Posted by raddevon (437 posts) -

I'm a bit late to the party, but I just saw Kombat's excellent response to Dave Snider's tweet requesting ideas for a premium Whiskey Media. I have a number of ideas I presented the last time this came up, but I would like to reiterate those as I would love to pay money for them. 
 
This is a particularly timely question for me as I just paid another of my favorite web communities, reddit.com. I now have reddit gold membership which includes a "trophy" on my user page in addition to a few features and the promise of more features down the line. The gold membership is really little more than a donation drive right now. I paid $30 for a year, and I really don't care if I get anything else for it. In fact, I didn't pay to get the things they gave me in the first place. For me, it was a simple decision. Here's a site I love that is struggling. If I can pay the $30, and all I get is that the site survives, that is worth $30 per year to me. Maybe Whiskey Media needs to do something as simple as a donation drive like this even if only to get the ball rolling. Start out at a low price for charter members, give us some idea of what features you want to implement in the future, and hit "go." 
 
As far as the specific features I would enjoy, I definitely agree that existing features need to stay free. I believe the staff itself has stated none of the existing features will be taken away from users. The features I would most love are related to blogging. The Whiskey Media blogging platform is excellent and robust but needs a few more features to be complete. It would be really nice to be able to save drafts. There are many times I would like to start on a post and finish it later. Taxonomy features would also be helpful like tagging and categories. Here's a list of some other ideas for premium features not related to blogging: 

  • user video hosting
  • a VIP forum (This wouldn't eliminate all trolls, but, in general, people willing to pay are less likely to be trolls.)
  • user blacklisting (with which I could never see content from my blacklisted users again)
  • priority access to beta codes and giveaways
I imagine most of these would not be terribly difficult to implement. I have one more idea I separated from the rest as it would be more of a departure for the site. What if the site instituted a Bitmob-esque system whereby premium users' content has a chance to be featured on the frontpage alongside that of the staff? I would enjoy that. 
 
The Whiskey Media family of sites have some of the best community features around. It's difficult to charge for content on the Internet, but I would gladly pay for these existing features to be expanded upon. 
 
For those of you who would be willing to pay, what is the highest fee you could see yourself paying if all your desired features were implemented? I would top out at about $30 but $20 per year for those features would be really nice!
#1 Posted by raddevon (437 posts) -

I'm a bit late to the party, but I just saw Kombat's excellent response to Dave Snider's tweet requesting ideas for a premium Whiskey Media. I have a number of ideas I presented the last time this came up, but I would like to reiterate those as I would love to pay money for them. 
 
This is a particularly timely question for me as I just paid another of my favorite web communities, reddit.com. I now have reddit gold membership which includes a "trophy" on my user page in addition to a few features and the promise of more features down the line. The gold membership is really little more than a donation drive right now. I paid $30 for a year, and I really don't care if I get anything else for it. In fact, I didn't pay to get the things they gave me in the first place. For me, it was a simple decision. Here's a site I love that is struggling. If I can pay the $30, and all I get is that the site survives, that is worth $30 per year to me. Maybe Whiskey Media needs to do something as simple as a donation drive like this even if only to get the ball rolling. Start out at a low price for charter members, give us some idea of what features you want to implement in the future, and hit "go." 
 
As far as the specific features I would enjoy, I definitely agree that existing features need to stay free. I believe the staff itself has stated none of the existing features will be taken away from users. The features I would most love are related to blogging. The Whiskey Media blogging platform is excellent and robust but needs a few more features to be complete. It would be really nice to be able to save drafts. There are many times I would like to start on a post and finish it later. Taxonomy features would also be helpful like tagging and categories. Here's a list of some other ideas for premium features not related to blogging: 

  • user video hosting
  • a VIP forum (This wouldn't eliminate all trolls, but, in general, people willing to pay are less likely to be trolls.)
  • user blacklisting (with which I could never see content from my blacklisted users again)
  • priority access to beta codes and giveaways
I imagine most of these would not be terribly difficult to implement. I have one more idea I separated from the rest as it would be more of a departure for the site. What if the site instituted a Bitmob-esque system whereby premium users' content has a chance to be featured on the frontpage alongside that of the staff? I would enjoy that. 
 
The Whiskey Media family of sites have some of the best community features around. It's difficult to charge for content on the Internet, but I would gladly pay for these existing features to be expanded upon. 
 
