Opinions Wanted... AZ Subscription Based Mega Plan Site!

Radical Brad

Garage Hacker!
Staff member
Joined
Mar 13, 1999
Messages
5,744
Location
Kakabeka Falls, Ontario, Canada
Dear Forum members, I would like your valued opinion on something.

First of all, thanks to all of you who have contributed to this amazing community during the 20 years AtomicZombie has been online.
Your support is the reason that AtomicZombie is still here today, and I look forward to many more decades to come!

As many of you know, I have recently redone the main site as well as this forum and would like to continue the forward momentum in order to bring more interest in this DIY community.
Doing all of my own web programming in my spare time is a challenge, so I appreciate your patience as the old site began to show its age, like me!

I appreciate the many emails I receive that include constructive feedback on the DIY plans, website, and forum.
I take all suggestions right to my ideas board for consideration.

One re-occurring suggestion is that I offer a “Mother Load Deal” as one member put it, which would include all DIY plans for one special price.
I understand that many builders like to mix and match plans, and that more information is always better when planning a new build based on one or more of the plans.
So, to get to the question that I would like to ask each of you:

Given the quality of AtomicZombie plans, how much would you be willing to pay for a 12-month subscription to a members-only area where you can download as many AZ plans as you want?... please specify a $ amount.

To clarify, a year-long membership would allow you to download all of the 40 plans currently available at your own leisure. (Aprox. 7200 Pages!).
Membership will also include access to all new DIY Plans, exclusive videos, live chats, and PDF versions of the tutorials for one full year.

The Web is a changing place, and I am just trying to keep up, so your valued opinion on this idea would mean a great deal to me.
My mission is to increase interest in AtomicZombie in hopes that I may be able to work from home more often, which then translates into even more DIY Plans, videos and tutorials.

Thanks for taking the time to respond. I value your opinions as always.

Now, get back to your workbench and finish your projects!

Cheers,
Brad Graham aka “Radical Brad”

3587
 
Joined
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
3
I'd look at what enthusiastic, relatively small patreon communities are getting per user as a benchmark. Personally, I'd commit right now to $10-20 per month for all access to current plans + an expectation that you answer 1 question of mine per month and release a new plan ever 3-6 months. Bonus points if paying members get to vote / suggest meaningfully prioritization of new projects /features
 
Joined
May 31, 2013
Messages
2,297
Location
South Benfleet, Essex, England, UK
A generous offer Brad.
Personally speaking (only), I would be happy to pay a modest monthly/yearly fee to help keep the AZ lights running, getting something in return for that, would be a bonus but is not essential.
I'm not in need of any more plans as I can now "freelance" satisfactorily for my needs. But $1 a week (paid monthly) to help keep it going is not going to hurt anyone.
Not needing any special rights/privileges in return either. I look at AZ as a "Club"/"Service" that I enjoy, and paying a little for that is only fair.
 

Twinkle

Super Moderator
Joined
Apr 14, 2013
Messages
3,560
Location
Peacehaven nr Brighton, Sussex ,UK
It does need some serious thoughts , with the onset of old age where things are getting tough for some of our members, too high will either price people out of it or grab the plans and run . Need to think more about the long term situation. Or possibly a lifetime 1 off payment to join the gold star membership of bike hackers.
 
Joined
Aug 15, 2010
Messages
271
Location
Upper Hutt Valley, New Zealand
To me there are really two questions here - (1) What's a workable price for plans? and (2) What's a fair price for AZ forum access.

The six-pack plan deal (if it's still available) is as close to an annual "buy-everything" price as I need. If you offered an annual cost for all your plans then I predict you'll get a lot of subscribers in the first year, but not many in later years unless there are six new plans every year. (I would be very happy with that but it would put too much pressure on you.)

I bought one six-pack previously which covered all the bike plans that appeal to me. I will buy the Yard Mule plan once I have shed space to store a mule, and maybe the poultry tractor. For me an annual cost of around $34-$36 would work - the cost of two single plans or a six-pack.
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2008
Messages
2,080
Location
Nottinghamshire England
The same as Dan and Emma really ?

We now have all the plans we need [ and books ] and jolly useful they have been [ despite not having built one of your plans ! yet ? ]

However I am conscious that I have paid nothing to use your site for years and personally have really been using it more as a blog for my ramblings which is not really what it was meant for ?

So I would consider paying for the use of your site , especially if paying a modest amount monthly/yearly ensure it remains on the web for a few more years.

Plans probably not.

regards Paul
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
936
Location
Banglen, Thailand and a little bit Reading, UK
I haven't purchased any plans, and don't intend to at any future point. My only contribution has been sharing my builds and offering some opinions/advice where they might be of use. I live on a modest pension now, and am already having to 'tighten my belt' due to economic climate/exchange rate issues. I can fully understand Brad wanting to make the most from this forum, but I'll bow out gracefully if compulsory fees are deemed the way forward.
 

