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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:52 am 
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Dear Registry members

The trustee candidates have been asked, what their position was on the forum and classifieds amongst other things. I personally liked Cliffs answer saying that some homework needs to be done first, but the main goal should be to make a membership more attractive without closing the forum and classifieds completely for non-members.

Being in the web business for more than 10 years now, allow me to pick up this topic and to start collecting ideas on how to implement it. So the question would be: How can we have an open forum, open classifieds, good website but still give the Registry members substantial benefits over the non-members?. I'm just collecting here, not commenting yet (call it brainstorming, if you like)... Please add your own ideas!

Cliff:
- Have a non-member forum and a members only forum. Members could choose to post or not post on the non-members forum to answer questions.
- The classified should be visible to members and non-members but only members should be able to post an ad. The seller would have the option to show or not show his contact information to non-members. That would allow security minded members the option to not deal with “outsiders” while those ads would be a great incentive for “outsiders” to join our cult.
- I could go on and on about improved picture galleries and other advanced features...

Will:
- Hide the classified ads from non-members for the first 24 (or whatever) hours to give members a head start but still make the ads public available for anyone incl. Google. Maybe one could also add a feature where members can subscribe to ad postings so that they would get a mail for each new ad which corresponds to their search criteria.
- Create a 356 Wiki for members only where the vast know-how of the community can be collected in a structured way (replacing the tech articles). Info should be easier to find than searching through 100 forum posts and info should also be easier to create than writing a tech article since all members could help instantly.

As I said above: please add your own ideas!

-will

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:11 pm 
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When posting a car or parts for sale it makes NO sense to me to prevent members from posting a link to photos, posting a web site related to the subject matter of the ad, or not allowing items to be 'traded' in the parts ads. There is the capability to send an email, 'for members only' but this causes unnecessary effort and wastes time. I understand the reasoning, that is to prevent non members having access to the information, but who cares? The 'visitor' may be more likely to become a member if he is not treated as an 'outsider'.

Tom Scott
356 Registry #530


Last edited by Tom Scott on Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:31 pm 
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Hi Tom,
If I understand your post, I agree. I think that a member should be able to link to any individual item as far as EBay, CL, or photo hosting. I also agree that the member should have the choice of allowing any "outsider" see any type of contact information that they care to list. If a member wants to only deal with members then the contact info could remain hidden from non-members. I do think that a member in a car or 356 related business should not be able to link through our classified for free. Maybe we need a commercial classified section where, for a monthly fee, a business could do a small display ad with a link to their website? This of course would also be visible to non-members. I'm not talking about pop-ups or banner ads but rather a section that people choose to enter when they want vendor information.

Cliff Murray

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 6:43 pm 
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C J Murray wrote:
I do think that a member in a car or 356 related business should not be able to link through our classified for free. Maybe we need a commercial classified section where, for a monthly fee, a business could do a small display ad with a link to their website? This of course would also be visible to non-members.

Hi Cliff,

I agree that the issue of offering vendor advertising, for a fee, on the Registry website should be explored. It has come up before during my time as moderator, and I exchanged ideas with one of the Trustees about what would be involved. It's somewhat complicated, and it would require someone to spend time actively managing whatever paid website advertising is made available on the site, in the same way that the paid ads in the magazine have to be managed.
C J Murray wrote:
I'm not talking about pop-ups or banner ads but rather a section that people choose to enter when they want vendor information.

In my opinion, which is based on many years building and managing websites, it would not be effective to simply have a single page on the website where vendor logos and graphics would be displayed which would then link to the vendor website. A page like that would not receive very many visitors and the vendors would receive little benefit. What works better for vendors is when their banner ad appears consistently at the top of every page on the site, or in certain sections of the site. That way their ad gets noticed, and people can click on it if the ad interests them. If it doesn't interest them, they can ignore it, in the same way that one can ignore a print ad on a magazine page. But a print ad has no "click through" capability, it can't be easily changed to show the latest products, and it's very difficult to quantify how much benefit the vendor receives from the ad. In contrast, a website ad should always link to the vendors website so the potential customer can learn more, it can be easily changed, and the vendor can -- if the wish -- measure exactly how many potential customers click on their ad and how many come to their website and actually buy something.

