's OK. Pay as you go. No skin off my nose. Sherry could use the extra money to enhance the site or provide fun prizes for ALL members....or whatever.....

Erin K
02-16-2007, 10:05 PM
While I understand what you are saying, the tone of your post sounds like a handslap. And its also demeaning.
.

I've read her post over and over looking for what in it is demeaning and it's not coming across that way to me at all. I believe there is a misunderstanding if you think that was her tone. We want everyone to feel comfortable to say what they truly think on this issue so the best decision can be made.

Let us please not bicker on this, it is very important that we provide input and ideas for Sherry as a huge decision about the future of this site needs to be made. We all need for this thread to continue to be positive and for everyone to feel welcome to put whatever their feelings are.

Thank you,
Erin

edited to include:
If I'm missing something in Joanne's post that is inappriate please PM me do not continue this discussion on this thread. We need to move on and get back to ideas and input on the money issue. I will happily read and consider any person's concerns about anything they find hurtful, I'd just rather do it off the main board.

Sherry
02-16-2007, 10:07 PM
Good evening, gals :)

Thank you all so very much for your feedback, comments and suggestions! I am so pleased that this thread remained diplomatic and very peaceful :)

I am going to mull this situation over for a bit - perhaps over a large candy bar or an extra large glass of wine, haha. Erin is right, this is a huge decision for me and it won't be an easy one no matter which way I decide to take it. I may contact a few of you via PM to discuss your opinions as they do mean a great deal to me!

Thanks again!! I will leave this thread open in case some of you haven't had the chance to voice your opinions.

Sherry

dgbearsmom
02-16-2007, 10:22 PM
I don't have anything new to add or suggest. I really enjoy this site and want to see it continue with all the great features that it has now. I work on Web sites for a living and I do understand all the time and effort Sherry puts into this site. I also understand very well the costs involved. It would not be reasonable to expect Sherry to continue doing this without some way to pay for the costs involved. I am more than willing to pay a membership fee to help keep the site going. I understand that not everyone has the same means so what would be comfortable for me, may not be for someone else, so I don't feel that I can suggest an amount.

We need to consider not only the costs of moving the site to a dedicated server, but also other costs that might come up. I also agree with what someone said (I think it was Joanne) that having the membership fee also would provide a more "secure" income so to speak than relying on people to participate in fund raisers, etc. However, I do think those would be great ways to supplement the income provided by membership fees. Finally, I would not want this to become a site where you have to pay a fee to be able to access it at all. I think there should be "free" areas and then other areas accessible only by paying the fee. If you restrict it too much, it would difficult to attract new members.

I don't post a lot, but I'm here every day. I really appreciate having this site and everything that Sherry does.

Judy

Vintagegal
02-16-2007, 10:29 PM
Sherry........ like the Santa stamp, do you have access to a stamp designer who can make stamps exclusively for Stamp Shackers?

If so, you could offer that as incentive for paying for a full year's membership. Not just one stamp, but a FULL SHEET or a full plate. Like a 9 x 11 sheet of stamps! The stamp designs could be designs created by Shack members. We can all have a chance to submit our designs (anonymously) and then we would have a chance to vote on which ones would go on the unmounted sheet.

Just throwing ideas out there...................

Deborah
02-16-2007, 11:33 PM
It's wonderful to read all the thoughtful responses here.

So I'll join too.

Here's what I LIKE:

~ Membership fees I think this is the best way to go. I like Margot's suggestion of "trial membership..." sort of a "try before you buy" thing! I also like the idea of, perhaps "limited" memberships for those very valuable members who couldn't afford the full membership fee, giving them access to some but not all facets of the site, and doing so anonymously so other members wouldn't know.

~ Charging for the acquisition of the templates...another great idea!

~ Creating more rubber stamps, exclusive to Shack members. I think that's a FABULOUS idea! I could just KICK myself for not having bought the Santa stamp!

~ I like Kerry's idea of "free-with-membership" stamps for the backs of cards too. This is one I'd just LOVE to see developed more!

Here's what I don't like:

~ "Status" levels of donations

~ Advertisements!

Re any funds over and above the cost of maintaining the site, I believe that's Sherry's decision, and hers alone. She spends a huge amount of time maintaining and trouble-shooting this site for us all, and frankly, I would be tickled pink if she had a little extra $$$ to treat herself. I wouldn't even THINK of asking where money over and above the strict cost of site maintenance goes, in the same way as I wouldn't think of asking a magazine publisher where their money goes, once expenses are paid. I don't see this as much different than, for example, profiting from the sale of a self-designed rubber stamp. This site is a service to us, and it causes me no grief whatever to see a little financial incentive to site owners (this and ANY others I enjoy, to be honest) to keep up their valuable work.

Wouldn't it be interesting to calculate the number of hours spent maintaining this site, maybe with a little "profit" from memberships after site maintenance fees are paid, we could look at this as an "hourly age..." hmmm... I'd be surprised if it came to the double digits in pennies per hour. :wideeyed:

So, I'll keep watch, and am happy to participate in whatever ways Sherry needs us to, in order to keep this the vibrant, interesting community it is.

Deborah.

shuggy
02-17-2007, 01:07 AM
oh my!! i go to work and look what happens!!

my two cents (or maybe 50!)...

--pay a annual membership fee.

--while i can see both sides of the argument of paying vs not affording to pay, it's been said before, this is a spendy hobby. don't buy extra supplies for a week or two or cut back on starbucks for a week...would someone rather have a subscription to papercrafts or the stamp shack? my point being, like someone else said, throw your change in a jar...in no time you'll have some extra cash.

--i'm in suppot of whatever sherry decides. this is her baby, so she is the one in charge. or we could form a committee, so to speak, like the creative team...who would be the ones in charge of major decisions.

i'm tired, had a crap day at work, and just want everyone here to get along!! this place has far exceeded my expectations of any "craft" website that i thought could be. seriously, i have friends litterally around the globe and in my backyard, compliments of this website. i'm willing to hang onto that.

cahinton
02-17-2007, 01:46 AM
We could do without membership fees and rely soley on donations OR we could implement a yearly fee for templates OR I could always do what most other website do and install advertisments. While this is unsightly and EXTREMELY annoying in my opinion, it can create revenue if it is done properly.

Sherry, I think advertisements can be done tastefully and still bring in a lot of revenue. On the following site, the blog author has a post where he claims to bring in over $30,000 a month but he does have an extremely large amount of traffic http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2006/05/how-to-make-money-from-your-blog/

I don't feel the advertisements on his site are obtrusive. Google ads in particular are context sensitive, so they will be relevent to the text on each page.

Carol

patg
02-17-2007, 03:05 AM
Wow, after reading everyone's post, I have a headache. This topic may have hit a sore point with some members. I am very GRATEFUL that Sherry has provided this great website for us and really APPRECIATE it to be able to come to a site and feel right at home. For some this is a like a second family, a great resource and great friends.

I had no idea how much it cost to run a site nor the amount of work put into - I am not computer savvy, but I do now.

Normally, I would not pay a fee to join a club, but I do feel that something needs to be done and it is not fair that Sherry should have to put any more money out of her pocket just to make everyone happy.

I agree that $15/per person may be too much for some and others have no problem paying more.

So what ever you decide Sherry, I will support it.

Pat