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Thread: £150 ? Has commercial cost spoilt the Forum

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    Unhappy £150 ? Has commercial cost spoilt the Forum

    I posted a little while back about a new strictlysinful website which i created, so anyone could see pictures of former classes at weekend events, swap chat and news, and also see when and where in the Uk sinful etc might be.. it was more for information of the jive community rather than promoting my teaching or a monday in Brighton (given that most of the forumites are from the North and Scotland) However a lot of them have been at Various weekenders like Southport and camber and i thought would have got a kick out of seeing the pictures of the classes etc. However i realised the very next day it was removed without a message or anything at all said to me

    I now note it seems to cost £150 to tell other dancers news like this on here ? or was there some other reason i have missed ?

    I have looked through a lot of the posts since the site has taken the commercial route and it does not seem to have the buzz it used to.. not so many dancers talking about what they did, where they went or even where they are going, why ? because it costs how much ? While a £150 may not seem like much to a large dance organisation like Ceroc, it is a massive cost to a small independant and its the postings from those we have lost. They were a large part of what helped make the Forum originally. It also strikes me (and not just because i am an independant teacher myself) that this is a loss for the forum members and detracts from their enjoyment. In my own area it is all small independants so hence i get no local events news on the forum anymore.
    I can understand and agree with the need to cover costs and the £10 fee for anyone who uses the forum a lot is very reasonable... ( and no i have not paid it, simply because i don't get on her as much to warrant it) but has the commercial factor now spoilt things a little and taken some of the originality away ?
    I thought it might just be me thinking it, but i asked and others feel the same, so, i thought i would be the one to say it at last.. after all, The Bad Boy is known for speaking his mind , is he not ?
    not sure how long this thread will last mind you, but hey ho..

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    Re: £150 ? Has commercial cost spoilt the Forum

    CEROC is a business. They learn. Of course the forum is diminished by business considerations, but we were being spoiled. There is nothing to stop anybody rich enough and so inclined to set up a completely open access, non-profit forum.

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    Omnipresent Administrator Franck's Avatar
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    Re: £150 ? Has commercial cost spoilt the Forum

    Hi Mikey,

    Since I have added the new Commercial option, I have only removed half a dozen posts. All of them pure adverts, ie, not someone asking who is going to this event, or can anyone help with accommodation for such etc... If you look in the Social events area, you'll notice that it is buzzing as usual with discussiong of the Leroc competition, Hipsters, etc... pretty much the same as it was six months ago.

    I can understand your reluctance to pay the £150.00 to become a commercial member but the fact is that you are using the Forum in a commercial way, and as such (in my view) should shoulder some of the cost. Ceroc Ltd is not paying for the Forum, I am, and I am an independent promoter, as I run many nights, some successful, some where I'm investing a lot of time, effort and money into, I know the value of advertising, and to me paying around £12.00 a month for such a targetted medium seems very good value!

    I have taken great care not to remove any access for regular readers / posters who don't wish to or can't afford the £10 / £15.00 Silver membership and I believe that apart from initial hiccups, everything is just the same, you can read the same content, post as often as and say what you wish (including this thread by the way )

    As BigDJiver said, anyone (including yourself) can start a discussion Forum and allow all and any advertising on it, but you'll find that £150.00 is what you end up paying monthly (rather than annually)
    Franck.

    There's an A.P.P. for that!

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    Registered User DangerousCurves's Avatar
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    Cool Re: £150 ? Has commercial cost spoilt the Forum

    Quote Originally Posted by bigdjiver
    There is nothing to stop anybody rich enough and so inclined to set up a completely open access, non-profit forum.
    Ironically, there is a wee discussion lounge attached to Mikey's new site, where anything and everything can be discussed. Its obviously nothing on a scale to rival this mighty forum, but people can say what they like there. He has also set up a page where ANY organiser or individual can submit their news of events for all to read - his only criteria is if they have their own web-site they provide reciprocal web links. He doesn't have any plans to charge...ever!

    My own view is that I really get a lot of enjoyment from the forum - I have joined the BigBrother treehouse, and the book club, and have discovered a lot of new music that I would otherwise have missed out on - but there is no longer any event news on here for my area. If I wasn't involved in the other "activities" I would no longer log on here so frequently. I can't help thinking that this must damage the forum, since most people really come on here for dance news - not book clubs etc.

