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webmaster
02-03-2006, 10:51 AM
Hello all!

Well, after months of fiddling, I *finally* have integrated the forum with the website!

Please set your forum bookmarks to:
http://www.gotmead.com/component/option,com_smf/Itemid,103/

You will see when you log in (on the left, middle of the column) that 'show unread posts since last visit' and 'show new replies to your posts' will now be available!

And, with the site wrapped around the forum, you'll be able to see new recipes at a glance! (Recipes in right hand column)

Please check this out, your webmistress 'bout broke her brain getting this thing working, and I'd like feedback.

Vicky - really doing the customer work now, *really*

Angus
02-03-2006, 11:37 AM
Vicky,

Very nice having everything on the same page. There does seem to be an oversize problem with width of the main forum page though. I increased my resolution from 1024 x 768 to 1280 x 1024 and it is still slightly cut off. This page with the topic response is perfect though, with the the option bar, recipes etc. showing up nicely.

Angus

webmaster
02-03-2006, 11:41 AM
Thanks for the feedback, Angus. I'll fiddle with the main page......

SteveT
02-03-2006, 11:52 AM
Nice job, I noticed you fixed the hyperlink to the forum articles (on left edge) as well. Excellent!

Steve

WRATHWILDE
02-03-2006, 12:33 PM
Vicky,

Forget Spanking, it's the stocks for you. Having the forum IN the main site is way too busy. It's hard to focus on the thread. My peripheral vision keeps trying pull my eyes away from what I'm trying to read. To simulate the effect make your eyes go cross eyed, Thats what it feels like... only my peripheral vision is trying to pull both eyes outward instead of in. No joke it's driving my eyes crazy.

Also... I get the same oversize problem as Angus. Second when answering questions and researching a query I could pop up multiple windows and scale the forum posts to whatever size I needed to work with. With the new IN forum I cant do that, I get redundant information with every window I open, I can't scale it down without it initiating a scroll bar, then I have to center the scroll to read it. Scream!!!!!!!!!!!! A huge step back in my opinion all it does is make the forum more cumbersome, at least it does for me. I already have the main forum, my unread posts, and the main site bookmarked sitting at the top of my browser so that when I'm done with a thread I don't even need to scroll up, just click on my bookmark for where I want to go. I don't need (or want) all that extra clutter in a forum. On the site page it's OK... because I don't have to look at it with every window I open.

Forcing us to read the forum like this would be like having to read Callahan's Crosstime Saloon in paperback, only the publisher thought it would be a good idea to sandwich the text on every page between a chapter list and an index. Sure it might be useful on the rare occasion you need it, but it would make reading the book (your main purpose) a pain in the ass. And so it is with me, my main purpose on the forum is reading and contributing to the forum. Keep it simple, keep it separate.

I use a 19 inch monitor an am distressed by how much smaller the (forum thread) has gotten I can only imaging what people working with 17 or 15 inch monitors must be going through.

Sorry if this sounds harsh, it's just what I've noticed so far.

I wouldn't mind if it were just the forum home page that had all the cluttered columns, if you could just keep it at that and let the Topic threads be unadorned I could live with it. But not every topic link I open.

Wrathwilde

davarm
02-03-2006, 01:03 PM
I have to agree with the size. I like the idea of the extra content on each side, but it would be nice if everything fit in a 1024x768 resolution. Increasing resolution tends to make the text microscopic. No fun for my failing eyes.

The Honey Farmer
02-03-2006, 01:35 PM
Sorry Vicky, but I have a 15 in. screen and my eyes are old too!!
Squint, squint, squint.

Dennis, The Honey Farmer

Charlene
02-03-2006, 02:21 PM
I use a 19 inch monitor an am distressed by how much smaller the (forum thread) has gotten I can only imaging what people working with 17 or 15 inch monitors must be going through.



Try an 11 inch laptop monitor - it's almost unreadable if I shrink the page, and if I don't I have to scroll right on every single page just to read the message text.

byathread
02-03-2006, 02:27 PM
I agree with the others. Great idea, but it definitely needs some tweaking before its usable.

webmaster
02-03-2006, 04:10 PM
Whoa. I hadn't expected such an outpouring of issues. I tried it both on my 14.5 laptop screen and my 17 desktop screen, and could read it fine, or I wouldn't have launched it. Nevertheless, the link on the site has been removed, and I'm putting it back to the default theme until I can find time to modify it.

For all y'all who liked it, thanks! You can still access it via the link in the first post, but the menu is back to the old link.

You can still view the forum at http://www.gotmead.com/smf/ as well. My 17" screen shows it very readable wrapped in the site in IE at 1024x768, but too wide in FF (I'll have to figure that out, its only doing it before login, and using a different template there too, oddly), and small, but readable (I can't see past the end of my nose without glasses) on my laptop screen (14.5 in) at 1280x720.

Wrathe, what you call 'way too busy' is what (theoretically) pays for the site to stay open, dude. I've made a whole $30 for upkeep since November. That won't pay the hosting, not even close. Either I get this site solvent in 30 days, or down it goes, orders from my family who are sick of me spending all my time upgrading and expanding, and spending our meager funds on hosting and upkeep. I did this both to (hopefully) increase main site usage (which includes the ads and such) and to try to integrate GM as a unit. I'm not picking, just stating the situation from my end. I'm sorry you didn't like it.

I don't mean this in a mean way, but a lot of the complaints seem to be focused on 'hey, gimme my GM, and leave me alone'. There are nearly 800 people registered on the forum, almost 60,000 unique visitors a month, and maybe 10 or 15 of them have ever kicked in help or purchased anything (you know who you are, and I am grateful beyond words for your support). I'm tickled to *death* that people like GM, but all this stuff doesn't happen by itself, it takes hundreds of hours of work and thousands of dollars per year to make it happen and keep it running. I have my own business, and rarely take home much more than gas money from it (the web design business ain't all its cracked up to be), and can't afford to pay it all myself, plus put all my 'billable' hours into working on it.

Its *extremely* frustrating to provide this resource, then find that it eats both my life and my money, with no hope of ever getting it so it covers expenses. I'll be honest, I'm pretty darn close to just tossing it and shutting down. I can't handle the stress of wondering if *this* month will bring the site so it covers itself or whether I'll make the hosting for one more month.

Vicky - disenheartened and very, very tired after 8 years of trying to get my baby going so I can do it full-time

Oskaar
02-03-2006, 04:28 PM
Well,

I frequent a couple of other forums that are in this format, not SMF forums but similar in style and feel, and I don't really have any issues with the layout. Of course I'm looking at a bunch of busy screens all day long for bandwidth utilization and sniffer data, so I don't see much problemm with this "busy-ness" at all.

The only problem I see is that there is no place for the Swedish Bikini Team banners I keep sending Vicky!

Oskaar <-------- Learning how to say "If I told you have a nice body would you hold it against me?" in Swedish

SteveT
02-03-2006, 05:12 PM
Its *extremely* frustrating to provide this resource, then find that it eats both my life and my money, with no hope of ever getting it so it covers expenses. I'll be honest, I'm pretty darn close to just tossing it and shutting down. I can't handle the stress of wondering if *this* month will bring the site so it covers itself or whether I'll make the hosting for one more month.

Vicky - disenheartened and very, very tired after 8 years of trying to get my baby going so I can do it full-time


Vicky,

Don't chuck it, this is too valuable a resource to us "meaders". How much do you need to generate/month? Maybe we can figure this out.

Steve

webmaster
02-03-2006, 05:52 PM
Steve, I don't plan to chuck it, I just don't have any more funding. It takes around $400 a month between hosting, tools, add-ons and programming to keep it online. I just spent $2000 for the podcasting equipment, a laptop to run it (my old one died), a shopping cart system, and modifications to make it work with the stuff GM is going to have in the shop. So I'm sort of coming into the 30-day window in the hole. I used the cash I got from a customer (that realistically should have gone into my budget, we're hurting) to get set up, with the hopes that that would be the last 'big' cash for a while (futile hope, but you never know).

