Piano World Home Page
Posted By: MacMacMac Forum withdrawal symptoms - 03/13/18 07:32 PM
The forum was down for quite some time earlier today.

Oh, the pain! The withdrawals! frown

Thank goodness it's back up again. smile

(But it seems my Mac avatar has gone missing.)
Posted By: gwing Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 03/13/18 09:01 PM
I think I only tried to log in a dozen or so times while it was down. Maybe two :-)
Posted By: Marko in Boston Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 03/13/18 09:33 PM
I was so frustrated and bored I actually practiced! grin
Posted By: michaelvi Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 03/13/18 10:46 PM
Congratulations Frank with updated forum engine and/or new design elements smile!
Posted By: Rob Mullins Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 03/14/18 12:54 AM
That's hilarious!
Posted By: Kawai James Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 03/14/18 12:57 AM
+1!

Here's the changelog:

https://www.ubbwiki.com/wiki/view/112/ubb-threads-v7-6-1-changelog.html

Cheers,
James
x
Posted By: Doug M. Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 03/14/18 08:02 AM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
The forum was down for quite some time earlier today.

Oh, the pain! The withdrawals! frown

Thank goodness it's back up again. smile

(But it seems my Mac avatar has gone missing.)


You've put on the last suit you'll ever wear.
Now you're simply...M.

[Linked Image]
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 03:04 PM
For those who haven't seen the notice about this, there are some changes coming...
Posted By: Gombessa Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 03:25 PM
I was wondering when the news was going to hit the DP forum.

This change likely won't affect my own use of the forums, or other frequent posters'. But I'm afraid it's going to have a detrimental impact on new users. Who's going to shell out $$ to join a forum they haven't had a chance to develop a vested interest in? The random newbies who pop in with questions will all but disappear, and with them the "hook" of these new users becoming returning regulars. And I bet site activity will drop significantly too (fewer new members, not every regular will opt to pay). The pessimistic view is that this will be putting the site on life support and be detrimental to the long term viability of the board.

Personally, I think Frank should consider a 20-50 post threshold before participation payment is required. Or maybe have annual "pledge drives" events as opposed to a strict subscription model.
Posted By: CyberGene Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 03:34 PM
I'm kind of glad this will happen. And I don't intend on paying the subscription which I hope will prevent me from posting and ultimately lead to overcoming the withdrawal syndrome and find some other way of spending my time, such as... surprise, surprise... playing the piano! I think I waste a lot of time here and it's turning into a dependency already and I'm already stuck, I don't have a lot to say already, to help, or even to learn. I guess it would be better if I just took a rest and so that's a perfect opportunity smile
Posted By: newer player Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 03:42 PM
Agreed
Posted By: David B Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 03:50 PM
I think Frank is of traditional retirement age and if he's just looking for a boost in his financial subsidy before he dies, then subscriptions will probably help in the short-term. However, if he wants to keep PW going strong for the next generation, then I would imagine subscriptions will ensure that doesn't happen.

God Bless,
David


Posted By: Gombessa Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 04:32 PM
Wow, you don't pull any punches, do you David? laugh
Posted By: EssBrace Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 04:36 PM
I'm unimpressed by this change.

And it was a really terrible, very low-profile way of announcing it too. Sneaky one might almost say.

I've thought about it and frankly, I think PianoWorld should be paying me. When I think about the amount of time I've spent here in the past, passing on information about the pianos I've owned and my experience of a (depressingly) vast number of digital pianos in order to try and benefit other users of this website, I think PW owes me, not the other way around!

I will have to think long and hard about whether I will stick around. Now that I have a decent acoustic piano my interest in digitals has significantly declined anyway.

Will non-paying users still be able to 'private message' one another I wonder?
Posted By: peterws Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 04:48 PM
Hmmm . . .I've been on this forum some time; it's been a lot of fun and thanks to you lot, cost me a lot o' cash. Having said that, I don't recall taking anyone's advice (who'd actually recommend either the DGX600 series, or the FP50? But it got me into playing some serious music (ABF) which I'd ha never touched on otherwise.
Thank you, all for the music!
Now, I've been around the internet (twice) and I think I can live without it. Maybe more and more folk will realise that could be a blessing . . . . .things are changing fast, guys! This forum will too.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 04:52 PM
I will gladly fork over $29 a year for this. If that's what it takes to keep it running I'm fine with that. It's chump change.

@CG: I can understand that your potential exit is a way to overcome PW addiction.
But I wish you'd find another way. Yours in the one addiction to which I have no objection.

@Gombessa: You bring up a good point about a new user's reluctance to pay.
I originally came here just to ask some questions. I didn't expect to stay for a decade, so a paywall would have deterred me.
There ought to be a free period (free posts for the first month or something similar).

@EssBrace: I don't see any rationale for PW paying you ... or me or anyone else.
The site costs money to operate. And you have to pay to play. Simple commerce.

Web ad revenue is a problem for many web sites. My wife manages one, and it has been teetering on the brink on and off for a decade.
Those web ads don't bring in much ... and the loss of a sponsor and the subsequent search for a replacement is nerve wracking.

I wonder how much more income Frank needs to support this site?

I looked at the all-time top 1000 posters ... which I "presume" will include people who might be most willing to stay and pay.
I removed those who have not posted in the past 90 days.
I don't have the numbers on hand right now, but it was somewhere around 300 people.
Perhaps a dozen of those are already paid subscribers ... so no new revenue from them.

But of the rest ... if we all put up $3/month at the "bronze" level that would bring in close to $900/month. Or at $29/year, around $700 a month.
If some members opted for one of the higher levels, those figures could double.

But how much is enough?
Posted By: Gombessa Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 05:00 PM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac

I looked at the all-time top 1000 posters ... which I "presume" will include people who might be most willing to stay and pay.
I removed those who have not posted in the past 90 days.
I don't have the numbers on hand right now, but it was somewhere around 300 people.
Perhaps a dozen of those are already paid subscribers ... so no new revenue from them.

But of the rest ... if we all put up $3/month at the "bronze" level that would bring in close to $900/month. Or at $29/year, around $700 a month.
If some members opted for one of the higher levels, those figures could double.


Mac, I was hoping you'd pull out some membership analytics. I earlier spitballed a number of 500 paying "regulars" out of thin air, which came out to around $15k/year for bronze. From Frank's post, it costs $10k/year to operate PW, so this is roughly the number he would need to cover the cost and them some. Add to that continued ad revenue, potential impact from reduced participation, etc., and it's pretty hard to extrapolate any more.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 05:20 PM
It's too bad the stats are so limiting.

We know member names, date joined, and date "last seen" (whatever that means).
We also have every post a user has made (including date and time).
But we don't know how many posts a user reads. Lurking is invisible, even for logged in members.

I guess we'll find out whether this new model works ... when it happens.

But when Frank lowers the race flag I'll be there with my credit card.
Posted By: R111 Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 05:44 PM
I can understand wanting to make money off a site, but that can often become the kiss of death if paywalls are implemented.

Maybe paying for extras like an avatar or unlimited posting would be a good compromise. The newbies and cheapskates could be limited to a post a day or maybe some character limit.
Posted By: spanishbuddha Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 06:26 PM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac

@EssBrace: I don't see any rationale for PW paying you ... or me or anyone else.

On the forums, we use our experience, knowledge, skill to act as the authors of the information provided.
Posted By: EssBrace Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 06:39 PM
Originally Posted by spanishbuddha
Originally Posted by MacMacMac

@EssBrace: I don't see any rationale for PW paying you ... or me or anyone else.

On the forums, we use our experience, knowledge, skill to act as the authors of the information provided.


Exactly. And without information (from the contributors), there is no reason to visit. And therefore no reason for the forum in the first place. The contributions from forum members are the lifeblood of any forum. And now those same contributors are being forced to pay if they wish to contribute to the entity known as 'PianoWorld', the entity that would not exist without those same contributions. Seems wrong to me.

My post was meant to be rather tongue-in-cheek but I stand by the sentiments I expressed.
Posted By: thickfingers Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 06:53 PM
$30 is too much to be fully forgettable, doesn't matter how many instalments you break it down into. Will deter a shedload of people who initially register to get a single answer, but (like me) get to like it and stay.
$10, one payment yearly. Dispensible, if you drift away, et:c.
Posted By: ando Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 07:29 PM
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Wow, you don't pull any punches, do you David? laugh

It might be direct, but I think David is right on the money. And if this is going to be the last weeks of being able to speak without having to pay for it - we may as well shoot from the hip.

