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View Full Version : Raising Funds for Gotmead. A brainstorming session.



Greenblood
02-14-2006, 09:56 PM
There has been some disturbing discussion on the forum in the past few weeks of making Gotmead a Pay site, and I must admit I was rather surprised to read about it. I met Vicky at Meadfest this year, and learned quickly how incredibly passionate she is about this site. She would love to make Gotmead her fulltime job, and as members of the forum, I am sure we would all love to see it happen for her (and maybe for us too. The more time Vicky has for GM, the better GM gets for us right? ;) ). There are a lot of expenses involved with GM, and with the site growing as fast as it is, the expenses will only get larger. If Vicky is to make this work, GM needs to get some funds coming in.

It is my opinion that making Gotmead into a subscription site is a mistake, and will only work to isolate itself from the growing mead community. There are far too many part time hobbyists that do not post enough to justify paying a fee to do so. More importantly, there are a growing number of people discovering the magic of mead every day. We invite them to visit GM, and tell them that it is one of the largest databases of information on mead. That the members are some of the kindest, most helpful people anywhere on the net. Having to say "For only $19.95" at the end of all that praise just seems to cheapen it.

Gotmead needs to start making money in order to stay alive. Vicky cannot do this alone. So it is up to all of us to find a solution. This thread was started to brainstorm some ideas about how to raise money for Gotmead.com.

Throw out a donation if you can. They can be made through paypal to:

gotmead@gotmead.com

Or mailed to:

Vicky Rowe
131 Cedar Creek Lane
Youngsville, NC 27596

But what else can be done?

1. Having a paypal link just sitting on the site somewhere is great, but active fundraising must be done every 6 months or so. Post everywhere. Heck PM members about it just incase they have not been on in a while. Active fundraising is very helpful.

2. Get an apiary to donate some honey or trade it for ad space or something. Then raffle it off. $1-5 per raffle ticket. Draw the winner, and drop ship the prize from the apiary. We might even be able to get away with doing a big one during Meadfest each year!

3. My homebrew club raffles off home brew every couple months for charity. Each member brings a bottle of their prize brew, and then the bottles are split into 3 groups and raffled off. The members buy tickets for $5 each, and the winners go home with big smiles. We could do the same thing online. If members are only shipping one bottle, it is incredibly easy to do.

4. We could put together a book of our favorite recipes, and print it through cafe press or lulu.com. Let members buy it and use the funds raised to pay the one time fee to get it onto Amazon.com

These are just a few ideas. I know that some of you out there are smarter than I am. So let us help out as best we can. Where my marketing people at?!

I know we can do this. Please do not let GM become a subscription site.

Cheers!

John( aka Greenblood)

webmaster
02-15-2006, 03:29 AM
Greenblood, these are all very sincere suggestions, but it all comes down to begging for money. Gotmead has value. If it didn't 60,000 people a month wouldn't visit it. Begging sits very sour in my mouth. I've worked very hard to see this site sucessful, why shouldn't I see a bit of funds from it.

How many here pay for newspaper subscriptions? Or magazine subscriptions. I don't hear anyone griping about coughing up for Zymurgy, or Ken's book. Why is the info here worth any less?

You keep saying how paying for info isn't good. But you do it every day, without thinking about it. Yet you keep saying that *this* isn't worth paying a small sum per year for (don't know about you, but I cough up over $100 a year for my newspaper, and at least that much for magazines, including Zymurgy).

I'm beginning to realize that while folks *love* the site, they don't *value* it. My fault for giving too much, and expecting people to realize it. Now I just have to decide on a close date, 'cause this ain't working.

Vicky - greatly saddened to see that this site isn't worth what you pay for a case of beer

Miriam
02-15-2006, 07:32 AM
Vicky knows I'm happy to pay for subscription, but I'm voicing it here again to show support. I agree that a subscription is the most efficient method of keeping the site in funds, with the least hassle for Vicky.

Miriam

Holly
02-15-2006, 08:44 AM
Vicky,
I don't think that you should see the fundraisers as begging for money. I think they sound like a great idea that would do a number of things:

-raise awareness of the site (your stats grow, and you should be able to expand investment by the paid advertisers?)
-raise awareness of the community involved in the site which will help the site to grow. (I know I was hoping to hunt down a couple of the folks that I think were going to Estrella)
And probably a few more things that will all help THE CAUSE.

That said, I think that those activities probably need to be supplemented at this point to keep the site AND YOU solvent.

As I said in the other thread - Do what you need to do for you. But also, asking for help isn't a crime (does take a little honey to swallow at times ;) )

You have something wonderful going here!
Holly

memento
02-15-2006, 11:09 AM
The point about subscriptions - I have none. No newspaper. No magazines. All the info I want is available on the net for free.

But the point about paying for something of value? absolutely. I'm not in this for a free ride. Gotmead would be the first service that I'd subscribe to, because of the value *I* see in it.

I also threw out the idea of making a mead recipe e-book earlier in the other thread and got no bites on that. Same with looking at trimming things down. I don't know the details of where the expenses are. For example, the logo is 63k in size, I saved it down to 12k with no noticeable loss in quality. Does that help? I don't know how many times it gets loaded from the webserver.

What it looks like is that, since it appears by Vickys post in this thread, that our donations are not cutting it and we need a viable gotmead.com cashflow business model and an analysis of where the costs are so that we can look to see where we can trim to save.

To start: what is the current monthly bandwidth usage, average?

Summersolstice
02-15-2006, 11:24 AM
Hi Vicky-

I'm not certain Greenblood was objecting to paying to play. I think he was pointing out that a lot of casual users may, and that could result in discouraging growth in our hobby. I think that most of us here on the board would have no problem paying for the privilege of keeping the site up and running. I know I wouldn't now but I certainly may have when I first began this hobby.

