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  #1  
Old 23 May 2002
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: London
Posts: 161
How's the Souk doing?

I'd really like to know...because I suppose the future of the site may depend on it?

I haven't bought anything yet, because I don't find the merchandise terribly compelling. But I'm open to the idea of paying a membership sub. At the moment the status of a member is a tad confused - anyone who registers and posts a forum topic is described in the Author field as a new member, or traveller, or whatever. This is irrespective of whether that person has paid for membership or gold membership in the Souk. I'm sure you've thought of this but been prevented by cost or technology from doing it...but what if one's Souk membership status was flagged in the Author field? The resultant peer pressure might encourage the heavier forum users (like me) to take out Gold membership - which seems fair, as these are the people who get the most out of the site.

If you do go down this road, you might also get requests to publish the site's finances in the manner of a member's club. I don't know how you feel about this?

Good luck with the Souk - I would hate to see the site disappear for lack of funds.

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  #2  
Old 24 May 2002
Susan Johnson's Avatar
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Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Canada
Posts: 708
Hi Nick

Thanks for asking. We've definitely had some results from it, and since it doesn't require any ongoing effort on our part, that makes it a good return on our initial investment in time to set it up. But it's a long way from even paying the bills for the site itself, much less paying us a living wage.

Some people have told us they don't need any more t-shirts or mugs, but they'd still like to show support. We accept checks (in US$, Sterling, Euros, Canadian $ and Australian $). We also have signed up with Amazon Honor System so that people can contribute using their credit cards. And in UK, we're registered with NoChex, an e-mail payment system. Details for all of these are at this link on the Souk page: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/sto...Contributions.

Thanks for pointing out that the HUBB describes people who have registered but only done a few posts as 'new member'. We need to change that terminology (perhaps to 'newbie', as we do intend the term Member to refer to contributors via the Souk or as described above.

There is no easy way to denote the person's 'Member' status vis the Souk in the HUBB, not without hacking the UBB code. And Cafe Press doesn't provide us with e-mail addresses of people who buy there, just their names, so it's not always possible to link the individual to either a HUBB registration or our e-zine subscription list.

What we have considered is publishing a page on the site, with the names of Supporters, Members and Gold Members, so supporters do get visible recognition, and if your name isn't listed, yes, that might put some peer pressure on. Not sure how people would react to that, though, some people might see it as invasion of privacy.

I don't have a problem with publishing the site's finances, other than it's a bit embarrassing to admit how much time and money we've spent on it with minimal return.
But we've never been in this for the money. We've been told that if we took the business plan to a bank or venture capitalist, they'd laugh us out the door.

We still think that, considering what people are spending on bikes, mods, equipment, etc., that we should be able to get some major advertising/ sponsorship from manufacturers. What we need is names and contact details for the people who make the decisions to advertise and can see the value of the prestige and visibility they would get from sponsoring part of the site.

Not everyone is aware of this, but when you type 'motorcycle travel' into Google, we come up FIRST out of 363,000!
And we get well over a million hits a month on the site, translates to 190,000 individual page views last month. Considering this is a niche site, that's pretty impressive numbers for a potential advertiser. So if you know anyone who should be advertising with us, please send them to the site.

Thanks for asking. And now that you know you don't have to buy a t-shirt, you have no excuse not to contribute!

Grant & Susan
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  #3  
Old 24 May 2002
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: London
Posts: 161
Thanks for taking the time to put up such a detailed reply. (I hope I'm not the only one who'll read it, as the long term survival of the site is surely one of the most important subjects up for discussion. Doesn't anyone else out there have anything to say?)

I'm edging closer to a Souk transaction - but I must admit I'd feel more comfortable with a contribution if I knew I wasn't alone....I feel it should be a team effort, shared by the other regulars...shame you haven't yet got any membership stats that you want to talk about...maybe sometime soon you'll be able to make a bit more fuss about users' obligations to support the site, and make the non-members feel a twinge of guilt by proudly boasting that 80% of forum participants have parted with money in the Souk...or something.

Oh what the hell, I'll definitely have to put my money where my mouth is now, won't I? Just have to think what to have on my T-shirt...
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  #4  
Old 29 May 2002
Grant Johnson's Avatar
HU Founder
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Join Date: Dec 1997
Location: Vancouver BC Canada
Posts: 4,534
You're most definitely not alone Nick!

While it's not enough to live on yet by quite a bit, the support is encouraging, and we hope it keeps up.

The support at the Nairn Falls Rally was terrific, most of the attendees did sign up as members or Gold members.

And by the way we can do custom t-shirts for Gold Members!

------------------
Grant Johnson

Seek, and ye shall find.

------------------------

One world, Two wheels.
www.HorizonsUnlimited.com
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Inspiring, Informing and Connecting travellers since 1997!
www.HorizonsUnlimited.com
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  #5  
Old 31 May 2002
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Kiwi formerly working in Germany, now sitting on touratech seat of an F650....
Posts: 71
Well Nick, I can only agree with most of your sentiments, having already wondered how Grant and Susan do it.

I can´t beleive the lack of advertisers who should be using Horizons to promote thier products. The site is more target group specific than any textbook definition, and from what I understand the rates are absurdly cheap.

I wont name names of the company´s who should be using this site, although I will say I have many accessories from one German company who need thier heads read for not doing so....

For a niche site, that amount of hits has got to be enough to wake up even the most penny pinching marketing manager around....

Carry on the good work guys....

Jeremy
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