My take: this forum is going to disappear within 12-24 months. As much as it has an incredible legacy of discussion and information, I think David is right, Frank is getting on and possibly losing his enthusiasm for this place. It's draining to a guy who is well past retirement age to keep it going. He's throwing a hail Mary at it by trying the paid-subscription model. If it happened to pay for itself with the money going towards paying people to maintain the site, all good and well, but I think his days of putting in uncountable hours of unpaid work into the site are coming to an end.

The bad news is that the world largely hates paying for discussion platforms when they have been spoiled for so many years with "free" services. Of course, in reality, Facebook, Youtube, Reddit, etc, etc. are generating huge revenue from its users through advertising, but most people see that as something they can take or leave and the service itself is principally free. (a myth, in truth, but we're talking about perception here).

Although I think the Pianoworld demographic is a little different in terms of financial well-being, I still think that resistance to paying money for a forum/social media is going to kill this place. Also, being a US based site, it will be more affordable in the local currency than foreign currencies. For me, $30US does not convert very kindly in Australian dollars. The AUD is trading poorly against the USD, plus there would be currency conversion costs which make it even less expensive. PayPal is famous for choosing exorbitant conversion rates for foreign currency transactions. Banks too, for that matter. I can see that this will easily push to $50AUD+ for me. I don't know that I can justify it given how little I post these days.

I'm like CyberGene really. I have enjoyed my time here a lot, but I really should just play more piano rather than pay for being able to talk about it. I am also very aware of how addictive forum checking is - it's a dopamine-enslavement that is difficult to disengage from. This might be just what some of us need...
Posted By: David B Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 08:08 PM
I think Frank needs a good PR person.

I would feel better about donating to a pledge drive to raise funds rather than a mandatory subscription. Well advertised and thought out pledge drives e.g., Wikipedia, would probably raise more money for the forum and not jeopardize its future like mandatory subscriptions would.

I'm ready to voluntarily support a pledge drive to keep this going.

God Bless,
David
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 08:11 PM
Originally Posted by David B
Well advertised and thought out pledge drives e.g., Wikipedia, would probably raise more money for the forum and not jeopardize its future like mandatory subscriptions would.

+1!!!! thumb
Posted By: ˆTomLCˆ Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 08:14 PM
TS, With 5000 post a year your donation will need to be larger than Platinum. wow
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 08:18 PM
Originally Posted by TomLC
TS, With 5000 post a year your donation will need to be larger than Platinum. wow

If this forum survives the present crisis, I'll upgrade to Unobtanium just to get the cool black flair.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 08:35 PM
This makes it sound as though you were an author expecting to be paid. Am I understanding correctly?
Originally Posted by spanishbuddha
On the forums, we use our experience, knowledge, skill to act as the authors of the information provided.
Authors publish for a contracted fee. Have you contracted with Frank to be paid? If not then this expectation is just talk.

Also ... I find it insulting that anyone here claims to know that "it's draining to a guy who is well past retirement age to keep it going".
That might be true. Or not.
But given absolutely NO facts on the subject I'd be loathe to make such a claim.

As for the economics ... Frank posted some information about the cost of running this board ... but we have no information about income.
Any business must have income in excess of expenses, so we don't know whether there exists a shortfall.
The coming subscription model implies that income is inadequate, without any numbers given.
So all we can do is have FAITH that it is so ... and throw down $29 a year. I think it's well worth it.

But ... I guess I'll have to sign up for a gold level membership to make up for the cheapskates.
And hope that TS (with his platinum badge) doesn't turn his nose up at me. smile
BTW, bravo Tyrone.
Posted By: Hecarim Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 08:54 PM
It looks there some things to try and do before going the self-destruction way. The issue seems to be that adrevs aren't high enough, which is fair. The costs seem to be fairly limited, about 10k.

But let's look at what other solutions there could be: are PW ad spaces optimised? Doesn't look like it. Ads are quite lame and the "advertise with us" page isn't up to par. I'd try the media agency way, the space in here is pretty juicy. Why do I see an ad around a damp chaser instead of an N1X ad with a 10% discount? I'm a product guy, hence all but an ad expert, but it seems to me there are pretty basic tools that can be used to improve monetisation right away. How much of am improvement I don't know, but it's a better route than self destruction.

The host's last resort before subscriptions is another plea for help - the Nth sticky thread will do nothing. The host could look at one of the many crowdunding platforms, Patreon even. That's better than a sticky topic.

Awareness then - I didn't even know there were donation tiers. Are there any rewards? Look at the funnel - how do you get more people in? Is the pianoworld.com even useful or is it more of a boomerang? So many layers of the user journey you could look at monetising indirectly... what about a YT channel for recitals and PW-specific performances or competitions?

2016 - 2017 had 5m UUs with 20m PV, there are people who'd sell a kidney for those numbers. In my mind it's all about getting the right expertise to milk those 5m and a subscription model is around the bottom 2 I'd look at, the only worse one being threats.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 08:59 PM
Originally Posted by Hecarim
The host could look at one of the many crowdunding platforms, Patreon even. That's better than a sticky topic.

Patreon is a good idea. I support a pianist on Patreon. I think that's a good platform. But it takes management. The pianist I support on Patreon is posting there every few days like social media, including videos.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 09:15 PM
+1 to Hecarim for some positive suggestions.
I would only add ... Don't let those ideas die here in an obscure thread. Instead, send that directly to Frank.
Posted By: johnstaf Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 09:17 PM
+1. I think Gearslutz is a great example of how advertising can work on a forum.
Posted By: Peddler100 Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 09:44 PM
I am totally blanking on where to go to become a subscribing member. At the main site there is a place to make a donation but it doesn't seem to attach to your user ID. It also doesn't show the different levels. Can someone post a link?

Edit. I found it never mind.

Thanks.
Posted By: ˆTomLCˆ Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 09:49 PM
Click on your name in the upper right hand corner. Click on Subscriptions.

I would rather do a fundraiser, or just pay a monthly/annual subscription fee than to have a lot more obtrusive advertising.
Posted By: Peddler100 Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 09:56 PM
I subscribed but I agree with others that I don't think this site will last more than 12-24 months on the subscription model for all of the reasons people have posted. My reason for subscribing was because of the help and information I got on my DP purchase and it was here that I found out about the software update for the NU1X. I don't think I would have gotten the NU1X if it hadn't been for this forum and that is worth something. However I think Frank is between a rock and a hard spot. As useful as I find this forum the number of users here is a rounding error in the advertising world. So many companies now do not hand craft their web advertising presence. It's lots of automatically placed ads where the compensation is based on views and clicks. PW hasn't got enough of either to amount to anything. It's regrettable but sometimes things that are very useful and loved by a small group of people just can't be turned into a viable business model. frown Unfortunately once the pay wall goes up the usefulness of this forum will go down. The product is the postings by the members, if you reduce that you reduce the value of the product. My subscription was to pay it backward for the benefits I have received from PW. If I had to guess in a year I don't think I will find the benefits worth renewing.
Posted By: Serge88 Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 10:01 PM
Ads from the porn industry,

It could be enough to save Pianoworld.
Posted By: Cheshire Chris Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 10:15 PM
The people who post the most are (in the main, at least) the same people who help others. Expecting people to pay for the privilege of being allowed to give help doesn't strike me as a winning strategy.
Posted By: EssBrace Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 10:31 PM
Originally Posted by Cheshire Chris
The people who post the most are (in the main, at least) the same people who help others. Expecting people to pay for the privilege of being allowed to give help doesn't strike me as a winning strategy.


This. Expressed far more succinctly than I managed to.
Posted By: ando Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 11:16 PM
I think it should continue in the current format, but with an annual fundraiser in exactly the same style as Wikipedia. And rather than just asking in a non-specific way, state precisely how much money Frank needs to keep the site operating for another year. I think there is enough wealth on this forum to get it over the line each year. People are motivated by such incentives. They don't want this forum to go away.

Frank, if you are reading these posts, please consider this option. We respect that you need to be supported adequately to keep the place running and I think there is enough goodwill towards PW that the wiki-fundraiser approach will work - and without inhibiting new members from joining up.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/03/19 11:16 PM
The people who <abc> are the same people who <xyz>.
This is a common cliche ... all too terribly common these days ... with no basis in fact.
Try a better argument please.
Posted By: NobleHouse Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 12:19 AM
Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Wow, you don't pull any punches, do you David? laugh

It might be direct, but I think David is right on the money. And if this is going to be the last weeks of being able to speak without having to pay for it - we may as well shoot from the hip.

My take: this forum is going to disappear within 12-24 months. As much as it has an incredible legacy of discussion and information, I think David is right, Frank is getting on and possibly losing his enthusiasm for this place. It's draining to a guy who is well past retirement age to keep it going. He's throwing a hail Mary at it by trying the paid-subscription model. If it happened to pay for itself with the money going towards paying people to maintain the site, all good and well, but I think his days of putting in uncountable hours of unpaid work into the site are coming to an end.