However, offering such ads on the Registry website means that decisions have to be made about pricing, positioning, availability, and managing ad contracts, which requires an investment of time on an ongoing basis. There is software available for this purpose but I have no expertise in that area. Everett Barnes on thesamba might be able to advise the Registry on how he manages the ads on his site.

Right now the Registry is giving away what is essentially free ad space in the "356 Vendor Links" page on this site (in the "Resources" menu). I am not aware of any standards as to who qualifies to get a link on that page. It's always been handled rather casually. I raised the issue of setting up some standards for that page during my time as moderator and handling the Tech articles, but there was no apparent interest in pursuing the issue.

Best regards,

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1959 356A Coupe 105553, Ivory / Brown
2009 987 Cayman, Carrera White / Beige (daily driver)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 6:59 pm 
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Will Scheidegger wrote:
- Create a 356 Wiki for members only where the vast know-how of the community can be collected in a structured way (replacing the tech articles). Info should be easier to find than searching through 100 forum posts and info should also be easier to create than writing a tech article since all members could help instantly.

Hi Will,

Thanks for starting this topic and contributing your ideas. I am in agreement that a "wiki" would be a valuable addition to the website, but I would like to see it open to everyone in the same way that the current Tech Article section is open to everyone. Brian O'Kelly and I have talked about a wiki many times. The every expanding archive of 356Talk posts contains a huge amount of useful information but it is disorganized and difficult to search through.

For those who don't know what a "wiki" is, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki
wikipedia.org wrote:
A wiki (i/ˈwɪkiː/ wik-ee) is a website which allows its users to add, modify, or delete its content via a web browser usually using a simplified markup language or a rich-text editor. Wikis are powered by wiki software. Most are created collaboratively.

Wikis serve many different purposes, such as knowledge management and notetaking. Wikis can be community websites and intranets, for example. Some permit control over different functions (levels of access). For example, editing rights may permit changing, adding or removing material. Others may permit access without enforcing access control. Other rules may also be imposed for organizing content.

A wiki allows many people to contribute their knowledge in a way that means the knowledge is preserved and organized. It is much more powerful and effective than simply a collection of articles as we have now on this website, articles which can only be added and modified by someone with access to the website admin interface.

Wiki software is open source and free. A wiki would require someone with some expertise to install and get it going, and it would require active supervision by a group of editors.

In my opinion, such a wiki could be jump-started by incorporating the content of the two Registry Technical and Restoration Guide books into the wiki. They are an incredible resource that should be made available online for all 356 enthusiasts. Why keep such useful information "bottled up" in print books? Others with 356 expertise could then contribute to that knowledge foundation and over time a 356 wiki would become a very powerful and useful online resource, always available and always at your fingertips.

A 356 wiki is in complete accord with the club's Mission Statement (bold emphasis is mine):
Porsche 356 Registry wrote:
The mission of the Porsche 356 Registry, Inc. is the perpetuation of the vintage (1948-1965) 356 series Porsche through Porsche 356 Registry magazine, internet and events for the exchange of ideas, experiences and information, enabling all to share the 356 experiences of one another.


Best regards,

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Barry Brisco
1959 356A Coupe 105553, Ivory / Brown
2009 987 Cayman, Carrera White / Beige (daily driver)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:57 pm 
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Hi Barry,
I understand where you are coming from as I deal with these issues when I advertise my business either on my own website or on others. I am quite certain that the majority of the membership is not in favor of aggressive(visible) advertising on our website. I have heard that repeatably. Members like the private club atmosphere as opposed to the harsh commercial tone of the Samba and others. Samba and other "for profit" sites cater to businesses that have substantial profits from large volumes of business. Porsche 356 specialty businesses have tiny budgets for advertising. The amount of revenue that we can extract from 356 specialists is not enough to justify the hassle of that level of effort for really attractive ads. If you then open the site up to non-356 businesses then the ads become more offensive to the more sensitive members. I don't see the math working but, regardless, the members would have to make the decision to go seriously commercial. I do not think you will get support for that but the members will make that call.

