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Old 09-22-2005, 12:00 PM   #1
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Exclamation Gallery for paid members only?! Discuss it here.

On October 1, SCS will begin restricting most gallery access to Fan Club members only.

Free access to the Splitcoast galleries will be restored once gallery-related traffic issues are resolved.

For the entire story, see our announcement on the home page or read it here:
gallery announcement

For complete Fan Club information, look here:
Fan Club page

We want to know your thoughts, discuss below!


Answers to some questions

How much is a Fan Club subscription?
Fan Club subscriptions increased slightly this year, to $25 for 12 months.

Will non-paying members lose all access to the gallery?
Non-paying members will still have access to Member Galleries and Technique Spotlight galleries.

Is this change permanent?
The gallery will be free and open to all again, once our software and servers are able to handle the traffic load. The Fan Club galleries will always remain part of the benefit for paying members.

Are you making this change for financial reasons?
No. We hate it for financial reasons! We hate the fact that anyone might consider leaving us because they don't wish to pay a fee to access the gallery.

We're making the change for two reasons. First, it's not fair to our paying members that they pay for an inferior experience. Second, our servers and software are unable to handle our current traffic load. The only way the gallery can remain functional is to reduce the load until we can get further improvements in place.



10:30 AM (pacific) Friday, 11/23

Lot's of great feedback, thanks everyone. For all the incredibly kind words too. Wow! Thank you so much.

Please, be extra tolerant with negative reactions to this announcement. I asked for feedback and it's important to hear from those who have reservations about it.

Many of the posts so far relate to the financial impact of this announcement. There's no question that we will gain more paid members, at least in the short term, as a result of restricting access to much of the gallery.

For the long term health of the Splitcoast community, however, I believe that the best course of action is to remain a free site. We'll restrict the gallery for only as long as it takes to address our traffic problems.

I'm getting a slew of e-mail with questions about the Fan Club, and won't be able to respond to most of them in a timely fashion. Your best source of Fan Club information is here:
Fan Club page


More Questions & Answers

What about free trial memberships?
Any trial membership system could easily be skirted by re-joining the site with a new username. We don't want to create a negative incentive for "counterfeit" usernames.

What about a tiered membership system?
I prefer simplicity whenever possible and tiered memberships create complications for you and also for us.

What about partial-year memberships?
We will do partial-year Fan Club memberships, look for this very soon.

What if we trimmed down the number of uploads or restricted uploads in some way?
Uploads and file size are not contributing in a meaningful way to the performance issues that we're experiencing in the gallery. We will probably never need to place limits on the amount of items you upload.

Why do uploads have to be restricted for non-Fan Club members?
Since Member Galleries and Technique Spotlight are the only galleries that non-Fan Club members will see, they also won't be able to upload to other categories. Keeping the gallery organized requires us to keep uploads categorized properly and it would be difficult to do this with uploads from non-Fan Club members.

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Old 09-22-2005, 12:08 PM   #2
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It sounds reasonable to me, thanks for all the work that everyone has done to make this such a wonderful site.
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:10 PM   #3
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AAAAAIGHHHHHHH!
Okay, sign me up!
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:10 PM   #4
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Hey, Daven. You da Man!

I love that it's been free, I've been a member of Fan Club for some time, but I've long wondered how long you could keep it up. Till October 1, I guess. Well worth the $20 a year to see all those gorgeous cards. Restricting uploads to fan club members also makes sense. Ya'll have my vote: Aye!
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:10 PM   #5
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I think it is a great idea. I have stopped coming as often because of slow gallery times. I think this would boost your repair funds and help with wait times.
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:11 PM   #6
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I think it's a very bad idea.
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:12 PM   #7
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What a hard decision you've had to make. I think it's the right one though.
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:13 PM   #8
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With all the ideas and help I've received here and all that is involved with keeping up this site....I think this is a great idea.

I've received my $20.00 worth and more!
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:16 PM   #9
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I think it's a great idea. Sites like this one are not easy to keep up with especially with all the creative people here!

I plan on renewing my Fan Club subscription when it's due and this is just all the more reason to do so.

I am afraid, however, that we'll miss some really talented people in the gallery. But the forums will still be available for sharing information!

