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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
/WHINE/ The first five years of MO, I worked every single day without a day off, usually 14-20 hours per day. /WHINE/



I can't, and won't, work this hard any more. We need to have a normal-sized staff and people to make MO better.



MO is the best site on the 'Net for motorcycle info, possibly the best anywhere, on- or off-line. Our content is certainly volumous enough to fill up several print magazine per month, and all this costs money. While it's cool that we serve about two million individual readers per year and tower over the publishing industry, I've come to see that this is really just a liability, not a feature...
 

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Just go to pay

Why not just go directly to being a pay site? As of last I knew, counting on charity to support a business isn't usually successful. I get the idea from your reluctance to become a pay site that you're not sure it's going to work. It seems to me if you thought it was going to make the big money, I'd be paying to write this right now.
 

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It really is a good site and the idea of donating is much like the system used by public radio and television. The folks that feel strongly about the site can help insure that it exists for everyone (supporters and slackers alike). How about this, every one reading this that owns a pair of leathers surely can afford to chip in something (say a tenth of the cost of a dryfit under liner that lasts how long, a year?).
 

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I for one would like to see these guys make it, so I ponied up my $11.94.



A purely online bike magazine is a good thing, and these guys have been writing some great stuff for years. So send some scratch their way!
 

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Brent, et al.:

First, I only registered so I could reply to this new item.

Um, I disagree with your comment, Brent. M.O. is NOT the best source on the internet for motorcycle information. You are a good one, but don't get carried away.

If M.O. shifts to a pay-to-play model, you can say goodbye to most of your readers. Don't even believe your own poll re: how many would pay if they had to pay to use the site. With the sole exception of product reviews (bikes and gear), there is NOTHING on M.O. that is not available on other websites (I'll spare you the naming of names). In fact, most of those reviews eventually do show up somewhere else. Note that I'm not making any criticisms about the quality of M.O.'s articles and reviews. And, if it comes to subscription-only service, M.O. will, sad to say it, bite the dust. (Just in case, I've got first dibs on buying whichever laptop computer is the newest...oh, and a Palm Pilot, too...)

The fact of the matter is that being a content provider on the internet is a tough way to run a business (but you already knew that). In fact, even being a portal is tough as several large search engines found out the hard way.

I don't have any answers for you and I also have nothing but hope for your continued success (or at least existence). However, regardless of what your financial analyst/accountant is telling you, subscription service will kill M.O.
 

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Re: Just go to pay

Actually, this was done not out of fear of failure, but as a stepping-stone into the full pay model that you reference. Also, setting up this system makes going to the Pay-for-MO model much easier -- both technically speaking on our end and for the user who will see that an online transaction through MO will not be catastrophic.

Keep in mind that there is also some advertising revenue and that MO is not a charity organization, though our paychecks often make it feel that way.

Thanks for the intelligent post -- this goes to all of you who think before you type :)
 

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Just curious, Brent:



Where does the "two million individual readers per year" figure come from? Is that unique page hits per year? Because that's only 166,667 per month which is in the "decent" magazine territory. And, if it doesn't distinguish "unique" hits over the course of the year, or, all the people who refuse to accept cookies (like me up until registering today), then the number of readers drops precipitously. For instance, I probably hit M.O. about 20 times a month, roughly 240 times a year. Probably a lot of your readers are like that. Even if we only did it 10 times a month, you'd get all those page hits from a mere 1,389 readers.



Just curious, you know? As they say,



"Their are lies, their are damn lies, and then there are statistics." (I forget the source, sounds like Twain or Rogers.)
 

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I feel your pain, Brent. Been there, done that, and it's no fun, and it'd be especially so at a company that isn't likely to have a multi-billion dollar IPO.



But a paid subscription based web site? Bang, you're dead. Allow me to give the example of financial site thestreet.com. It started out all free, then went to all pay, and has now backed off to mostly free, with a companion pay site (thestreetpro.com). I think MO's great, but I doubt there's enough depth and breadth at MO to divide it up this way. Besides, your typical motorcyclist is way less likely to pay for something than your typical investor.
 

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I would have to agree with the previous comment. When I first got the internet MO was the first thing I checked everyday. That is no longer the case. There are other sites out there. MO used to race Buells also. That was a big draw for me because I ride I Buell. If I have to pay I will just go to other sites. Sorry Brent. I really like your site, just not enough to pay for it. I hope you the best in the future and hope your idea makes you money. It just will not be with my money.



Nick

 

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Site Stats

I too am very curious about your numbers for the site. I personally visit about 10 times during the course of a working day, more if there's nothing going on. That means I account for about 3500 hits a year. How do you know it's me each time? Obviously I'm "bimota" from my workstation, but from home, a different workstation, or a friend's house; I'd seem to be a different user (I only log in at work). Two million always seemed a little high to me given the number of registered users I see.
 

