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I agree with FlyingVizsia.. Forcing subscription will eventually constrain your numbers and if that happens, it may not be so appealing to those who subscribe. A members only area, which can be anything from closed forums to additional content or ability to real-time message may be a better option.

 

I am in a similar boat to you; only slightly younger and never developed my own PM methodology, I have been out of contract for only 3 weeks.. But not too much on the horizon and thanks to COVID-19, the new work planned has been delayed at best... Rather than doggedly sticking to looking for work (or worse, having to move back to working in London), I am looking for alternatives - plan B. As I mentioned before, it is probably time to put the PM hat on and develop/execute a plan B.

 

In your shoes, is the site enough to warrant having a go at making it a commercial operation - not to elevate you to Gates of Zuckerman status, but keep the wolves from the door at least. Does the site generate enough traffic that may make sense partnering with other companies. I know you do clear prop, but maybe partner with say a couple of schools and other suppliers to provide special members only discounts to drive up your subscriptions? Obviously, advertisements should be looked at.. they don't have to be intrusive.. per click or advertising space.. Don't over-do it, though.

 

Re clear prop, a $5 margin doesn't seem like a good business model to me.. As soon as you get a return, the cost to handle it has wiped out any profit on that item. I just did a random check and you are $26 cheaper than flightstore.com.au for an ICOM AC-25E transciever and it looks like they add shipping costs on afterwards. You sell ASA-HS1A headsets for $36 less than Skylines at YMMB. And you are selling the Flightcom V30SP $120 cheaper than skylnes!! If you are making money on this (and better still, don't have to carry stock), then you should be being more aggressive with your marketing... and you can still narrow the difference and make a bit more.. In the headset range, you don't have the big names, but still...

 

Now is obviously not a good time to invest a lot in a discretionary consumer goods item in a specialised field, but longer term, you look pretty competitive and you may want to start your planning.. And FFS, you chould have a clear link/ad to clearoprop from the home page of recflying...

 

Are there other GA community/forum sites in Aus that aren't direct competitors - cross reference each other by putting links in and things can improve.

 

Just a few ideas hastily thought.. sure they can be refined..

 

JA

Edited by Jerry_Atrick
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Facebook has its problems. In friend terms its shallow. Forums have depth.

 

ABSOLUTELY!

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Obviously my thoughts on the "First class member" designation is not the majority view.

Given that position I feel there is a case for changing the designation from first class to subscriber.

 

In any case I/we can only hope that enough support is forth coming to keep the site functioning, it is such a valuable resource, a tremendous community builder and a massive credit to Ian's dedication and hard work.

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"Site donations (could there be different levels like Gold Class, Silver Class etc but how would that work...Benefits?????) "

 

I would be very wary of creating a "Class" system - an across the board annual flat membership/contribution fee is the way to go. Donations above this can be acknowledged in the left column, under the members details.

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As someone in a position (and willing) to donate more than $50pa, I would not like to have my $$s listed. First it gives others the impression that things are fine, these guys are paying my fare. Secondly I prefer to support a site to the level that I appreciate it and can afford. I don't want people on limited means to think they are excluded.

 

So my thoughts are to keep the First Class Member banner, have a Donate button, let us give what we want. Don't ever go to FarceBook. We won't go there.

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To ensure transparency with donations, any suggestions on how to do this...like, do I list each donation and the amount but then maybe some will not want to have it displayed, I could just put "Anon" with initials for those that wish not to be listed...I also need to show the outgoings that use donated money (for example the date and amount hosting is paid etc) and keep a running balance.

 

Any thoughts

Agree with M Kyle. You don’t. I think you’ve got a huge resource here and it just needs tweaking to provide 2 results.

 

1.Give you the income you need to operate independently (this and clearprop certainly look like a full time job between them)

 

2. Continue to give us the wonderful reference material we can rifle through. Both safety related and buying decisions. Both a big deal... I purchased a plane after a lot of time on the web and probably 50% of that research was here in the individual builds area..Savannah, Skyranger etc. I purchased a share in a Skyranger and remains really happy with that decision (haven’t seen the plane yet. Must do that one day when I can leave Taiwan)

 

One could wonder about the total plane dollar purchases spent over a year that are decided on this site. Must be some millions.

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I have changed my payment to this site to a regular monthly thing. I don't regard the $10 a month as a donation, but as being in lieu of a magazine which would cost about the same and yet this site is better value. It is cheap compared with: GFA membership; RAAus membership; Jubiru reg; Libelle reg; Adelaide Soaring Club membership and hangar site rental.

The total for these things is over $2,000 a year or more than $160 a month. Much of this $2000 a year is money demanded from me with menaces. Gosh $10 is embarrassingly small in the scheme of things, and certainly not demanded in any way.

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Posted (edited)

Mate - I have dedicated hosting solutions that probably has capacity for the site. I would hate to see it go, so if I can help you - reach out mate. We can discuss the long term plans too!

