Not So SECRET!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007 5:54 PM
Those against.... It's about the money, that's all there is to it. Notice, Jeff has declined to say that he would never create a subscription with ads service. I wonder what will happen when (maybe it should be if) version 4 hits, how much will the "club" price increase?

I wonder how much ad revenue will really drop if there is a lack of conversation in the "General Buzz". Sounds like 20% might be a drop in the bucket. Without decent conversations, there is no reason to visit. No reason to visit, no reason to click pop up ads.


A day at the park is what you make it!

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007 6:02 PM
Vater's avatar Wow, the site is going to go to hell all because a private forum was created? The $20 fee has been in place since the Club started, I doubt Jeff is going to increase it because he added one little extra perk. I don't expect people are going to join the club in droves just to gain access to the big SECRET, thus killing all other discussion in the public forums.
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Tuesday, November 6, 2007 6:29 PM
^ From what I'm reading and the whole reason for creating this "extra perk" was because the site has already gone to hell. At least that is the reason being given.

A day at the park is what you make it!

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007 6:36 PM
Jeff's avatar

Jeffrey Seifert said:
But now, all of sudden, part of the discussion is getting taken away. It's perceived as elitist, as if those who haven't coughed up the $20.00 don't have anything worthy to say. You've kind of alienated the bulk of your registered members. You know--the ones who help fund this board by generating ad revenue.
But that's just it... the discussion, the quality discussion, wasn't happening, and if it was, it was lost in all of the noise. You can't take away what wasn't there in the first place. If the club members are suddenly feeling empowered and willing to participate where they weren't before, that's awesome.

Seriously, if it's a detriment to the site, that'll pan out soon enough. If I really wanted to take a more heavy handed approach, there are about a half-dozen people I would ask to never post again, and I can almost guarantee it would change the entire tone of the forum. Not because I disagree with them or don't like them or some other irrelevant issue, but because I see them as a personality type that I've seen over and over in nearly ten years of doing this that adversely affect the participation of everyone else. That, at its core, is the problem today, and it exists in virtually every popular forum on the Internet.

Let me give people a little background and context, since we're talking about it, with regards to how this site grew and became a business.

I started this in 2000 because Guide to The Point (now called PointBuzz) was limited in scope, and no other coaster site was really delivering what I wanted: News and a forum app that didn't suck. So I built that, and decided to build it up quickly by doing context advertising on GoTo.com (which became Overture and was bought by Yahoo, making you wonder how Google beat them at their own game). The result was that the site got popular really quickly. Too fast, in fact. In addition to having to pay for a whole lot of software, the cost of hosting was still expensive at the time.

I got picked up by DoubleClick back when they used to represent sites for advertising, and the cash started to roll in to compensate for the high cost of hosting. As it started to get near to a grand a month, it became obvious to me that I should just get a T-1 and host it at home for about the same price.

Then 9/11 hit, I got laid-off, DoubleClick dropped me and I bought a house, all within a few months of each other. Talk about a perfect storm of crap. I had to pay for that T-1 for a year whether I wanted to or not, so the drastic measure I had to take was to start the club and hope to God people found enough value in the site to contribute something to it. Kings Island and Jeff Siebert were willing to recognize us, as was Cedar Point for Coastermania, and we established credibility. The site was saved and people came forward.

But that initial wave of members did so because they found value in the site, and to this day it's the reason that I'll do anything cheap and easy for them if it makes them happy. This member forum was just such an instance.

As for the non-members who think they're adding financial value by surfing the forum, man, I wish that were really the case. Sadly, ads don't work that way. No one ad provider can entirely fill my inventory, and they all place caps on how many ads you'll see before it's either a PSA or a nearly-worthless 25 cents CPM ad (that means I get 25 cents after 1,000 ads have been seen). After you see a pop-up (or three) and four or five pages, I've got about as much as I can get from you for that day. The value is in the number of unique visitors, not page views.

