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USA AK-Mal_Owner
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 1:49 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


I'll try to be a little more articulate then. It's hard for me to do that when emotions are involved.

First, I won't apologize. I said what I wanted to say, and I don't take any of it back.

Quote:
I also find it strange that while some people don't have $5 per month or $50 per year to become a VIP, that they have a computer and pay for their ISP every month. Along with other things that TwoPop mentioned, like Starbucks or McDonalds.
This is what's stuck in my craw. With out that ISP, I can't listen to SST... it's an unfair comparison. I see this argument all over the place, not just here on SST. And as far as I am concerned it's an erroneous comparison. After all, where does it end?

You're right, to feel guilty or not is up to me. I refuse to. But the insinuation is there that I should be able to cough up $5 a month, just because I can afford something else, and that's simply not the case. Would it help that I had hoped to become a VIP, I just cannot do it right now, and now with impending health reasons, I probably won't be able to this year. Then again, things could be different in 6 months.

In my opinion, the best way to get people to sign up for VIP is to find out what would get them to do so. Me, if it was the only way to get the 64k/128k and I could have favorites.... that alone might be enough. Being able to request more often is almost enough on it's own, but the queue is usually long enough that I rarely have the need or desire to add to it.

Maybe the reason people aren't signing up for VIP is because they're still trying to pay off Christmas.


I think I have just realized something. No matter what you do, the number of free listeners will always outnumber the VIPs. And now that I've thought about it, the reason for it is pretty basic and simple. Those that do sign up for it, are the regulars we all see. They are the ones donating albums and spending time in the forums, and keeping things alive in the chat room. It's because they are the ones that are passionate about it. They are the ones that cleared their schedules for the Morricone concert. They are the ones that care. They are the ones that know the difference between all the Adiago tracks. They are the ones that have taught people like me more about soundtracks than I would have thought possible. Unfortunately there is less of people like that than there are people like me. The tone-deaf, partially dyslexic average joe who just simply wants to listen to something while they work.

Mathematically, it works out something like this:
# of Listeners > # of Registered members > # of people who infrequently participate (forums/chat) > # of people who regularly participate > # of people that are passionate enough to sign up for VIP.

I was going to ask about the conversion rate of L365 VIPs that have moved over to SST VIP status, but 1) That's not really any of my biz, and 2) Based on what I've seen, it looks like there has been a problem on L365 side in letting go.

I still think there needs to be some kind of research done to find out why people aren't signing up for VIP status. It's clear that the current list of benes isn't enough or people would be signing up in droves. Granted that has to be balanced with not alienating the existing membership (paid and unpaid).

Have some VIP-only contests with some really cool prizes.

I still think 3-4 weeks isn't enough time to gauge if something will work. Something of this magnitude needs a couple to three months to really take hold. If it's still not working at that point, then it's time to re-evaluate. Sour the free stuff, sweeten the VIP stuff.

But this is all just my opinion. You can take it or leave it for what it's worth.

-akm/tg
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 5:24 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


*does her Deanna Troi impersonation*
"I sense feelings of aggression."

I don't suppose it's any of my business, but I suggest everyone calm down a bit. Growling at each other won't help a bit.

I realize that running a radio station must be frustrating at times... but I don't think that the vast majority of SST registered users cares one little bit about it.

First of all, I suspect that plenty of the registrations are "dead". I've no way of knowing that for sure (and I don't know if you do), but since registering is a very simple thing to do, I'd say that there were lots of people who stumbled onto this site, signed on, poked around for a bit, requested a track or two and then went away and never came back.

Then there are the ones who probably never once looked at the forums or anything other than the queue or the request page. You won't get them to pay as much as a single dollar... ever. I'm willing to stake my (non-existent) fortune on that.
As I said, registration is simple, for free and gives you the ability to request. Maybe not very often, but the possibility is there. Just listening to the music is fun enough by itself, so I suspect that a great many listeners don't even load the website while they're listening.
So, I repeat, they don't know about your difficulties, and they don't care.
Take away their ability to request or even to listen to the stream and most of them will be annoyed for a day and then shrug and move on to something else. Maybe a few will sign on on a more permanent basis, but I'm sure it won't be more than a handful.

This is a result of being offered something for free for any length of time.
People start to feel a sense of entitlement to that service, no matter how ridiculous an assumption that is, once you think about it. Many will even feel slightly offended.
It's the "They managed it for free until now, they should be able to do that indefinitely, so now they want to get rich"-Syndrome. (Gotta think of a catchier title... for now I'll refer to it as "The Syndrome" Wink )

The Syndrome also applies to people who are active in the SST community... maybe even more so. They've been around for (maybe) years, done posts in the forums, participated in the chat, and sent in a CD or donated $10. Once. Or maybe twice.
In their view, they're already contributing. Not their money, perhaps, but their time and effort... shouldn't that be enough???
More of them would sign on if forced to, but not without lots of various expressions of pain, the rest would leave in an outrage. Unhappily, in most cases, but leave.

