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Richard

Roller-Coaster.com.au Subscription

52 posts in this topic

Roller-Coaster.com.au continues to grow and expand. It remains Australia's most popular and comprehensive theme park and amusement site. Roller-Coaster.com.au has remained 100% ad-free from the very start despite increasing costs associated with the operation and serving of this site. Web hosting costs are thankfully reduced because as many of you know I do work in the web hosting business, but the costs are still there and continue to grow. Regular theme park updates aren't free either. I do enjoy doing them and will continue to do so, but they cost me time and money. What will be happening shortly is a subscription system will be put in place and aims to give you, the user, the opportunity to get as much as you want out of Roller-Coaster.com.au. This is about offering the best possible service I can. I want to expand the site and grow on what it is, but much of what I have in mind will be somewhat costly. For these reasons a Roller-Coaster.com.au Subscription buys you more than just brownie points with me (this doesn't even enter the equation). On offer will be several different packages which I believe give you back well and truly your money's worth. Base Subscription •$10.00 for 6 months or $15.00 for 12 months. •Avatar and Custom User Title in forums. •Full access to video archives and hi-res versions of select videos. Extra Subscription •$25.00 for 12 months. •Yearly DVD*. Plus everything offered in Base Subscription! Gold Subscription •$35.00 for 12 months •Full-colour "year in review" Roller-Coaster.com.au Magazine**. Plus everything offered in Extra Subscription! *The "Yearly DVD" is a professionally produced documentary-style video. This isn't just a stock standard theme park music video. It is a documentary focusing on a single park or attraction, featuring facts, interviews and more. This is released in around October with more information available at a later date. **The Roller-Coaster.com.au Annual Magazine is a full-colour magazine released in January featuring all the major issues and updates that have happened over the year in Australian theme parks. All of Roller-Coaster.com.au's construction updates come to life, as well as plenty of previously unseen feature items such as interviews, editorials and more. The DVD and magazine will be not be available unless you are a subscriber. The details are not entirely worked out on all of these things, however no changes will be put in place until all the details are worked out. Payments will be accepted by direct bank deposit, credit card, money order and cheque in order to make this as accessible as possible for everyone. I'm looking for any further suggestions for this. What other features or options would make you more likely to sign up?

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Hey Rich, Congratulations on the decision to take the site to the next level. I have been a member of the site for going on a year now and seen it become better and better, even in that time. Having said that, I am dismayed at the decision to make the site a "membership-by-visa" style site. I can understand the reasons for this, being that the costs associated with the running of Roller-Coaster.com.au are not covered by anyone but yourself, and am sincerely thankful that the site is not plagued by advertising, having seen what has become of screamscape.com in the past year. I have given this proposal a lot of thought, before responding to this thread, and I regrettably see that it is necessary for the site to continue to grow into the greatest Australian resource for theme parks and amusements. I have a few questions, and also a few suggestions: the materials supplied to you by persons other than yourself, eg: Liam's theme park videos, photographs of parks and constructions not directly taken by yourself... How will you credit these materials in the "new" site? Will the contributors receive some monetary payment for their contributions? Or will the site rule out all contributions not made by a staff member to retain exclusivity on the material, while losing out on some of the materials that can only be provided by other users than yourself? Will Roller-Coaster.com.au continue to remain wholly owned and operated by yourself, or is there a likelihood that you would take on other "staff" members to support the site, and provide more information that would otherwise be out of your reach? What pre-requisites would there be for someone to become a member of the R-C staff? do they simply need to be a good mate of yours, or are there other, more necessary factors? Being that a lot of our current members are under the age of 18, as we all were once, and that is how our love of theme parks, coasters and amusements came to be, how will you provide those members who are minors with the option to become a member? will the site only permit credit card payment? how else would our younger members pay? Ok, i think i have exhausted my questions - FOR NOW... so here are a few suggestions on things that would make me sign up... Most of these suggestions are things not available on the website, and would need the extensive cooperation of your network of contacts at all 4 big goldcoast parks, not to mention other parks across the country and the world... Exclusive Ride Time - time reserved for paying members of Roller-Coaster.com.au to ride certain attractions at the parks. Behind The Scenes Tours - Allowing R-C members to get up close and personal with the inner workings of some of australia's best theme parks... tour "Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster... with all the lights on...? See what goes on behind the scenes of Dolphin training at Sea World? who knows... the list is endless.... The DVD and Magazine are really good ideas. Why not have a Quarterly Magazine? or a Quarterly DVD? im sure the costs could be worked around to either include the cost of the quarterly issues, or make the subscriptions to the magazines and DVD's slight extras ontop of membership. As far as membership offering customised Avatars and CaptionsSignatures, this is something that has been free on the site for a long time, and having to pay for it all of a sudden is a bit of a shock. I dont think anything currently offered on the site should be charged for in the future, however, new additions to the video library, pictures, etc would be worth the money. I hope I have been able to communicate my opinion here, and look forward to reading both all the other member's opinions, as well as your responses to them Richard, so until then..... I Can't Wait.... Alex.

