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Rise Forums is Now 100% Free to Use

Discussion in 'Community Announcements' started by Kevin Muldoon, Sep 3, 2015.

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  1. Ever since Rise Forums was launched, I have tried to take steps that I believe is best for the community. Sometimes things work out great. Other times they do not.

    It is important to recognise what is working and what is not and take steps to improve the forum.

    I discussed a lot of these issues a few months ago with the Rise Forums moderators @Brian Jackson , @Kris Hoja , and @Rhys Wynne. They all had some great suggestions for the forum growing forward. One thing we all agreed upon was that the premium membership was kind of doing more harm than good. It was hurting the growth of the forum because new members could not do certain things, but there was not enough incentive to encourage everyone to upgrade.

    One incentive for members to upgrade was so that they could post in the Rise Forums marketplace, however it never really worked as well as it should have. Recently, a member who had not upgraded their membership posted a website for sale. Rather than delete the thread as spam, I moved it to the marketplace as I knew some members would be interested in the website that was being sold. It was a reminder of how useful the marketplace could be if we encouraged more people to post there.

    Unfortunately, I procrastinated for some time and got caught up with work and did not make any changes.

    Today, I finally got round to doing what had to be done. I removed the premium membership upgrade option.

    I still believe that the premium membership is a good solution for the forum once it has been established. However, we need to recognise that the forum has not reached the right level for it yet as we do not have a large enough user base.

    We are slowly approaching 1,000 registered members, however on most days only 15 to 25 members login to the forum. When we reach a point where there are dozens of members online at any time and thousands logging in every day, we can review how the forum is supported and perhaps reintroduce the premium membership option.

    Perhaps the forum can be supported with ads, perhaps with membership upgrades, or perhaps a combination of the two. It is not something I am worrying about just now. The main goal should be growth, not income.

    That is why the premium membership option has been removed.

    What has Changed?

    If you were an active premium member, your account has been changed to registered member status.

    All registered members now enjoy the same privileges that premium members did.
    One thing that is not available now is the private messaging system.

    One of the benefits of only offering private messaging to upgraded members in the past is that it almost eliminated private messaging spam. If Rise Forums allowed all registered members to send private messages, there is an extremely high risk of people using it to spam others and try and con others through deception.

    Disabling the private messaging system altogether is, in my opinion, the best solution, as it means that no one sends sensitive information through the forum. It also means that members are not at risk of being spammed or conned.

    If you want members to be able to contact you through the forum, please link to a contact page or website in your forum signature. For example, link to your personal blog or your Twitter account.

    Moving Forward

    The marketplace could be a good way to encourage others to sign up.

    We have to remember that marketplaces also attract people who want to promote their services and not participate in the community. Some of the people who do not participate in the forum may present good offers to Rise Forums members so they may still provide value to the community. Others are simply here to get a free advertisement and leave. That is not what we want. If people are posting offers, they have a duty to interact with members and respond to queries.

    These changes will undoubtedly attract more spammers. This is something we will pay close attention to. Obvious spam will be deleted and the members posting the spam will be banned indefinitely.

    Whilst it isn't possible to protect members 100% of the time, I do feel we have a duty to protect members wherever we can. Therefore, if someone posts an advertisement or offer and it looks fishy or poor value, it will be deleted.

    We will see how things change and make any changes necessary to ensure Rise Forums moves forward in the right direction. That is all we can do as we are not sure what problems and situations will arise in the future.

    If you have any questions about any of this, please let us know. Please also take the time to give your view on this announcement :)

    Kevin
     
    Raspal likes this.
  2. Sounds well thought out Kevin. I'm all for freemium models, they're good they're great. I'm sure with your continued efforts with Rise that you'll have an ever better foundation to add a premium level on top of, good stuff. Keep up the good work and good thinking :)
     
  3. Thanks for the support Adam. I'm sure the new setup will help the forum grow quicker.
     
  4. I think it's great, too! :) I hope it works out well and does spur more growth. Do you have other ideas to get more members/activity?
     
  5. Nice, now I can go ahead and spam all I want! :D

    On a serious note, perhaps you could introduce something similar to reddit gold? While it could certainly be used for the various premium-level options that currently exist, it could possibly be used in the marketplace as well ("Looking for a 500 word blog post on topic X. Will pay 3 gold.")..obviously all sorts of logistics would need to be worked out - namely, confirming when a transaction is complete - but it could be one way for members to support the forum. Maybe 1 gold = $10, and you take a a transaction fee of 10% for each new gold purchased.
     