That being said, I too think there are other ways of generating income. I also make wine and belong to a couple of other sites. One site is owned by a guy who has a home brew shop, www.finevinewines.com, and it's a great marketing tool for his online business. The other site, http://www.winepress.us/, claims to be the largest wine making site on the net and generates income through donations, t-shirts, etc, and a DVD of their recent 2005 Winefest. I know it's too late for a DVD of the International Mead Festival, but what a great income generator that would be! Think of all the people who would love to see a DVD of that event.

Bottom line: I don't want to lose this site. I know you're time is just a valuable as anyone else's and if you need help, let us know. If you plan to keep the site active (I hope), let us know and hopefully we can at least generate some donations as a sort of band aid until you can figure out a way to generate inome.

teucer
02-15-2006, 01:23 PM
I would almost certainly pay if it were a one-time thing like Something Awful, but I'd rather not have to have a recurring subscription fee, as my finances are limited. I'd participate in fundraising raffles from time to time, and I would absolutely contribute mead to them.

Greenblood
02-15-2006, 01:24 PM
SummerS hit the nail on the head.



Greenblood, these are all very sincere suggestions, but it all comes down to begging for money. Gotmead has value. If it didn't 60,000 people a month wouldn't visit it. Begging sits very sour in my mouth. I've worked very hard to see this site successful, why shouldn't I see a bit of funds from it.

As I said earlier, I believe that the info on GM is priceless, and I would love to see you make it into a full time job, and see some fundage from it. I know you have worked incredibly hard on this site, and I for one can not express how grateful I am.


How many here pay for newspaper subscriptions? Or magazine subscriptions. I don't hear anyone griping about coughing up for Zymurgy, or Ken's book. Why is the info here worth any less?

Gotmead is not a newspaper, nor is it a magazine. Members of the forum do not frequent GM to get the advice of a named author or panel of certified experts. Members frequent Gotmead to share our own personal experiences openly with one another. While the occasional (albeit increasing in frequency*thank you Vicky*) article does make its way onto the GM website, the majority of the traffic that the members contribute is on the forum where WE give each other advice.


You keep saying how paying for info isn't good. But you do it every day, without thinking about it. Yet you keep saying that *this* isn't worth paying a small sum per year for (don't know about you, but I cough up over $100 a year for my newspaper, and at least that much for magazines, including Zymurgy).

For the record, when I said ďOpen exchange of information should never be taxed in such a way.Ē I specifically meant information on an open forum, and I only said it once. It is my personal belief that once a forum is started; the information shared does not belong to the host, but rather the community that surrounds it. There. That is my hippie for the day. I am going to go and scrub the patchouli stank off now. At NO point did I say that GM isnít worth paying for. I made my donation. What I did say is that I believe forcing people to pay to become members will isolate a large portion of the mead making community who for whatever their personal reasons will not see the value in paying for a forum, and as a result will never join. Those people may never learn the joy of meadmaking, and that is not ok in my book.

Vicky, please understand that gotmead.com IS worth a lot to the members who have made a home here. I love it here, and would pay whatever I could to keep it open if it came to that. I see the value. I can afford it. It is my addiction. However, it took me a long time to build my obsession and see the value in all of this info. I do not want to see new and existing (though less obsessed) members of the mead community not participating because of a subscription fee.

I do not believe that making GM a subscription site will bring in the funds you anticipate. As you stated earlier, the donations received in the last few days total around $200. Those funds are from the most dedicated of the group; and while I truly enjoy the company of You, Wrath, LostB, Oskaar, Miriam, BrewB, and all the other addicts here, I would be truly disappointed to have the forum become a 10 member hangout.

If you believe that GM will work as a pay site, then by all means make it one, but if the funds do not come rolling in, please do not give up. Let us try a different route. You have people here who will volunteer their time *raises hand*.

Cheers

Greenblood


The most obvious path is rarely the most fulfilling one. - John Monaghan

HomeBrew
02-15-2006, 01:44 PM
Since this is an open discussion, I feel the need to add my $0.02Ö

I think that converting Gotmead to a play-to-pay site may end up hurting it in the long run. The reality is that there are currently several free forums available on the net that can provide advice/recipes/discussion on the brewing of mead. In addition, there are many other free resources available on the net for general mead information. When it comes to shelling out dough, I think that many people would opt to spend their money on books or magazine subscriptions over a forum due to the fact that they are investing in a hardcopy reference library that is available at their fingertips for as long as they keep the material around.

Although there are currently a high number of visitors to this site, I would bet that that number would decrease dramatically if it were a pay site. Many of us who have spent time here have come to learn that it is a good resource and see it as being worth money to keep it going. However, how many current posters would have turned away if their initial surfing brought them to a pay site? I bet many would have kept right on surfingÖI have to be honest and say that I would have. The bottom line is that with a forum like this, you do not realize its worth until you have spent some time here.

We also have to keep in mind that the vast majority of folks who currently visit this site are casual lurkers/ posters. Many of these people will simply stop dropping by if they are asked to pay. The core group of frequent posters who ďdependĒ on this site is relatively smallÖIt would take a rather large individual investment from this group to keep it profitable. In addition, one of the strengths of this site is the continual influx of new ideas from new posters. Keeping the member numbers small could end up hurting the exchange of ideas.

I think that the tightness of this community is admirable and I am sure that all of us want to see it continue. I also understand Vickieís need to obtain financial support for the operation of the site. As mentioned below, a good alternative may be to generate financial support through paid advertising. This is where the current high visitation rate can be used to our advantage and will justify advertising charges. All of us can help out with this by recruiting advertising from meaderies, homebrew shops, book authors/ publishers and the like as well as recruiting new members. We can make sure that paid advertisers stick around by frequently clicking on banners and giving them our business when we make purchases and letting them know we used their link on this site when we do. In addition, support can be provided by making purchases as often as possible from the Gotmead store. (Make all of your gifts Gotmead items!) Operational costs can be kept low by keeping the site simple, bells and whistles-wise, and by assistance from computer savvy members.

