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<Reply # 28 on 9/20/2011 6:14 PM >
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I have some experience with web design/development and startups such as these. Here are some tips for your current and future endeavors:
- Shop around for hosting. There are thousands of hosting companies out there and some are very competitive. Personally, I have a hard time believing that you paid $1000 for your "shared" hosting (non-dedicated, non-colocated) server, even for a year-long period. If you're not just inflating this figure, then your decision to use this company was hasty considering the infancy of the project.
- Due to the initial misjudgment of your site's projected popularity, you've overextended yourself financially and now want the users to pick up the bill. The problem with something like this idea is your business model is based around user-generated content. Most sites that use this model earn their revenue through targeted advertising. The idea is to give registered users incentive to create the content, and with that content, draw in more users which inevitably means more impressions/click-thrus to your advertisers. Look at the major players for user-generated content: YouTube, IMDb, Yelp, etc. While some of these sites may have a premium paid membership option, almost all of them have a basic free user registration. I think it's a bit ridiculous to assume people will pay you to join your site, and then create all of the content for you. Like others have said, anyone with a bit of time and determination can setup a CMS, but without content, it's just a hollow shell. It's a bit pre-emptive to be asking for payment, as you should have been aware of the risks going into this.
- Public perception and presentation is paramount to your success in the early stages of a new idea you're promoting. The way you've handled the situation thus far has been less than professional. Spelling and grammar mistakes included, you should probably do your best to proofread any and all public declarations with tact and respect for your readers in mind. Whether or not you realize it, there is a permanence that comes along with forum posts like these. Unless you go back and edit, anyone in the world can see your posts, and will instantly tie your professionalism to that of the site and its administration. Promote a friendly and clean image, ignore the nay-sayers (as they will always exist), and focus on the community that supports your idea.
- Playing the sympathy card is never a good idea in business (this is not charity). Whether or not that was your intent, if it doesn't have anything to do with the site, there's no need to bring it up. If your idea cannot stand on its own, then you're already destined to fail. There is no need to attach a sob-story in order to sway people to support you. While you might think it helps your cause, it only hurts your image.
Anyway, despite these criticisms, I think you have a good idea on your hands, but the execution needs a little reworking. Hopefully my comments will be of some use to you, and I wish you luck with your project.
Creatio ex nihilo
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<Reply # 29 on 9/20/2011 6:28 PM >
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I have no intention in replying to you personally, anyone can read my reply.
Listen, i did not like your tone and aggressive statement towards me, just because i asked you why i needed to pay for your website/forum/magazine.
You where very blunt in your language use towards me within the first 5 lines and i felt really offended by your way of thinking.
Normally i'm a very understanding an rational guy, but i'm a f*cking bitch when i feel attacked or offended without any reason.
I even respected your privacy by altering(XXXX) your private phone number.
I could easily done otherwise. You don't need to thank me for that, it's just common sense.
But don't come picking on me now.
Maybe your intentions are good, but i have not received any reason why they are so.
You just attacked me. No more, no less and it seems that i'm not the only one who thinks that way.
You site have nothing to offer besides a down-payment on your expenses you made.
I see you have no commercial experience.
You don't let ppl pay for something that 'might be published'.
So if you accept a kind of suggestion from me, i would try to attract members who are willing to provide you with there work and give them a profit-share for the cooperation. i'm talking about a %-deal for the published pictures in rate with the published magazines.
If you want to make this working, you need to be very transparent about profit win and make non-disclosure agreements with all members.
If you don't go that, you'll be facing a legal process within no time, because you are working with non personal material.
Good luck nevertheless, although i think all you best intentions have no influence here.
[last edit 9/20/2011 6:36 PM by NeQo - edited 2 times]
Creatio Ex Nihilo
Location: Minneapolis, MN
<Reply # 30 on 9/20/2011 6:58 PM >
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You are going about this all wrong. I understand you need money for hosting or whatever but look at how successful communities pull it off. They offer the service for free and make it as easy as possible for the core members to donate. (view the very top of this website for a good example)
Obviously that's a big risk but that's the only way to pull it off. If your site/community is good enough to be worth paying for, people will pay you for it.
Because flickr charges for something is a horrible line of reasoning. If flickr launched today they wouldn't have a shot in hell. Flickr launched in 04 and lot has changed on the internet and peoples expectations since then.
Simply put, freemium is the new free in the web3.0 world.
I have been doing internet marketing for ages and I have both failed and succeeded many times. I can tell you from experience that UE is going to be a very ruff niche for making money.
I never bother with any niche that doesn't provide benefits to the customer in one of the following categories
Money - Sex - Health
Those are the big 3 that people are hungry to pay money for.
Idk, If I was forced to try and make money in the UE niche I would create a webstore and sell physical goods like grappling hooks, lock pick sets, cool UE t-shirts, shit like that. UE related items that you CAN'T buy at the local walmart. I would drop ship or back order only. As much as I hate dealing with physical goods I just don't see UE people buying up web services or information products in mass any time soon.
If you are not going to change the sales model or product here is some advice for better results:
1st Advice: People who don't know you could give a f-ck about you
What this means: They don't care about how much money you spent on the site or hosting and they don't care about your health or financial issues. Stop talking about them, it's not a selling point.
2nd Advice: People want Benefits NOT features
What this means: People care most about themselves. What's in it for them? How is your service going to BENEFIT them? Will this add value and make their lives better?
Take your list of features and ask yourself this question for each one:
This is useful because?
The answers to this question will make better sales copy. Also will get you more prepared for people like the OP. In the future when people ask about why they should pay for this, use the same answers. Tell them why these features are useful, explain the benefits of the service, explain how it will add value to their lives. DO not talk about your own personal issues, remember the 1st advice above.
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<Reply # 31 on 9/20/2011 7:53 PM >
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I'm sorry that I have to jump on the bandwagon of the negatives for this venture. Here is why:
* I explored options to form a magazine this year based on Abandoned, my site. Break even would be 3,250 sales of a 50 page magazine with advertisements. That was with a commercial printer and a distributor with a national focus. Unless you can attract at least a few thousand sales with a national distributor, then you really can not break even on the project.
Some questions to ask: Who is your editor? If it is you - then you might need to seek another, because your writing skills are not that great. What about an advertising manager? How will you solicit advertisements? What is your business model? How will you ultimately market and sell this magazine? Nothing has been thought out it seems.
* Asking for money upfront for no content is a huge no. I request donations but that is because my site has 6,000 photos that I've taken, with dozens upon dozens of pages and blog entries. And it works. But UE Magazine has nil for articles and photos, and nothing to draw upon repeat visitors.
You can only do so much with social media. That's the new bandwagon: if I only had a Twitter and Facebook account, then I don't need to do anything else. Well, as someone who manages 30,000 folks for a university, it's only one part of a rather complex engagement equation. Without paying folks who will repeatedly visit your site for varied and unique content, then they will simply go elsewhere.
* Your hosting plan sucks. And so do your upfront costs. I pay $5.99/month for virtually unlimited space and a very large bandwidth limit. The site has been Fark'ed, thrown to some large sites and all that, and not once has the site crashed due to a lack of bandwidth. And with 6,000 photos up and a ton of content, with over 4,000 other photos on 4 other sites, I'm nowhere near any of my limits.
I don't know why you needed to go out and buy such an expensive and useless plan.
Good luck but... uh, you should have thought this out a bit more. Start small and go from there.
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