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The longer you stay away from pay, the better

Well, I hope this charity program through Amazon works out for you guys. Going to a pay site is a dead end. You will be F*cked if you start charging unless you can convince every other bike news web site in the world to start charging all at once. Like I said in a previous post..... I wonder what the other motorcycle sites will do with your reader traffic.

You should look into selling MO gear. Hats, patches, stickers, t-shirts.... you know riders love that stuff. If you have such a huge readership, but the adverstising dollars still are not flowing. Sell your name on gear ...... the secret of Harley Davidson's success !

Deadeye
 

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Okay, I'm in. I'm all for more staff = more content; and I support the concept of you guys making a decent living.



It's pretty cool that Amazon offers this service -- quick and easy, using my existing account with an organization I trust. I hope they're not taking too big a percentage.







 

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All you folks that think the internet will remain "free" as we know it today are a bunch of wishful thinkers. The current model is broken and the tools to support "subscription packages" and "pay as you use" are on the way. The big ISPs will deploy these tools as soon as the tools are ready. Your "connection" fee may go down but your user fees will go up. I see it as being something of a cross between your old long distance phone bill and your cable or satellite TV bill. Quality content cost money to create and banner adds are not delivering the revenue support. If you enjoy MO send them a few bucks.

 

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Catch 22?

To all you who predict (it's not the valid truth now, just a prediction) that MO would die if they went subscription based, I have something to say. I'm no expert, but it seems to me that if MO doesn't start making some serious money they will die anyways. You think a subscription model will kill them? From what I gather, NOT having one will kill them too. It's a Catch 22 and frankly MO may have no choice.

I've been mooching off their free content long enough and I'd probably pay up to continue to receive. I should mention I'm a working college student. I think if I somebody in my position can afford it, so can the majority of MO readers. I also get Motorcyclist magazine, but I like MO in addition. Brent did say in his first post that MO would get larger and better if they received enough support. You wouldn't be paying for MO as we know it, but for a larger, better, more intensified MO. I think I'd be worth the relatively puny amount each person would put in. No, I don't work at MO. I just support what they are trying to do. Feel free to flame me if you hate what I say. I can handle it ;)

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The short answer:

We track individual computers that read MO (not IP addresses). 4.5 million of them last year. While we don't have your name tied to your anonymous_mo_id here, we do know everything that everyone read. From there, based on our registration systems in the classifieds and in the new news.mo, we know the ratio of individuals/computers logged in from. It's roughly 2.3 computers/person. That's between home, work, new computers/browsers, everyone that reads us changes uses an average of 2.3 computers per year.

Anyway, our tracking system (a modified Apache usertrack-style system that records you MO user id and the apache usertrack cookie in one common log file) reads it all into a SQL database and spits out, based on custom queries we wrote, the total number of actual invidivual people that have read us for the period measured.

Last month I imported an ran the whole year 2000, which took a long time! That's how we figured it out.

This whole system took a long time to write and figure out, it's the backed stuff that we also needed to to transparently adaptive content for users, as well as targeted advertising.

Obvioulsy, I wanted to know exactly how many people really read us (there's always been so much BS out there it makes me sick!) before considering going to a fee site.

Now we know, and even if we only retain 15% of our readers, at $11.94 per year, the revenues are still pretty decent. Not enough were we'll all be retiring to an island (who's want to? you can't rent racetracks on islands!) but enough to where I won't have to work every day, at least.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The "sole exception of product reviews (bikes and gear), there is NOTHING..."



Those bikes/product reviews are 90% of our traffic (and we're bigger than all the other content sites combined), and no other web site can get access to the test fleets from the OEMs. Where will you go for your Open Sportbike Shootout? Open Twins? No where, not now at least.



And no one can debate that we don't beat the print magazines by considerable time spans, and many people pay for them. Would 2.0 million people per year subscribe to the largest print mag if it was free? Sure. But only a small percentage of that number are willing to pay for it.



So it will be with MO. But even retaining 15% of our readers will mean significantly more revenues to improve the site, so it'll be that much better, that much more of a reason to subscribe.



Free content sites will be all gone within two years. MO, founding in April, 1994, was the first commercial magazine online, we will be the first large-scale "lifestyle" magazine to be successful in a fee model.



As I said above, I don't mind losing the 85% of readers who won't pay. Many will eventually come around. The internet is boring, and I, for one, make heavy use of the the two other sites that I've paid yearly fees for. The content is better, I trust it, and I don't have time to read or search through Billy Joe Bob's Reviews, or the zillions of other individual web sites in the genres that interest me. I like quality content, and like paying for it. One neat thing about one of sites that I paid for is that the editors there actually had time to respond to my e-mailed question -- one response from one site saved me significant time and money, so I'll probably always pay the yearly fee there (and it's about $60/year), as long as the content remains good. So it will be with MO, we'll work on more content and helping our readers. Building trust, community and a place for people to be involved is the future of the Web, and MO.
 
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