Then there are the people who won't pay for anything until they absolutely have to. Period.

By the way, I think the "Starbucks Argument" is totally valid. It might be overused, but still. I don't know a thing about the financial difficulties of other SST members, but I seriously doubt that there is a single one who can't spare $5 a month.
Sorry, but I simply don't believe it.
I'm not saying that there isn't something else one can spend those $5 on instead of SST, but there can always be something else.
I'm not denying that there are plenty of people who don't have $5 left in their wallets at the end of the month, but (and I'm afraid this may sound elitist) I consider it highly unlikely that a very great number of SST'ers are quite this hard-pressed financially.

I would be lying if I said I'm deliriously happy about paying for a VIP membership or donating something once in a while. Like most people, I'd prefer for everything to be free, and more of it too, if you please.
Sorry folks, but unfortunately this is real life.
Whenever I start thinking about all the other things I could have spent my money on, instead of SST, I try to remember BuyerQueen rousting JERIC out of bed at some unmentionable time on a Saturday or Sunday morning, because people were whining about problems with the music stream.





....and then there are people who think they know it all and write overly long forum posts in bad English... Wink
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:50 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


Alien_Avatar- you just wrote what I was going to write, only you posted it first. Well done. Smile

Your english is not bad, not even slightly tarnished. I didn't once have to use a dictionary, or translator program, when reading your post. Wink
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 12:09 am   Post subject: Reply with quote


alien_avatar, I too have to say well done and well spoken.

*applauds*
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 1:37 am   Post subject: Reply with quote


Well the posts are coming fast and furious and I did not have a chance to respond right after BQ's post like I wanted to so lets see if I can catch up. Warning ahead of time, this is probably going to be a pretty long post and I could end up rambling a bit or straying a bit from the main subject so I apologize ahead of time.

BuyerQueen wrote:
if JERIC decides to make VIP's a separate color in the chat and that hurts your feelings, that is very sad to me.


I think that GD made an excellent point regarding this situation in a different thread:

GenericDragon wrote:
Instead of noting in chat who is a VIP, note it in the forums. Maybe an icon, star, or some other significant mark next to the member nickname can let people know that this member is a VIP and supports SST. Something like what is already there for Admins, Moderators, and Ambassadors.


Seems like this would be ideal and would not create as much controversy if something was implemented in chat.

BuyerQueen wrote:
The donation meter went back up because we had less than 50 people sign up for VIP. In a community with over 16,500 registered users, that almost makes me cry. I say "almost" because I'm a realist and don't expect people to do much.


I think it is great that the donation meter went back up. I think it allows people to simply donate and have it be front of mind instead of back of mind when it went away. I think that VIP membership will pick up, but you have to give it more time. Like several have said there are several who are still in the Live365 VIP and I am sure many of those will convert over to the new VIP.

molossus wrote:
I think that sometimes it just takes a little time and communication to get people involved in new ideas. I completely trust SST Crew and I'm sure they can count on SSTers in nearly every undertaking. Let me remind again that a lot has been done in 2005 and 2006 and I have an impression that SSTers have always been quite helpful.


I think this is an excellent point. Communication is key in all aspects of life and I think communication on the internet is even more important. SST has changed a ton in the couple of years I have been here and continues to improve for the better. I think the support of SSTers has continually been there, but sometimes just a bit slower to adapt to changes. I think it is great that BQ brought this subject up so that we can all have a better understanding of their side of the story. I also agree that SSTers have been quite helpful and one major example that comes to mind is when JERIC was looking to upgrade equipment about a year ago one person donated $1,000 and another several hundred. Now to me that is an amazing show of support and this was a need that was communicated and SSTers responded.

BuyerQueen wrote:
I get very frustrated when I see how many people LOVE everything about the station, but don't support it financially. I cannot think of one business that has operated for 5 years without making a profit. If someone can give me an example, I would love to have it so I don't feel so alone.


I can understand the frustration here. It would seem that with a community this large that there would be more people who would support SST. But I think alien_avatar's post best explains this situation. Some are dedicated and support SST, others support it when they can, some simply just take advantage of the free things in life, some are not aware, some simply don't care etc.