That, of course, doesn't include what it costs in time for me to do the work. Honestly, I'll be suprised if GM *ever* gets to where I can actually expect to get paid anything for my time.

Of course, that doesn't include buying mead to review, visiting meaderies to do interviews and other non-programming related activities.....

I appreciate your trying Steve, but unless the store coming online soon does the trick.......well, I need to get out and sell some webwork. The bills beckon.

WRATHWILDE
02-03-2006, 10:23 PM
Vicky I understand your dilemma and your frustration,

Any way to set up as a subscription service to help offset the cost? Something on the order of $15 a year (one time payment) or $10 when purchased as automatic renewal on your credit card. I've donated to the cause before and am willing to keep doing so. Things like 1 month free trial, valid email needed to register, main site free with the Ads & things you need to do. But after one months free trial the forum becomes subscription only, and you'd have their email to remind them to subscribe. I know you need the site to start paying for itself... I can't speak for everyone, but putting more Ads on a page doesn't make me any more likely to click them.

Just a thought.

Wrathwilde

webmaster
02-03-2006, 11:48 PM
Its definitely something to consider. The question is, how many would go along with it? I suspect many would flip out if I turned it into a subscription forum. But, then again, $15/year is a measly amount of money, and if each subscriber did it, I'd be able to offset some of the cost of running the site.

I'd do a poll, but most everyone pretty much ignores them too. I think I'd have to pretty much turn on a subscription format, notify everyone via email that they've 30 days before the yearly is due, and watch the hate mail come in.....

Vicky - back to work on paying sites for now......

Oskaar
02-03-2006, 11:58 PM
Some things need saying here.

The ads are a way that everyone can actually support the site just by clicking on them whenever they log in. It pays small amounts into the gotmead account which can be applied to offsetting the monthly fee. Vicky has posted this up a number of times. I don't know about everyone else but an extra ten clicks a day or even an extra click a day by 20 - 50 people adds up during the course of a month.

As far as enclosing the forum in a wrapper that has clickable ads and such, this is becomming standard practice throught the web community because hosting costs cash, and clickthroughs to the google ads really help to pay those monthly hosting, disk space, podcasts, yadda yadda yadda costs. This forum takes considerable effort to maintain, upgrade, improve and fund, all are at Vicky's expense; and that comes not only out of her pocket, but cuts into her productive design and consulting time. We're past being a small, mom-and-pop style forum, and change she's a comin, so I say buck up and deal with it.

I don't mean to cap on everyone for their opinions, far from it, but I have an opinion too. Mine is simply this:

If there are a few banners or clickthrough ads that I have to click a couple of times a day to support this site, and keep it funded so I can share and learn about mead; then I have very little to complain about and will gladly excercise my mouse finger a couple of more times a day and suffer a few more keystrokes. It's just my small committment to this site, and my way of helping. Whatever you see initially will not be the finished product, and will certainly be changing and adapting to become more user friendly.

Bottom line is that if it takes wrapping the forums and everything else in a template that has some banners in it, so be it. I'll be able to live with that and will adapt. I hope everyone else can too. I'd hate to see any of you leave over a few ad banners that are there to support the site, but sometimes that can't be helped. I'm sure there will be a more elegant solution in the offing once the Mead Festival is done and Vicky has some breathing room.

Sorry if that sounds harsh, I don't want to sound like St Pat's (had to throw that one in just because) but I've sat on the phone with Vicky while she agonizes over changes, runs rolldowns of the site for backups, and have translated websites on the fly for her. That's only a few small things that I've helped with compared to the amount of work she puts in on this thing.

I'm just another voice in the crowd here, but I really think that everyone needs to take a step back and think about this in terms of style versus substance. The substance is the site, resources, MLD, Forums, recipes, etc. etc. etc ad nauseum. The style is something that changes over time and has become much more elegant since I first started lurking several years ago.

JMNSHO,

Oskaar

webmaster
02-04-2006, 12:35 AM
Thanks Pete. I've come to rely on you not just for all the graphic and other help you've given me, but your translations for the mead sites in Croatian and Russian, and because you let me ramble on about my dreams for the site (even when they're pie in the sky or silly) and give me honest and constructive feedback. Much of GM's progress over the last year is there because you helped me figure it out.

Even tho we've not met yet (that will all change next Thursday, and Boulder may never recover!), I've really come to think of you as a good friend, and words can't say how much I appreciate your support. (And letting me rant on the phone a bit today sure helped, I was --><-- this close to saying 'to hell with it') There's been more than a few times I woulda shut this whole thing down and walked away if you hadn't happened to call to give me a rah-rah talk.

Thanks, pal. Hugs forthcoming soon.

Vicky - with 2 more like you, I could take over the world (but how would we get the pantyhose on the elephants?)

Angus
02-04-2006, 01:43 AM
One leg at a time! :D

DO NOT GIVE UP ON US!!!

I beg of you. The amount I have learned from this site is amazing.

Anything you need, let us know. I know that there are plenty of members, particularly me, who will be happy to help out.

Angus - Last chapter of the NewBee guide almost done.

webmaster
02-05-2006, 01:00 AM
Angus, you along with the other that have cheerfully chipped in front-end and back-end help as well as money to keep things hanging together are what keeps this site going.

Unfortunately, y'all are in the extreme minority, and since I don't have a job that pays me enough to do this as a hobby, it'll all go away unless I can either make GM pay, or find a better job (and the resumes I send out go into black holes, since I get no answers...)

I'm looking into a subscription model for the forum. I figure if folks can ante up for an internet connection, they can afford a small yearly sum to access the wealth of information thats here. And at this point, if folks get P.O'd, I'm pretty much at the end of my rope anyway, so it won't matter. If they leave, the site goes away for lack of funding. If I *don't* do something, the site goes away for lack of funding.

So, if folks want it, it comes down to being willing to cough up a bit. Those who have donated so much time in programming, writing and such, and those who have donated cash already will get a bye for (an as yet to be determined) time. Those who didn't, will be offered the chance at a subscription.

That keeps the site paid, possibly puts a buck or 2 in my pocket so I can put bread on the table, and lets the site expand.

It will ride until I get back from the Fest, because I've got commitments to take care of there, including recording the talks, judging at the commercial competition, doing a 'walking, tasting, reviewing' podcast of the meads presented at the Tasting, and anything else I can find to record, hopefully including interviews with a few folks like Ken Schramm.

After I get back tho, I'll be diving on this, and trying to get it going asap, as I'm out of time.

Its make or break, folks. You willing to pay to play? (Not you Angus, you've got a free ride for a *while*, dude, along with the others that helped me get GM here)

Vicky - spending the next 3 days doing paying work so I can pay the Amex bill from last months costs

WRATHWILDE
02-05-2006, 01:16 AM
Vicky,

It's very kind to offer those of us who have donated already a bit of leeway, but I'm willing to subscribe from the word go. I spend way too much time on the forum... I seem to recall you moaning at Pennsic that Oskaar and I were ALWAYS on. Only too happy to pay to play... just say the word.

By the way I love the new Logo at the top with Wassail on a honeycomb background... Oskaar do that for you?

Wrathwilde

lostnbronx
02-05-2006, 01:19 AM
Vicky,

I'd pay just to read the Forums, let alone post in 'em!

For that matter, how's that for an idea? Since the lurkers aren't likely to pony up cash for reading rights anyway, how about you leave POSTING privileges in the hands of subscribers, and transients/lurkers get to read for free? This way, GM still seems like the wealth of info it always has been, while restricting the ability for one-offs and spammers to post nonsense.