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My overall intention with this is to invest further into the site. There will be further positions opening up later on with this site for members to contribute content, and certainly with incentives. More on this later though. There will be a system put in place where content provided by people other than myself will be credited appropriately. This is all yet to be sorted out though. However do rest assured that I won't be benefiting unfairly from the content provided by other people. My stance on the changing of things already present is there needs to be an incentive to subscribe. There is nothing being taken away from the functionality of the site. Credit card is only one payment method that will be utilised. Anyone can go into an Australia Post store and send a money order and there will also be the option to direct deposit the money from your bank account.

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tour "Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster... with all the lights on...?
That would be awesome. Richard, I'm loving the Roller-Coaster.com.au magazine idea, after reading most of your articles on this website it would be great to put together a magazine with a "behind the scenes" look at the Australia theme park industry. If you were producing a magazine then I think it would be easier to get exclusive interviews with theme park staff etc. as a “magazine” sounds better than a “website”. Richard, do you actually think it’s possible to get high quality resolution photos of Scooby Doo inside the building? Or would they never allow this? I would love a DVD on Scooby Doo. How hard is it for a park to allow you to take exclusive photos/interviews? Have you done much of this in the past Richard? Thanks.

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When the time comes, would it be possible for you to post a sample page of how the magazine will look? Also, when will I lose my avatar? Ill probably consider getting this closer to when the DVD and magazine are due for release. One idea for the DVD could be to have still photo gallerys we can look through.

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I am not going to say anything here at the moment until I hear more Info. But I am sure Richard will provide a great service still. No matter what. And whatever richard decides to do, I will support it all the way.

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I have an idea. Why not run banner ads on the website (or even better - Google Adsense) but for paying members these ads are gone. What do you think Richard? The ads would provide you with extra money (especially Google advertising) and also offer more of an incentive to sign up.

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There is always that possibility. I'm not too keen on ads, but it depends on how subscriptions go. Ideally I'd love to be able to continue ad-free, but if it comes to it there's always that possibility. My thinking however is that people will sign up because they support the site, and they support what I'm trying to do. As I've said, this is hardly about "cashing in". I've been working on this site for close to two years (development started in June of 2003) - all out of my own pocket. It continues to come out of my own pocket. If I can pay for the day-to-day running on this site that would be great. If I can find enthusiastic people who are in a better position than myself to visit parks for the purposes of general and construction updates and provide them with the facilities to continue updating us (annual passes etc.), then that will be fantastic. The first glimpses of the magazine and DVD will be available as the year progresses. As I investigate it further, there may be a chance that there are two magazines produced each year rather than one, because it will provide those who do sign up with something better, and more of an incentive for those who haven't. I'd like to think you all know my stance on quality, and those who have purchased previous Roller-Coaster.com.au products such as the calendar know that every effort is made to provide the best possible product, and you certainly won't be let down by this DVD or magazine.

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Will there be delivery charged on the DVD / Magazine? An easy way to cut down prices for the website is to limit high resolution images to paying customers only. Many other websites do this to keep associated bandwidth costs low. If you don’t want to take away all high resolution photos you could have “free accounts” which provide access to a limited number of high resolution photos per day. Or users don't even need to sign up, it just only allows "guests" or "unknown users" to download a certain number of high resolution images per day. If you’re looking for incentives for users to join, I have a few... -Exclusive members only area, with videos, high resolution pictures, etc. (I think you were already suggesting this) -Members get a “badge” under their name when they post in the forum (e.g. like on the sitepoint.com community forums) -Discounted rate for Roller-Coaster.com.au products (e.g. calendar, hats etc.) -Go into the draw to win a free annual pass for the park of their choice (one could be given out every year) -Google Adsense added to the bottom of every page (to be less intrusive) and disappears once a member logs in (not really much benefit to the members but would generate extra revenue thus keeping membership costs down)

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There won't be a subscribers' only area as such, but as mentioned, certain content such as high resolution and archive videos will only be available to subscribers. Subscribers will be the only members to have avatars and custom titles. This makes it possible to tell between the two, but there will also be a line stating that they are a subscriber or non-subscriber. That's actually quite a good idea with competitions. I do plan to have semi-regular competitions (with prizes), but I hadn't thought of offering park tickets. Something like that would be a good way to kickstart things, especially with the magazines and DVD not until later in the year. Ads may be added for non-subscribers. I still have to investigate the value of such things. We're not talking overrun with ads, but perhaps as you suggested a single banner ad on each page. Postage costs for the DVD and magazine are included with postage within Australia, as they always are here.

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Hmmm, while I would rather see R-C.com a free site the costs are obviously going to be alot so you don't have much choice.I'd join but only if the features were high quality.

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Hmmm, while I would rather see R-C.com a free site the costs are obviously going to be alot so you don't have much choice.I'd join but only if the features were high quality, and I'm pretty sure they will be, knowing what we already have.

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I just noticed that the "Free" videos that were there to download are now for subscription only, I think that all those video's there should still be free, as since there been free for ages now, I thought you would have started the subsription only videos with new footage, its like buying something twice.

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Man that is awesome! It's so easy to read and follow. Love the simplicity. Great work Richard, I’m definitely going to subscribe.

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