APUG Subscriptions, re: student/financial hardship subscriptions - at a crossroads..

Discussion in 'APUG System Announcements' started by Sean, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    Hi All,

    For several months now I have debated what to do regarding our student/financial hardship subscription options. With the global recession we have had an influx of subscribers take that option. It has finally reached a point where so many subscribers are taking that option it has simply become unsustainable. I will not say it's become abused because I am fully aware of the economic climate most of us are facing. That being said I have reluctantly had to disable this subscription option as a last resort. It was always intended to be available for a small percentage of subscribers 5-15% and for many years this was the case, but in recent months this has reached almost over 50% taking the student/financial hardship option. After crunching the numbers, the site is definitely not sustainable this way. Our subscriber base has been the same number for the last 3-4 years (roughly under 3.5% of total registered members). I suspect the numbers remain the same because a combination of subscribers leave but new subscribers arrive. I am investigating other options such as setting up a gift subscription forum, where a number of subscriptions are available and can be applied for confidentially behind the scenes. I'm sorry it's come to this, I held out as long as possible. I am unsure the effect this change will have, it could cause a crash in overall subscriptions. Hopefully members can find a way to support us at the standard $2 a month rate. We offer 3-6-12 month options. We've also been relying heavily on those taking the higher dollar options to offset the student/financial hardship subscribers, and those higher dollar subscribers have faded as well due to this recession. My ultimate goal is for other Photocentric Ltd. sites to become the revenue generators, and APUG can then essentially be free -but this could take a couple of years.

    Thanks,
    Sean
     
  2. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    Understood, mate. I took advantage of it my first couple years and have since upped the ante. I will go even higher next year and I hope those that can will follow suit. That's my pledge to APUG. I wanna keep it going. Can I get a witness?
     
  3. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I agree, Sean. That about one out of ten would but can't pay $2/month is understandable and acceptable, but much more than that an it doesn't make financial sense to continue the arrangement.

    A "scholarship" (sounds better than "gift") subscription is a good idea, I think.
     
  4. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I feel that the $2 per month is a miniscule amount compared to the service offered. For those that cannot for some reason post the full $24, they might be better able to pay $12 every 6 months. I support my family on my disability stipend, and coming up with a full year subscription doesn't come easily, but its doable. I find its easily obtained just in the loose change I drop in a jug at the end of every day.
     
  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Sean:

    Your decision is understandable.

    Out of curiosity, has the recently updated approach to the Classifieds resulted in an upsurge in donations?
     
  6. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    Thanks for the donation Matt! :smile:

    Well, no upsurge that I can see and since I don't keep tabs on sales am unsure the percentage that do or do not donate. Maybe a few a week come in at most.
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Hmm - I must remember to make it a term of any offer I make as a purchaser that a donation be made - or make the donation myself!
     
  8. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I didn't realize the subscription rate is in such a low number. 3.5% of total member?? What does it look like if you compare this against the number of active and currently participating members? I bet large number of user-ids belongs to inactive members.

    Concerning $2/mo subscription, I think it's totally within reason. That's about half of a roll of film per month.
     
  9. unohuu

    unohuu Member

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    I understand, Sean...It does not seem possible that so few would be subscribers. I will keep that in mind as I go through the forums and post items for sale. Do what you must as a business to keep the site viable. I get so much from the forum posts and information shared within groups.

    Luke
     
  10. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Sean,

    All of my classified sales are in very low amount. The only way that makes sense is for me to make a donation on annual bases and even then 3% would only be 3 to 5 dollars. (via paypal maybe)

    Is there a threshold where fees and costs involved in this would be counter productive on your side? I want to do "my part" but it has to make sense for both parties....
     
  11. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    Hi, every little bit helps even $2 :smile:
     
  12. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I think that response was meant for me. OK, I just sent my "little bit" to you via paypal. This is for all of my classified sales during this year. Thank you for hosting classified section. (and everything else)
     
  13. vicmac64

    vicmac64 Member

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    Having just joined can I say that nobody can accuse apug of overcharging - it is only fair to existing subscribers to pay for membership. Great site by the way - my favourite photographic site!
     
  14. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    Thanks, Vic. Giving others charge 50 USD on up, APUG is a steal at 25.
     
  15. 36cm2

    36cm2 Member

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    I can't think of a better way to spend two bucks a month. Afaic, it's the lowest tuition I've ever paid and the breadth of archived lessons is amazing. I know times are tough, but two bucks a month is an attainable sacrifice for almost everyone in the countries Apug primarily serves. 50 percent selecting that option is disturbing. Keep the model strong, Sean. Apug does an immense service in keeping analog photography on the map.
     
  16. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    Thanks guys (this is an older thread which has been bumped recently). As an update to this thread, it seems people have been ok to pay the normal rate (which, if I recall has not been increased in over 5yrs). These economic times are scary for most of us to say the least but we seem to be hanging in there.