The only downside I see to this is that newbies-in-peril (that is, those with imminent mead issues going on) won't be able to get timely feedback or help. This, in turn, limits the appeal GM has always had with such folk (and thereby limits traffic). Is it possible, I wonder, to restrict posting rights, for certain people, to some parts of the Forums, while allowing it in others? If so, you can maintain the Troubleshooting Your Mead section for the Desperate Unknowns, who might not even need to register, and the rest of the Forums for us junkies serious practitioners of this wonderful craft.

Just some thoughts.

-David

Oskaar
02-05-2006, 01:22 AM
Another thing that I think will come of the subscription is that diskspace issues (like uploading photos, avatars, etc.), bandwidth issues, and other back-end and front end issues will be a bit easier to deal with because of . . . funding . . . and the latitude to increase storage, throughput, etc. I think a number of other logistical issues will fall into place. Right now we're kind of in a knee jerk "react to painful stimulus" mode due to the obvious need to scramble for cash and pay the rent yadda yadda yadda which take priority over proactive measures for the site.

I say "we" as in gotmead.com, as mentioned before I do what I can, but Vicky is the poobah of the site, I just slip in with some strategies and modeling ideas from time to time. So I'm down for the subscription fee to keep the site up and running, and provide some additional funding currently not available for upgrades, etc.

One thing to keep in mind is that the subscription would not give latitude to email the hell out of Vicky, myself or any other moderators/friends of the forums for advice, recipies, etc. Seems when people pay out, they infer that they have a right to begin demanding services for their cash. This is not an incorrect supposition, however in this case the service is access to the site and it's full compliment of resources for the querying meadmaker as opposed to a Meadmaker Customer Support Center and Technical Support Center.

Who knows, maybe I'll sell an hour worth of mead "technical support" for a fee that would go straight to support the site if people want to go that route.

Possibilities abound!

UPDATE:

Hey Bronxie,

Vicky and I talked about doing what you're talking about, and we have a cobbled together approach that would basically give subscribers the ability to post, and non-subscribers the ability to read certain parts of the forum, but not all.

Premium members would be admitted to Oskaar's Meadmakers Lounge and House of Debuauchery . . . although the price would be steeeeeeeeeeeep! LOL

Cheers,

Oskaar

lostnbronx
02-05-2006, 01:31 AM
Premium members would be admitted to Oskaar's Meadmakers Lounge and House of Debuauchery . . . although the price would be steeeeeeeeeeeep! LOL


Ooooo,

I'd risk a nosebleed for that!

-David

webmaster
02-05-2006, 01:39 AM
Guys, y'all are great. I *really* appreciate the support.

So, I'm thinking setting up a couple of boards free, the rest paid. Newbees get 30 days free posting, then have to pony up or not. Current users get an email that invites them to convert to the paid model, or revert to unpaid status (and limited access) after 30 days. That gives the the newbees the 'desperate help me' time they need for some hand-holding (and hopefully lets them see that the place is worth paying a bit for), and gives the current account holders a grace period to adjust (and get their payments in if they choose to 'jine up').

Like Oskaar says, payment would be for *access to the forums*, not unlimited access to me or any of the experts who dole out advice here. It would not entitle anyone to anything more than posting and searching rights, period. Expectations of guarantees, tech support or other 'rights' would not be there. If such is *offered*, that is up to the person offering. However, it will not be *expected*.

I'm looking at a subscription program now, with hopes of getting it working soon. What I haven't decided is what a year of access is worth. Wrathe had suggested $15/yr. That's *way* less than a month of internet access (broadband). And it seems like a *whole year* of GM could be worth a month of spotty, no-support, not-as-good-as-it-should-be cable/DSL access.

What do y'all think? And what *is* the average price of a month of access online? I pay around $40/mo for Sprint DSL. Oskaar mentioned today when we were on the phone that he pays around $30/mo for his access. I know prices vary around the world, but never really researched it.

What seems fair/reasonable? $15 a year seems a tad low to me, but I'm interested in your input, since y'all would be the payees and all.

Vicky - too tired to gin up a poll right now, heading to bed, g'night all

P.S. Oskaar, *what* am I gonna do with you (heading off to create a "Oskaar's Meadmakers Lounge and House of Debuauchery" and start interviewing redheads to staff it)

WRATHWILDE
02-05-2006, 01:40 AM
Premium members would be admitted to Oskaar's Meadmakers Lounge and House of Debuauchery . . . although the price would be steeeeeeeeeeeep! LOL

Let me guess... not being interested in robbing the cradle, you won't take the firstborn mead. Probably looking for the seventh child (mead) in it's seventh year... weighing a minimum of 40 pounds (without carboy), and a box of Cuban Cigars OR a Wild Little Redhead up front.

I figured it should be low enough as to not give pause for someone on the edge of poverty... as a number of members seem to be students or just barely able to afford the hobby, chances are you'll get way more than twice as many subscribers at $10 than you will at $20. Yes it may seem low as a content provider but for people just joining the community who haven't become part of the family yet $20 might give them pause, I still think the best bet is $15 per year (one time charge) or $10 a year if you sign up for an automatically reoccurring charge. This way the cost conscious might think $15 might be a little high, and agree to fund you perpetually at $10. As a wise man once said - when you live in the desert it is better to have a small but constant water supply over your lifetime, than all the water delivered at your birth. Yes some of us are fanatics, we'd be willing to pay $20 or $50 (wait I did that already)... but I think you'll get a lot more subscribers if you kept it under a dollar a month and would help you limit the anxiety of "will they resubscribe?".

Wrathwilde

lostnbronx
02-05-2006, 02:02 AM
We're paying...heck, I'm not even sure, right now...$40..? Maybe? I don't know.

I think that that's apples and oranges, anyway. Internet access vs. GM access? That's like the price of a widescreen TV vs. the price of nitro pills: paying for Internet is close-to-vital, and real important to us all, and keeps us in touch with friends and family, and blah-blah-blah...but I needs me my Gotmead.com!!!! I can go to my (tax supported) local library for Internet access again if I have to (just like I did for months near the beginning of my GM obsession enthusiasm Shhhh!). But not have access to my Daily Recommended Dose of Sardonicism/Sarcasm/Puns/Fellowship???!!!

No way! Not the kid!

-David

Brewbear
02-05-2006, 04:17 AM
How do you like that?
I don't log in and keep an eye on the forums for just a couple of days.....and now I see some grumbling!
Vicky, do what you have to do in order to keep the site going, PLEASE!!!!
If that means clicking on ads, fine! If that means a monthly or annual subscription, that's fine too!
This site is unique and we, new and old-time mazers alike should do all we can to keep it going! There is a wealth of information here that I became dependent on and am willing to pay in order to support my "habbit" and I guess many others will too.
All I need to know is the address where to send the check.

Cheers,
Brewbear - off to sleep off the many beers ingested in preparation for the Super Bowl

WRATHWILDE
02-05-2006, 05:08 AM
Of course Vicky on a time spent on the forum basis you'll be making out. My logged on time stands at 13 days and 21 hours after almost a year. So from my $50 dollar donation... I've paid you $.15 per hour access to the forum... in Kentucky that'd put you solidly in the middle class. NC not so much. ;) Looking at people who signed up in january of last year, only one of them surpassed 20 hours logged in time for the year, so at $10 you'd be looking at a the average person paying more than $.50 an hour logged in time. I don't know if it would be reasonable to ask the average casual user to pay any more than that.

Just a thought when broken down into statistics, although I'm sure you could sift the data deeper than my one year spot check. Say average hours logged in per year for people with more than 10 posts... to find out what the per hour cost would average out to from $10. As this would be the base most likely to subscribe.

Again, just a thought to take into consideration.

Wrathwilde

webmaster
02-05-2006, 11:01 AM
Thanks Wrathe. That is helpful. I'll dig around a bit....