The bad news is that the world largely hates paying for discussion platforms when they have been spoiled for so many years with "free" services. Of course, in reality, Facebook, Youtube, Reddit, etc, etc. are generating huge revenue from its users through advertising, but most people see that as something they can take or leave and the service itself is principally free. (a myth, in truth, but we're talking about perception here).

Although I think the Pianoworld demographic is a little different in terms of financial well-being, I still think that resistance to paying money for a forum/social media is going to kill this place. Also, being a US based site, it will be more affordable in the local currency than foreign currencies. For me, $30US does not convert very kindly in Australian dollars. The AUD is trading poorly against the USD, plus there would be currency conversion costs which make it even less expensive. PayPal is famous for choosing exorbitant conversion rates for foreign currency transactions. Banks too, for that matter. I can see that this will easily push to $50AUD+ for me. I don't know that I can justify it given how little I post these days.

I'm like CyberGene really. I have enjoyed my time here a lot, but I really should just play more piano rather than pay for being able to talk about it. I am also very aware of how addictive forum checking is - it's a dopamine-enslavement that is difficult to disengage from. This might be just what some of us need...


I tend to agree with you completely!
Posted By: Chopin Acolyte Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 01:33 AM
Wow, I never knew that running a forum can be financially devastating to someone, I guess I learned something new today shocked

Anyway, it's been nice with you all, I love contemplating pretty much anything related to piano and music, and I will miss reading everyone's invaluable input.

I wish we had some place where we could talk freely, but if it costs the boss man so much that even the ads on the side wouldn't pay for it, I guess this forum is done for. Any luck getting someone more well-off and enthusiastic that could take the forum into their hands so it stays up?

Also, consider various Reddit threads. I like lingling40hrs, but music memes can only entertain us so much frown I like the friendly atmosphere here.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 01:50 AM
The patient hasn't complained of illness, yet you guys are already planning the funeral. frown
Posted By: ElaineAllegro Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 02:01 AM
It would be helpful to have a thermometer (or metronome?) that tracks how much is needed and shows how close to goal we are.
Posted By: David B Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 03:59 AM
Originally Posted by ando
I think it should continue in the current format, but with an annual fundraiser in exactly the same style as Wikipedia. And rather than just asking in a non-specific way, state precisely how much money Frank needs to keep the site operating for another year. I think there is enough wealth on this forum to get it over the line each year. People are motivated by such incentives. They don't want this forum to go away.


That's the way we do it in church. Every week in the bulletin is the monthly operational budget amount and the amount that has come in for the month. Each week we know exactly where we stand. There are always people who step up and help more when we need it. I really believe that would be the case here.

Although, just covering the cost to run the forum might not be all Frank wants to do. Maybe he wants to earn more income with it and he thinks mandatory subscriptions will accomplish that.

God Bless,
David
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 10:26 AM
There's no "maybe" ...
Originally Posted by David B
Just covering the cost to run the forum might not be all Frank wants to do. Maybe he wants to earn more income with it and he thinks mandatory subscriptions will accomplish that.
He has said so plainly in one or more of his sticky threads.
Posted By: Cheshire Chris Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 12:19 PM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
The people who <abc> are the same people who <xyz>.
This is a common cliche ... all too terribly common these days ... with no basis in fact.
Try a better argument please.


I'm a little puzzled by your response, Mac. It seems to be a pretty self-evident truth that it's the forum regulars who provide the most help to people. How can that statement have no basis in fact?
Posted By: ˆTomLCˆ Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 01:07 PM
Originally Posted by Chopin Acolyte
Wow, I never knew that running a forum can be financially devastating to someone.


I don’t think Frank mentioned he is destitute. Maybe he would just like to have the forum support itself. Or even be fairly compensated for building and maintaining Piano World. If there are 1700 active members, $5 a month would likely cover his cost and pay him for the time and the frustration of running a business. Even maybe update the website. Everyone else can still read the forum for free. They will be able to see the post and decide if it is worth it to join for as little as $3 a month. OTOH, if he is getting tired of all the responsibility. He might be able to hire (contract) with someone who loves piano and is willing to take it over for a monthly stipend.
Posted By: QuasiUnaFantasia Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 01:12 PM
Originally Posted by Cheshire Chris
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
The people who <abc> are the same people who <xyz>.
This is a common cliche ... all too terribly common these days ... with no basis in fact.
Try a better argument please.


I'm a little puzzled by your response, Mac. It seems to be a pretty self-evident truth that it's the forum regulars who provide the most help to people. How can that statement have no basis in fact?


I'm puzzled too. This website is rather like a newspaper. Someone provided the framework for the whole enterprise (the owners, in our case Frank), others provide the texts for publishing (the journalists, in our case the posters), and yet others read the texts (the readers, in our case thousands of more or less anonymous lurkers).

With the newspaper, the readers pay the owners, who in turn pay the journalists. What is proposed here is that the journalists pay the owners.

My prediction is: this won't work for long.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 01:20 PM
Originally Posted by QuasiUnaFantasia
Originally Posted by Cheshire Chris
I'm a little puzzled by your response, Mac. It seems to be a pretty self-evident truth that it's the forum regulars who provide the most help to people. How can that statement have no basis in fact?
I'm puzzled too. This website is rather like a newspaper. Someone provided the framework for the whole enterprise (the owners, in our case Frank), others provide the texts for publishing (the journalists, in our case the posters), and yet others read the texts (the readers, in our case thousands of more or less anonymous lurkers).

With the newspaper, the readers pay the owners, who in turn pay the journalists. What is proposed here is that the journalists pay the owners.

My prediction is: this won't work for long.

You are right. That's why Wikipedia doesn't charge a subscription to the Editors who use the features of Wikipedia the most. Instead, it does a quarterly fund raising where anyone can make pledges. I suspect that if one were to do an analysis of where the funds for Wikipedia come from, it is mostly people who have never edited articles or contributed!

I think the pledge model David B mentioned near the top of this discussion is vastly superior to a subscription model. And having given Patreon some more thought, a form of pledge model could be put into effect through some combination of PayPal and Patreon also mentioned in the thread above (one-time pledges vs monthly pledges).

That said, Patreon is also a system for content creators which is at the heart of this discussion since Frank is not a content provider, he is an infrastructure provider. So maybe something else (like PayPal again) is needed for an automated monthly payment option.

Frankly there are people on this forum who could easily cover the cost of this forum if it is $7500. I don't recall if that point was made in this thread or in the parallel one discussing this topic. The pledge model would allow such people to assist in an anonymous fashion because pledgers of larger amounts usually do not want attention.
Posted By: Gombessa Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 01:26 PM
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

I think the pledge model David B mentioned near the top of this discussion is vastly superior to a subscription model.


I suggested that one immediately after you posted this topic.

In case Frank does an about face, I do feel a pledge model would be more equitable overall, but I'll probably end up paying a subscription if the DP forum continues to be "highly trafficked" after the switch. If it suddenly become "payment mandatory," then whatever the payment is then needs to be worth the money.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 01:36 PM
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

I think the pledge model David B mentioned near the top of this discussion is vastly superior to a subscription model.

Sorry, I misattributed. Then it was your good idea.

Originally Posted by Gombessa
I suggested that one immediately after you posted this topic.

In case Frank does an about face, I do feel a pledge model would be more equitable overall, but I'll probably end up paying a subscription if the DP forum continues to be "highly trafficked" after the switch. If it suddenly become "payment mandatory," then whatever the payment is then needs to be worth the money.

Well, I'm already a subscriber and could upgrade to Unobtanium, but like you, I just think this forum needs to continue to be highly trafficked to be worth it, and I just don't see that.

Regarding "worth it" from another perspective (more technological), I just made a comment in one of the parallel threads discussing this topic.
Posted By: Gombessa Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 01:56 PM
Speaking of which, I've been one of the ones harping about PW's lack of real mobile-friendly viewing and posting for a while. But hey, how much noise can you reasonably make for a free service? If payment is required, I imagine I would feel a lot more entitled to a service that is responsive to my needs.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 02:09 PM
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
[Well, I'm already a subscriber and could upgrade to Unobtanium, but like you, I just think this forum needs to continue to be highly trafficked to be worth it, and I just don't see that.

Just to clarify my earlier remark, I meant in the brave new world where all content creators have to pay a subscription to PW. It's in that world where I just don't see this forum being highly trafficked. I am not referring to its state today where it is still free.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 02:10 PM
OK, I'm sold. Make it a pledge model. I'll pay.