    I guess any good thing gets commerciallised eventually... but that's not necessarily an improvement - or for the good of the customer

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    Re: £150 ? Has commercial cost spoilt the Forum

    Quote Originally Posted by DangerousCurves
    - but there is no longer any event news on here for my area. If I wasn't involved in the other "activities" I would no longer log on here so frequently. I can't help thinking that this must damage the forum, since most people really come on here for dance news - not book clubs etc.
    DC,

    What you need is a local organiser who is savvy enough to weigh up the things of which you speak above, and a charge of £12.50 a month to advertise/plug/inform all of goings on in his area.

    Mmm: £12.50?? Maybe 2 entrance fees per month? Equates to 1/2 a person a week to justify the expense.

    Is a lot to think about...


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    Omnipresent Administrator Franck's Avatar
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    Re: £150 ? Has commercial cost spoilt the Forum

    Quote Originally Posted by DangerousCurves
    He doesn't have any plans to charge...ever!
    Who does indeed?
    I never had any plans to charge either when the Forum started I was happy to invest 20 pounds a month to create a community in Scotland and a place where everyone could chat about anything. I had also decided that everyone could publicise any event (Ceroc or otherwise) and that anyone could speak their mind without (heavy) censorship. This is still the case, and every organisation is welcome to advertise their events in here and all views are welcome.
    When my monthly payments increased from 20 pounds to 200 pounds, what was I to do?
    Should I just give up and say, well guys, it's been good, but I can't afford to run it any more, so as of next month we're closed?
    I took the most sensible course of action, offered regular members the chance to pay a token amount to support the forum, and get more features in exchange, and started charging for all commercial members who benefit from the forum on a weekly basis.

    There have been many discussions on advertising dance classes and it looks like while many promoters are happy to hand out leaflets at competing nights etc... few are prepared to pay for advertising (be it adverts in local papers / radio / busks etc...). This in my opinion is a shame as it shows a lack of maturity of the MJ business model...
    I am not hitting the small independents at all, in fact, all it takes is for a couple of people to discover their events / nights each month for their fee to be recouped, and with the facility to advertise on the Social events, and to add events to the public calendar etc... this seems like a more than reasonable target.
    Franck.

    There's an A.P.P. for that!

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    Arrow Re: £150 ? Has commercial cost spoilt the Forum

    Quote Originally Posted by Franck
    Hi Mikey,

    Since I have added the new Commercial option, I have only removed half a dozen posts. All of them pure adverts,
    Given the new "Commercial Memberships" I can recognise the need to police postings that are "pure adverts". However, I don't feel that my posting fell into this category. As I explained before, most forumites are in the North, and not about to come to a Monday Night class on the south coast! The new web-site is a fun place for dancers to see pics and gossip about dance. I even have a page where they can add their own picture galleries. Sure, there is stuff on there about where I teach - but that's not why I wanted to tell the forum people about it. I really hate the commercialisation of dance - so I have a page where ANYONE can list their dance events. And at my venue I put out ANYONE's leaflets who provides them to me. I offered to take leaflets from any Forum members back on the thread which I posted about my Brighton Venue a couple of months ago before Commercial Memberships came in ... so this is not a new line from me... but sadly that thread now seems to have been deleted in its entirety.

    It would have been nice to have had some explanation as to why the postings (and the original thread) were removed.


    Quote Originally Posted by Franck
    If you look in the Social events area, you'll notice that it is buzzing as usual with discussiong of the Leroc competition, Hipsters, etc... pretty much the same as it was six months ago.
    Sorry, but I don't agree. The Social Events area seems very flat - with major events getting the usual coverage perhaps, but not smaller local events.


    Quote Originally Posted by Franck
    I can understand your reluctance to pay the £150.00 to become a commercial member but the fact is that you are using the Forum in a commercial way, and as such (in my view) should shoulder some of the cost. Ceroc Ltd is not paying for the Forum, I am, and I am an independent promoter, as I run many nights, some successful, some where I'm investing a lot of time, effort and money into, I know the value of advertising, and to me paying around £12.00 a month for such a targetted medium seems very good value!
    For the reasons given above, I see the Forum as a social thing, not a commercial tool. Most of the dancers are too far away from me for the Forum to be an effective means of advertising. There are a lot of South Coast Teachers and promoters on the Forum, who are not exactly hastening to take out Commercial Membership either - and probably for the same reason. But sadly, we now cannot let the small group of Southcoast dancers on here know about anything going on locally.... The people on here are instead friends who I've met at Weekenders etc and who might get some fun from the new site.... and that was my intent in telling people about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Franck
    As BigDJiver said, anyone (including yourself) can start a discussion Forum and allow all and any advertising on it, but you'll find that £150.00 is what you end up paying monthly (rather than annually)
    Errr - didn't specifically want to brag about it... but we do have a discussion lounge on my new strictlysinful site. And it is free

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    Re: £150 ? Has commercial cost spoilt the Forum

    I think our Franck does a marvellous job at running this forum . The amount of time and money he has invested into the jive world, and more importantly, our pleasure is more than just commendable.