Angus
02-05-2006, 12:18 PM
I still say I would be willing to pay $50 a year for this kind of information and support. For new lurkers, $15 sounds like something they would be willing to fork out until they know whether Mead is for them. So, it brings back the whole graduated fees debate for services rendered. More money = access to monthly news letter, Oskaar's secret recipe of the month (and tip on picking up redheads), monthly online brewing class, Podcasts, Blog writing, Christmas card from Vicky etc. etc.

Angus

lostnbronx
02-05-2006, 02:04 PM
I'm a "less is more" kind of guy, when it comes to things like grand plans. I think that a sliding scale of Services vs. Membership Fees Paid is a great goal to shoot for, but it would take a fair amount of planning and a lot of maintenance to keep up -- and Vicky would then have to scramble each month to make sure she's got enough new quality content for the upper eschelon of Members, because now that they're paying for it, they're darn well gonna want it.

This is like a favorite clubhouse or meadhall right now, with a lot of good people who get together and have a very good time: we excercise our brains and funnybones, and we improve our brewing skills. It's comfy and informal in the extreme, and we'd all want to maintain that in any new format GM may take on. But that's not the way it will evolve in a Subscription format. Those of us who love it here will keep our good intensions, but once money starts to change hands, good intensions, by their very nature, must become business deals.

Once Vicky starts charging for access, she has to run it like a business, because people are going to want something for the money -- especially new people, who it will always be vital to attract. The more complicated the Subscription service is, the more complicated the content provided will end up being. It will be a job keeping it straight -- maybe a big one. Is Vicky going to do it all? Oh, many of us can and will commit to helping out with Maintenance stuff and special content, be it databse work, new essays, new recipes, stories, or (as in my case) comics. But these things will only be contributed as we can provide them, not necessarily when Vicky needs them. That leaves her to fill in the gaps. And it's the nature of the beast that these gaps will simply grow. Thoughts to the contrary are of the wishful kind, and really shouldn't be included in this discussion.

The bare facts:

* GM costs money to maintain
* It isn't solvent at this time
* It has rabid fans -- but only one real worker
* It's a big site, and getting bigger all the time
* It needs improvement in some areas (chatroom, etc.), not just maintenance
* Vicky is nearly burned-out trying to keep it all together

Each of these facts need to be addressed, in order of urgency. By my way of thinking, the money issue and the burn-out factor are aspects of the same problem, and solving one will likely solve the other. To that end, revenue must start coming in. Subscriptions are a start, but are not probably the whole answer; meaning, continued focus on the GM storefront and ad sales is critical. And that's a lot of work for one person.

I don't have a real model to propose for all this, outside of a partially free/partially paid Forum (with maybe a few other things tossed in as perks for the paying), but I urge Vicky and anyone else intending to volunteer time and/or creative content to a future GM to think long and hard about how to keep things simple. You can't run until you can walk, afterall, and you can't even walk until you're out of the hole.

-David

webmaster
02-05-2006, 02:33 PM
Good points, all, David.

The main, and most pressing issue here, is cashflow. The bare fact is that GM will go offline, likely permanently, if I can't raise some cash for maintaining it, and that within the next month. My personal budget runs at a deficit most months *without* the cost of GM, and we fall a little further behind each month. GM has become a luxury I can't devote time *or* money to because if I do without it supporting itself, I'll lose my house (can't maintain a website without a home or internet....LOL). I'm not trying to be dramatic, just stating the situation as it is.

I don't *want* to lose GM. It's my baby. I've worked on this site for over 8 years now, taking it from a 1-page list of sites about mead to the over 1500-page monster it has become. I've been through 8 layout changes, and hope that this incarnation will be the final form, so I can concentrate on expanding the content of it. It is my crowning achievement as both a web designer and as my personal project. I love GM and want to see it continue for as long as possible.

I think that in order to build a future program of how GM will be run, whether that is cost or no-cost, I need to keep an eye to maximizing exposure for the meaderies, honey suppliers and brew shops that advertize here, making sure that info is up-to-date and accurate, and regular additions to content. Many, *many* people pay for a yearly subscription to the AHA (myself included), and that's $40. I personally feel I get my money's worth. I suspect others do too.

To that end, I feel that creating a wrapped forum integrates the site into a common view, where now the forum and site are separate, and that makes my job twice as hard, because I have to approach them as separate sites.

I know not everyone wants that, and if you feel you'll need to abandon GM because I have to integrate to make my work more efficient, then you'll do what you have to. I can't stop that, nor would I want to, thats the nature of the internet. But as Oskaar says, many sites are going to this approach. For me, that lets me give my advertisers (and if *they* pay, that's less I'll need to charge for *users* to pay) the visibility they need to feel their ads are performing.

Thats enough from me right now, my family is waiting for me to actually get off the computer and spend time with them this particular Sunday. I'll leave you with this:

Is GM worth a little financial investment or not? I've invested 8 years of my life and countless money and rarely get to make mead myself, because I work here. Is it worth the reading to you to put in some cash for the info here?

You decide......

Vicky - going to ride my horse with my daughter, who is *so* understanding that I work 20 hours a day, 7 days a week

lostnbronx
02-05-2006, 03:18 PM
Okay, so it's crunch time then.

I propose that Vicky turns GM into a paid Subscription site within a week or two, and then worries about what we'll be getting for the fee, as well as any content or format changes that are on the drawing board afterword. If GM goes down because of money issues, then, as Vicky says, there's a really good chance it will never get up again.

Additionally, GM is a business, yes? How about getting some investers together? People who will put some $$$ into the pot now, in exchange for a deferment on the payback and profit until GM is actually in the black. That might take a long time, but everyone would understand this up front. Vicky's still the boss, but she would have silent (as in no management, creative, or executive authority) partners. There are investment models for this, I'm sure. We don't need a board of directors or anything if we all agree to this (in writing, and in advance). This would push the wolves back from the door for a month or two, until the subscription service, ads, and storefront are running.

Vicky, is GM incorporated? If not, do you want to go that route, stay the course as it already is, or are there perhaps other business models you'd consider?

-David

Oskaar
02-05-2006, 03:21 PM
Hey Bronxie,

One of the things I was making clear is that developing premium content would be something that is definately not included in then initial subscription offering. I think Vicky right now just needs to keep from operating in the red and taking an ass-kickin over the site.

Premium memberships would be something for down the road as you indicated, but right now the deal is that for a reasonable access fee, subscribers get access to the complete array of forums along with the rest of Gotmead.com, and the ability to post. Nothing more or less. It's not reasonable to offer any kind of premium services at this point because they just aren't developed or available. The subscription would state up front as Vicky and I stated below that this gives you all the forums, and the ability to post. It in no way, shape or form gives you priority support or mead technical support on anything other than what we have now. Post a question, and if someone has an answer they will post it.

That will be stated in the subscription FAQ, up-front and notoriously so that it is clear in no uncertain terms.

So to me, the inital subscription does not mean premium services, content or anything else until such a time as a business plan, content plan and staffing plan make sense. Which at this time they don't.

Oskaar

mouko_yamamoto
02-05-2006, 05:36 PM
Thought I'd throw in a newbee viewpoint: I have no problem paying for Gotmead. I probably won't be able to afford the high-level price, at least not right away, as I start college in the fall, but I'd definitely be able to toss in the base level subscription. This website is such an invaluable resource to anyone making mead that it is worth paying to help keep it going.

Dan McFeeley
02-05-2006, 05:49 PM
Aside from the discussion on subscription fees and access, the point Vickie is making is that she needs help, right now!

Let's not wait to decide on the specifics -- any one who can, try and shoot a "pre-subscription" fee her way.

And oh yeah, there's a great e-book that's well worth the $10 bucks. ;D Click on the banner for St. Winston's Mead.

Oskaar
02-05-2006, 06:53 PM
Dan,

You hit the nail on the head as always. It's an immediate need to keep the site funded. Grand designs, services and all that are grossly premature. It's pretty simple, the site needs support and those of us who can, need to move on it quickly.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Angus
02-06-2006, 10:01 AM
I would like to second Dan's recommendation of Miriam's book. It is a wonderful story, beautifully illustrated now, and well worth the $10. Plus, the entire $10 goes straight to GM without the need for postage. Even if you have already read it, buy it and read it again.