My second point regarding this post is without any knowledge of the financials behind SST so I may be off base but this is my opinion. BQ mentioned that “We are barely breaking even” and I must agree it is not fair given that so many enjoy this site (which is also a point made by BQ and hopefully a situation that improves due to the awareness caused by this thread), but I think it should be pointed out that you are getting a free soundtrack collection. If you calculate the money saved by not having to buy soundtracks I am sure that would equate to a fairly hefty amount.

AK-Mal_Owner wrote:
Honestly, I am insulted. To everyone who has used the "well, you can afford $5 at Starbucks each month, but not for SST" argument. Sit on it. I mean that in the nicest way possible. I understand the intent, but it makes me feel like crap when I hear it. That $5 is the lunch my daughter and I have each month. I'm getting tired of that argument, and it doesn't wash with me anyways. It's a stupid argument. It makes it sound like EVERYONE is spending all this money at Starbucks, when none of you know jack about my situation or anyone else's.


Now I think AK made a good point in that everyone’s situation is different and while I understand AK is a passionate and emotional guy I think your point could have been handle with a lot more tact. Obviously each individual needs to make the best decision for their situation on how they spend their money, but I find it hard to believe that $5 couldn’t be saved by not purchasing something. So, in this instance I completely agree with alien_avatar once again.

JERIC wrote:
…continue to work hard as we have to past 5 1/2 years to find a fair balance between VIP and non-VIP features.


I think this is definitely one of the hardest things that SST is faced with on a day to day basis. Finding the balance is tough and while I have my opinions on the situation, I think SST does its best to be fair. It is this dedication that makes SST such a wonderful place.

AK-Mal_Owner wrote:
I still think there needs to be some kind of research done to find out why people aren't signing up for VIP status. It's clear that the current list of benes isn't enough or people would be signing up in droves. Granted that has to be balanced with not alienating the existing membership (paid and unpaid).


I think this is an excellent point and especially since my profession is market research LOL. I think it is important to get this kind of feedback because then it will really help make future decisions. I am sure that JERIC and SST will take this under consideration.

Sorry for such a long post and hopefully most of it makes sense.

In closing, I think there has been a lot of great discussion and hopefully it all leads to some understanding and change for the best. SST continues to improve due to many people including JERIC, BQ, admins, mods, VIPs as well as several SSTers that are part of the community. I think many times we take for granted how wonderful this site really is and it is discussions like these that really help put things in perspective.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 3:11 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


Is there any particular reason why SST remains reliant on subscriptions and donations only?

Is it feasible to have a non-VIP stream sponsered by advertisers, and a VIP stream paid for by subscriptions. A bit like free-to-air TV and Pay TV.

I'd be happy to pay double my annual fee for a VIP-only stream. Hopefully, if more members paid for VIP status, this cost would come down.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 3:47 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


Nate - Amen!

This has already been said by several people, and I'm sure I've it somewhere in a forum, but I just want to repeat, I too am extremely greatful for all the hard work that goes into this site. I am proud to be a VIP a member, and I will continue to support SST through this system. This is truly the best website on the internet. Congrats to Jeric and all the admins for such a remarkable website and station!

-LOTRKing
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 9:11 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


alien_avatar wrote:
First of all, I suspect that plenty of the registrations are "dead".

Then there are the ones who probably never once looked at the forums or anything other than the queue or the request page.

This is a result of being offered something for free for any length of time.
People start to feel a sense of entitlement to that service, no matter how ridiculous an assumption that is, once you think about it.


I looked at the Rankings page and noticed that of the 16,900 members, approx. 15,600 have never posted in the Forums. That's 92%! If BQ is correct, and only 10% of the remainder pay or donate, that's a lot of people to carry. It tallies with my guesstimate that say 1,500-2,000 members are active members, that is they do something (request, chat or post) at least once a month on average.

I paid for SST VIP membership because I want to hear new music, so I like to request my choices rather than wait for them to appear in the playlist queue. I feel for those who, more often than not, are faced with a 2-3 hour queue and a 30 minute wait to request. That can mean a long time sitting at or near a computer.

I think it may be that time, or lack of it, is what prevents many from paying for membership. Working full-time I can only visit the site 2 or 3 times a week, and I can't always sit at my computer waiting to listen to a few tracks. I don't have the download limit to stream SST like a radio. So some people may not want to pay for their own (self-imposed) limited access to SST's features. I imagine Pay TV must struggle for the same reasons. I wouldn't pay the monthly subscription for a premium Movie Channel because I simply do not have the time to watch enough movies to justify the cost.

I think in the long run, when there is a real consolidation of technology (computer, radio, hi-fi & TV), that a internet radio station may attract more paying members, especially if the price of broadband and unlimited download volume makes listening to SST as easy as turning on the radio at home to listen to an FM station.