Thanks mate, my dedicated server in the US is spec'd:

CPU: Intel’s Fastest Xeon E, 2288G 8 Core 3.8Ghz >20,000 Passmark

Memory: 64GB DDR4 ECC Ram

Disk Set: 1.2TB NVMe

IP's: /29 5x usable ip's

100Tb over 1gbps connection

Price: $150USD

 

The server is setup using CentOS7 and nginx

 

Domains are handled by Cloudflare

1. www.recreationalflying.com (the main site)

2. www.clearprop.com.au (a small shopping cart site)

3. www.recfly.com.au (an empty site that I use for testing development)

4. www.jackaroo.com.au (an empty site but has email mx to gmail)

 

Current server load is about 0.3

 

Current traffic is around 250gb

 

Disk space currently used is around 7gb for Recreational Flying files and 1gb for MySQL databases

 

And the whole server has been optimised for high performance using centminmod by one of the Moderators there

 

You will see the cost for such a high spec'd server is very cheap (no GST) in the scheme of things but the exchange rate is what is hurting, last month was $280AUD but a server like this in Australia would be around $600 a month

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Ian, in the link below, an Australian company is offering a similar server ("Rise 4") for AU$179.49 mth + GST. There are four sites to choose from, in "civilised" countries - 1 in Canada, 2 in France, 1 in Poland.

Even with GST added, it's still only AU$197 a mth, a saving of AU$83 a mth over your current choice.

 

https://www.ovh.com.au/dedicated-servers/prices/

 

P.S. Note that OVH is recruiting (bottom of page). Perhaps you could send in your CV? With the sudden surge to much more internet transactional use with the virus problem, they must surely be finding that business is booming?

 

https://www.ovhcloud.com/en-au/about-us/who-are/

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Posted (edited)

Thanks mate but when you add NVMe (needed for disk driven Database sites for performance), add gst, not sign up for a 1 or 2 year paid upfront contract it costs $290 a month and you still get a lower specd processor and only half the connection capacity

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Ian,

 

Actually - you are way over specced! But that's not such a bad thing. What is the forum software? I would honestly recommend moving away from such a system and going cloud based. I currently have about 5 times your capacity and it costs me about $120 AUD a month - PLUS - it's fully supported, so don't have to actually look after the infrastructure. Currently I have 8 sites running on a 10 site capacity plan, and there is still plenty of headroom!

 

I am happy to discuss with you if you wish, and we can look and see if there is a better solution for you. It may mean you migrate to a different software platform, but I think you will be better for it in the long run.

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Current Status...

 

I would like to publicly thank everyone that has so generously donated so far to the costs of running this site, they are noted as being First Class members and their username in GOLD. So far there has been a total of $2,300 donated including one donation of $1,000. I just want to say that this is only because whilst I have been paying to keep the site available for everyone over the last 18 years I am currently not in a position to continue to do so but hopefully the day will come when I again can.

 

This amount of donated funds will ensure the site hosting and software costs are covered till Christmas, subject to the AUD/USD exchange rate. However I am also looking into a potential solution to reduce the hosting costs as long as there is no negative site performance impacts to you, the user, in conjunction with advice from the user @BirdDog but more on that later.

 

I am also looking at segregating some components and further enhancements of the site that will contain special benefits to those good people, First Class users, that have been so generous in donating to ensure the site's future for everyone but in doing so trying not to compromise the overall site's intent of help and support to ALL recreational aviators.

 

Now, speaking of the site's intent I respectfully ask if everyone can do whatever is possible to assist in building up the site user numbers. The greater number of users means the greater amount of helpful information exchange we have for everyone to benefit...this is a community, it is a tool to help each other through telling our own stories of our own experiences, good, bad, happy, fun etc and from those, you never know but what you write may just save the life of another fellow recreational aviator. However, this can only be achieved if we post and post and post, and get many others to join in here to post and post and post. For example here is one of my experiences that I posted here 13 years ago that I am sure has helped many others:

https://www.recreationalflying.com/threads/a-great-trip-a-lesson-learnt-and-experience-gained.1626/

 

Please...post and post and post and get many others to join in here at Recreational Flying (.com)...everyone has something to offer

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I love this site and the invaluable information it is able to impart to our aviation community.

I, too, would be more than willing to pay an annual subscription for membership to keep the site operating as it has for the last few years, rather than seeing its demise or its move to facebum.

Thank you for your work over the years.

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Posts regarding the RAAus face-to-face member forum replacement have been moved to their own thread in the Governing Bodies forum

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Ian, here is an idea that might be a winner if it is technically feasible.

Club members would like to stay in touch while we cannot meet socially. Email is clunky, many will not use Facebook. Can we have a club forum for each aero club that has these features:

1

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I don’t see a problem with a subscription - if it helps keep things afloat and everyone on the same page then it would be good

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I’ve spent a little time on a few other flying sites. Had been a lot of years since being on forums. I have to commend you (Ian/ admin) on your fortitude and persistence. Had no idea it could go so wrong. I’ve just read a few threads that left me feeling like I needed to wash my hands. Well, more than the current trends toward vigorous hand washing ?

 

Not seen anything remotely similar here. It’s as expected. Rich with information and I’ve since discovered the non technical area I can go and discuss silly stuff. I’ve discovered the article section. Yeah, just wanted to say I’m really impressed and this thread seems to be the one to express it. Glad you’re on reserve tank and have a bit of gas to keep going.

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Just a quick note to anyone that would like to make a donation please use the button on the site as that goes to PayPal which is used for the site costs and not my other account. A couple of donations, and note I am so very appreciative of every donation irrespective how it comes, even by carrier pigeon, but a couple were made using the bank account details that were provided on the invoice the person received when buying from the Clear Prop Shop. I think I have them all but if you made a donation and the site is not showing you as a First Class Member then please let me know...thanks

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Happy to help Ian. I will also pop in a donation. We need this site to continue, as there really isn't anywhere else for what we need. And - as mentioned in our recent discussions, I am happy to help you into the future - even if you just need some info etc.

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Done - I put a not in to identify myself, so you know who it came from.

 

Cheers

John

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