Angus

memento
02-06-2006, 10:22 AM
Like brewbear said, I didn't check in for a few days and then there's all this!

My opinion:

I can and will click on ad links here. Already done. But I don't think that the site can develop "critical mass" by depending on us to click on links.

The general populous is used to forums being free on the internet. So I think that a good compromise is "pay to post" on the board. That will allow anyone to read, but you have to be a member to participate. But think about how many of us would do that and will that be enough revenue? If you count the regulars, I don't see it as being a large number. <20 or so?

Another idea. Scale back to minimize your time involvement in the site? From a high level - Cash flow is the immediate problem, but once over that hurdle, if you cut your time needed for site maintenance by half, then there's that much more time to spend on other customers, which will pull in more $$$. Your ambition with this site is well admired. I think that if you can get the board integrated, then there is not much left to do?

What section of the site uses the most bandwidth? And how much of the cost of the site is bandwidth?

What about having one of us compile an e-book of recipes? $10 or $15 for that and I already know a couple people who would be inclined to buy it.

webmaster
02-06-2006, 12:32 PM
Actually, clicking on links doesn't bring in cash. I sell ads to relevant people, i.e. meaderies, brew shops, honey providers and the like. The hope is that you'll notice the ads, and if they offer something that interests you, you'll click. That will bring more advertisers (hopefully), since I'll then be able to point to good return for them in my stats.

The ads that bring in cash (less indirectly) are the ones for the Gear, which is Cafe Press stuff. I make around 10% on the items in the Gear shop. Google does bring in cash, but I'll admit not enough for me to keep it. I'd rather give it up, and give y'all more relevant stuff that you might want than wait for Google to cough up the penny a click or so that they give out.

So, by all means, if you see an ad that offers something you want, then click. Please *don't* do it just to increase my stats, that would dishonest to my advertisers, and I'd rather lose everything than be dishonest, honor is something you can't buy.

Thanks for the support, it means a lot. And let me know what sort of items *will* interest you, and I'll contact companies that offer those sorts of products.

The Honey Farmer
02-06-2006, 03:15 PM
I've only been here three weeks or less and I've learned so much I'd be a fool not to subscribe. O.K. Vicky, name your price and give me an address and the check will be in the mail.

Dennis, The Honey Farmer

meadwench
02-06-2006, 06:53 PM
Hi Dennis,

I'm glad GM has been helpful! I'm thinking probably around $20/yr for subscriptions, once it goes official. The consensus seems to be that any more will tick folks off, so I'm kind of settling on that, at least for now until I've got time to do the necessary research on something like this.

I can take either Paypal or credit cards at gotmead@gotmead.com using Paypal (they'll let you do it either way, with them or using a major credit card).

Snail mail:
Vicky Rowe
131 Cedar Creek Lane
Youngsville, NC 27596
make sure to put 'GM subscription' on there so you'll remember later! (and so I will know its that and not for the e-book or something else...)

To all y'all: Thanks. I'm glad everyone seems to be willing to help the site hold its own by subscribing. That will help a lot, if everyone gets on. If just a few do, we'll gain a month or so. If everyone kicks in, we'll gain a lot more time, which gives me time to push more ads to those who *can* kick in more (and for them its business, not pleasure like for y'all).

David Baldwin
02-07-2006, 05:39 PM
Wow, I echo the "gone a few days..." sentiment.

For what it's worth, I really liked the new format. My laptop only has a 12 inch screen, but still for a guy who usually avoids anything but the forum, I really like the integrated platform.

As to the subscription. I'm all for it. I know that I haven't contributed my fair share in response (and thanks) for the community of wonderful people I've become part of here. I intend to correct that, and I truly believe that this community is well worth preserving through our combined contributions.

David Baldwin

webmaster
02-07-2006, 05:49 PM
I'm working on a wrapped layout that will have larger text, 'cause I think the main gripe is that old eyes (and I can relate, mine are pretty bad) can't read it easily. Personally, I just reduce my resolution, because the new hi-res screens seem to make *everything* too hard to see.....LOL

WRATHWILDE
02-12-2006, 09:14 PM
Vicky,

Making out a $20 subscription check right now. Alright everybody time to throw down the Gauntlet. No promises to do so etc., I challenge every member to pull out their checkbook (or use paypal) and make out a check to Vicky for $20 as they read this. I also challenge everybody on this forum to not make or read another post until they have committed their $20. When you do... post here to keep this link at the top of the new postings.

Wrathwilde



I can take either Paypal or credit cards at gotmead@gotmead.com using Paypal (they'll let you do it either way, with them or using a major credit card).

Snail mail:
Vicky Rowe
131 Cedar Creek Lane
Youngsville, NC 27596
make sure to put 'GM subscription' on there so you'll remember later! (and so I will know its that and not for the e-book or something else...)

If just a few do, we'll gain a month or so. If everyone kicks in, we'll gain a lot more time, which gives me time to push more ads to those who *can* kick in more (and for them its business, not pleasure like for y'all).

lostnbronx
02-12-2006, 09:30 PM
Done!

-David

memento
02-12-2006, 10:14 PM
already done. $20+ ;)

WRATHWILDE
02-12-2006, 10:27 PM
Vicky,

Making out a $20 subscription check right now. Alright everybody time to throw down the Gauntlet. No promises to do so etc., I challenge every member to pull out their checkbook (or use paypal) and make out a check to Vicky for $20 as they read this. I also challenge everybody on this forum to not make or read another post until they have committed their $20. When you do... post here to keep this link at the top of the new postings.

Wrathwilde



I can take either Paypal or credit cards at gotmead@gotmead.com using Paypal (they'll let you do it either way, with them or using a major credit card).

Snail mail:
Vicky Rowe
131 Cedar Creek Lane
Youngsville, NC 27596
make sure to put 'GM subscription' on there so you'll remember later! (and so I will know its that and not for the e-book or something else...)

If just a few do, we'll gain a month or so. If everyone kicks in, we'll gain a lot more time, which gives me time to push more ads to those who *can* kick in more (and for them its business, not pleasure like for y'all).



Well done Guys!!! How 'bout the rest of you?

Wrathwilde

Brewboy
02-13-2006, 03:27 AM
Wrath.....I took your challenge of $20....and raised it by $10...I figure that over the past year, I have AT LEAST learned as much as I have from "Brew Your Own" or "Zymurgy"....albeit the informatiom that I have gathered here is a little more focused in the scope of knowledge.

That being said, I sent $30 to Vicky...she has done as phenomenal job at making this site.

I second the post from Wrath....c'mon...we've all learned something from this site....follow Wrath's link , and commit a small $20 (or more)! Send it via Paypay!

C'mon....this a small group...currently 801 members. Can you honestly say that you have received at least a "book"s worth of infomation from reading this forum? C'mon...you KNOW that this forumis worht a book's price. C'mon...the webwench needs soe help to keep things running!

As Always...Thanks!
Trevor

The Honey Farmer
02-13-2006, 11:04 AM
Done,

Dennis

David Baldwin
02-13-2006, 12:02 PM
Done!

I also bought the Ebook "St. Winstons" on Saturday... um, I'm gonna sound stupid here, but where do I download it?



David Baldwin

Angus
02-13-2006, 01:03 PM
You don't. Vicky will Email you a copy.

Angus

WRATHWILDE
02-13-2006, 02:20 PM
Vicky,

Making out a $20 subscription check right now. Alright everybody time to throw down the Gauntlet. No promises to do so etc., I challenge every member to pull out their checkbook (or use paypal) and make out a check to Vicky for $20 as they read this. I also challenge everybody on this forum to not make or read another post until they have committed their $20. When you do... post here to keep this link at the top of the new postings.