Peace.

Pewter_of_Deodar
02-15-2006, 02:02 PM
I think Homebrew kinda captured my concerns as well...

I recommend to people on several other forums that they bring their meadmaking questions here. If they have to pay to do so, they won't...

I am scratching my head a little bit. Without knowing any of the details it is hard to put a picture together. But I have bought a shirt and paid for a copy of Miriam's story to help pay for this place. I suppose the amount being paid depends on the goal, full time salary ($50k - $75k - 100k?) plus travel expenses plus server time? That seems like about the same cash flow a start-up winery would have and they sell their stuff in cases at so much per bottle. It's ambitious...

Anyway, I'd be willing to subscribe initially, but I think the change that we would see as a result of those not willing to pay would make GM less attractive by the second year. Dunno...

HomeBrew
02-15-2006, 02:22 PM
Pewter echoes a concern that has been dancing around my head as well.

To put it plainly, are we talking about financial/technical support for the maintenance of the site as is, or is this an attempt to turn the forum into a money-making venture? These are two completely different animals and reactions will vary accordingly.

I also fear that discussions on this topic have the potential to cause splits in an otherwise tight community.

Peace.

SteveT
02-15-2006, 02:50 PM
How about sponsorship from one or more commercial meaderies?

Steve

Oskaar
02-15-2006, 04:31 PM
Ok Folks,

Vicky is simply speaking out of frustration, eight years worth to be exact. I just got off the phone with her, so I have a pretty good idea of where she stands on this subject. Bear in mind that she's not thinking of forcing anyone away from Gotmead and turning it into a subscriber only site. Subscriptions would be more styled to allow members certain accesses that other non-subscribers would not have. Non-subscribers would still be able to access the site and browse the forums, but certain sections would be reserved for subscribers. There are a number of successful websites that spring to mind (Wine Business Monthly, Cigar Afficionado, eRobertParker, etc.) and a couple that I belong to with a similar paradigm. They are all growing so I think that the pay to play in exclusive areas model is established and viable on the web. Further, Iíd argue that it is a successful paradigm.

Would subscriptions to access members only areas decrease the number of visitors and traffic to the site? I think thatís debatable, and that it remains to be seen. Certainly people who are used to playing for free, or just lurking to read up on what goes on here would probably not be motivated to subscribe. But, if the same content theyíre used to seeing is still there, then I doubt that they would leave. If there is a large out-flux of regular posters, contributors and general lurkers then the consumer has spoken and the site will have to change in order to re-engage those disenfranchised lurkers. Again, I say that if the accessible content does not change, I doubt that theyíll leave. I havenít seen any market research, or been involved in any business endeavors that support the contrary.

New forums and discussion threads will start up in the members only sections pretty quickly because letís face it most of us who post have plenty to say and/or ask. Again thatís based on experience. I know I havenít posted up a lot of my recipes, or other brewlogs because there are just so many in the brewlog section currently, that Iím not sure I see the value in adding one more. But in an area where we have fewer and more focused postings, Iíd be more inclined to put more information out there.

I know that there are other people out there that Iíve spoken to on the phone who donít publish their recipes that would be more inclined to do so if there were a more limited crowd, at least thatís what theyíve indicated on the phone or in person. You all know who you are.

As a bit-surfer I find recipes and research on the web much more attractive than books. Books are old school and take up space, time and need to be dusted. I like being able to go to an article on line and doing a word search to find out exactly what Iím looking for without pulling a book off the shelf, and then flipping pages for a while to find what Iím looking for. Books have intrinsic value and I have a lot of them, but I gotta tell you that I use them a whole lot less now than I did when I couldnít use the web to find the info that I want. I donít come to Gotmead to read novels, or appreciate artful binding and illustration (except in the case of the e-book by Miriam). I come here to browse posts, interact with other posters and offer help when requested to do so.

Right now Vicky is going through the kind of momentary financial anxiety and anxiousness that is like receiving a notice of a tax lien on oneís property, or that someone is going to repossess the car that youíre using to give people a ride to school. When one asks for money, one finds out in a hurry just how valuable the ride to school really is, and whether or not people are willing to help pay for the ride.

I think Vicky thought because everyone is so willing to donate their time to help the site, that when it started to suffer financially people would also be willing to support the site financially in the form of a subscription. I also think she wasnít prepared for the responses she received when she put the idea out there for a subscription based site. To her it was kind of like a knife in the gut. Rightly or wrongly she expected a completely different response. The one she got floored her.

Certainly all the regulars stepped up to the plate in the form of financial support (tee-shirts, Miriamís story, donations, etc.) and that is FULLY appreciated. At this point itís still in limbo as to where the site is going. Iím personally working on some things to help out and to forestall the need for subscriptions because I think there are alternatives that are viable, just as many of you do. Bottom line is that I think weíre all here for Vicky, and she needs to hear that affirmed more than whether or not the site should be pay-based.

Again, bear in mind that Iíve read all of the posts and understand that no one is saying that they wonít/donít want to help. I know everyone of the core members has stepped up in one way or another and I for one am very proud to count myself as a member of that group. Iím saying that all alternatives need to be mined, including subscription. Plenty of people walk away from subscription based websites, but there are also plenty of success stories out there to consider.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Mynx
02-15-2006, 05:00 PM
Been very out of the loop since I've been dealing with a family emergency the past 3 weeks (which just resolved itself this AM).

Couple things I want to put out here:

First and foremost Vicky, thank you.

Secondly, I would be willing to do a subscription along the lines of what Oskaar has suggested as I think it's a very viable way to run a website. We all know how much work gets put into this site, and for me, it would be no-brainer to support it somehow. Finances of late havent allowed me to do so as yet, but that will be changing soon I hope.