For those of you who would be willing to pay, what is the highest fee you could see yourself paying if all your desired features were implemented? I would top out at about $30 but $20 per year for those features would be really nice!
#2 Posted by Feanor (1387 posts) -

Paying for any website is dumb. Sites can make plenty of money off of advertising. This is a video game site, not bangbros.

#3 Posted by LiquidPrince (15848 posts) -
@Feanor said:
" Paying for any website is dumb. Sites can make plenty of money off of advertising. This is a video game site, not bangbros. "
Wait, it's NOT BangBros? Who is your source?
#4 Posted by RecSpec (3766 posts) -

Merchandise. Boom.

#5 Posted by Feanor (1387 posts) -
@RecSpec: Exactly. I never understood why they made their t-shirts so hard to get. 
 
Plus most of the content on this site is user created, makes no sense to pay for something that we contribute to. Also they have some of the worst video game coverage around, you usually have to wait ages to get a review, and they post news stories late. They are funny, and their quick looks are cool, but its not enough to justify a subscription. 
#6 Posted by raddevon (437 posts) -

So, why would the staff be interested in doing this if they were already making enough money by advertising and selling merchandise (both of which they already do)? It seems you guys have a really low opinion of Whiskey Media to suggest they are already doing two things which would make them enough money to sustain the site and now are just suggesting this additional revenue stream as some sort of money grab. The reason we are seeing this idea being put out there is because the advertising and merchandise are not making enough money... not so Dave Snider can buy a Ferrari.

#7 Posted by WilliamHenry (1200 posts) -
@raddevon said:
" So, why would the staff be interested in doing this if they were already making enough money by advertising and selling merchandise (both of which they already do)? It seems you guys have a really low opinion of Whiskey Media to suggest they are already doing two things which would make them enough money to sustain the site and now are just suggesting this additional revenue stream as some sort of money grab. The reason we are seeing this idea being put out there is because the advertising and merchandise are not making enough money... not so Dave Snider can buy a Ferrari. "

I think they do just fine money wise, but then again there are ads for Eat Pray Love right now and I don't think that is really targeting the user base, so maybe they do need money and are reaching out to broader advertisers. I think the paid account idea is more of a result of how dedicated a lot of the users are though. Whiskey has a pretty loyal following and the staff realize that. They want to offer more stuff to those users. If they have to do that by charging a small fee, then so be it. That said, I can't see myself paying for an account unless it comes with something really awesome or its super cheap.
#8 Posted by skyline7284 (503 posts) -
@Feanor said:
" @RecSpec: Exactly. I never understood why they made their t-shirts so hard to get.  Plus most of the content on this site is user created, makes no sense to pay for something that we contribute to. Also they have some of the worst video game coverage around, you usually have to wait ages to get a review, and they post news stories late. They are funny, and their quick looks are cool, but its not enough to justify a subscription.  "
They got burned on the Oscar Mike Shirts... so i doubt they will be revisiting that idea any time soon...
#9 Posted by Feanor (1387 posts) -
@raddevon: Well I don't care about whiskey media, I only care about Giant Bomb, and Comicvice, the other sites are crap in my eyes. Why would I want to sub if I only use two of the five sites? I could care less what happens to animevice. If the other sites are not making money then shut them down, don't have them bring down the good sites. 
 
If Giant Bomb has trouble making money, then they must have some terrible executives. This site gets so much traffic.
#10 Edited by Kombat (2205 posts) -
@Feanor said:

" Paying for any website is dumb. Sites can make plenty of money off of advertising. This is a video game site, not bangbros. "

Passing your personal opinion off as fact isn't exactly the most compelling way to push an argument. Giant Bomb's staff have said in the past that they would never take features already available on the site and charge extra for them. That seems to be what most of you guys are freaking out about with regard to this particular concept, and there's no legitimate reason to do so. 
 
I see a constant outpouring of support for Whiskey Media on this site, but when anything related to them making money comes up (other than the previously near-constant "How do they make money?" threads) everyone loses their minds and staggers off into some obscenity-and-meme laced pseudo-anti-establishment rant. It's extraordinarily irritating to play witness to.  
 
If a new advertisement pops up on the site, I immediately scroll down to the Recent Forum Posts on the main page to scan for some malicious thread title bitching about it. Whiskey begins to consider cooking up some extra content for subscribers and everyone begins insulting one another on how dumb it is to spend one's money in a way that makes the individual happy.   
 