Note: There's something missing here ... Frank.
Will someone present these ideas to him?
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 02:13 PM
Given that the subscription minimum is $3 per month ... what must PW provide to be "worth it"?
Originally Posted by Gombessa
If it becomes "payment mandatory," then whatever the payment is then needs to be worth the money.
The Germans might refer to $3/month as pis*-gelt. It's so small as to go unnoticed.

If PW were not worth $3/month to me ... I'd likely not come here even it it were free.
Posted By: ˆTomLCˆ Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 02:20 PM
+1
Posted By: Gombessa Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 02:55 PM
Well a Starbucks coffee is $3, but I wouldn't pay that for an empty cup even if it is "pis*-gelt."

"Worth it" to me just means a contined level of activity worth participating in regularly.

IMHO, forums that don't have a few dozen new posts a day are pretty "dead" and don't have enough activity to keep regular interest.
Posted By: dmd Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 03:17 PM
Many of the most helpful posts are made my those that rarely post but browse around semi-regularly.

When they happen upon something for which they have something to contribute … they jump in.

Those are usually quality postings with valuable insight based on consideration and experience.

I believe you will lose that element.
Posted By: EPW Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 03:19 PM
I want the forum to continue but I would like to know what Frank needs to keep it running. I also think it needs a mobile update. I went to add something here on my phone and it didn't take again!
If I'm going to support the forum IMO it needs an update to modern times. I know others don't feel that way but it is how I feel. Cakewalk was sold and they updated the forum software and is very mobile friendly. I have more post now in 6 months then I did on the old forum in 14+ years! I'm on the go and much easier to post on phone.

Frank if you're reading these posts, talk to us and let us know how bad it is. Also as an idea could you do something on your store-front that says an X-percentage goes to keep the forum running. I know times are tough as I'm struggling with business too.

Ed
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 04:15 PM
@EPW: Write a PM to Frank. I don't think he'll ever bother to read a thread title "forum withdrawal symptoms".

I looked at the User List page and compiled a list of subscriber/supporters.
This is tedious ... as there are 1843 pages, so I looked at just the first 500 pages.
I found that among the top 2500 most frequent posters ...
Bronze level . . . . . 4
Silver level. . . . . 18
Gold level. . . . . . 11
Platinum level . . . . 4
Unobtainium level. . . 1
Posted By: CyberGene Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 04:16 PM
Yes, mobile usage has been neglected a lot. Reading is OK now but posting is major pain in the a**. I abandon probably a third of my posts due to frustration and anger with the mobile experience and I use this forum more than 80% from my iPhone. Which I guess is beneficial since it limits my ability to spam too much laugh
Posted By: newer player Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 04:35 PM
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Yes, mobile usage has been neglected a lot. . . Which I guess is beneficial since it limits my ability to spam too much laugh

lol
Posted By: Chopin Acolyte Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 05:04 PM
Maybe this forum just needs a "Gordon Ramsey of internet design"; make it new, fresh, modern and appealing. The ads will roll in and soon, the owner will bathe in Benjamins...
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 05:11 PM
Or just get a computer, with a nice big screen and a keyboard and a mouse. smile
Posted By: Gombessa Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 05:52 PM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Or just get a computer, with a nice big screen and a keyboard and a mouse. smile


Most of us do have those already, but a lot of our online activity trends towards mobile access where we can't really lug a desktop smile

I feel like this discussion had been had before!
Posted By: CyberGene Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 07:05 PM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Or just get a computer, with a nice big screen and a keyboard and a mouse. smile

This kind of thinking is actually the same as “why wouldn’t I ask people to pay me a subscription to post in my forum” wink I hope it won’t get interpreted as dismissive towards elderly people though. I respect my mom and dad despite their old fashioned views.

P.S. I bought a smartphone for my mom this January. She’s 71. She initially rejected the idea but is now so fascinated by it she rarely uses her desktop computer now smile
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 08:02 PM
Granted that you can't lug a desktop around. I was thinking of a laptop.
Yes, a laptop is second-rate for screen, keyboard, and mouse. Still ... not too bad.

But for me ... thinking that I could deal with things online using a phone with 6" screen?
That's far beyond convenient no matter what is done for site optimization.
PW might be worse than most, as you suggest. But they're all unsuitable for me.

Not being able to surf on a phone is like not being able to walk across the Sahara.
I cannot do either, and I won't attempt either.

There might someday be a solution.
We've already seen the Microsoft goggles headset, and there are several other newer ones of that ilk on the market.
(I mean the augmented reality kind, not the sealed-in-a-room Oculus gaming kind.)

For now they're all quite expensive, with limited resolution and narrow field-of-view.
But I hope someday they'll be as good as a proper desktop with two (no, four!) large screen monitors!

Now ... what about keyboard and mouse? frown
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 08:04 PM
As I re-read that last post ... I realize that I've taken this still farther off topic. frown
Posted By: Ojustaboo Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 11:03 PM

Originally Posted by TomLC
Originally Posted by Chopin Acolyte
Wow, I never knew that running a forum can be financially devastating to someone.


If there are 1700 active members, $5 a month would likely cover his cost and pay him for the time and the frustration of running a business. Even maybe update the website. Everyone else can still read the forum for free. They will be able to see the post and decide if it is worth it to join for as little as $3 a month. OTOH, if he is getting tired of all the responsibility. He might be able to hire (contract) with someone who loves piano and is willing to take it over for a monthly stipend.


1700 members at $5 a month is $8500 a month.

While I dare say I’ve missed a ton of needed things, hence the price would be a lot more, a quick google for forum hosting sites, first one, their top tier is £200 a year.

https://www.a2hosting.com/web-hosting/compare

I can’t see it costing more than $500 a month to pay for the server/software usage. That would leave around $8000 a month. Presuming only one persons being paid, that’s a very nice earner, and if it was remotely possible to achieve this, all forums would have gone the subscription route years ago.

Personally I think a forum such as this needs to be run by volunteers who are in it for the love they have for pianos.

Sure if donations are enough that there’s spare cash at the end of the year, take a small payment for your time (or keep the money for those months where donations aren’t enough), but running it as a money making business simply will not work.

All that will happen is the forum will slowly die, as newcomers will see this forum as a way of someone making money, and will seek advice elsewhere.

While I won’t be subscribing, one thing I do know is that paying subs and still having only 1/2 of the screen visible, with both the left and right hand columns still having ads, will be a big no no for many people. Sure many of those that are currently here and love the community will probably be happy to sub and put up with the ads, but most new people won’t.




Posted By: Gombessa Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 11:09 PM
Originally Posted by Ojustaboo

1700 members at $5 a month is $8500 a month.


One question - are there 1700 members regularly posting here each month? I only really frequent the DP forums, but it seems we may have a couple dozen folks who post in the course of a month, maybe 100 who have one post in the last 30 days? How is it in other forums?

Originally Posted by Ojustaboo
I can’t see it costing more than $500 a month to pay for the server/software usage.


That's $6000/year. Frank's post mentions it costs him $10k/year in operational cost, so you're probably not far off (since other than just hosting fees, he probably has to contract with developers for regular maintenance, upgrades, etc.). I think the main question is, does the board have enough posting members (not just lurkers) to cover the costs and make it worth investing in the board to offset any lost traffic/participation from being subscription-only?
Posted By: ˆTomLCˆ Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 11:37 PM
I can’t see it costing more than $500 a month to pay for the server/software usage. That would leave around $8000 a month. Presuming only one persons being paid, that’s a very nice earner, and if it was remotely possible to achieve this, all forums would have gone the subscription route years ago."

So you don't think the owner of this forum should make $72,000 a year? Before taxes? That is maybe, barely, a livable wage. Then why would he continue to do it?
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 11:43 PM
Yes, Tom. There are many naysayers.

It won't work!
He has no right to expect an income from this!
Running it as a money making business simply will not work!


So sayeth those who have never run a business, but want to tell someone else how to do so!

But maybe the subscription model will serve to drive out the know-it-alls?
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/04/19 11:57 PM
I studied this question a number of times, most recently in February. I found that 61% of registered users have NEVER posted, and 91% have posted no more than 10 times.
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Are there 1700 members regularly posting here each month?
The answer is no (sort of). A small number of people post frequently. But many post only rarely or not at all. The latter will surely remain non-subscribers.

So I wouldn't expect to find 1700 members to subscribe ...
Originally Posted by Ojustaboo
1700 members at $5 a month is $8500 a month.
... even though it's only $3 per month, not $5.