Wrathwilde



I can take either Paypal or credit cards at gotmead@gotmead.com using Paypal (they'll let you do it either way, with them or using a major credit card).

Snail mail:
Vicky Rowe
131 Cedar Creek Lane
Youngsville, NC 27596
make sure to put 'GM subscription' on there so you'll remember later! (and so I will know its that and not for the e-book or something else...)

If just a few do, we'll gain a month or so. If everyone kicks in, we'll gain a lot more time, which gives me time to push more ads to those who *can* kick in more (and for them its business, not pleasure like for y'all).



Well done Guys!!! How 'bout the rest of you?

Wrathwilde

Dan McFeeley
02-13-2006, 02:36 PM
Done!

WRATHWILDE
02-13-2006, 04:24 PM
Thanks for all the support... and rising to the challenge everyone!!!
Let's give Vicky a well deserved financial break...
Keep those Subscriptions coming

WRATHWILDE
02-14-2006, 02:01 AM
Oh, and Vicky... thanks for the email, only too glad to help out. I've gotten a few emails thanking me for starting the challenge and I appreciate all the support everyone is showing toward funding the site. Keep posting on this thread when you've ponied up your subscriptions, bought Miriam's ebook, or would like to provide a funding challenge of your own. Also if you've already donated let us know... don't be shy. Time to start shaming the high posting slackers with their grubby little hands in Vicky's purse. Just kidding ;)
Do we have any Wiccan's on the board or voodoo practitioners who can curse the batches of those who don't pony up? I think that'll be the next step. >:D

Wrathwilde

Miriam
02-14-2006, 04:29 AM
Another $20.00 donation. Good work, Wrathwilde.

Vicky, would you accept this suggestion: every donation of $10.00 or more gets you the St. Winston's Metheglin e-book?

Miriam

jaysbrew
02-14-2006, 01:47 PM
Check is in the mail! It's my pleasure to help out such a great site.


Cheers,
Jay

SteveT
02-14-2006, 02:08 PM
Check is in the mail! It's my pleasure to help out such a great site.



You stole my line, and I echo your comments! My check is in the mail. :)

Steve

Sigmund Von Meader
02-14-2006, 04:05 PM
It is sent!

Greenblood
02-14-2006, 09:08 PM
Donation sent, albeit with much less enthusiasm than some of you.

I am afraid I can not agree with you all. I think that making GM a subscription site would be a tragedy, and will inevitably lead to it's failure. I have many hobbies, and as a result a lot of forums. I have never had to pay a subscription for any of them, and I do not believe I ever will. Open exchange of information should never be taxed in such a way.

I do my best to support the sites that I frequent whenever possible. I make purchases from associated online stores (i.e. cafe press), I try to make donations during fund-drives, and I click on every Google ad word ad I see. I know that many here have expressed appreciation to members that do this. However, there will always be spectators (or lurkers) who only post every once in a while, and expecting them to pay a fee when they are just not as obsessed as the rest of us is unfair to the community and counter productive
in the mission to spread the love of mead.

As for the 30 day trial; It takes a lot longer than a month to build an obsession. I did nothing but read books and forums, and ask questions for 4 months before I made my first batch of mead. If I had to pay to ask questions after a month, I do not think I would have asked many more GM'ers for help. I would have joined another forum. I can not support anything that excludes or impairs young mead makers.

If GM becomes a pay site, someone will start a free one.

The information on Gotmead is priceless, but I do not think that I could ever support a decision to move to a subscription based service.
I will be starting what I feel is a more productive thread about fundraising ideas for GM. I hope to see some of your input in there. I met some of you over the weekend at Meadfest, and we have a pretty good group of intelligent people here. Let's not give up on GM yet. There is a better way. We just have to find it.

Sincerely,

John aka Greenblood

Oskaar
02-14-2006, 09:14 PM
Hey Dude,

After meeting you at the fest and partying, smoking cigars and generally raising hell I have a pretty good idea of where you're coming from and that you are not saying this to try and be anything other than completely honest.

I've kinda stressed on this myself. I think in the short haul the subscriptions will be able to keep the site solvent, and I think Vicky is wide open to some fundraising suggestions. I have a couple of things in the works that I can't really comment on until I have some solid committments back from people, but things could work out.

Don't give up on us yet,

Cheers,

oskaar

webmaster
02-15-2006, 02:47 AM
First of all, I *totally* appreciate the donations that y'all have made to date. Over $200 has come in over the course of this discussion, and that helps defray a bit of the costs, which at this point are backlogged on my credit cards.

John (and all the others who have done so much to support me), this is not directed at a single individual. This is my frustration venting in general, so read at your own risk, it isn't pretty.

:::::::RANT WARNING::::::RANT WARNING::::RANT WARNING::::


I am totally open to fundraising suggestions, but the 'pitch and beg' thing doesn't work. 'Please donate to support this site' is used by most of the sites I go to that provide info on this level, and the folks running them starve, unless they have other jobs.

This *is* my job. It takes *all* my time. So, if I'm to give it *all* my time, then how do I make money to eat, and keep the site up?

John, I'm with Oskaar, and realize you're trying to help. It bothers me too, but I can't think of a way to keep things going. I make like $20 a month on Cafepress, about 15 cents a day on Google, and unless I slap Google ads *everywhere*, that won't change, and if I do, y'all will get pissed at me. The store goes up soon, but as I only make 4-10% on sales, unless y'all are buying around $10,000 a month (right, thats gonna happen), I'll make cents there too.

So, what you're suggesting is that the info here isn't worth $20/*year*. That's like 5 lattes, or 20 99 cent burgers. Sad to think that a person who would pay $20 or more for Kens' book, wouldn't think that the 40,000 posts here are worth that much. Do I sound a little pissy? Yeah, I do. People cough up all day long every day for stupid stuff like bags of chips at the gas station, and think nothing of paying $12 to have some dweeb wash their car, and are willing to pay thousands for their hobbies (check out the cost of hunting, or scuba diving, etc) but ask them to pony up a few bucks for internet info to *learn* about their hobby, and they get all up about how the internet should be *free*. I say crap. We've become a nation of people who expect it to be handed to them. I expect, and often *do* pay for info on the web. I paid to have a podcasting class mailed to me, so I could learn how to do it. I didn't bitch, the $20 *easily* saved me several hours of hunting on Google for my answers, and was well worth it.

If $20/year isn't a reasonable cost to find nearly every answer you ever wanted to know about making mead, then I've been wasting my time, and need to take GM down now before I waste any more.

How much use would GM be if it were *off*? Then there's nothing, and all this data ceases to exist. All the recipes, all the posts, all the articles. All of it. Am I pissy? Yep, sure am. I just spent my weekend at the MeadFest running my ass off, not getting to participate in the events, seminars or tastings, so I could podcast the damn thing. I'm spending another 4 days out here, *at my expense*, to interview multiple meaderies so I can post reviews on them and their meads. But, hey, I should do it for free. 'Cause it sure ain't worth the princely sum of $20 a year.

Basically, it sometimes feels like I'm to provide it all, do it all for free, and keep it coming, and no matter what, don't expect to get paid for the effort. Ever. 'Cause the internet and all its information should be free. It keeps coming back to that. Sorry guys, but I'm not buying it. What I'm being told here is that I've spent 8 years of my life creating the greatest mead resource in the *world*, and it isn't worth anything?
That's kind of sad. And makes me realize that maybe I wasted 8 years I coulda been working for a living.

So, unless I can derive some steady sort of revenue from the site, the site can't support itself, and it goes away, plain and simple. And I will no longer take money from my personal budget, and funnel money from my paying work (which is little enough) into keeping it going. I have basically paid for 8 years for *you* to have free access to this resource. Heaven forbid I should expect any kind of recompense. Had it not been for a free hotel room, folks buying me meals, and Julia graciously offering me her house this week, I wouldn't have been at MeadFest, either.