Just wanted to put my support in here. There are certainly ways out there to make this both viable for Vicky, and still a wonderful resource for anyone.

Summersolstice
02-15-2006, 06:28 PM
Is there a "Donations" button somewhere on the site? I would suggest that as a first step... And if there is could someone point me in that direction?

David Baldwin
02-15-2006, 06:56 PM
Donations can be made via paypal to gotmead@gotmead.com


David

webmaster
02-15-2006, 09:13 PM
OK, now that I've calmed down (thanks, Oskaar), let me address a few of the questions here:

1. Is this need for financing to support the site, or to support me? Both. I work a full time job (actually, more like 40-60 hours a week in addition to my paying work) keeping this site up, and adding to it. It also costs money to run it, by way of bandwidth, software and the like. I'm not looking to get rich here. But it would be nice to have my time compensated. Right now, its compesated at about minus $30/hour, since every hour I work on GM detracts from time I could be using to build websites for someone who will pay me. Realistically, if I could cover costs and make around $25K a year, I'd be happy. That would mean GM would have to bring in around $35K a year. Not exactly a winery startup, Pewter.

2. Is there a 'Donations' button somewhere on the site? No, not anymore. I had one up, and *no one* used it. It was on the top of the forum, and on the main site in the right column. No use there. 'Donate to support' doesn't work.

3. How about sponsorship from commercial meaderies? That would be great, except many commercial meaderies have less money than I do, in fact, *most* of them do. I can often get them to give $20/mo to put up an ad for a while, but they can't do it long term, and many just don't seem to get the benefit, no matter how well I explain it. Then there is the issue of how many ads can I put up? You can only rotate so many before the advertisers aren't getting their money's worth. And, if I put them too many places, people bitch and leave. I'm trying *not* to turn GM into a site where there are more ads than content, but if the subscription thing doesn't fly, as it seems it won't based on what I'm seeing here, then you'd better get ready to see so many ads you'll have to push them aside to read the forum, 'cause thats what it will take to bring in the $3K/mo (before taxes) that the site needs for me to be able to devote the time and resources to it.

4. I'll pay once, but I don't want a subscription. -- That would be great, if nothing here ever changed. However, not only is new info on the forum every day, new info is on the site every day. One-time payments would ensure that site updates couldn't continue. Not a viable solution in a growing, changing site.

And finally, Greenblood: Dude, I like you loads, and wasn't trying to dump on you. But your comments (though well thought out and sensible) just sort of pushed my already heavy load of stress into overload.

As far as the articles, we *will* be getting stuff from panels of experts and known mavens. Dewey Carron, Professor of entymology and a mead judge at the IMF, who has also written many articles on beekeeping and mead, has met Kimes, Morse and Crane, and who hobnobs with a who's who of honey and mead folk has agreed to give us articles. There will be data from the old AMA coming in, and articles from Julia Herz, meadery owners and the like.

This week I got *hours* of awesome input from professional meadery owners on not only how *their* operations run, but how to brew better and more efficiently, how to make your own cool brewing apparatus and lots of other stuff.

From Greenblood:

For the record, when I said ďOpen exchange of information should never be taxed in such a way.Ē I specifically meant information on an open forum, and I only said it once. It is my personal belief that once a forum is started; the information shared does not belong to the host, but rather the community that surrounds it. There. That is my hippie for the day. I am going to go and scrub the patchouli stank off now. At NO point did I say that GM isnít worth paying for. I made my donation. What I did say is that I believe forcing people to pay to become members will isolate a large portion of the mead making community who for whatever their personal reasons will not see the value in paying for a forum, and as a result will never join. Those people may never learn the joy of meadmaking, and that is not ok in my book.

My bad, I was hurting a lot over what looks like the loss of a project I've poured my heart and soul into for over 8 years, and to have a friend come in and seem to nix the only funding effort I've been able to come up with that seemed to have a basis hurt a lot. I lashed out, and I'm sorry. I know you made your donation, and thanks.

I'm not going to rant, and have to go and pack to get ready to go home tomorrow, but that's my input for the day.

Bottom line: somehow I need a steady stream of income to keep the site going. I'd rather do it with something other than a subscription if that is possible. Hopefully I can find that before I run out of credit card.

Vicky - heading off to pack

Pewter_of_Deodar
02-15-2006, 10:02 PM
If all 817 members each paid $20 for a subscription or whatever we are going to call it, that is still only $16,000 a year and short of Vicki's goal. That is really why I was asking the question, not to criticize but to get an idea of the goal...

I will also echo everyone's comments and raise them two glasses of mead in thanking Vicki for making this site available to us...

Mynx
02-15-2006, 10:09 PM
You figured at $20/year Pewter? I just ran the numbers, and it's around $3.50 per month per member to get Vicky her goal. That's if everyone paid. When you break it down like that, it's not so bad. Works out to maybe $50 per year I'd guess, which IMO isnt all that bad considering the VAST amount of resources available on GotMead. I'd pay it, and I'm a brokeass soon-to-be-student myself. It's also possible to run it like other subscriptions, and have 1 month, 3 month, 6 month and 1 year options. Makes it a bit easier on the pocket book.

I know subscription is not the popular option, but this will give an idea of what might be involved. Add to this ideas about fundraising, advertising, donations, GotMead gear etc, and it might be doable.

Chin Up Vikkers!! Also, please! let me know if there's anything I can do to help maintain stuff. I have a tolerable knowledge of some web type stuff, and NOTHING to do at work most days, hahah.

webmaster
02-15-2006, 10:35 PM
The $20/month figure isn't supposed to supply *all* the revenue, just some of it. I expect to also bring in other revenue from ads, etc. to make up the difference.