Hosting costs a couple hundred bucks these days when you consider off-site backups and such, but keeping up with software and hardware isn't cheap. I now make enough to supplement my income, but I still have revolving debt because I choose to invest in toys that may or may not add value.

So there you have it, that's the reason the club exists at all, and a very simplified explanation of the ad market as it pertains to a niche site like this.

I don't care about being the most popular anymore. In 2000, I did to a certain degree, but older and wiser, I only care about delivering the right product to the right niche. If you don't want to be a part of that, it's cool, I'll still sleep OK.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007 7:00 PM
HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar Sweet Jesus, this topic is still open?

~Rob Willi

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007 7:31 PM
Very touching post, Jeff. I don't think people realize how much it really takes to run this website. I joined the club immediately after I started listening to you guys on the podcast- because you provide a service of entertainment.

You guys need to realize this- Jeff and the mods are providing a free service in Coasterbuzz. You can choose to pay or not. A measly twenty bucks a year gets you simple benefits, yes, but those don't really matter. You act like you are being scammed out of something, but you can just choose to ignore it. It isn't like something you once got for free, you now have to pay for. If you don't like the forum, ignore it.

As Jeff mentioned before, I believe, I made my first ever post in the "secret" board. I could never post here because it's nearly impossible to have a real conversation with coaster fans.

This thread is almost a shining example of why I like the other board.


-Andre-

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007 7:58 PM

Jeff said:
But that's just it... the discussion, the quality discussion, wasn't happening, and if it was, it was lost in all of the noise. You can't take away what wasn't there in the first place. If the club members are suddenly feeling empowered and willing to participate where they weren't before, that's awesome.

I'm sure I'll be accused of making noise but that's not my intent (nor ever my intent), I'm merely posing a question here.

Were paying members really avoiding the forum because of noise? First of all, I have a hard time believing someone would join the club and not participate- that's like buying membership to Costco and then never going. Second, are people loving the idea of a "noiseless" forum, or are they merely taking advantage of something because they paid for it (like going to Costco and buying a pallet of Heinz ketchup because they can, not because they eat a bunch of hamburgers)?

And I have to ask, since when did the noise become bothersome? It seems to me that a lot of people really enjoy what is being discussed in the free forum, judging by how certain topics go on for dozens of pages and hundreds of posts. Why is it suddenly an issue? If there weren't members-only forums, would it still be an issue? Or would people keep on their merry way as they did these past few years?

As I said before, I don't care about there being forums I can't access. I didn't complain about them, I just found this to be an interesting conversation... hence my participation that I'm sure some construe as jealousy or what have you. I appreciate the site being here and will continue to participate until I'm either told not to or the forums are open only until paying members (which, as I said earlier, I was at one point... but will not be again). I'm fine with that. I guess what I'm left wondering is, what fun is a forum without some kind of controversy? Is a forum where everyone agrees with each in hushed tones really that fascinating?

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007 8:10 PM
matt.'s avatar

Rob Ascough said:
I appreciate the site being here and will continue to participate until I'm either told not to or the forums are open only until paying members (which, as I said earlier, I was at one point... but will not be again).

You bring it up, stating you won't elaborate.

Then you're asked to elaborate and you refuse.

Then you bring it up again.

Just observing here.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007 8:13 PM
Because it supports the point I'm trying to make, that's all. I'm not trying to bait anyone, I was merely pointing out my appreciation for the site and the limitations of my participation. It's been suggested that there will come a point when non-members will no longer be allowed to post and I'm saying I won't be upgrading in order to maintain my current privileges. Why can't I do that?

*** Edited 11/7/2007 1:15:16 AM UTC by Rob Ascough***

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007 8:17 PM
Jeff's avatar

Rob Ascough said:
First of all, I have a hard time believing someone would join the club and not participate- that's like buying membership to Costco and then never going.
It's not like that at all. There are around 250 members at any given time. How many people actively post on the forum, a couple dozen? The vast majority join for different reasons.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007 8:28 PM

Were paying members really avoiding the forum because of noise?