And thanks for the advanced warning on this.
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:16 PM   #10
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It must be a hard decision, although I am more than willing to contribute to have access, I also love referring people here to participate. I understand though, and I guess it won't affect me since I am already a fan club member.
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:16 PM   #11
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My only comment would be to make sure that the fee is at a reasonable rate that everyone can afford to pay. I think $20 is very reasonable but I have to say that I'm not sure if I'd pay more...probably would, but I'd have to think about it first.
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:16 PM   #12
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I think it is a great idea. I have been a member for over a year and lately it is so hard to get in. You and everyone else here done so much for all of us. It is so worth what we pay.

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Old 09-22-2005, 12:16 PM   #13
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Let me first state that having discovered this site a few months back I immediately paid to become a fan member and support the up keep and growth. I am not opposed to this as I know how much it costs (having worked in the software industry previously) and the wonderful service this site provides. I know of no other site that is as useful to me in my business as a SU! demonstrator for ideas, creative outlet, great discussions, etc. You all are wonderful.

That said, having read through your proposal I only have one question; 1) only fan club members can upload pictures to the site? This is the only area I don't agree with simply because it will limit my exposure to everyones creative and beautiful cards. I am of the philosophy "the more the merrier" as it relates to seeing everyones cards, scrapbook pages, etc.

I do support a paid site though due to limited incomes, etc I wonder if there can't be different membership fees that give you access to different areas of the site (such as how the fan club works now)?

I totally support you all - you have created an amazing site and have become an invaluable resourse to many demos. Thanks for all you do and please know I will continue to pay for my membership and support SCS in their efforts to create a better experience for me.

You all are much loved!
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:16 PM   #14
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I'm absolutely fine without whatever you need to do in order to keep this wonderful site up and running efficiently. I'm a Fan Club member and have no problem supporting your efforts. The nominal Fan Club fee is nothing... I spend more in a week on coffee than the cost of being a Fan Club member.

Don't fret about your decision - it's the right one to make!

deb
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:17 PM   #15
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Personally, the gallery is what keeps me here. Without it and the abitity to search by set, I don't know if I'd come here at all. I think if you take away the gallery, you will lose a large number of your members.
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:17 PM   #16
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I can say that this has had to be a VERY difficult thing to decide on for Daven and Tracy and all others who work on keeping this site up and running. When I joined SCS there was less than 10,000 members. Now their are gazillions, not counting lurkers.

They need to do what they need to do, I know my businnes skills, stamping skills, and even people skills have all improved from what I have read and learned on this site!! I do my part to contribute to this site anyway that I can. I will continue to do so.

To the SCS team thanks for all that you have done, and continue to do for all of our enjoyment here.
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:17 PM   #17
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You have to make the best decision for the future of this site and of course you should be compensated for all the work you do. I don't think anyone who has seen what your site has to offer would disagree. I am already a Fan Club member, and I think that $20 per year is well worth having full access to this awesome site. But I also understand that that could be someone's entire monthly (or longer) spending budget. How about having 2 levels of membership at different price points? Then people who can afford one level, but maybe not the next one, can still have access to a lot of great stuff? Just a thought... Keep up the great work! I'll still be here, no matter what you decide.
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:19 PM   #18
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Default I'm ok with the idea, BUT

It's well worth it as long as those sharing their wonderful ideas and projects will join! Otherwise, it may loose some of it's glamor as it is now

I don't mind paying, and perhaps you could go on "trail" to see how membership goes.
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:20 PM   #19
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When I started stamping, I appreciated the site was free but now that I'm addicted to it and I've been a fan club member for a few months...it is well worth my money for all the awesome ideas I get here. (maybe SU should fund some of it as they've certainly gotten increased sales from me with the awesome ideas on this site!)

I do think that it is a great idea for to make the gallery better for paying members! It is nice to get the extra perks and I find it hard to find the time to wait for the gallery.