Problem is, that figure works if *all* decide to pay it. Oskaar and I have worked on this, and figure maybe 25% will go for it, the rest will leave. Not a happy thing.

Mynx, thanks for the offer of help, I will take you up on that. I'm compiling a list of 'whats left' to move over to the new site, so I can finally take down the old one. After that, I'll be going for articles and such, so we'll be out beating the bushes for new articles.

Vicky - done packing, getting ready to crack a mead with Julia

Oskaar
02-15-2006, 11:43 PM
Also just let me add that I'm here on my own. I have no affiliation with the site in any role other than unpaid volunteer. This is Vicky's baby, and she is good enough to let me play here. This site is a zero sum gain in the monetary department for me. That being said, I get to swap ideas, methods, recipes and other benefits that you can't really put a dollar sign on. The real kicker is having a forum to interact with some of the best minds and mazers in the mead community.

Further, I have no interest in any proceeds from the site, to me this is a labor of love and I'll be here whether or not the site goes subscription, or if it stays as is. If it looks like it's going to go tits up, I'll jack a bank or stick up a 7-11 or somthing to ensure that it doesn't.

Subscription to Gotmead.com: $20
Trip to the Mead Festival: $800
Getting to tool on Pewter in a public forum . . . priceless! :D

Just kidding there Pewter, believe it or not I enjoy reading your posts and have learned a few things from you! And that's the truth :P

Cheers,

Oskaar

winethief
02-16-2006, 01:59 AM
hey, all, i'm just a newbie here, but thought i'd chime in.
does the fund-raising have to be *all one thing* or nothing? seems like financial advisors are always telling us that diversification is the key to healthy money-management. and we've all heard that many hands make light work.
what about the idea of forming local chapters of the GotMead Guild? I'd pay to be a member -- probably even more than $20 a year! -- and vicki could set things up so guildmembers automatically get subscriptions to special content. I happen to live in northern Illinois, and know there are mazers around Chicago and Milwaukee who'd be interested -- right, wrathwilde? dan? angus? mouko?
if you live someplace where there aren't enough members to meet locally, you could maybe form an online chapter.
seems like maybe each chapter could sell one or two or three $20/month ads on the site to LHBS owners, no? and to local breweries, where that's appropriate? or specialty pubs that have mead on tap? and/or local chapters could do fund-raising activities on their own, like the mead raffles someone else mentioned. proceeds go to vicki and gotmead.com.
also, i can't think of a better way to spread the good word about mead than having a presence at festivals and such, where appropriate. the more people we can draft into guilds and membership, the more vicki benefits.
maybe put that special content in a monthly e-newsletter for subscribers only?
i happen to write about food for a living, and though i just *know* i'll regret this, i hereby volunteer my time to edit recipes and content if anyone wants to publish a cookbook.
i'm of mixed minds about special content for subscribers only. on the one hand, it does seem to go against the original spirit of the internet. on the other hand, i work in "old media" (a newspaper), and know that trying to make web presences self-supporting is a headache for everyone who tries to make a go of it.
i would hate to lose this site, its content, and the contact with the good people who frequent it.
cheerio,
'thief

Scott Horner
02-16-2006, 10:02 AM
Hi all,

Back out of lurk mode for a few seconds. I post here from time to time, and read here always. I do love this site and I respect our Meadwench for all her hard work. I get paid for what I do for a living and if Vicky wants to do this for a living then so should she. I would be more than happy to pay money for a subscription to this site, and I am lucky enough to be blessed with a job that pays me well enough to afford it.

I think $20 bucks a month is not too much to ask for, although it may be a little steep for others. One of the things that I would like to see though is that subscriptions not be all that elete. I like the idea that the forums (all the forums) are open to all people. They can read them and post there at will. My ideas of "Perks" for subcription would be something more in line with maybe a special tag line "Got Mead Supporter" or maybe only "members" get the cool Icons next to their names, or that full color poster of the Meadwench (ducks the large tankard thrown his way) Or Oskaar in a speedo (ducks the other tankard). I would be in favor of perhaps a member only section where we can visit. Perhaps Ken or one of your other professionals could contribute an article or two, or perhaps lessons on how to better our brewing.

What ever happened to the whole shop idea? I sure have no problem thowing you a few bucks over what I pay at my LHBS for stuff. While that would not pay the rent Im sure. Its another source of income that I think could add up quickly knowing how much some of us like to brew.

So here are the 2 cents of someone who has every intention of becoming a member.

Keep the forums free! They attract new visitors, who will eventually become adicts, and thereby members.

Have a members only space but keep the forums out of it. Have usefull articals and teachings there.

Offer little perks for the members. Special tag lines, only members get cute icons on the forums, (sees the knives being sharpened and decides not to mention the posters). Perhaps a discount on all store and got mead items?

Put the pay pal icon back up! And change the tagline to "become a supporting member of Got Mead"

Come on people you pay that much for Starbucks every month !

Scott

Soon to be Got Mead supporter.

P.S. Contact me offline to discuss putting up a link on your site. (not that it would help my business but hey it could be a tax writeoff)

mouko_yamamoto
02-16-2006, 11:01 AM
Well, if nothing else, we have to have at least one members only forum where we can discuss lewd acts. Ya know, stuff the general populace shouldn't have to be subject to access to.

Holly
02-16-2006, 11:25 AM
Winethief may be on to something here! I am the treasurer of a local dog club and we have a SMALL membership, but our dues of $10/yr for singles and $15 for families (which wouldn't apply here really) bring in a couple hundred dollars a year. We/you (Vicky) would have to look at how that might work...hmm...

My thought (ok opinion) of what should be public is a little different than Mouko's and Scott's. I found got mead by looking for recipes (Heather Metheglin to be specific). I got sucked in when I went to actually make it. So look at what draws people to the site - where are the highest volumes of initial hits if you can, make that free. Once you drill down further, that is were it gets to being paid...Sucker I mean suck us newbies in and lock us up! LOL

Diversification is the key.