I can understand people who feel entitled to a free service (after all, most of us have enjoyed free radio and TV all our lives), and this extends to the internet. Such is the influence of the World Wide Web that many cannot remember a time without it, and so we take for granted media and entertainment that are free, but once never existed. SST provides a service that would otherwise never be available and I am happy to pay for that privilege. If I woke up tomorrow and SST had gone, I would survive. I would keep reading reviews and buying CDs, but goodness knows my life would be poorer without it.

I like to envisage a future when listening to the SST stream will be as easy as downloading a favorite TV show or movie. Times are changing, techonology is improving, and I hope SST hangs in there.

It may take a decade for things to improve, but as I mentioned in an earlier post, I have no problem with SST bringing in advertisers now if it helps pay for the running of the website. I just hope it will be possible for VIP's to bypass this for a price!
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 11:15 am   Post subject: Reply with quote


Bypassing ads will be very hard to do since it would create 2 different channels which would double the load. We are still weighing our options but if we do decide to do some stream ads I promise they will be tasteful and infrequent.

My ultimate goal is to get stream advertising revenue from airing movie trailers. That's a big project we're going to work on this year.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 11:57 am   Post subject: Reply with quote


I'd so very much prefer movie trailers to regular advertising!!!!
So lots of success with your big project!
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 12:55 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


JERIC wrote:
My ultimate goal is to get stream advertising revenue from airing movie trailers. That's a big project we're going to work on this year.


Sounds excellent.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:55 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


alien_avatar wrote:
First of all, I suspect that plenty of the registrations are "dead".


My previous idea has evolved. Why not charge a once-in-a-lifetime registration fee for everyone, on the order of $1 or $2? Yes, that means people who have been carrying on for free now have to pay, but I believe a fee like that is the definition of nominal. That would mean a few dollars a day from new people. Who knows? It may encourage people to participate more. And if it's not free from the beginning, the sense of entitlement may be diminished.

I say, let the dead bury the dead. Or something like that. Maybe send a warning to last known address for people who haven't signed on since registering (if that can be seen) and give them a grace period to confirm their existence and registration for free. Those that don't can be deleted, with the option always open to re-register, but not for free.

As for that movie trailer thing, that would definitley be more interesting than ads for toe fungus cream. But they wouldn't be part of the audio stream, would they? That beggars belief. Maybe somewhere else on the site. I suppose we can cross that bridge when we come to it.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 8:03 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


LadyInque wrote:
alien_avatar wrote:
First of all, I suspect that plenty of the registrations are "dead".

I say, let the dead bury the dead. Or something like that. Maybe send a warning to last known address for people who haven't signed on since registering (if that can be seen) and give them a grace period to confirm their existence and registration for free. Those that don't can be deleted, with the option always open to re-register, but not for free.


maybe send an email to confirm registration? automatically delete emails that bounce and give a grace period of say 6 months?
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 2:46 am   Post subject: Reply with quote


LadyInque wrote:
Why not charge a once-in-a-lifetime registration fee for everyone, on the order of $1 or $2?


It is worth concidering for sure, but I expect that it sounds good only in theory.
In fact it would be rather another barrier preventing people from becoming SST members.

For example I think I wouldn't be here if such rule was implemented two years ago.


BTW: Some way of verification of "dead" SST members is a good idea. But my opinion is that it's not a good way of gaining money for the site.
It won't be big money, I suppose, and - for me - there is always some risk of "damage" of current SST image in listener's eyes as effect of such policy.

It all depends on what we want to achieve. Stay friendly for all users giving them a lot of SST free, or turn into more commercial way of running the site. Or stay a place for all or become more "elite" community.

*Edited to correct way of qouting*
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 9:30 am   Post subject: Reply with quote


Wow, I'm gone for a few days and everyone goes off on a rant.

Well, to weigh in...

I confess I have been one of those who love the site, enjoy listening and participating in the forums (and even winning a contest), but have yet to contribute financially. Embarassed

I guess my reasons have been twofold:
1) I do have a family and contributing to an internet radio site to which the rest of my family does not listen has been a low priority compared to groceries and diapers, and yes, even the cup of joe I had this morning. Sad
2) Like AKM said, there is so much to love about the site without becoming a VIP, that the incentives offered for VIPs just have not been important enough to me. Rolling Eyes

And since I've been enjoying everything here for free, I've felt I have little right to complain about anything. So I don't.

Having said all that... I've recently and unexpectedly won an Amazon gift certificate from a random drawing, so I'll be sending along my VIP dues! Cool Not so much for the benefits, but to show my support for this great site. I think with time, others will do the same.

Great work, and keep it up!
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