Originally Posted by Gombessa
I think the main question is, does the board have enough posting members (not just lurkers) to cover the costs and make it worth investing in the board to offset any lost traffic/participation from being subscription-only?
There's one thing missing ... the piano supplies side of the business. That must generate some revenue, but we know not how significant that might be.
Posted By: ˆTomLCˆ Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 12:08 AM
We are all looking at this from our perspective. Frank might be making a killing and wants to increase it. He must be having a ball reading all of this.
Posted By: jotur Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 12:39 AM
As for statistics about who might still be here if it goes subscription -

I have over 6K posts. I don't post as often as I once did, BUT I STILL DONATE. So there is at least some inaccuracy about guessing that those that don't post so often will be gone smile How much? Hard to say.

I'm a regular in the ABF, but, as evidenced by this post, I do check in to other forums. So - I'll suggest what I suggested in the ABF -

instead of discussing whether a subscription, or pledge, or whatever form might work - why not just donate? It's easy, there's a button at the bottom of the screen, and we could probably make this whole discussion irrelevant laugh

You never know -
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 12:53 AM
@jotur: When I suggested that people who post little would be less likely to subscribe ... I was thinking of you.

Here are the stats I did not reveal earlier:

MEMBER . . . . . .POSTS . . .LEVEL
BruceD. . . . . . 22,652 . . Gold
Rich Galassini. . 11,392 . . Platinum
jotur. . . . . . . 6,523 . . Gold
Tyrone Slothrop. . 5,085 . . Platinum
dogperson. . . . . 4,048 . . Silver
cmb13. . . . . . . 2,641 . . Silver
Stubbie. . . . . . 2,233 . . Gold
Beemer. . . . . . .2,211 . . Bronze
kpembrook. . . . . 2,029 . . Platinum
David Boyce. . . . 1,834 . . Gold
Rich D . . . . . . 1,498 . . Gold
Almaviva . . . . . 1,269 . . Bronze
Serge88. . . . . . . 990 . . Silver
Chrispy. . . . . . . 945 . . Gold
TomLC. . . . . . . . 779 . . Gold
That Guy . . . . . . 771 . . Silver
pwl. . . . . . . . . 584 . . Silver
OneWatt. . . . . . . 508 . . Bronze
MH1963 . . . . . . . 495 . . Silver
MarieJ . . . . . . . 420 . . Gold
piRround . . . . . . 385 . . Gold
Rosewood17 . . . . . 324 . . Silver
michaelvi. . . . . . 317 . . Silver
ElaineAllegro. . . . 298 . . Silver
MeganR . . . . . . . 279 . . Silver
dhull100 . . . . . . 234 . . Platinum
nancyde. . . . . . . 231 . . Silver
AnthonyPaulO . . . . 168 . . Unobtainium
AprilE . . . . . . . 165 . . Silver
Michael. . . . . . . 157 . . Silver
jshelton . . . . . . 144 . . Silver
pianosuzemn . . . . . 81 . . Silver
lvojnovic . . . . . . 52 . . Silver
Aspiring. . . . . . . 50 . . Silver
vibavi attigala . . . 48 . . Bronze
Bach48. . . . . . . . 42 . . Gold
peterd. . . . . . . . 38 . . Silver
swiss_boy . . . . . . 32 . . Gold
Posted By: TX-Bluebonnet Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 02:21 AM
Could be there are more people, like me, who subscribed recently (June 2, Silver) but don't show up on the list yet.
Posted By: jotur Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 02:29 AM
That is true, TX-Bluebonnet, and some people who subscribe/donate don't choose to show the badge.

yes, I have >6K posts, but they're kinda front-loaded. I check in a lot these days, but I don't post much.

I know that making that list must have been time-consuming - but Sam S has >3k posts and he's at the gold level.

So I'm just not sure that it's entirely valid. Interesting list, tho, eh?
Posted By: CyberGene Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 02:50 AM
As much as I love this forum, and with all due respect to Frank, but forums are a free thing by definition and should remain a free thing. They are not a business. I think he will realize that when he introduces the subscription.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 03:10 AM
@TX-Bluebonnet: You didn't show up ... and I don't know why.
Originally Posted by TX-Bluebonnet
Could be there are more people, like me, who subscribed recently (June 2, Silver) but don't show up on the list yet.
Have a look at http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showmembers/sb/8/like/-1/page/19.html

You're there ... with no bronze/silver/gold/platinum notation. I don't know why.

The User List pages gave me the impression that very few people subscribe.
But your case suggests that the "badges" that should show in the User List are not showing up.
That is ... there are more subscribers that I've been led to believe.
Posted By: David B Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 03:45 AM
Originally Posted by CyberGene
As much as I love this forum, and with all due respect to Frank, but forums are a free thing by definition and should remain a free thing. They are not a business. I think he will realize that when he introduces the subscription.


Amen!

In the late 90's I was on an email list and the first forum I joined was the Beretta Forum in 2000. I subsequently became a moderator and participated on that forum and others for years. I've been a member of Dual Sport (motorcycle) forums, Mountain bike forums, gun forums, and now a piano forum. I've never paid (beyond voluntary donations) to participate in any of them. IMO, If you can't afford to run a forum then either shut it down or let someone else try.

I really appreciate Piano World. It has helped me immensely. It's the free exchange of ideas and easy access to a knowledge base via voluntary participation that makes all forums useful. I really don't see subscriptions improving those two areas.

As Solomon said, "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven" (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Perhaps the season for Piano World had come to an end. I hope not.

God Bless,
David

Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 04:41 AM
You may expect a forum to be free. But it's hardly true say a forum is free by definition.
Posted By: TX-Bluebonnet Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 06:25 AM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
@TX-Bluebonnet: You didn't show up ... and I don't know why.
Originally Posted by TX-Bluebonnet
Could be there are more people, like me, who subscribed recently (June 2, Silver) but don't show up on the list yet.
Have a look at http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showmembers/sb/8/like/-1/page/19.html

You're there ... with no bronze/silver/gold/platinum notation. I don't know why.

The User List pages gave me the impression that very few people subscribe.
But your case suggests that the "badges" that should show in the User List are not showing up.
That is ... there are more subscribers that I've been led to believe.

There's an update on Frank's original post. Apparently there's a glitch for some who paid, depending on the link that was used. He's working on getting it sorted out.
Posted By: ClsscLib Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 01:00 PM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
You may expect a forum to be free. But it's hardly true say a forum is free by definition.


Agree completely. Frank does a lot to support this place, and he's not obliged to do it. He owns the site. If he wants to cover his costs and earn a living, he has a right to do that.

I'd like to think that enough people who value this place (and are able to do so) would contribute voluntarily at a level that would do the job. If not, either we'll survive as a coalition of the willing, or Frank will shut it down (or otherwise dispose of it) -- as is his right.
Posted By: CyberGene Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 01:24 PM
With all due respect, when you create a public forum where people help each other, discuss, express opinion, that's not a business. It's an idealistic place and you most probably created it with that purpose. You may ask for donations, for people to volunteer helping, etc. and even pay on your own, although I'm not suggesting that. When you at some point decide that you "own" the place and you deserve to be paid for it, outside the hosting/maintenance/support expenses, then I call this egoistical. Of course Frank is in his right to do whatever he likes to do with the forum, even if if that would lead to the forum's death. But I fail to see how something created of pure idealistic desire to gather people who love pianos would eventually turn into business.
Posted By: ˆTomLCˆ Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 01:30 PM
As soon as the owner obligates himself, signing contracts and commitments, it’s a business. He is the person responsible to pay the rent regardless if he gets donations or not.
Posted By: CyberGene Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 01:35 PM
OK, legally, it's a business of course, I'm not arguing for the sake of literal meaning of the words. A church may also be considered a business since it needs to pay electricity, property taxes, etc. but that doesn't mean it's a business per se. Sorry, I'm not familiar with legal stuff, what I'm saying is forums are a free thing. I've never seen one where I should pay to participate. Maybe I haven't been invited to such forums but I wouldn't join. I don't like the idea of people having to pay to exchange ideas. I'd be rather forum is closed entirely rather than being forced to death through subscriptions which I am pretty convinced is inevitable.
Posted By: dogperson Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 01:35 PM
Originally Posted by CyberGene
With all due respect, when you create a public forum where people help each other, discuss, express opinion, that's not a business. It's an idealistic place and you most probably created it with that purpose. You may ask for donations, for people to volunteer helping, etc. and even pay on your own, although I'm not suggesting that. When you at some point decide that you "own" the place and you deserve to be paid for it, outside the hosting/maintenance/support expenses, then I call this egoistical. Of course Frank is in his right to do whatever he likes to do with the forum, even if if that would lead to the forum's death. But I fail to see how something created of pure idealistic desire to gather people who love pianos would eventually turn into business.