Pewter_of_Deodar
02-16-2006, 02:00 PM
I'd be interested in comparing the other pay sites that were mentioned by Oskaar and others in terms of what is charged and how many members they have. I am a firm believer in making a job out of doing something you love even though I have never managed to do that myself. I wish Vicki all the luck in the world in doing that with Gotmead.

My son is trying to do the same thing with his rock band. But there is a reality there that I think applies here. He cannot be a nationally touring rock band with a fan base of something like 1,000 people. My gut feeling is that Gotmead is kind of in the same situation where it needs to grow about tenfold before it can be what Vicki wants/needs it to be. It would be a whole different animal with 8,000 people (or even 25 percent of that number) paying $20 a year.

The way to get the tenfold increase should be by recruiting people to use this place, not charging the amount 10 (or 12) times a year. Even for me, and I am blessed with a good paying job, $20 a year is trivial but $20 a month is not. We do not have cable TV to save money, have a child in college with his tuition twice a year, etc. I am trying to be open about my threshold of pain though I am sure most people here have some limit in mind as to what is reasonable and what is not...

So how do we increase user numbers tenfold in order to keep the price down? My first suggestion would be to gag Oskaar and tie him in a corner... ;D ;D ;D

lostnbronx
02-16-2006, 03:27 PM
The $20/month figure isn't supposed to supply *all* the revenue, just some of it.




I think $20 bucks a month is not too much to ask for, although it may be a little steep for others.



Even for me, and I am blessed with a good paying job, $20 a year is trivial but $20 a month is not.


Before this gets perpetuated further -- and NOT to speak out of turn, or for anybody else -- I'm interpreting the original quote by Vicky of "$20/month" as a misprint, wherein she meant $20/year as had previously been discussed. Please correct me, though, if I'm wrong (and apologies in advance if this is the case).

-David

CheshireCat
02-16-2006, 06:15 PM
$20 a year seems very reasonable to me, and I'd gladly pay that. I'm all for a GM guild, it's hard enough to find local homebrewers as it is. (our LHBS guy only sells one pitiful book on meadbrewing *cry*) GM would be a nice hub for local meetups and such. But, of course, that would require even more time to be put into the site. (and I'd be hardly qulified to be a local mead making guild leader)

Oskaar
02-16-2006, 06:32 PM
OK Pewter and everyone else, take one giant step back.

Vicky just made a simple typo. She's not thinking of $20/month.

Once again, that's $20 per year for the subscription, not $20 per month.

Just wanted to make that clear, she's running on no sleep, too much mead and Fest-Burnout!

If you're gonna gag me you'll have to keep me in one place long enough to do so, LOL. I move around more than a honey bee in a flower shop!

Cheers,

Oskaar

Brewbear
02-17-2006, 12:59 AM
I too understood that Vicky was talking about $20/year!
In either case, I'll pay the price for my addiction, push come the shove I'll quit smoking and pay for GM :-\

Cheers,
Brewbear

webmaster
02-17-2006, 10:58 AM
Hi all,

Finally back home, and still tired as heck, but I just wanted to say sorry about the typo! I did mean $20/year, not $20/month. Heck, *I* wouldn't pay that, I can't afford it!

That being said, I am really interested in the GM Local Chapters thing. Yes, it will require more work on the site (local sub-sites and such), but I suspect that local chapters will also turn up some folks that can help a bit with the coding, submission of articles, finding ads, etc, and if the subscriptions are coming in, I'm getting some recompense for my time, and will be able to afford the bandwidth, so I'm game, if we can work it out (hows *that* for a run-on sentence?).

Now, to the question of subscriptions as the only income: Nope, I'm looking to diversify, as you said. I figure between ads, subscriptions, and if I'm lucky, 1-2 mead-related commercial websites a year, I can make a living doing this (not a lot, but I don't need to make much, just to hold up my end in the family), and so keep expanding GM. I've had several days to think and pound this thing out with Oskaar, and we think it can be done, tho it will take time. If y'all will work with me here, I think I can keep GM going.

A number of people have sent funds via Paypal and checks, and I want to say THANKS! I'm making a list, and will be creating a new level called 'patrons' that you will be elevated to. The first premium you can expect to see will be access to the new 'reviews' section. In this section will be reviews on meads, meaderies, honey and yeast. There will be a lot of detail, and links to where to buy the reviewed items. This will, with luck, be online in about 3 weeks (I'm out of town visiting family Feb. 21-Mar 1 and won't be programming much).

Let me say this: GM will NOT be going away, not if I can help it. I will go down fighting every step of the way. GM is my baby, and all y'all have shown me that friends are the greatest asset a person could have. Thanks for your show of support, both in the past and now. I'll do whatever it takes to keep GM going.

Now for the hard part: I'm going to craft the subscriptions system next. I'm leaning very much towards keeping the forums open, as that seems to be the consensus here. However, parts of the site will be going 'premium'. In order for this to be workable, I need to wrap the forum. I'll work on a layout that is easier on the eyes than the last iteration was, so those of us with old eyes (me!) can read it better. But realize that there are limits to what I can do, and I *must* keep the ads visible to draw in the advertisers.

Premium areas will be things that are coming from this point forward. The parts of the site that are currently free will stay free. But new stuff like some of the articles I have coming in from bee experts, the old American Mead Association articles, the review system (with user comments), and other *secret* toys and info will be part of the premium. Non-patrons will get a 'free' period to check it out, but will be required to subscribe after that.