The difference with my suggestion is that we have vendors that new 356 owners have no idea exists and being hidden under resources doesn't help much. Even long time 356 owners don't know about some of the specialty vendors until they need that unusual service so it is a great service to list them in one place where they can be EASILY found if needed. We should not list vendors for free where they can't be seen. Instead, we should charge a modest amount and make them easy to find/navigate and have better listings/ads with links and other contact information that are more effective. Non-members would get full access to those ads so the vendors can stay healthy and be in business when we need them.

All of this brainstorming means nothing until we commit to spending the money needed to bring our online infrastructure up to date. We have very little flexibility with what we have now and we can't mix and match features based on differing levels of membership. That has to be fixed first and that is a substantial expense.

Cliff Murray

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'57 Speedster
'59 Sunroof
'60 Devin D Race Car-in process
'63 GS 2133 coupe
'67 S Original Owner


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:35 pm 
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The Wiki idea may be good depending on how much mis-information gets posted but the concept of better organization and easier access to tech articles is absolutely needed. We need to determine what repair operations are most asked about on the Talk and enlist "experts" to write the articles. It should be a sort of "workshop manual for non-professional mechanics" where more detail is added to make up for the amateur status of the reader. Here again, we need more flexibility within the site structure to accomplish this. Money needs to be spent and that means subscribers and that means membership dues and that means members only. Some tech articles like maybe "tune-up" could be non-member visible with a big pitch for membership and explanation of all the articles that are available to members.

Some preliminary estimates have been made as to what it will cost to get our site modernized and it is substantial. I don't see the viability of making our site truly commercial so that means that it must be member funded and that means that we must make membership the price of enjoying the benefits.

If members of the opposing point of view, free to all, want to win the war of ideas then they must produce a proforma financial showing that they can cover somewhere around $20k per year of web expenses with outside revenue or the members will have to pick up the cost. Of course, the members would have to accept the way that the site looks. Also, the new young members who don't care about the magazine would not be members because everything they want is free. Chicken or egg? Free market or socialized? Ultimately, it's about the money.

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'57 Speedster
'59 Sunroof
'60 Devin D Race Car-in process
'63 GS 2133 coupe
'67 S Original Owner


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:01 pm 
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Since you're asking....

I was very surprised to find out a while ago that "trades" were not allowed on ad postings. My small suggestion is that we should be able to offer things for trade as well as for sale. People can dialogue about back and forth about the deal and reach an agreement.

Why not? If I have say, a rim dated 8/55 and I want to trade with someone who has one dated 4/55. Why is that a bad idea for the ad forum?
What is it we call those yearly events?...oh yea,..Swap Meets...Right.

My 02 $


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:07 am 
Something that could be implemented right away and be an improvement is to move all the election related topics into a new forum. This would allow a better discussion with candidates by not limiting it to one disucssion topic, making it easier to find the information, and cleaning up the 356Talk forum of club business.


I would call the new forum
356 Registry Club Roundup
For discussion of club issues and business.


PS This topic would go in there also :D


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:20 am 
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I have never understood the reasoning behind the "no trading" on the classifieds. One of the things I do is build sets of date matched wheels, and one of the easiest ways to collect them is to trade with guys who need a certain date and I in turn get a date I need, it's a win-win for everyone. But on our classifieds there is no trading, you can't even put the word trade in your ad. So most of the Registry brothers feel forced to charge high market rates for their parts, taking hard cash from other brothers, when many would much rather take something from their stash and trade it for the part.
I think this rule should be revised, or if not explained on the reasoning behind it.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:53 am 
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Why couldn't we say $XX.XX, or, trades considered? That way a value is established but the seller shows flexibility. I know that some guys have a fetish about only wanting to trade but I always thought that was strange. The idea of currency is that it allows different transactions into a universal trading tool. Waiting for an exact trade of parts sure slows down the process of collecting parts. I don't care one way or the other but I do not respond to ads that indicate "trades only". Too complicated.

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'57 Speedster
'59 Sunroof
'60 Devin D Race Car-in process
'63 GS 2133 coupe
'67 S Original Owner


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:11 am 
Trades.