It will eventually turn into a business when the founder determines that the time spent to maintain the forum does not allow sufficient time to generate enough other income. Idealism is great but there may come that there is also a pragmatic consideration, evidently asking for donations, advertising and supply sales are not generating enough income
Posted By: dogperson Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 01:42 PM
Originally Posted by CyberGene
As much as I love this forum, and with all due respect to Frank, but forums are a free thing by definition and should remain a free thing. They are not a business. I think he will realize that when he introduces the subscription.


BTW. Piano Street is not a free forum at present. The ‘free membership ‘ went away about one year ago. They hope to reinstate this year. At present, the membership is &12.99 per month or $129 annually automatically renewed
Posted By: ˆTomLCˆ Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 01:42 PM
Yes, a church congregation is a business. Especially when the elders have to personally sign the lease or guarantee the building loan. That’s when it becomes real and sleep more difficult. The elders receive their reward in heaven. The business owner hopes to get his reward on earth. .
Posted By: jamiecw Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 01:48 PM
Let's face it - this can go in any number of ways but the most likely of outcomes will be either:

1) people really do need their PW hit and will pay the sum to get it...

2) or the "no way Jose" camp vote with their feet...

3) OR the most likely of outcomes, some bugger off and some stay to pay....BUT will it be enough to pay the piper?

Not on your Nelly if I had to put a bet...
Posted By: Pinkiepie Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 01:49 PM
Originally Posted by dogperson


It will eventually turn into a business when the founder determines that the time spent to maintain the forum does not allow sufficient time to generate enough other income. Idealism is great but there may come that there is also a pragmatic consideration, evidently asking for donations, advertising and supply sales are not generating enough income



If the real purpose is to make money from it, you're probably right.
But then this is the personal decision of the forum owner and not an inevitable necessity.

I think it would be fair if this issue were openly communicated with "I would like to increase my income" instead of claiming that this money is necessary only to maintain the forum.
Posted By: dogperson Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 01:58 PM
Originally Posted by Pinkiepie
Originally Posted by dogperson


It will eventually turn into a business when the founder determines that the time spent to maintain the forum does not allow sufficient time to generate enough other income. Idealism is great but there may come that there is also a pragmatic consideration, evidently asking for donations, advertising and supply sales are not generating enough income



If the real purpose is to make money from it, you're probably right.
But then this is the personal decision of the forum owner and not an inevitable necessity.

I think it would be fair if this issue were openly communicated with "I would like to increase my income" instead of claiming that this money is necessary only to maintain the forum.


Go read Franks post of this. He clearly states that advertising revenue is not enough to support his income. He did not state the money is only for the website
Posted By: CyberGene Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 02:02 PM
I'm wondering (not suggesting it). Does Frank legally own the content in this forum? Imagine someone extracting the entire data from PW through a data crawler and importing it in another forum and then people move there. Is this legal?
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 02:26 PM
You guys are overthinking the obvious.

1. Frank owns the web site. He can make it a business if he wants to.
2. He has already done so. Years ago.
3. He has plainly said that this is a source of income.
4. His piano supplies side of things earns him some money.
5. His advertising earns him some money.
6. He claims that it's not enough money, so he proposes a subscription model.

I have no cause to doubt what he says.

So it's quite simple, really.

Some may not like it.
But that's the way it is.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 02:40 PM
Are there any experts here on the subject of copyright law?
Originally Posted by CyberGene
I'm wondering (not suggesting it). Does Frank legally own the content in this forum? Imagine someone extracting the entire data from PW through a data crawler and importing it in another forum and then people move there. Is this legal?
Laws in the US are fairly liberal. You own your content. It becomes copyright automatically with no need to declare copyright.

As for our contributions ... I don't know who owns them. So would it be theft to appropriate this site's content and post it elsewhere? I don't know.

But ... two things:
1. Whether legal or not, doing so would be crapping on Frank's shoes. He has given us this site gratis for years. Why slap him by taking his stuff? Perhaps it's legal, but I find it immoral.
2. What would be the point of re-siting PW someplace else? If it has financial struggles now, what would be different elsewhere?
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 02:44 PM
Read Frank's stickies. He plainly says that this is his source of income. He hasn't hidden that. He says so in plain English.
Originally Posted by Pinkiepie
I think it would be fair if this issue were openly communicated with "I would like to increase my income" instead of claiming that this money is necessary only to maintain the forum.
Posted By: Gombessa Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 03:16 PM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac

2. What would be the point of re-siting PW someplace else? If it has financial struggles now, what would be different elsewhere?


I'm NOT advocating that this be done, but there could be some objective benefits.

Namely, economies of scale. Instead of having a single operator running his own web and db servers, routing, hosting, development and maintenance costs, advertising placement, etc., a large forum/aggregator could be able to roll PW into its existing infrastructure, ads portfolio, etc. There are huge forums out there with tens or hundreds of millions of visits per month, and they're able to stay afloat. This would probably not hold if another single operator took over PW, but a larger organization could probably absorb more easily and scale to their own infrastructure.

I'm not sure how much this specifically would apply to PW, but I would suspect nobody believes the setup here is optimally efficient. Frank's a single guy, he's running his own hardware and buying his own software, hiring devs every time something needs to be done...that can't be easy.
Posted By: jeffscot Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 04:08 PM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
He has given us this site gratis for years.
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
He plainly says that this is his source of income.

These two post do not reconcile. smile

No one is entitled to an income simply because they own a business.
Posted By: Qwerty53 Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 04:23 PM
Same here; I donated over a year ago and didn't get a badge, didn't worry about it. Donated again (silver, annual) a few days ago and Frank indicated that a software glitch was preventing badges from showing up automatically as they should.
Originally Posted by TX-Bluebonnet
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
@TX-Bluebonnet: You didn't show up ... and I don't know why.
Originally Posted by TX-Bluebonnet
Could be there are more people, like me, who subscribed recently (June 2, Silver) but don't show up on the list yet.
Have a look at http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showmembers/sb/8/like/-1/page/19.html

You're there ... with no bronze/silver/gold/platinum notation. I don't know why.

The User List pages gave me the impression that very few people subscribe.
But your case suggests that the "badges" that should show in the User List are not showing up.
That is ... there are more subscribers that I've been led to believe.

There's an update on Frank's original post. Apparently there's a glitch for some who paid, depending on the link that was used. He's working on getting it sorted out.
Posted By: Pinkiepie Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 04:31 PM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Read Frank's stickies. He plainly says that this is his source of income. He hasn't hidden that. He says so in plain English.



Please save yourself the arrogant undertone. Thanks.

He wrote that he considers the advertising revenue as part of his income and therefore can`t afford the forum`s costs on his own anymore.
But not, that he wants to open a new "business" by asking the users to make his living.

But good to know anyway.
Posted By: LarryK Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 04:32 PM
I sent a note asking for my badge to be displayed. I know I sent him PayPal a long time ago.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 04:36 PM
My badge wasn't automatically displayed. I sent a PM and it was taken care of a few days later, manually.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 04:37 PM
@jeffscot: What's the problem? For us it's free. For advertisers there's a fee. No contradiction. (That's the same model used by TV and radio for about a century.)

And yes, no one is entitled to an income. It's refreshing to hear someone say that.
Posted By: kj85 Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 06:34 PM
Some thoughts.
  • People tend to visit forums based on the quality of the community, not ownership. /r/piano might be free, but PW has the better community.
  • I have registered on a few forums over the years and lurked on a lot more and have neither had to pay for the privilege nor ever encountered a mandatory subscription system.
    I have seen voluntary subscriptions as well as donations, and these are generally sufficient for community-run sites looking to cover costs.
  • I have seen forums die before. One that I have a passing interest in died due to apathy and years of neglect on the part of the steward, but the community managed to resurrect it in a different place.
  • Hosting forums costs real money in terms of hardware and software. A couple of forums I visit have moved to self-hosted Discourse instances from whatever decrepit php-based system they installed in the Victorian era. For those who don't want to deal with the operations part, hosted instances are available for a price.
Posted By: ClsscLib Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/05/19 07:49 PM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
@jeffscot: What's the problem? For us it's free. For advertisers there's a fee. No contradiction. (That's the same model used by TV and radio for about a century.)

And yes, no one is entitled to an income. It's refreshing to hear someone say that.


I would also observe, as a classical liberal, that no one is entitled to the involuntary servitude of others nor to receive upon demand the fruits of another's labor.

Anyone who visits this site is free, of course, to start their own site, and to own and operate it as they wish: Free or subscription, ads or no ads, moderated or unmoderated.

Frank is the person who started and owns this site. He can do with it what he wants.