What I need from y'all to make this all work:

1. Keep the ideas for other avenues of funding coming in, I'm liking what I'm hearing

2. Lets start a serious discussion of the concept of Got Mead Brewing Clubs. There are lots of homebrew clubs out there, and some do mead. But what about a *meadbrew* club? This can be a stand-alone group, or a sub-group of an existing group. Such a group would have a GM sub-site to post their local activities, their own forum area, and other group-only premiums. The group would establish a membership program that would pay a fee, part of which goes to site upkeep, part to the club for expenses. That's what I have so far, run with it and tell me what y'all think, and if it could work.

3. Articles! If we're to support GM with premiums, we have to make it worthwhile. Do you know anyone who might like having their info on GM, and sent out in the newsletters (also coming soon, as a premium)? Or do you have something to write? Get your name in print, and as GM gets solvent, we'll be able to pay for submissions.

4. Advertising - if you know a meadery, winery, brewshop, honey provider or equipment supplier that sells to
meaders, tell them about GM. I'll put up the advertising area this weekend, so they can see what the costs are. Part of my funding problem is that I spend so much time on site upkeep, I can't do the legwork to bring in the necessary advertisers, so if *you* can, I get an advertiser, lessening the burden on the GM members. I'm working on a cool gift for those who send me ads, probably a copy of Miriams' book and other cool things.

5. A recipe book - I've been toying with the idea of writing a Charlie Papazian-style mead recipe book for a while. Are y'all ok to have your recipes in a book? (a real, printed book you can get mead stains on) Full credit will be given to those who created the recipes, and it will bring funds to the site. Additional editions will be published as recipes become available, with the eventual hope that there will be a Got Mead Recipes: Melomels, Got Mead Recipes: Metheglins, Got Mead Recipes: You Put *What* in your Mead? and so on, with side notes on best yeasts, techniques, etc. Lemme know what you think.

Thats what I've come up with so far, and Greenblood, thanks for starting this thread. I owe you, and as soon as I get the dang meads bottled, you get one of each (plus some cordials as an extra kiss in thanks). Oskaar, it goes without saying, dude, you've been my best bud, putting up with my fits of pique on this thing. Bottles will wing their way to those who've done so much. You know who you are. Its not much, but there is a lot of love in those meads, and for now, at least, it will have to do.

Vicky - trying to figure out how to ship mead to Israel

Angus
02-17-2006, 11:33 AM
Welcome back Vicky,

1. Idea - The GotMead Brewing Notebook. Professionaly bound notebook consisting of 100 Mead Log sheets (to be designed), a blank index page at the front, SG/Brix/ABV tables and conversion tables in the back, Yeast ABV tolerances, etc., and the GM logo on the cover. Even possible to add cut out coupons for discounts from Meaderies and Brew Supply stores.

2. Brewing Clubs, great idea. I know there is already a group of us in the Chicago/Milwaukee area who are going to meet. Let's make it official and start recruiting.

Angus

The Honey Farmer
02-17-2006, 12:13 PM
Hey Vicky, You go girl!!

Got mead recipes: You put WHAT in your mead? I'll buy the first copy of that, so please put me down for it.

Dennis

memento
02-17-2006, 12:23 PM
The mead recipes book will be great. With my name a recipes in a published book, I would certainely be buying a couple copies. :)

I love the idea of a brewing notebook, but I wouldn't use it. I'm computer based with a powerbook in the kitchen. But I know others that would. Especially if it is useable for winemaking as well. On the other hand, I could find the tables very useful.

Mead Brewing Clubs - not enough demand in my neck of the woods. General homebrew club, yes, but they'd be focused on beer - which I don't do anymore.

Mynx
02-17-2006, 12:26 PM
LOVE the recipe book idea!

In Vancouver, there's already a mead club...it's kinda still finding it's legs, but I think I can talk to Kelly once this gets realized and work something out with her. Also, I'm more than happy to talk to the 2 (!!!) meaderies we have in BC and see if they'd be interested in advertising here.

/waiting for her credit card payment to go through...

CheshireCat
02-17-2006, 10:01 PM
The first rule of Mead Club is you don't talk about Mead Club.

You could make the GM podcast part of the premimum membership. That would be a nice extra. :)

webmaster
02-17-2006, 10:34 PM
Yep, the Podcast will be part of the Patron-level. As will (so far of the new things in my fertile brain):

- mead reviews with patron comments
- honey reviews
- meadery reviews
- celebrity articles from Giants in the Field
- the GM newsletter

...............................I've other things brewing (LOL) and will put up a full list of Benefits of Patronage as soon as I've gotten it done. The subscription button and donation button will go up this weekend.

And finally, the forums (as they are today, I make no promises on new boards) will stay FREE. You've all convinced me that that is key to the growth of Gotmead, and if I'm to be able to introduce all the new toys I've got planned, then growth needs to happen.

*But*, if you want in on the new toys........that will require a patronage. A number of you have already put in, and I really appreciate your show of faith. I won't forget that as I ramp this up.

Keep the revenue ideas coming, I'm taking notes.......

Vicky - very much relieved that it looks like the patient will live......LOL

Brewbear
02-18-2006, 01:49 AM
Hi all,
While I agree with the fund raising concept, I think that having the podcasts a Patron-level (with pay)perk and not available "internet-wide" is not a very good concept. The podcasts available thru iTunes are free and more importantly, they are a vehicle of disseminating information whilepromoting and advertizing a particular site . So far, all the podcasts I have listened to have several self promoting spots and mention articles available for sale on a web site. Another way of "spreading the word" is by posting on as many forums related to brewing as possible. So far the model has been to have the podcasts available via iTunes and linking back to the website (GM) where they are also available for download as mp3's. In this way the listeners are guided to the website and exposed to all the resources available (store, forums...etc.)
As for a book of recipes....When is it available,PLEASE!!!!

Cheers,
Brewbear

Miriam
02-18-2006, 03:36 PM
I like both the recipe book idea, and Angus's notebook idea, too. I would be happy to write up a summary of safe brewing guidelines (you may consider the entire article too long).