@RecSpec
said:

" Merchandise. Boom. "

They don't make money from merchandise. The shirts and hoodies are things they've thrown together for fun and to serve their community. Their profit -- when there is any -- is extremely minimal. More often than not, however, they actually lose money on their branded merchandise.
#11 Posted by Milkman (16535 posts) -

I don't understand why everyone is freaking out about this. I paid for GameSpot. I'll pay for this. At GameSpot, the community was never "segregated" or anything like that. Whatever they do, I'll no problem supporting the site.

#12 Posted by RecSpec (3766 posts) -

I still think there would be a way to make money off merchandise.
 If your goal is to make money off it, that is.
 
The other stuff wasn't really a "Let's monetize this" thing as you said, but a service to the community.
As long as it is part of the overall equation, and not the whole thing, it could work.
 
But yeah, there is no simple solution to this. Just a ton of ideas.
Subscribing to THIS site wouldn't make any sense. 
I really don't see what they could offer that would be worth money.

#13 Posted by Synthballs (2193 posts) -

only site i've paid for is Something Awful and that was a one off payment as 10 dollars.  
 
I won't be paying for anything though. I can't wait for the forum to turn to shit when people turn into elitist douche bags,

#14 Posted by Video_Game_King (36047 posts) -

Remember that post where I said that a subscription shouldn't deprive users of content? This is exactly what I was talking about. It's a plan that's not screwing you over for not paying.

#15 Edited by cap123 (2477 posts) -

Anything to do with the forums is a bad idea when it comes to a premium account, people will think because they've paid some money it gives them permission to spam and act like asses. When they get banned, well, there will be problems won't there? Or at least Giantbomb will get a pretty bad reputation. 
 
I mean charging for non-forum content is fine, as long as banned forum users can still access their paid content on the main site.

#16 Posted by Feanor (1387 posts) -
@Kombat:   So the community is not allowed to voice their opinion? Some people don't want to pay squat for this site, even if it doesn't effect the current content that they have. I honestly can't think of a single thing that this site could offer, that would make me sign up for a sub. I've read the threads that you are talking about. People are not as negative and malicious as you try to make it out to be. Mostly people just say they won't pay, and their is nothing wrong with that, its their money.   
 
You also have to realize that this is a video game forum, and people will bitch about anything, even a simple advertisement on a site. And I don't think people are bitching about there being adds, but more about what the adds are. I mean really Eat Pray Love? What the fuck is that. Get some video game related adds. 
  
Anyways, I suggest you get off your high horse, this is an open forum, people are allowed to have their opinions. If you don't like it don't read it.
 
#17 Posted by Mrnitropb (2090 posts) -
@raddevon said:
 
  • user video hosting
  • a VIP forum (This wouldn't eliminate all trolls, but, in general, people willing to pay are less likely to be trolls.)
  • user blacklisting (with which I could never see content from my blacklisted users again)
  • priority access to beta codes and giveaways
No.  No video hosting. people spam Youtube enough as it is on the  forums. And judging by the QOTW, I has zero faith in the community to provide meaningful video content that isn't porn. and even then, only gay porn.
No. Ugh, just no. I'm pretty sure there is already a Mod only forum. There's tens of thousands of forums on this site. EVERY THINGS HAS ONE! Including V.I.P.! It would only further encourage the entitlement and snobbishness that we magnificent GB bastards already have.
No. Or, meh. Not actually the worst idea, but I wouldn't pay for it.
No. I am not paying to gain access to a free contest.
#18 Posted by davidwitten22 (1708 posts) -
@Kombat said:

" Merchandise. Boom. "

They don't make money from merchandise. The shirts and hoodies are things they've thrown together for fun and to serve their community. Their profit -- when there is any -- is extremely minimal. More often than not, however, they actually lose money on their branded merchandise. "
They could make money from merchandise though. Easily.
#19 Posted by Kombat (2205 posts) -
@Feanor: Of course they don't have to pay for something if they don't want to. That's the beauty of having the freedom of choice. I'm not saying that everyone on this site needs to pony up their paycheck to keep Ryan Davis' belly appropriately stocked. I'm simply pointing out that people need to accept that Giant Bomb is a business and that they need to make a living. I'm not trying to insult you personally, but there's been a lot of people basically saying that if a pay service ever went live here they'd stop visiting. That's completely asinine when they won't be losing any of the content that's already so adored on the site.
#20 Posted by Feanor (1387 posts) -
@Kombat: Well Im not mad that GB wants to make money. See the sub thing is for all the whiskey sites. I think they are trying to use the popularity of GB to make money because sites like Anime Vice are not doing as well. 
#21 Posted by Mrnitropb (2090 posts) -
@davidwitten22 said:
" @Kombat said:

" Merchandise. Boom. "

They don't make money from merchandise. The shirts and hoodies are things they've thrown together for fun and to serve their community. Their profit -- when there is any -- is extremely minimal. More often than not, however, they actually lose money on their branded merchandise. "
They could make money from merchandise though. Easily. "
Right. because in the past,they'd been last-minute, meme based kind of stuff, on small scale. if they sent their bigboss to go make some wheeling and dealing with  REPUTABLE merch people, they can make some money, and we can get some cool shit/swag.
#22 Posted by WilliamHenry (1200 posts) -
@davidwitten22 said:
" @Kombat said:

" Merchandise. Boom. "

They don't make money from merchandise. The shirts and hoodies are things they've thrown together for fun and to serve their community. Their profit -- when there is any -- is extremely minimal. More often than not, however, they actually lose money on their branded merchandise. "
They could make money from merchandise though. Easily. "

QFT. They could easily make money doing merch if they switched to a better merch company. I have a ton of experience with selling merch and its easy to do if you have the market for it and it seems pretty obvious that they do. All they have to do is send designs to a screen printer like mammothprintshop.com, then have them send the shirts to a merch fulfillment company like merchline. Mammoth handles all the printing, Merchline handles all the shipping and the storefront, and Whiskey sits back and earns money. An intern could have a Whiskey branded e-store up in a few days at the most.
#23 Posted by Napalm (9020 posts) -

How about if I give Whiskey Media twenty-five bucks a year, they have a dedicated team to fix all of the big bugs that have been left untouched for the past six months or so. I'd happily pay for that, 'cause that shit just ain't happenin' now.

#24 Posted by Mrnitropb (2090 posts) -
@DivineCC said:
" @davidwitten22 said:
" @Kombat said:

" Merchandise. Boom. "

They don't make money from merchandise. The shirts and hoodies are things they've thrown together for fun and to serve their community. Their profit -- when there is any -- is extremely minimal. More often than not, however, they actually lose money on their branded merchandise. "
They could make money from merchandise though. Easily. "
QFT. They could easily make money doing merch if they switched to a better merch company. I have a ton of experience with selling merch and its easy to do if you have the market for it and it seems pretty obvious that they do. All they have to do is send designs to a screen printer like mammothprintshop.com, then have them send the shirts to a merch fulfillment company like merchline. Mammoth handles all the printing, Merchline handles all the shipping and the storefront, and Whiskey sits back and earns money. An intern could have a Whiskey branded e-store up in a few days at the most. "
Right, and a larger professional merch handler would be able to handle Overseas orders, which would make a lot of folks in this international community very happy. 
 
@Napalm: zing!
#25 Posted by raddevon (437 posts) -

If only the US government knew about the infinite earning potential of merchandising! Instead of all this taxation mess, they could just have some shirts and coffee mugs printed up saying "U.S. Government" and watch the money to roll in!
 
Just because merchandise may bring in enough to keep your lemonade stand afloat doesn't mean it's a one-size-fits-all solution to all the world's money problems. Serving up video (among other things) to tens or hundreds of thousands of users is an expensive proposition not to mention paying the salaries and benefits for the people who are creating this content.

#26 Posted by ethan (776 posts) -
@raddevon said:
" not so Dave Snider can buy a Ferrari. "
He actually wants a Delorean. 
#27 Posted by raddevon (437 posts) -
@ethan: Well, that might actually be a bit cheaper. In that case, I'm maxing out at $10 per year for the subscription. ;-)
#28 Edited by CL60 (16906 posts) -
@ethan said:

" @raddevon said:

" not so Dave Snider can buy a Ferrari. "
He actually wants a Delorean.  "
Well that's understandable.
 
Well anyway onto the topic. I for one do not want a subscription service. If I'm getting kicked out of contests or giveaways because I'm not giving them money. No thanks. If I can't get into a VIP board because I'm not giving them money. No thanks. The other things on your list are things that would actually be acceptable in a subscription in my opinion.