Most of us trust him to do things that are right and appropriate; he does have something of a track record.
Posted By: jeffscot Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/06/19 09:21 PM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
@jeffscot: What's the problem? For us it's free. For advertisers there's a fee. No contradiction. (That's the same model used by TV and radio for about a century.)

If the site needs more support, the owner needs to procure more advertising.

Kawai benefits more than any manufacturer from this forum . . . they need to pony up some big time advertising dollars! thumb
Posted By: newer player Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/06/19 09:31 PM
Originally Posted by jeffscot
Kawai benefits more than any manufacturer from this forum . . . they need to pony up some big time advertising dollars

Good point.
Posted By: dogperson Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/06/19 10:09 PM
Originally Posted by newer player
Originally Posted by jeffscot
Kawai benefits more than any manufacturer from this forum . . . they need to pony up some big time advertising dollars

Good point.


And how do either of us know what Kawai is already paying? You don’t. So much advice without any information!

From my perspective it is Kawai Don, who has been so helpful to many here, that has been a big part of Kawai’s benefit from this forum.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/06/19 10:11 PM
Originally Posted by dogperson
From my perspective it is Kawai Don, who has been so helpful to many here, that has been a big part of Kawai’s benefit from this forum.

Don't forget Kawai James here on the digital forum thumb
Posted By: dogperson Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/06/19 10:20 PM
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by dogperson
From my perspective it is Kawai Don, who has been so helpful to many here, that has been a big part of Kawai’s benefit from this forum.

Don't forget Kawai James here on the digital forum thumb


Absolutely.., slip of the brain 😮
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/06/19 11:33 PM
I think there was a Kawai Don ... Don Mannino (spelling?). He works (or worked) for Kawai, but I don't remember how I came to know the name. Perhaps he used to post here?
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/07/19 12:01 AM
Update ... he is indeed a member, he's Kawai Don, and he still posts here. But not very often. Only 18 posts this year so far, and 36 posts last year.
http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/users/1247/kawaidon.html
Posted By: jeffscot Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/07/19 12:35 AM
Originally Posted by dogperson
So much advice without any information!

The information is in Franks sticky post.
States the need for more support, and that advertising revenues are not enough.

How is me basically stating the same in a slightly different way, “So much advice without any information”?

The site would have a more viable future, with increased advertising support, as opposed to mandatory subscription revenues.
I’m sure Frank knows this, but for whatever reason he has not been able to procure the needed advertising support.

Nothing wrong with giving Kawai a nudge!
Yamaha or Steinway will do as well. wink
Posted By: ClsscLib Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/07/19 01:39 AM
It's just barely possible that Frank might also have entertained the thought that more advertising revenue is better than less. He might even have sought to increase that revenue source.
Posted By: jeffscot Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/07/19 02:10 AM
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
It's just barely possible that Frank might also have entertained the thought that more advertising revenue is better than less. He might even have sought to increase that revenue source.

I’m sure it’s much more than “barely possible”, which is why I posted...
Originally Posted by jeffscot
I’m sure Frank knows this, but for whatever reason he has not been able to procure the needed advertising support.

In fact I would think increasing advertising would be Franks main focus.
Posted By: ClsscLib Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/07/19 02:20 AM
Originally Posted by jeffscot
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
It's just barely possible that Frank might also have entertained the thought that more advertising revenue is better than less. He might even have sought to increase that revenue source.

I’m sure it’s much more than “barely possible”, which is why I posted...
Originally Posted by jeffscot
I’m sure Frank knows this, but for whatever reason he has not been able to procure the needed advertising support.

In fact I would think increasing advertising would be Franks main focus.




You're missing the necessary entailment of your own assertions.

He knows. He's tried. Your telling him to do what he has already tried is pointless.

Consequently, he's considering other solutions.

Is this really so hard?
Posted By: jeffscot Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/07/19 02:43 AM
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
You're missing the necessary entailment of your own assertions.

He knows. He's tried. Your telling him to do what he has already tried is pointless.

Consequently, he's considering other solutions.

Is this really so hard?


It’s not pointless in the least.
Procuring and increasing advertising is an ongoing process.

The solution of mandatory subscriptions to post, would eventually be the end of the forum.

So my opinion is the efforts to increase advertising should continue for the forum to have a viable future.
That or Frank could sell the forum...

You obviously think otherwise. No worries. smile
Posted By: Learux Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/07/19 03:48 AM
Originally Posted by CyberGene
As much as I love this forum, and with all due respect to Frank, but forums are a free thing by definition and should remain a free thing. They are not a business. I think he will realize that when he introduces the subscription.


This.
Posted By: Learux Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/07/19 03:51 AM
If PW goes to a subscription model I give it about 4 month before it is dead.
Posted By: IosPlayer Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/07/19 05:16 AM
Honestly,for a place that touts almost 3,000,000 posts and cannot monetize that into a self sustaining entity deserves to go the way of the dinosaur. I contributed $25 a few months ago. I assume I am not alone. There is nothing here you cannot find on other fora without charge. Talk Classical is one site that has a similar community and apparently no financial problems.

For me, this is not a very lively place. Most folks just want to know what piano or dp to buy and what has a good action. The participants, as in any forum, are regulars who either have a lot of time on their hands or like sharing their opinions and/or knowledge for their own reasons.

I participate a lot more on the audiob.us forum. When Apple stopped its affiliate program the community had an outpouring of concern for the owner and many offered to contribute to pay for the cost. The owner demurred. He is not a rich guy,and the forum does promote his apps in a mild way, but I find in it a genuine sense of community. Perhaps it is because those interested in iOS music production share a real passion in a niche area of incredible technological growth and musical adventure. Here it is rather ho hum and repetitive. All that you find here is rather easy to get elsewhere. And, I imagine, folks will do just that rather than be forced to pay for something of limited value. People won't pay for newspapers. Is this more valuable?

And I guess Frank should remove the "(it's free)" from the header, or just remove the "r" in "free"
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/07/19 05:44 AM
So why are you here?

And why compare Talk Classical with Piano World? They're not at all similar. You can't get there what you find here. They're quite different.
Posted By: ando Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/07/19 10:13 AM
Out of respect, I think we should all dial down the speculation about Frank's life and personal motivation for running the forum. Debate the funding model, sure, but I think we've all stepped over the personal line - myself included.
Posted By: IosPlayer Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/07/19 10:22 PM
Macmacmac, frankly, I am here less and less. What do you get here that you can’t find anywhere else?
TalkClassical supplies only one aspect of what is offered here, but it does that in spades.
Posted By: Ojustaboo Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/08/19 09:35 AM
Originally Posted by TomLC


So you don't think the owner of this forum should make $72,000 a year? Before taxes? That is maybe, barely, a livable wage. Then why would he continue to do it?


I don’t begrudge anyone making a living, what I am saying is running a forum such as this one will is not the way to make your main income.

As for $72,000 being maybe a barely livable wage, a quick google tells me the average wage in the US last year was $900 a week or $46,800. This site wouldn’t need (or shouldn’t) 44 hrs a week support from the owner.

Many on the average wage will have mortgages to pay, I suspect the owner is retired hence hasn’t.

Again I couldn’t care less if someone wants to make 1/2 a million a year, all I’m saying is that hoping to use a forum as your main source of income isn’t the way you do it.

Forums like this should be run by volunteers who have a passion for pianos.

As a side note, the last 5 years, due to health problems I have got £6,200 a year ($7,768), and last year my wife earned £18k ($22.5k) making a total of £24,200k ($30k), we pay a mortgage etc, so please forgive me if I don’t agree $72000 is maybe a barely livable wage.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/08/19 09:43 AM
I think $72,000 is more than barely livable. Still, that really depends on where and how you live. (I wouldn't want to live that way.)

Anyway ... ando's thought is well taken: I think we should all dial down the speculation about Frank's life ...
Posted By: thickfingers Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/08/19 09:52 AM
Well, I think everyone exercised on this issue should grab a weird weapon and slug it out in an arena, a la Gamesters of Triskelion. It 's the only way. sick
Posted By: WTM Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/08/19 09:53 AM
Anyone else finding that they can't edit their posts?
Posted By: dogperson Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/08/19 09:57 AM
Originally Posted by WTM
Anyone else finding that they can't edit their posts?


You can edit for 10 minutes.
Posted By: WTM Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/08/19 10:01 AM
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by WTM
Anyone else finding that they can't edit their posts?


You can edit for 10 minutes.

That makes sense. Thank you.
Posted By: Terry Michael Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/08/19 09:40 PM
I should subscribe.

Question: Last 3 days I've been getting slammed with piano world forum emails about threads. I haven't changed any of my settings. Is anyone else experiencing that?
Posted By: Ojustaboo Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/08/19 10:13 PM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac


Anyway ... ando's thought is well taken: I think we should all dial down the speculation about Frank's life ...