    From my dealings with Franck, he is a selfless, committed friend to all of us on this forum who has dug deep into his own pocket over the years to ensure we can all enjoy this buzzing little community that has evolved, which we all thoroughly enjoy being a part of.

    The growing rates that such forums cost to provide has resulted in a need for Franck to re-coup some of the monthly outgoings - judging by the number of fully paid members and given that our yearly subscriptions to the forum hardly seems to make a dent in the £200 a month Francks now having to pay out, I don't see why those who are making money from jive events should object to putting their hands in their pockets and paying something towards these costs. It's hardly unfair. What is unfair is when our poor old Franck is made to look like he's somehow imorrally gaining from our yearly subscriptions. Somehow I can't see our Franck living it up, night after night on the takings he's getting from his forum members....

    Keep up the good work Franck!!!

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    Re: £150 ? Has commercial cost spoilt the Forum

    This in my opinion is a shame as it shows a lack of maturity of the MJ business model...

    I am not an event organiser, but do run a small business and am aware how much advertising, promoting and maintaining my own web site (nothing to do with dance) costs


    When I first read Mike’s post I assumed he was being charged £150 per advert but £150 for a whole year does not seem unreasonable

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    Registered User DangerousCurves's Avatar
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    Re: £150 ? Has commercial cost spoilt the Forum

    Quote Originally Posted by Franck
    Who does indeed?
    I never had any plans to charge either ....
    I took the most sensible course of action, offered regular members the chance to pay a token amount to support the forum, and get more features in exchange, and started charging for all commercial members who benefit from the forum on a weekly basis.
    I think that the silver membership idea was a very good one. I get a lot of fun from the Forum and was happy to immediately take out a subscription. I would be quite happy paying a higher fee to be honest

    I can also see why the idea of commercial subscriptions is attractive - the only thing is that in my personal experience it has detracted from my enjoyment of the forum, since the people whose local news I used to enjoy reading can no longer post about their events. This may not be an issue for people in areas where it makes financial sense for local organisers to subscribe - but it is true of my area.

    I don't write this to upset you, or imply criticism of your motives - far from it - but just to give you honest feedback on how the change in the membership structure has worked out.


    Quote Originally Posted by Franck
    I am not hitting the small independents at all, in fact, all it takes is for a couple of people to discover their events / nights each month for their fee to be recouped, and with the facility to advertise on the Social events, and to add events to the public calendar etc... this seems like a more than reasonable target.

    and


    Quote Originally Posted by Ceroc Jock
    DC,

    What you need is a local organiser who is savvy enough to weigh up the things of which you speak above, and a charge of £12.50 a month to advertise/plug/inform all of goings on in his area.

    Mmm: £12.50?? Maybe 2 entrance fees per month? Equates to 1/2 a person a week to justify the expense.

    Is a lot to think about...

    Sounds good in theory - but sadly doesn't work out quite that way. You see, I bet I pretty much know all the local dancers on the forum already (there's not actually that many of them).

    And whilst people join the forum every day, I'm not seeing two people from my area joining every month. Even if they did... there is not going to be a 100% take up rate to rush along to a particular class.

    So any promoter in my area taking out a commercial membership is not about to recoup his costs.

    This is not said to denegrate the value of the commercial membership in areas where the forum has a lot of members - there I would agree it is a very focused marketing tool. Its simply not the case in my area.

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    Lightbulb Re: £150 ? Has commercial cost spoilt the Forum

    Quote Originally Posted by Pammy
    I think our Franck does a marvellous job at running this forum . The amount of time and money he has invested into the jive world, and more importantly, our pleasure is more than just commendable.

    From my dealings with Franck, he is a selfless, committed friend to all of us on this forum who has dug deep into his own pocket over the years to ensure we can all enjoy this buzzing little community that has evolved, which we all thoroughly enjoy being a part of.

    The growing rates that such forums cost to provide has resulted in a need for Franck to re-coup some of the monthly outgoings - judging by the number of fully paid members and given that our yearly subscriptions to the forum hardly seems to make a dent in the £200 a month Francks now having to pay out, I don't see why those who are making money from jive events should object to putting their hands in their pockets and paying something towards these costs. It's hardly unfair. What is unfair is when our poor old Franck is made to look like he's somehow imorrally gaining from our yearly subscriptions. Somehow I can't see our Franck living it up, night after night on the takings he's getting from his forum members....