You could just read the thread, rather than ask an already answered question. Quoth Kick The Sky:


A lot of club members I have not heard from in years have posted content in the club member forum. Why did they wait until now? To be honest, it has to do with the general asshattery that goes on in the general forum nowadays.

That's a pretty accurate summary of what several folks---many of whom are familiar faces that haven't been around here in a while---have said in the private forum.

Plus, it brought the term "asshattery" into daily use here on CB, so it may well be a candidate for....

Best. Post. Ever.

I will admit that I personally didn't feel that way about CB, but I gave up on PointBuzz almost a year ago for the same reason.


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Tuesday, November 6, 2007 8:38 PM
Yeah I've been posting on every page, but not reading. That's accurate.

I appreciate Kick The Sky commenting and I'm not going to question the validity of what he said, but was that what he heard to be the case, or what he assumes to be the case. It doesn't really answer the question of whether people were turnd off by the noise or if they're merely taking advantage of something that just became available to them.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007 8:52 PM
He heard it direct from members who posted it, and I've read those same posts. You can conclude that they aren't being truthful with themselves and just using something because they can, but that's your call.
*** Edited 11/7/2007 1:53:01 AM UTC by Brian Noble***
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Tuesday, November 6, 2007 8:59 PM
I didn't conclude anything. The original answer didn't give me much to go on.
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Tuesday, November 6, 2007 9:03 PM
Well then, everyone should be happy. The people who don't like noise have a place to post. (Although I'm still not sure why they haven't been heard from in years if they don't like the general asshattery going on in the general forum nowadays.)

I'm not begrudging anyone their benefits at all. I'm not jealous or envious, and I'm not interested in what anyone is saying in the private forums. I don't believe I'm being cheated out of anything. You paid for it (an amount I think is quite inexpensive), so take advantage of it.

In return, don't lump everyone who chooses not to be a paying member into one group. Don't presume to make assumptions about my finances or spending habits (I'm neither impoverished nor miserly). Don't talk like it's a moral issue and I'm somehow stealing by not purchasing a voluntary club membership.

If you think you know all the reasons why someone wouldn't want to pay for membership here, you're mistaken.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007 9:04 PM
Vater's avatar

I guess what I'm left wondering is, what fun is a forum without some kind of controversy? Is a forum where everyone agrees with each in hushed tones really that fascinating?

Why is controversy the only thing that makes good conversation? I'm not saying anything is wrong with it, necessarily, but you can certainly have decent discussions without it. But your comment pretty much confirms my suspicion that you basically disagree for the sake of disagreeing in just about every topic. *** Edited 11/7/2007 2:05:09 AM UTC by Vater***

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007 9:14 PM
All of you who are against the secret forums have your whole argument construed wrong. It is not on Jeff/LG/Club members to prove to you that the forums are a good idea, it is in fact in your court to prove they are not. Because heres why they can and should have them:

-Look at sports boards (sorry Jeff, but they are a perfect example) they all have free boards which essentially are pissing contests while the real info (recruiting, "inside info") and discussion are on the premium boards. Why is that? Because paying for a privilege not only keeps the "riff raff" out but also makes those paying members be on their best behavior, because they have an investment on that board and any poor behavior will get them kicked out and they will have wasted that investment. Arguing whither or not better discussion occurs on premium boards is not something up for debate, if you've been on other sites enough, you know quite well its a fact.

-Its another perk of the club, and thus makes joining that club more appealing, capitalism at work!

-To already paying club members its a new perk, which makes them happy, and happy customers are good customers, wow capitalism again!

And for the record, I am not now nor ever been a club member (still a poor student living off of loan money.) However, I recognize what this site is trying to do (support itself) and will at some point I assume join the club.