Guess we'll just have to watch and see how long it takes to die, or something comes up. I'm unable to keep funding it. And a $200 or so every 6 months makes a small dent, but doesn't begin to cover it. So, either there is a revenue stream the site produces, or, well, I don't know. I don't want to see my baby die, but if it comes to that or eat, I'm sorta out of options.

All y'all who have graciously kicked in greater or lesser donations or have purchased something, thank you *very* much. You have no idea how much I appreciate it. But I think perhaps I've overextended myself by expecting that this site had value.

Vicky - stepping down of my soapbox, need to sleep before the next interview

Holly
02-15-2006, 08:13 AM
Vicky,
I am new to the whole forum thing in general. There are some hobbies that I have that I wouldn't cough up money for...ever...because I am just not that interested and/or there are other good resources available.

THAT IS NOT THE CASE HERE!

I like the idea of some areas "for pay" and others not. That is how I see it handled elsewhere.

It seems that you have put your heart and soul into this site and this must be agony. One thing I have learned over the years - Do what YOU NEED to do FOR YOU. And if people don't want to pay to continue playing, its their loss.

Try to keep your chin up!
Holly

lostnbronx
02-15-2006, 02:18 PM
As for adding ads and ad space to each page, I don't think that would be such a horrible fate. Many commercial sites have banner and Google-style ads wedged in at every conceivable spot. But since pages can be any size, the content hasn't been pushed away at all.

While the GM storefront will likely bring in some revenue, from what Vicky was saying, it seems like selling ad space and adding more Google ads is the only way for a steady income to be generated under the current business model. That'd be a lot of ads. Displaying them in a non-obnoxious manner is just a matter of webpage design, which Vicky is good at. Selling ad space is a real job, though. It seems like a dedicated sales person is required, someone with experience or a willingness to learn. My point here is that Vicky is one person, and GM has become a BIG site.

I'm a big believer in the Internet being a place of more-or-less free access to information. I'm also a big believer in peace and good health. Unfortunately, life doesn't always work that way. No one WANTS things to change, but paid access is easily the lesser of two evils here: a subscription to GM vs. the demise of GM. The choice is clear for me.

It's not that GM's vast store of information is or isn't worth putting money into Vicky's coffers; since Joel Grey's view about money's effect upon the Earth's rotation still seems to be true, Vicky HAS to have $$$ to keep this place afloat. The only question is, will subscriptions, an increase in the ads, and the percentage from the storefront be enough to do the job? Different business structures here might open up different possibilities, but as things stand, and barring a telethon (Meadaid?), we have only the ads, subs, and a meager product cut from the store to work with.

The storefront might become a pleasant surprise, revenue-wise, but with only a 4-10% cut for GM, it would be a big surprise indeed if it amounted to very much at the end of the month. As a matter of principle, we'll all try to buy things here. But let's be real, we'll be buying elsewhere too -- where ever we can get the particular product we want, or where ever we can get the best price. Happy or sad, that's reality.

To be perfectly honest, I have my doubts that GM can pay its own way with just the three options herein mentioned. In my view, either a change in site structure is required (scaling back content to the point where hosting costs are reduced); a change in site status (becoming a nonprofit, and pursuing library or information-based grants, etc.); or a closer alignment with commercial meaderies, and wineries producing mead, since so far, GM is mostly about home mead making. There was a time when, not so long ago (back when Vicky started things here), if you were talking about making mead, you were talking about hobbyists and/or history, pretty-much without exception. That's changing, and maybe GM needs to pursue the commercial guys more than the amateurs from now on. This includes developing resources and services that commercial meaderies have need of, like professional directories and consultation services (with talent subcontracted out for particular jobs).

My main point is that something's gotta change here. GM simply can't go on as it has. My feeling is that thinking small will just delay the inevitable, rather than open up new horizons. I'm no businessman. I have no detailed plans to present, and I don't feel like I've got a solid handle on what Vicky's long term goal is for GM anyway. Still and all, adding content or making site changes from this point on probably isn't sensible unless they actively pursue her long term goal in some definable way. What's a good goal? To be the biggest, most detailed mead resource on the Internet? Well, it's already that, and it hasn't made things solvent. To become self-sufficient, then? Well, of course -- but that's the means by which a goal is achieved, not a goal unto itself. It's Vicky's place, and her call...but since this is a public Forum, maybe we can discuss what GM could become, based on what it is, and what it is not.

The winds of change are upon us folks, and like it or not, it carries the scent of money.

-David

Angus
02-15-2006, 04:34 PM
I found this interesting article about funding web sites, which I believe is relevant to GM.

http://www.addme.com/issue284.htm

In summation, sites can no longer rely on ads and links to pay for everything. In fact, subscription is the path that is being taken by many sites that offer a valuable resource of information. I believe that this is therefore the appropriate thing for Vicky to do. Additional offerings, such as e-zines, recipe books, DVD's etc., will certainly help to supplement the revenue, but the core income must be fairly solid to ensure the site remains viable for now.

I have the same fears as everyone else with respect to losing the "throbbing brain" of mazers out there. But this subscription may only be for a short period until the ads, partnerships with meaderies etc., become the mainstay of revenue for the site.

Angus

mouko_yamamoto
02-16-2006, 10:12 PM
Dang. I sent in a donation, but me being out of touch with things such as I am, I used a 0.37 cent stamp as opposed to a 0.39 cent stamp. *idiot*

webmaster
02-17-2006, 11:17 AM
Oh. My. God.

Scott, dude, you *rock*. A copy of Miriam's book, and some GM gear is on its way to you. And dude, you're good for 12 years......LOL.. Sorry about the typo, and THANKS for the subscription. Scott took the typo to heart, and sent $240. Omigod.

Jason (Jab), you are the other rock star. $100......WOW. Five years for you, and the book and cool gear.

Vicky - touched by the show of support

P.S. I will be making Miriams' book available in a members-only spot (to be posted here) once I've gotten all those who've donated upgraded, as I think that this should be the first 'premium' item out there. If you haven't got it, get it, its great! Link coming soon (or an email with an attachment - programming as fast as I can)

jab
02-17-2006, 12:07 PM
Vicky don't be retarded. That was a 'donation' not a subscription. I will pay my dues when the subscription side of things are up. Glad to see you upbeat again, even if just a little. Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.

-jb

webmaster
02-17-2006, 12:30 PM
Honey, I'm *totally* upbeat! Just got off the phone with Angus, and we're plotting a series of books, real books with covers and everything. I need to cobble up the start-up cost for publishing, around $1000 for a 500 book run, but dude, GM is gonna *publish*.

Oh, another kudos: Jay, honey you rock my world! My hubby and I are gonna crack a bottle of that nectar you sent (could *not* figure out what I'd ordered from Staples, lol) for our Valentines' celebration this weekend. (Jay sent me 3 bottles of mead with his subscription!) Now I just have to figure out *which* one, they all sound yummy.

Guys, GM *will* survive. All y'all have come up with some *bitchin* ideas, and we *will* make this work. I'm working on the advertising stuff, and figure I'll offer article sponsorships to put ads in articles, plus we've the top ad, the side ad, and the text ads on the right column. The books are working, the subscription is coming together, and with the store, the Gear and some other things I've got cooking, I'm confident I'll get this site to where I can really start pushing it forward.

Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou! I am a lucky woman, to have friends such as y'all.

Vicky - plotting the next phase of my nefarious plan to mead the world

webmaster
02-20-2006, 01:44 PM
OK, check out the wrapped forum here:
http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103

I know the main page is coming up too wide, but on my screen all the under-pages are working ok, and viewable at 1024x768 on my laptop. To my eyes the fonts are large enough to read at normal reading distance.

I'm working on the main page width, and won't turn on the function as a menu item until its fixed. Meanwhile, if y'all would bang around from the URL above and give me feedback on font sizes, readability, width on your system, etc. in both IE and FF, that would be great (I promise not to get snarky!).