    Keep up the good work Franck!!!
    sorry if this isn't clear for you hun, but i am not and have not attacked franck, i do not disagree about how well he has done in the creation of this Forum. I am not saying he is making money out of it and partying on the profits either !!!

    If costs needed to be recouped thats fair enough, but maybe we could have all discussed the best way to contribute to the mounting costs and maybe commercial memberships were not the best way forward for everyone... thats what i am discussing, not shooting Franck !!!

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    Re: £150 ? Has commercial cost spoilt the Forum

    Quote Originally Posted by DangerousCurves
    And whilst people join the forum every day, I'm not seeing two people from my area joining every month. Even if they did... there is not going to be a 100% take up rate to rush along to a particular class.

    So any promoter in my area taking out a commercial membership is not about to recoup his costs.
    This is true, but also it should be noted therefore that advertising the event would only attract those same few people thus what would be the point.

    There has to be a rule somewhere on what is/isn't allowed. Franck has decided as best he could and should be supported in his decision.

    He's not trying to stop people making money, just trying to spread some (and by some, it's hardly even breaking the surface) of the costs, which seems pretty fair to me.

    I've been involved in running websites and forums in the past (on a much smaller scale than our Franck ) but I have learnt that you can never please everyone with choices you have to make. All you can do is try and please the majority, which I think Franck does here. Infact I think Franck more than does that.

    I certainly don't think that the forum has been spoilt by costs. I would never use the world "spoilt". At times I have felt the forum has lost some of the "buzz" it used to have, which is sad. This, I feel, is simply down to the number of arguments and bickerings that have errupted on here as opposed to anything that Francks recent charges have started.

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    Re: £150 ? Has commercial cost spoilt the Forum

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey
    thats what i am discussing, not shooting Franck !!!
    Anyone who wants to shoot Franck has to shoot Boomer first!

    Pammy shoves poor old Boomer into the firing line instead of herself

    NO!!! Put the gun away, I was only joking

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    Omnipresent Administrator Franck's Avatar
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    Re: £150 ? Has commercial cost spoilt the Forum

    Quote Originally Posted by DangerousCurves
    I can also see why the idea of commercial subscriptions is attractive - the only thing is that in my personal experience it has detracted from my enjoyment of the forum, since the people whose local news I used to enjoy reading can no longer post about their events. This may not be an issue for people in areas where it makes financial sense for local organisers to subscribe - but it is true of my area.

    I don't write this to upset you, or imply criticism of your motives - far from it - but just to give you honest feedback on how the change in the membership structure has worked out.
    Thanks for the feedback, and I do agree with you that in an ideal world everything should be free and open. Maybe I should explain to my webhosts that their charges are discriminating against the growth of independent businesses in the South of England...
    As I mentioned earlier only 3 or 4 posts have been removed since the Commercial membership was established, so you haven't missed any 'wonderful' announcement you didn't know about already.
    In the same period, those whose advert had been removed have (with more or less success hi-jacked other threads (or created new ones such as this one) to bypass the fee and promote their events / website / party etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dangerous Curves
    And whilst people join the forum every day, I'm not seeing two people from my area joining every month. Even if they did... there is not going to be a 100% take up rate to rush along to a particular class.

    So any promoter in my area taking out a commercial membership is not about to recoup his costs.
    There are many classes and events going on in your area, and as such, people face a choice every time they decide to go out dancing. They might go to their local, or they might try out that new class / party that they read about on the Forum, especially as so many of their friends seem to be going too... they don't need to be new members, all you need is 2 or 3 people deciding to give your event a go as a result of reading about it here to make a difference!
    Franck.

    There's an A.P.P. for that!

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    Re: £150 ? Has commercial cost spoilt the Forum

    Quote Originally Posted by Pammy
    I think our Franck does a marvellous job at running this forum .

    -snip-

    Keep up the good work Franck!!!


    I agree with Pammy.

    As I said at the time Franck started charging, I don't think Franck will recoup his costs, let alone get paid for the time he spends moderating and programming.

    This Forum costs Franck to run. If an organiser were to advertise his/her event on here he would profit from that advertising - I can think of no other reason for an organiser/teacher/etc to promote his/her event here other than to recruit customers. And, in recruiting those customers, increase his/her profit. So there you have it: Franck pays, others profit - and unfair situation IMHO.