  6. Thanks Heather. I want the emphasis to be on quality members coming here, not quantity. I therefore feel that one of the best ways to attract members is to continue to give good support and help others wherever we can.

    I do believe the marketplace could help spur growth too.

    Let the spamming commence haha

    I do like the idea of rewarding those who contribute to the forum. I like the idea of members submitting good content and being rewarded for it, though it could be a pain to administrate. Plus it is still kind of the same system as before i.e. paying or paying something in order to post in the marketplace.

    For the time being, I think it will be good to see how the marketplace and forum develops if everything is free.

    As for rewarding members, I like the idea of encouraging companies to offer discounts and freebies to Rise Forums members. They get exposure of their product and members get something in return.
     
  7. As I know you know, I totally agree... quality over quantity! I just want to get more of those quality members in here so your forum can grow! Hopefully it can still keep some of the close-knit community vibe as well, though. I just shared about the forums in a group I'm in. We can all try to share about it when appropriate...

    If you ever decide to advertise it on Facebook, for example, you can emphasize the great benefits of community and real people, real support, not being a number, etc. and not emphasize getting to promote your stuff... yes, that's nice, but as we know it's not what makes this forum so good.

    Have you considered FB ads? (I'm guessing no, given your feelings about FB these days. :) )
     
  8. You could do facebook ads or you could dig a hole in the ground and pour some money into it. Same result
     
  9. Thanks Heather.

    Adam is right. Facebook Ads are very expensive and give a really poor return for money. I am unlikely to ever use them again.
     
  10. I do think some people have decent to good results with FB ads actually. But I'm not sure your target market hangs out on FB. On the other hand, I'm here, and I am on FB a lot, too.
     
  11. Also, if it were me, I would try it but not spend much on it... just try to be strategic and see what happens.

    But for that matter, what about Twitter ads?

    Or you, Kevin, doing guest posting and trying to get to be a guest on some business/blogging/related podcasts?
     
  12. Twitter Ads are very expensive. For the money I would have to spend on advertising on Facebook and Twitter, I would be better off hiring writers to write guest posts etc. But to be honest, I'm not looking to invest a huge amount of money. It would be silly of me to throw thousands at advertising when the forums are not making any forum.

    I'm training every single day of the week so my time is limited, so I cannot spend time writing content myself.
     
  13. i like the status premiem, but i also support free stuff. lol
    i think this is all togather a great move.
     
    Kevin Muldoon likes this.
  14. I'd never dream of you spending thousands either. I was envisioning trying a small amount of money just to see. But that's cool if you think it's not worth it.

    However, I still like my idea of you trying to become a podcast guest... That could some great exposure for your blog and the forums, AND would only require maybe an hour or hour and a half of your time.
     
  15. Not true at all. There's a reason why Facebook is selling at $88+/share today (up from $28 some time ago) because it is delivering the commercial value that people needed. Personally I spend more than $2,000/mo on Facebook (averaging 300 - 500 ad set in 8 - 10 campaigns) and bring back a lot more in return (except for one very bad month which I lost some money, the ROI is always >100%). In fact, I couldn't think of any other better platforms to spend that money.

    The key to Facebook success, after almost 12 months of testing, is within the audience. You need to understand where your prospects are - locations, interests, gender, age range, education level, and more; and what do your targeted audience need (value propositions); and strategies in drawing their eyeballs. It requires a lot of testing and marketing thinking - but it's always worth it from my experience.

    @Kevin Muldoon I think going free is necessary for Rise at this moment but what's more important is that you (as the owner) need to give a reason for the people to sign up and come back. I thought about this a little (asking myself "what would I do if I'm in Kevin's show) but can't get much.
     
    Heather and Kevin Muldoon like this.
  16. Thanks for this change, Kevin. I agree, it'd be better to have the premium option once there are lots more forum members.

    BTW, clicking the link to change the sig., I get an error:

    Rise Forums - Webmaster Forum, Internet Marketing, WordPress - Error
    You do not have permission to view this page or perform this action.
     
  17. Thanks for pointing that out Raspal. I hadn't updated the permissions. Should be ok now :)
     
    Raspal likes this.
  18. Strangely, it's still the same error at my end.

    Wonder, if it's due to cookies or something else on my end.
     
  19. Sorry about that Raspal. There was one setting I hadn't changed and it was stopping the page from being displayed. I have just tested it with a test account and it appears to be working fine now (but let me know if there are any problems).
     
    Raspal likes this.
  20. It worked this time. Will add a nice sig. soon. :D
     
    Kevin Muldoon likes this.
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