Thanks for all the work you do and for making SCS an awesome site!
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:22 PM   #20
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As MUCH as we all spend in stamps, accessories, etc....$20.00 for the fan club dues shouldn't be any big deal...I think it is well worth the fee! Do what you need to do!
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:22 PM   #21
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I think this is a brilliant idea because 1) It will make the galleries less slow, and 2) It will help people be motivated to subscribe to the fan club, which is only $25 a year (cheap cheap), which will in turn, produce more money to be able to improve the site more, so that when everyone has subscribed and the galleries are slow again, you will be in a financial place to do something about it! YOU ARE SMART! I love this idea!!!
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:23 PM   #22
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It seems unfortunate that people who have been contributing to the gallery, though not necessarily paid members, will not be able to access it anymore.
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:24 PM   #23
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yes, I think it is worth paying for. I agree with a few others who stated that it took too long to view, so not coming to view is what I had to resort to.
thanks for the opportunity to state opinions!

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Old 09-22-2005, 12:24 PM   #24
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I have no problem with it. I think it is inevitable at some point that the site has to go "pay only" with the traffic we have here!
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:26 PM   #25
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I'm sure there will be lots who are plenty mad about the whole thing, but, I, for one, happen to agree with your decision. I have a hard time understanding the folks that think this site runs for free and all by itself. How was there anyway to fathom it would jump from less than 1000 or so members to over 40,000 in less than 2 years??
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:29 PM   #26
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I don't have a problem with paying for the gallery, especially if it's only $20. After all, that is probably just a teeny-tiny percantage of what we spend on stamping supplies each year.

I cannot imagine the amount of time, energy, and $$$ that has to go into keeping a site like this up and running.

Thanks for all of your hard work.
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:30 PM   #27
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I think $20 is a bargain to access all of the gallery. If it hadn't been for this site I doubt I would be the stamper I am today.
Thanks a million,
Barbara
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:30 PM   #28
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Thumbs up Keep up the great work!

I have never found a site as comprehensive as this one. I love it and am a fan club member. For only $2/month - it's a steal in my opinion. Most stamping magazines cost more per year and they're not nearly as useful or interactive. With all the tutorials and galleries - I think people would be crazy to NOT come just because there's a fee.
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:31 PM   #29
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I was happy to pay my $20. The only thing I am worried about is that you will lose the heart of the site. This is by far the most progressive and exciting SU site where the ideas are awe-inspiring, I just don't know if it will be the same if it is only available to those that pay.

Maybe hundreds will move on, taking their great ideas with them.

I love coming on here and knowing that there will be examples of the new sets before they are officially released to the public, it gives us a greater idea of what you are able to do with the sets. I just don't know if that will continue when it becomes a pay site.

I also don't know if any other site where you can just load your cards on for anyone to see, it will be a sad day if that stops.

I really do appreciate all the hard work and dedication you have all shown and maybe you are victims of your own success, but if at all possible, please don't stop anyone being able to load their ideas onto this site.
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:32 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laurakj
Personally, the gallery is what keeps me here. Without it and the abitity to search by set, I don't know if I'd come here at all. I think if you take away the gallery, you will lose a large number of your members.
From what I understand, everyone can still view the gallery, but only those with paid subscriptions can upload. No one is losing access to the ideas, because many of the more prolific uploaders are fan club members. I agree with Daven that it is unacceptable for those who have financially supported the site to be unable to fully enjoy what it has to offer. You complain to your internet provider or cable company when you can't get a good signal, right? It's a very similar situation.

I wanted to subscribe to the Dirty Dozen gallery last December but could not afford it at the time, and was blessed with a gift subscription by a generous SCSer. Perhaps we could bring back the anonymous gift subscriptions for those who want to support the site but can't fit it into their budgets? Twenty dollars a year works out to only $1.67 a month (less than a single latte at Starbucks), but I understand that sometimes you just can't squeeze another dollar out of your budget. I've been there. Then again, this decision to restrict access might increase subscriptions enough that the fee could be reduced.
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:33 PM   #31
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I can't say I'm not sad and disappointed, but I understand. What happpens if you get TONS of new members though? Will that give the dollars to expand the server?
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:33 PM   #32
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I have to say that I have spent so much money on scrapbook and stamping magazines, but I find SO MUCH more inspiration here than in any of the magazines I have bougnt. I would gladly forfeit buying my magazines to buy a subscription to SCS!!!!

I echo all comments on the time, talent, etc. involved to run this website and think it only fair to receive financial compensation for all the "behind the scenes" stuff that most of us have no clue about. I'm sure the servers and all the space it takes to store the many uploads on this site aren't free!