I don't even know why this is an issue. Micromanagement at work!

Let people write their ads the way that works for them.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:38 am 
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There are some good ideas here but why reinvent the wheel? There are many great forums out there with properly functioning classifieds. Why not look at a couple of those?

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:23 pm 
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C J Murray wrote:
The Wiki idea may be good depending on how much mis-information gets posted but the concept of better organization and easier access to tech articles is absolutely needed. We need to determine what repair operations are most asked about on the Talk and enlist "experts" to write the articles.

Cliff, for several years I spent a great deal of time attempting to do exactly that with the Tech articles that are currently on this website. I regularly asked for people to step forward and contribute articles: a few did, but only a few. I personally transferred all the tech articles on the old Registry website over to the new site format in 2008, and I regularly created new articles covering frequently asked questions.
C J Murray wrote:
It should be a sort of "workshop manual for non-professional mechanics" where more detail is added to make up for the amateur status of the reader. Here again, we need more flexibility within the site structure to accomplish this. Money needs to be spent and that means subscribers and that means membership dues and that means members only.

As I stated in my earlier post in this topic, "Wiki software is open source and free." There is no reason to spend any money to create a wiki, and we do not "need more flexibility within the site structure" to install a Wiki in this site.
C J Murray wrote:
Some preliminary estimates have been made as to what it will cost to get our site modernized and it is substantial. I don't see the viability of making our site truly commercial so that means that it must be member funded and that means that we must make membership the price of enjoying the benefits.

Hmm...I will once again point out that the phpBB software that runs 356Talk is free. The Classifieds software cost a pittance. The back end software is Joomla and it is free. The monthly hosting cost to run this site should be no more than $25/month (Brian O'Kelly agrees with that figure). I don't know what needs to be "modernized" on this site; it's not perfect but it's pretty damn good. Chuck House spent a huge amount of time building it from scratch and he did a great job. I would certainly support having the Registry hire a qualified php programmer to make some changes, but the cost would be modest.

The Registry website costs peanuts to run 24 hours/day 365 days/year compared to the cost of publishing a magazine 6 times a year.
C J Murray wrote:
If members of the opposing point of view, free to all, want to win the war of ideas then they must produce a proforma financial showing that they can cover somewhere around $20k per year of web expenses with outside revenue or the members will have to pick up the cost. Of course, the members would have to accept the way that the site looks. Also, the new young members who don't care about the magazine would not be members because everything they want is free. Chicken or egg? Free market or socialized? Ultimately, it's about the money.

If have no idea where the figure of "$20k per year of web expenses" comes from, but it has no relation to reality. The Registry website should cost about $300/year to run, and that is for the web hosting charges. There are no ongoing software charges. Everyone involved in running the site is a volunteer. Please explain how you came up with the "$20k per year" cost. Facts, please.

Best regards,

_________________
Barry Brisco
1959 356A Coupe 105553, Ivory / Brown
2009 987 Cayman, Carrera White / Beige (daily driver)


Last edited by Barry Brisco on Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:49 pm 
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Very happy to see that more ideas are coming in! I already thought that my thread was "dead on arrival" ;-)

C J Murray wrote:
The Wiki idea may be good depending on how much mis-information gets posted but the concept of better organization and easier access to tech articles is absolutely needed. We need to determine what repair operations are most asked about on the Talk and enlist "experts" to write the articles.


I have been using wikis quite heavily the last few years. The beauty of them is that they really work quite well. Nobody takes the time to write a wiki page just for fun. But if someone answers a question on the forum well, he or she might be asked to put this info into a wiki article. If an article is missing info others can complete it easily.

Again a summary of possible member benefits:
- Only members should be allowed to write in the wiki.
- Only members should be able to get email notifications about newly published classifieds.
- Members could get an X day head start on classified ads (i.e. "first pick") before everyone else can see the ad.
- Members should be able to select if their ads are public or members-only.

-will

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'60 T2 Coupe project
'63 VW Type 1 sunroof 
'64 VW Type 2 "Samba" (21 window) project
'04 VW T5 Multivan
Looking for engine 600 604


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