Agreed. To be honest, I probably would sub as I really like the forum, I just worry it might kill it. But I think everything that could be said has probably been said and everyone will just be repeating what others have already said.
Posted By: Maconi Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/09/19 05:17 AM
I've lurked this forum for a few years but just registered recently.

I won't comment on Piano World specifically but I've seen other old forums end up in this position. If you're niche (or otherwise unfriendly to ad revenue) the forums usually barely pay for themselves. I've seen a lot of forums shut down simply because the founder/owner got tired of dealing with it (especially if it's not turning a profit and/or their interest in the subject matter has waned).

I will say that it's usually a death spiral once a forum goes private. Most ad revenue completely dries up at that point, not a whole lot of new members join, and old members slowly stop paying their subscriptions.

There's a reason websites like Reddit became so popular (basically free forums) but you're at the mercy of their rules and your subreddit can disappear overnight if they so desire.
Posted By: Terry Michael Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/09/19 05:23 AM
I also believe it’s a ‘death spiral’ . However , I have seen a few forums get SOLD and it turned out to be a win, win, win. Meaning Original owner won, buyer won and participants won. Notice I left out the advertisers. Well...that met with mixed results in all 3 situations.
Posted By: newer player Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/10/19 06:18 PM
I would like to have the option to sell gear here. Setting up a formal system might be a root canal especially given volumes.

But this could be an honour system with a suggested donation rate on posting and/or sale.

Or maybe UBB has a function which allows only paying members to post in a certain forum-thread-sticky; maybe have some suggested commission rate if something is sold. Visible for everyone to see.

On occasion people post gear for sale on the threads here but that seems to be in bad form for the digital age.
Posted By: Gombessa Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/10/19 07:19 PM
Lots of forums have For Sale subforums. Maybe niche forums live and die by them in fact. It doesn't need to be formal/integrated, just have clear rules and mods to enforce (e.g, no bumping over 5 days, no calling dibs, close your thread when sold). +1 to the idea.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/10/19 07:24 PM
Is that a pay-for-play option? (I presume you're trying to make some money for Frank as a substitute for forum subscriptions?)
Posted By: newer player Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/10/19 07:45 PM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Is that a pay-for-play option?

Didn't think about it, to be frank.

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
(I presume you're trying to make some money for Frank as a substitute for forum subscriptions?)

I just thought it could boost overall revenues a bit. Didn't think of this as a substitute. It could be a nice benefit for members. Whilst there are only a few of us here to swap gear, and some might forget to pay any commissions, anything helps at the margin.
Posted By: Jethro Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/10/19 09:37 PM
It's not my place to tell Frank how to run his website but if I could make a suggestion it would be to better leverage the exposure those in the piano industry have with targeted audience. For a few years I stopped posting on Pianoworld because I was tired of some posts by a few piano dealers who were more or less just giving veiled sales pitches for the instruments they sold. I wouldn't mind it if it was clear that that was what they were trying to do but I thought it was misleading when it appears in a forum that usually are supposed to be about free exchanges of ideas. That said I wholly support the piano industry and I want all piano dealers to succeed and I'm really worried for them and the state of the piano industry as a whole. Many of them offer valuable and experienced advice on the piano forum and I wouldn't want that to disappear but at the same time I think it would be good to offer them a platform in Pianoworld where they can sell their products without fear of being criticized. I say open up a dealer section where piano dealers from all 50 states can sell their pianos and/or piano related products. More importantly a place where they can openly interact with people who may be interested in buying a piano their state and/or region. This interaction I think would be more valuable as a marketing tool over at static ad that a forum member may or may click or notice. Frank should leverage the exposure dealers or vendors would have to the hundreds of people who flood Pianoworld daily. Of course Frank would have to charge the dealer a subscription fee. Say he charged $1000 a year. One piano sale would easily cover the cost of that subscription price. Imagine if you have at least 1 piano dealer in each state that's $50,000 in Franks pocket right off the bat. Same could be for service side exposure: piano tuners, technicians, teachers.

I think he should keep the forums free and approach dealers in each state the opportunity to use certain sections of Pianoworld as a marketplace in forum-like atmosphere. The main forums are off limits for dealers other than to offer unbiased piano advice as they do now. Forums should exist for the free exchange of ideas but he can offer better exposure to dealers or those in the piano industry (digital/acoustic/ accessories) in another subforum for those who are actively seeking their services or products - but the forum like atmosphere could be more inviting for dealers who want more than just an ad.

I do agree however that maybe there should be a small subscription price for recitals because of storage space that involves.
Posted By: karvala Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/10/19 09:44 PM
Nothing new or profound to say, but since I haven't posted in the thread yet, I'll give my two cents to add to the weight of opinion:-

1. There's nothing wrong with Frank making money if he wants to. That doesn't mean people are obliged to pay, of course.

2. If the forum moves to a subscription model where the content producers pay, it will greatly diminish. That will hit advertising revenue (which I presume is intended to continue), and might drive subscription prices up higher, and eventually the forum will fail. That's not guaranteed, though; there are examples of content producers creating content for free and paying to publish it in a reputable location (this is the predominant model in current academic publishing, for example). The reputable location is key, though, and it needs a critical mass.

3. It is not clear how much running the forum costs, or why advertising revenue cannot support it. The clientele here is a substantially above average in terms of socio-economic demographic, known to spend money, and highly targeted and in that sense should be great for advertising.

4. Piano manufacturers are missing a major trick by not sponsoring the forum. Kawai in particular has done extremely well out of the digital forum without question; there are clear cases of people buying Kawai products after seeing good reviews there and for every documented case there are hundreds of others. This is the kind of advertising combined with good reviews and put in front of the ideal demographic that marketing departments dream about. It would be a serious error of judgment for Kawai to let the forum close; they would be much better off (including financially) to fully sponsor the forum and keep it free to use, if Frank were amenable to that.

5. This is clearly the number one piano forum on the internet, with a solid user base. It takes time to develop something like that, and it's a valuable commodity.

I'm not yet convinced that the subscription will happen. The above points must be obvious to Frank as well as to many other members here, and I doubt he wants to risk the health of the forum in such a dangerous experiment. Once people leave, they won't come back.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/10/19 11:06 PM
Jethro just got finished saying that he left ... and he did come back.
Originally Posted by karvala
Once people leave, they won't come back.
Posted By: dogperson Re: Forum withdrawal symptoms - 07/10/19 11:44 PM
Originally Posted by Jethro
It's not my place to tell Frank how to run his website but if I could make a suggestion it would be to better leverage the exposure those in the piano industry have with targeted audience. For a few years I stopped posting on Pianoworld because I was tired of some posts by a few piano dealers who were more or less just giving veiled sales pitches for the instruments they sold. I wouldn't mind it if it was clear that that was what they were trying to do but I thought it was misleading when it appears in a forum that usually are supposed to be about free exchanges of ideas. That said I wholly support the piano industry and I want all piano dealers to succeed and I'm really worried for them and the state of the piano industry as a whole. Many of them offer valuable and experienced advice on the piano forum and I wouldn't want that to disappear but at the same time I think it would be good to offer them a platform in Pianoworld where they can sell their products without fear of being criticized. I say open up a dealer section where piano dealers from all 50 states can sell their pianos and/or piano related products. More importantly a place where they can openly interact with people who may be interested in buying a piano their state and/or region. This interaction I think would be more valuable as a marketing tool over at static ad that a forum member may or may click or notice. Frank should leverage the exposure dealers or vendors would have to the hundreds of people who flood Pianoworld daily. Of course Frank would have to charge the dealer a subscription fee. Say he charged $1000 a year. One piano sale would easily cover the cost of that subscription price. Imagine if you have at least 1 piano dealer in each state that's $50,000 in Franks pocket right off the bat. Same could be for service side exposure: piano tuners, technicians, teachers.

I think he should keep the forums free and approach dealers in each state the opportunity to use certain sections of Pianoworld as a marketplace in forum-like atmosphere. The main forums are off limits for dealers other than to offer unbiased piano advice as they do now. Forums should exist for the free exchange of ideas but he can offer better exposure to dealers or those in the piano industry (digital/acoustic/ accessories) in another subforum for those who are actively seeking their services or products - but the forum like atmosphere could be more inviting for dealers who want more than just an ad.

I do agree however that maybe there should be a small subscription price for recitals because of storage space that involves.


This is the best suggestion I have heard 👏🏻 And would suggest the new forum be divided into geographical areas as sub-forums. I believe there is an option to be notified with all replies, which would be a useful dealer function so they would not need to check if there a response needed by them.
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