Aye is my vote!

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Old 09-22-2005, 12:34 PM   #33
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I've always been surprised that we get so much for free. Every time I've told someone about SCS they're first reaction is "It's FREE?", so I'd say SCS is actually behind the times in requiring some payment for the wonderful services. I've been a member of the Fan Club because I REALLY appreciate all the information I receive and I know it's NOT free for those who provide the website. Do what you have to do to keep this wonderful resource going and improving.
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:34 PM   #34
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As I sit here in my SCS tee shirt , I can only imagine how hard this decision has been. I for one will gladly pay my dues to continue to receive the benefits from such a wonderful site. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:36 PM   #35
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I love the site. I will do what ever you need to keep this valuable tool available. I have been a member of the fan club for 5-6 months now and I love it. I always urge my friends and customers to join as well.

Maybe you could limit the size of each file that is uploaded to the gallery. I know when there is a smaller picture it loads much faster. It could free up some of the storage space. I also think for those that may not be able to afford the full membership costs that there could be different levels of membership. Or you could limit the amount of uploads a non paying member could load.

I would hate to miss out on some of the great talent because they couldn't share there ideas.

I will support ya'll in what ever you do.
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:36 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laurakj
Personally, the gallery is what keeps me here. Without it and the abitity to search by set, I don't know if I'd come here at all. I think if you take away the gallery, you will lose a large number of your members.
I agree.
I will not be paying to access the gallery. I am a SAHM and new SU! demo on a VERY restricted budget. The BIGGEST reason I visit is because of the gallery. I can find what I would consider *better* business ideas elsewhere. If I have to start paying to visit, then I will no longer visit.
Although, I understand why you *need* to do this, I am sure there are other alternatives out there. Why not offer free time if you contribute *this or that*. I belong to another site where this is offered and I think it is wonderful! Anyway, JMHO!
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:37 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BasketMom
I have never found a site as comprehensive as this one. I love it and am a fan club member. For only $2/month - it's a steal in my opinion. Most stamping magazines cost more per year and they're not nearly as useful or interactive. With all the tutorials and galleries - I think people would be crazy to NOT come just because there's a fee.
I totally agree with this 100% and then some . . .
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:40 PM   #38
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I read the posts and I would like to make a few comments regarding the cost of the Fan Club. It didn't take me long to decide that I wanted to be a Fan. This site is incredible and there are new and exciting posts and pictures everyday.

I'm a SU! demo and I have learned more on this site than I've learned anywhere else. Even for non-demos, the info is invaluable.

I'm thinking of something like that commercial:

-- New stamp set $25
-- new watercolor crayons $50
-- Membership to the SCS Fan Club "PRICELESS"

I can't really give you a cost that would be prohibitive, but $20 is certainly VERY reasonable. For those who say that some people may not have the money to pay: Do you stamp? Do you buy stamping supplies? If you can afford to buy those, you could afford to "save" a bit here and there and come up with $20 per year. That's only $2.60 per week. I'm sure EVERYONE on this site has "wasted" at least $2.60 per week. I know about not having money. Believe me, my husband (now ex) sold his plasma 2x per week so we'd have $35 a week for grocery money to feed 2 adults and 2 children (an impossibility). His arms are filled with needle marks from this.

I've learned there is "no free lunch". This is a GREAT site. No, it's a SUPER site! And all of us that enjoy it need to support it. And if the price is not something you can afford (or you choose to spend money on something else), then that is your decision. Sometimes we can't have it all, sometimes we can.

I support your decision to have paying members only post to the gallery. However, it will reduce the value of the gallery if many people choose not to subscribe.

But I'd rather have a limited gallery than no SCS!

Tish.
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:41 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabrinasmom
Although, I understand why you *need* to do this, I am sure there are other alternatives out there. Why not offer free time if you contribute *this or that*.
Prolly cause "this or that" don't pay the bills! Money does!
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:43 PM   #40
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I think it's a great idea . . . This site is a valuable resource for stampers and just a great place to "hang-out." I think everyone should be willing to pay the annual Fan Club fee (a mere $20) to get access to it. I just need to say a big MAHALO (thanks) to everyone who makes SCS possible -- I certainly appreciate your hard work
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