Problems I'm aware of and working on:

- main forum page width *way* too wide
- thread view - forum avatars are showing scroll bars - will fix column width

Bring it on, I'd like to get this implemented before I have to go out of town on Tuesday.....

Vicky - trying to get the major stuff out of the way before leaving Tuesday afternoon to visit family for a week

The Honey Farmer
02-20-2006, 01:56 PM
My old eyes are fine with it.

Dennis

Holly
02-23-2006, 10:49 PM
Vicky,
Just a quick comment on the new wrap after a very quick cursory look. I think it is coming together. My only preference would be to have the subject line wrap less...If you can change the forum table at all, I think you could reduce the posted by column (let that wrap) and make the subject column be a little wider. I think you could also steal some from the views/replies columns and the last post column...

I know that was kinda nit picky, but not meant to be critical! I think it is coming together.

Hope you had/are having a great trip.

Holly

Greenblood
02-23-2006, 11:58 PM
Looks good Vicky! I am able to read it, and I am a bit tipsy right now.

Greenblood

Oskaar
02-24-2006, 12:53 AM
To me it looks fine. Fonts are good, width is good.

I'm viewing at 1400x1051 with no problems. I say live it or live with it!

Cheers,

Oskaar

lostnbronx
02-24-2006, 01:28 AM
Looked at it in Netscape, Opera, IE, and Mozilla, and it's fine in all of them (though there's a bit of a scroll bar in IE -- not too bad, but there you go).

-David

JamesP
02-24-2006, 02:12 AM
On firefox & IE 6 on a 1280x1024 screen, I get horizontal scroll bars, so it doesn't quite fit on the screen. About a third to a half the RH "featured sponsors" is off the screen.

I have no problems with readability.

mouko_yamamoto
02-24-2006, 09:15 AM
At home it's fine, which is on 1400x1050 res. At school, which run crappy Mac OS 9, even on 1290x680 the right side is jumbled together. Thats ok though, on this POS you aren't supposed to be able to use internet anyway. *mwahaha*

Scott Horner
02-24-2006, 12:34 PM
Got ya all beat

Proud owner of a 12 year subscription lol 240.00 sent by paypal

You did get it didn't ya oh Meadwench?

Greenblood
02-24-2006, 01:25 PM
Oh. My. God.

Scott, dude, you *rock*. A copy of Miriam's book, and some GM gear is on its way to you. And dude, you're good for 12 years......LOL.. Sorry about the typo, and THANKS for the subscription. Scott took the typo to heart, and sent $240. Omigod.

Jason (Jab), you are the other rock star. $100......WOW. Five years for you, and the book and cool gear.

Vicky - touched by the show of support

P.S. I will be making Miriams' book available in a members-only spot (to be posted here) once I've gotten all those who've donated upgraded, as I think that this should be the first 'premium' item out there. If you haven't got it, get it, its great! Link coming soon (or an email with an attachment - programming as fast as I can)

webmaster
02-24-2006, 07:56 PM
Yup, sure did Scott! Thankyouthankyouthankyou. I'll be sending you some goodies for being the *longest* subscriber so far!

Vicky - hanging out in the fabulous log home of my friends in Montana



Got ya all beat

Proud owner of a 12 year subscription lol 240.00 sent by paypal

You did get it didn't ya oh Meadwench?

webmaster
03-04-2006, 01:43 AM
OK, y'all. The moment of Troof. Check out the forum wrapped here:
http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103

It looks ok on my laptop at 1024x768 in both FF and IE.

Feedback please.(and I promise not to get pissy)

Known issue: The 'sticky' posts have a background that is too dark grey under the green posts - I'm digging for the CSS that is creating that and will change it. Would those of you with color blindness or bad eyesight give me some ideas where you need the color changed to make it ok to read?

Thanks!

Vicky - getting a bit of work done after spending the day laying laminate flooring in my daughters' room (finally - its been laying around a while now and my house is a mess)

Oskaar
03-04-2006, 02:16 AM
This works for me!

cheers,

Oskaar

Brewbear
03-04-2006, 03:42 AM
I may be blind as a bat.....The forum works for me!!1
Cheers,
Brewbear

WRATHWILDE
03-16-2006, 02:24 PM
Alright everybody time to throw down the Gauntlet. No promises to do so etc., I challenge every newbie or long standing member to pull out their checkbook (or use paypal) and make out a check to Vicky for $25 as they read this. I also challenge everybody on this forum to not make or read another post until they have committed their $25. When you do... post here to keep this link at the top of the new postings.

Wrathwilde



I can take either Paypal or credit cards at gotmead@gotmead.com using Paypal (they'll let you do it either way, with them or using a major credit card).

Snail mail:
Vicky Rowe
131 Cedar Creek Lane
Youngsville, NC 27596
make sure to put 'GM subscription' on there so you'll remember later! (and so I will know its that and not for the e-book or something else...)

If just a few do, we'll gain a month or so. If everyone kicks in, we'll gain a lot more time, which gives me time to push more ads to those who *can* kick in more (and for them its business, not pleasure like for y'all).


Bump >:D

webmaster
03-16-2006, 03:00 PM
Thanks Wrath!

And don't forget, y'all that there is a link at the top of the page to subscribe too!

Hall of Famers so far (if I've missed you, don't panic, I'm digging through 4 months of Paypal stuff to make sure I get everyone):


Oskaar
The Honey Farmer
greenblood
Scott Horner
hedgehog
mouko_yamamoto
wrathwilde
mcfeeley
stevet
jaysbrew
mynx
mainedruid
angus
jab
Holiday
matt_maples
byathread
Miriam
mikespens
darkstar
David Baldwin
neadmead
memento
BrewBoy


Thanks to you *all*! We get over 60,000 visitors a month here, and my goal is to get at *least* 1,000 of them to sign up. In a perfect world, I would get 3,000 patron signups, and could quit doing anything *but* Gotmead.

But, 1,000 will ensure that GM will be online for years to come.

Thankyouthankyouthankyou!

Vicky - working on login issues right now

WRATHWILDE
03-16-2006, 03:30 PM
Hey Vicky... what are the chances of getting the Devil Icon up top, maybe replacing the Standard Smiley. >:D I'm sure would get a lot more use from your members than :) or :(

Wrathwilde

kace069
03-17-2006, 03:07 AM
Geez I guess I have been absent from gotmead for a while. I didn't realize how serious things were for Vicky. I have just recently got back into the old habit of checking gotmead daily some times more than that, and catching up on things I have missed here in the last 5 or 6 months. I am a rather new homeowner and things had been really tight for me for the last 2.5 years, but I donated last year what I could afford. But luckly things have turned around for me and I am now in a position to pony up. Plus my gotmead shirt is totally trashed and I need a new one. I see some homebrew supplies are getting sold here now and I will start checking here for things I need before I check other sites where I usually purchase supplies at. Besides subscribing and clicking on ads, which I will do for now on, what else can I do? Fundraisng sounds like a good idea.
Here is an idea which may have been posted already, but I haven't read all the posts on this thread yet, and this may be more trouble than it is worth, but. How about a gotmead.com mead competition? With all the proceeds from entrance fees going to support gotmead.com. I monitor other homebrewing forums and see gotmead being referenced alot, even when I am not doing the refrencing. Gotmead is an authority on the subject. With so few mead competitions gotmead could grow to be one of the most important competitions. I know if it was in my vacinity I would donate my time and I am sure their are other gotmazers who would do the same. I am probably going to lose sleep tonight trying to brainstorm fundraising ideas, which seems kind of difficult for a website but hey its a challenge I am up to losing sleep over!
This is to valuable of a resource for me to go to one day and get the dreaded website can't be found page!

webmaster
03-17-2006, 09:20 AM
Thanks Kace! I see your sub, upgrading you asap!