    I am pleased to contribute to Franck's costs and believe that the commercial membership fee is justified.

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    Re: £150 ? Has commercial cost spoilt the Forum

    Quote Originally Posted by Franck
    There are many classes and events going on in your area, and as such, people face a choice every time they decide to go out dancing. They might go to their local, or they might try out that new class / party that they read about on the Forum, especially as so many of their friends seem to be going too... they don't need to be new members, all you need is 2 or 3 people deciding to give your event a go as a result of reading about it here to make a difference!
    Again I think Franck is right. Using the Southport weekend as an example, I think that a number of Forumites went to this weekend because they read it on here. How many would it have needed before the organiser got his £150 back?

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    Wink Re: £150 ? Has commercial cost spoilt the Forum

    Quote Originally Posted by Franck
    In the same period, those whose advert had been removed have (with more or less success hi-jacked other threads (or created new ones such as this one) to bypass the fee and promote their events / website / party etc...
    If i had been looking for free advertising I would have started a far less controversial thread and kept a few more friends as a result !!!

    EG: come and see the photos of kittens wearing strictlysinful t shirts


    It really was an issue i wanted to discuss and I must admit i am pleased to see the thread has galvanised everyone into action..

    Doubt i will ever get a dance off Pammy again though either..

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    Red face Re: £150 ? Has commercial cost spoilt the Forum

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor
    Again I think Franck is right. Using the Southport weekend as an example, I think that a number of Forumites went to this weekend because they read it on here. How many would it have needed before the organiser got his £150 back?
    sadly andy , you have missed the goalpost... The Southport weekender is a huge event and obviously it would have benefitted from advertising on here...
    Do you think you or I would benefit from paying £150 a year ? Have you put your hand in your pocket out of interest ?(If he does Franck, I want commision.. IE: 1 Free post !!! )

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    Re: £150 ? Has commercial cost spoilt the Forum

    Quote Originally Posted by DangerousCurves
    Ironically, there is a wee discussion lounge attached to Mikey's new site, where anything and everything can be discussed.
    That's not irony - that's using this dance forum and web site to advertise another dance related forum and web site. I could understand it if there was a reciprocal link, or if even if Mikey said "I have put pictures up of XYZ on my web site here (url\photos)"

    However the post was more "I have a new web site (url) that has some photos on it and details of my classes and stuff.": There has been a lot of discussion about advertising rival venues from within established ones... how does this differ?


    Advertising on the web is something I have recently been looking into for my current employer and the main 'problem' is that it's a World-Wide-Web - while you may hit your target demographic, it's much harder to hit them in the right geographical area.
    I think perhaps if the "social events" was split into different regions, and promoters payed the regular 'silver' membership, but had to pay a surcharge per thread (/event) regarding their event it would seem better value.
    Perhaps an option to either pay X(£10?) per "advert" or pay the yearly membership and get as many as you want. This way, people arranging one-off events could also consider it. Large events would want a post in each area, therefore ching Small events would only want local regional advertising, therefore pay less.
    Anyone visiting a region could look it up and see who/what's on in that area.

    I would also say that the "advertising" charge also allowed for the event to be placed in the calendar so it comes up on the front page.

    Summary: I don't see a problem with charging for advertising - I just think that the model needs a bit of work.

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    Re: £150 ? Has commercial cost spoilt the Forum

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey
    As I explained before, most forumites are in the North, and not about to come to a Monday Night class on the south coast!
    Maybe not quite the case. If you look at the social events forum, the first ten threads mention events in:..............Bristol, Greenwich, Hipsters(London), Beach Boogie (Isle Of wight ), Chesham, Kettering, Ashtons, weston super Mare, Ealing, and Bournemouth. hardly what we scots would call the North. the first mention of any Scottish venue, is about 11th in the list, and that was the Scottish jivemasters. Yes This is the Ceroc SCOTLAND forum, but the majority of posters are from the home counties or further south. Just thought I would mention this, as I too have had a thread removed, which was advertising one of the few Scottish events that take place, and at that it is only a monthly freestyle, which does not earn large sums of money, consequently, i have not taken out a commercial membership either. however i understand where Franck is coming from re the cost to him personally, to provide us with this excellent forum, and accept the situation as it stands. I would point out though that I haven't resorted to handing out flyers at other peoples events either ( unless of course i have their permission to do so), At Route 66 we have flyers from various different organisations on our front desk, incuding Ceroc ones for the scottish comp.

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