Fran, the problem I have is one I have already mention. What is a 'small fee' for people in the US is probably going to be considerably higher for those of us who live in other countries. A $5 per month fee, for example, will be closer to $20 per month for me. An international money order is $8.50 a go, and credit cards charge fees for purchasing in foreign currencies. Those of us in other countries are already discriminated against because we can't enter any of the competitions - fair enough, it would cost money to send things o/s - but this is just one more thing against us. You may find that if they do get enough paying customers to remain viable, it will be pretty much US only, and lose most of the international members.
Secondly, I work the the IT department in a major bank. Quite frankly if we waited until the actual day of implimentation to inform our customers of fee changes, restructing of internet banking, new fees for telephone banking etc, our customers would be furiously vocal about their dissent, and I can't blame them. If changes have to be made, then they have to be made. But I got an email about 'changes' 2 - 3 weeks ago, with no real information. And nothing since. If I had recieved an outline of the changes to be made and the timeframe I would have been a lot happier with the process and have been able to make some kind of informed decision. Waiting until the day to make an annoucement effective immediately is extremely poor PR & Marketing.
Anyway, like everyone else I will just have to wait and see. I doubt the costs involved will be worth me remaining a member here, but until I know the exact details it is impossible to make a decision.
And on the subject of ads: I have complained to the Watcher several times about the ad links being broken and crashing the site, and each time the response I got was that it was my own ISPs fault, even though I'm in australia and others in the US and Canada had exactly the same problem. Perhaps if they weren't so disruptive I would have payed closer attention to the ads, but mostly I viewed them as something that prevented me from accessing the site at all. And yes, I have checked them out occasionally, but they are usually for US based companies so they are pretty irrelevant to me most of the time.
If they want us to pay for it, how are they expecting us to pay? I for one dont own a credit card, or have a checking acount. I dont run my computer through a phone line, so I dont know if they could charge my phone bill. If I would have to send in a $5.00 payment every month, I would have to pay 1.50 for a money order and then another $.34 for a stamp (prices are going up in Jan I think. Thus, that raises the price to $6.84. I know that doesnt seem like much, but it all adds up when you are trying to pay other bills also.
My situation for not being able to pay is similar to Diva's. The Canadian dollar is worth about half of the American dollar. So even if the price is only $5 a month, that would end up being about $10 for me and then there would be the postage costs. And there's no way I could pay that even if members under 18 were allowed to join. My dad is in the middle of a court case right now that involves him and about 10 other people being fired from their jobs even though they had a contract, so right now we have to pay the lawyer and tons of other bills.
I would have really liked to stay here with everyone. :-(
Does anyone know what is happening with the kid's sight?
((((Fran)))) We love you, and want you to know it... and you raise valid points in your message. I do have a few things to comment on, though:
1) MN has given us a lot indeed, but it has always been a business, and as such it has in turn used the number of subscribers to attract the advertising. It's always a give and take relationship, and it cannot be about giving people what they want. Although the advertising may not be enough to fund MN, that is hardly anyone's fault; not MN's and not ours. It's just an unfortunate occurence, but that's how most sites work. But this is not, and never has been about the site offering us free service; they did get a lot out of us being there too. YOU Fran have given us a lot, and were always there for us, but not the MN management. They just ran a business.
2) Diva raised an important point about the money orders from abroad.. Of course an annual fee is easier to handle for us abroad than a monthly one, as I believe it should be eventually.
3) I can pay a small fee.. I can even pay a BIG fee, if that guaranteed me the presence of the people I know and see here every day, or even once a month. But it won't, and for those of us that aren't too active in the teasers, it's unlikely that they will want to pay a fee (even nominal).
4) I still would like to know what will happen with the under-18s before making up my mind
5) I am not sure if the point has been raised, but I am unconvinced that a small fee will maintain MN. Once this becomes a paysite, the people in MN will have the right to ask to stop the advertising, especially as it causes trouble to many people's browsers. And I sincerely doubt the funds from subscriptions alone will be enough to sustain MN. ((((((Fran)))))) that will affect you more than anybody :-(
what I am also wondering is what happens in the future ..will it be like banks here, once they have you as a customer they slowly INCREASE the fees....