Vicky my sweet, don't send mead to Israel: it's illegal to ship alcohol out of the U.S., and if they catchya, you have to pay a humongous fine. Jack Keller commented on having made that mistake once; don't remember if in his blog or on another forum. I just hope someday to meet you in person and THEN you'll see what a hug you'll get. :D

Miriam

jab
02-19-2006, 02:01 AM
The podcasts available thru iTunes are free and more importantly


Hey BB, don't get too comfortable with the 'free' podcasts on iTunes. They already have the infrastructure in iTunes to charge for them. Rumor has it they are just working out the details of how the owner would get paid. That isn't to say there won't be free ones because there will be but don't be surprised when some of the best who don't have huge public backing start costing you money.

I for one don't have a problem with the podcasts being a member perk. You have to have decent content for the subscribers or they won't subscribe.

Oskaar
02-19-2006, 02:33 AM
I'm with JAB on this one.

The podcasts that Vicky will be putting up intitally are from seminars at the Meadfestival after a $35 entry fee. So the material is already presented at a cost. We also have other premium content coming down the pipe like interviews with commercial meadery owners, etc. that is well worth the price of admission.

Another thing is that Vicky has to recoup the cost of the podcast equipment she shelled out for, so I'm down for premium podcast material in the subscription area, and other content in the no pay zone!

Cheers,

Oskaar

mtnwalker
02-19-2006, 02:39 PM
Hello everyone,
I am a totally brand new member that got to this site by accident from a link on another site, and immediatelly became interested, as I am a former beekeeper and am planning to re-establish some hives this spring, as I am now retired. I also have fruit trees and have ordered a cider press. So as a total newbie, i will need a lot of eq. and supplies to even start up. Lately, been searching for sites to suply these, and most I have found were minimal offerings for mead and cider.

Now in reading these posts, an idea? If one and perhaps only one supplier or large chain were enlisted, and all members made their purchases there, they could have a veryhefty tax write off, a large increase in sales, and offer all and any specific needs for meads, same for apiaries, cider and other fruit mills etc. Perhaps a couple of moth's free trial to see what would happen to their sales growth?

The concept of sponsered local clubs, would let a lot of new people find this site, and quite sure bring a lot of new people into the very fun and injoyable hobby, and as mew members they will need equipement. a complete startup kit for example and with yours and thirs logo on items where appropriate?

Just brainstorming thoughts. Had I reached here, and immediately faced a membership charge, I would have immediately passed on, much to my loss. This seems like such a close group, that all would support the chosen advertisers, as well as spreading the word around to get people linked to meads.

Also, like the concept of members being recognized for their contributions, and with a star or something evident when they post? And like that book I intend to get, seems like some of the real pro's here, could compile a teaching series, in video, that could cheaply be put out on dvd's and sold. I would be your first customer, and when I let friends borrow it they would also become enthusiastic. This is such a phenominal hobby potential, but so totally hidden and unknown.

Thanks for being here, with so much to learn from.
John

webmaster
02-19-2006, 08:47 PM
Hi John,

Thanks for the input, every comment helps. You wouldn't have been 'faced with a membership charge' right away, though, much of the site is remaining 'open' to visitors. New things being *added* will be premium content, but what you see today is going to remain free. So, you wouldn't have *had* a fee unless you wished to access the premium content. The idea is to offer enough free content for folks that they'll feel that the very small fee ($20/year!) is worth the added info that can be gained, and to encourage them to help support the site as a whole, since without income, this whole thing can't survive. That is the purpose of taking some of the site paid, I need income to keep it going.

A teaching DVD is a *very* good idea. I hope, though, that you wouldn't share it with friends (perhaps just let them see a *little* to get their interest going so *they'll* buy one! LOL), since that would be copyrighted material that the site expects to get paid for each person that uses it, just like software. That sort of defeats the whole reason for creating a product, if you give it away to everyone once you've bought it, doesn't it? I for one would be a bit chagrined if I found out that one person bought a DVD I sold on my site to support my work, then shared it with all his buddies. That's really no different than sharing software, or copying music, and you're taking money out of the pocket of the person who worked hard to create that item. I'd have to stand fast on the one payment - one copy thing. If a brewclub bought it for their entire club, then there would be a 'club price', I think. There would be no incentive to invest the huge amount of time and money that something like that would entail unless there was some confidence level that folks would respect the right of the maker to expect payment for his/her work from the people who watched it.....

I like the supplier idea, but the truth is that folks will buy where they get prices they like, or where they're used to buying, so I don't think it would be viable, unless said vendor had *everything*, and could guarantee the lowest prices.

Members that subscribe will be recognized, tho I haven't decided how yet. That will happen when I roll out the subcription setup.

Vicky - going up to put stuff away before the ice storm, then put the 2nd coat of paint in the kids' room.....

mtnwalker
02-20-2006, 12:42 AM
Vicky, Happy painting. also re to DVD sales I would die in those fumes this time of year withoughout fresh air and too cold here for that. althought rellatevently warm.
Think of it farther and deeper. Every person I would pass it on to would perhaps become enthusiastic, subscribe to your site, become a member, and a purchaser of your new store and offerings. I won't do it without your permission, but what a great resource and advertisement it would make for this site and your new store. I personally think that with the backing of this forum in your new store concept, and with total dedication and focus on gaining new total newbies like myself, this site could be a potential blockbuster money maker. Focus on the long term, and get forum members to help. There lots of knowledge and experiance out there. You're potential, and growth is so dramatically easily seen with full growth, tis increadable for a new business. Get some knowledgeable people to help and research.

My 2.5 cents worth, whose never tasted a mead, but want to make lots and lots of different kinds of it.

my very best regards and appreciiation for this site. John