Sorry for the long post, but this whole "the internet should be free" thing just pushes my buttons. As an internet user you are entitled to nothing, its only by the sweat of others that sites exist at all, Im just happy this site (and many others) exist where I can participate for free. The internet at the very least exists to support the internet and in most cases exists to make money for those smart enough to manipulate it. Please quit whining about this!

*** Edited 11/7/2007 2:26:10 AM UTC by Touchdown***


2020 Trips: Canceled by Corona

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007 9:48 PM

Vater said:


Why is controversy the only thing that makes good conversation? I'm not saying anything is wrong with it, necessarily, but you can certainly have decent discussions without it. But your comment pretty much confirms my suspicion that you basically disagree for the sake of disagreeing in just about every topic.


Don't act like you know something about me and the reasons behind what I say, because you don't. I don't disagree for the sake of being obstinate, I disagree because I refuse to mindlessly swallow whatever I am told. That's the way I am here because that's the way I am wherever I go. It's the reason why I post under my real name instead of behind some kind of alias or nickname.

Sure you can have decent discussions without controversy, but it certainly doesn't hurt when making things interesting. Consider the following conversation:

Person 1: Cedar Fair was right to close down Geauga Lake.

Person 2: Yeah, I agree.

Person 3: Made perfect sense to me.

Person 1: Glad you all see it my way.

I don't know about you, but it bores me to tears to even think about having to endure that. In my opinion, you need Person 2 to say something about why it was a terrible decision, whether that statement is right or wrong. A differing opinion- especially if it's a little extreme or at least blunt- is going to cause the conversation to grow a bit of a personality. It's not a requisite for compelling chatter but it sure beats a bunch of people stroking each other. Keep in mind I am not suggesting some disagree for the sake of disagreement, but a greater number of people is inevitably going to lead to a greater number of opinions, and they're not all going to be the same.

*** Edited 11/7/2007 2:51:03 AM UTC by Rob Ascough***

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007 9:57 AM

Rob Ascough said:


Were paying members really avoiding the forum because of noise?


Yes, dozens of them. At least speaking for the ones I know personally. And there are others coming out of the woodwork that I haven't previously known.


Second, are people loving the idea of a "noiseless" forum...?

YES. They do. From people who have joined but never posted to those who used to post and got tired of doing it because of...well, you know.


And I have to ask, since when did the noise become bothersome?

I suppose when it devolved to what you're doing right now. Fifty people can give you the same answer to the same question. But you wish so fervently to hear something different from the truth that you'll keep asking over and over, hoping that the 51st time you ask it the answer will change. No? Maybe the 52nd time will be the charm.


Is a forum where everyone agrees with each in hushed tones really that fascinating?

One where you realize people who care about your particular opinion read it on page 1 of any given thread would be nice. There's still a one-opinion-per-person limit most everywhere in civilized society...

-CO


NOTE: Severe fecal impaction may render the above words highly debatable.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007 10:23 AM
Talk about being hypocritical. You really think I'm the reason for all the so-called noise in this thread? For someone who thrust the "Captain Obvious" title upon himself, you sure seem to be ignoring a huge slice of the obvious- that being your penchant for making noise. When you're on top of your game, there are few people around here more noisy than you.

I don't want to hear something different from the truth. What I'd really like to know is why people seem to suddenly have a problem with the decibel level when they're among the people screaming at the top of their lungs. I have a mentally disabled cousin who walks around yelling at the top of his lungs, yet he always has his fingers in his ears because he can't stand all the noise. Tell me how this is any different, except for the fact that unlike my poor cousin who doesn't know any better, we do know better... or at least should?

If someone were to come forth and tell me that they enjoy a discussion that doesn't resort to put-downs, sarcasm, ill-placed humor and insults after three posts, I would easily accept that. But for someone to tell me that and then do the same things they're claiming to hate, I don't buy it one bit. If you think there is a noise problem, then stop making noise.

*** Edited 11/7/2007 3:24:32 PM UTC by Rob Ascough***

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Closed topic.

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