KoolKat

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 13, 1999
Messages
1,943
Location
On a mountain top enjoying life.
Website
www.ATOMICZOMBIE.com
Appreciate your feedback and suggestions!

Do you think we should have a Donate button on the forum for folks who aren't in need of plans, but would like to lend some financial support AZ? I see that feature often on blogs and forums I belong to where there's a lot of free stuff.
 

KoolKat

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 13, 1999
Messages
1,943
Location
On a mountain top enjoying life.
Website
www.ATOMICZOMBIE.com
I haven't purchased any plans, and don't intend to at any future point. My only contribution has been sharing my builds and offering some opinions/advice where they might be of use. I live on a modest pension now, and am already having to 'tighten my belt' due to economic climate/exchange rate issues. I can fully understand Brad wanting to make the most from this forum, but I'll bow out gracefully if compulsory fees are deemed the way forward.
Understandable. The forum would remain free.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
2,457
Location
Apple Valley, California, USA
We as loyal members, can not know all there is to know, about how the website actually works.
We can only offer our good intentions..opinions.

Here's mine

I've never been in favor of 'club' type, subscriptions/membership fees.
In this case to specifically support the 'Mother Load Deal'.

Regarding the 'Mother Load Deal'.... or aka......( Giving away the store)

I say let the product/merchandise and pricing speak for itself, as it has for the last 20 years.
Doing the math for the long standing 6 plans for $36.00, is more than fair.

To reap your fair reward, a minimum annual $ amount ?

To offer all 40 plans, you are looking at, a minimum of $24 a month. And do the math for each plan, (full price) and your loss is quite high.
Or a two year subscription for $12 a month.

I agree with Emma, “ too high will either price people out of it or grab the plans and run

Offering ALL plans, doesn't necessarily appeal to ALL.

Understanding what draws people to purchase your plans.

In my case it wasn't because I yearned to build as many of your creations as I could, but rather to glean as much 'how to',
information about bikes/recumbent's and the like. I still watch/read many of the builds, for much the same reason.

Looking for other avenues to attract and provide incentives.

Linking your other websites, to each other.
Not with just a 'link' but with actual material from each. Thus giving the AZ community the incentive to wander between the various websites/areas of interest. And maybe make other purchases.

Knowledge is $$$. Offering knowledge based plans. More (How To's) (Some freebies/tutorials..some paid)

Example: You have, to date, offered plans of projects you have built. You have demonstrated you have knowledge, and experience in a number of different fields. This has served you and the AZ community quite well for many years. Maybe it's time to bring all that knowledge together, in some manner, while still maintaining the individuality of each website.

I would welcome and purchase a 'plan' that provides practical knowledge (and maybe exercises) of the various electrical motors, controllers, and any other subject relating to electric powered vehicles.

Final thought

Of the current 23,762 members, how many are actually active. I'm on here virtually everyday, as are a handful of others. Only you, may or may not, have information as to how many of the 23.762 are actually participating on a regular basis. Thus turning that number into dollars and cents, or not.....make sense?
 
Last edited:

SirJoey

Super Moderator
Joined
Feb 8, 2008
Messages
4,645
Location
My cozy little nook in the corner!
This would've probably been a great deal for me when I first joined AZ & got into this hobby 12 years ago,
but having already purchased both bike-building books &14 sets of plans (most of which I managed to complete),
it's unlikely I'll be purchasing any more, although I haven't ruled out the possibility entirely.

Realistically, however, I must also face the unfortunate likelihood that I'll never even have a shop to work in again.

Kat's idea of a donate button seems more than reasonable, however. (y)

***
 
Joined
May 31, 2013
Messages
2,297
Location
South Benfleet, Essex, England, UK
Do you think we should have a Donate button on the forum for folks who aren't in need of plans, but would like to lend some financial support AZ? I see that feature often on blogs and forums I belong to where there's a lot of free stuff.
YES! - Those that can, will, because it is no real burden on them.
Those that are in less fortunate situations are contributing in other ways by offering their ideas, advice and examples of their wonderful work.
Just a gentle reminder banner every now and then that server space and administration aren't without costs and an honest "If you like what we do, please donate whatever you can afford...." is all it takes.
I'm with FrankCrank insofar as this should not become a "pay to play" forum though.
Different strokes for different folks.
If we don't support AZ and keep it running how will we ever get to see that "Ed's Inferno" finally finished in 2035? :ROFLMAO:
 

Radical Brad

Garage Hacker!
Staff member
Joined
Mar 13, 1999
Messages
5,744
Location
Kakabeka Falls, Ontario, Canada
Thanks everyone for your honest opinions!

I must admit that I once considered the "donate" thing, but felt guilty about it.
Like many here, this is my sense of community, and in what I call "the dark years", where I was stuck in a really bad day job, I came here mostly as a visitor myself to gain inspiration.

I would never attempt to make any of this about the $$$, and the best case scenario is a winning lottery ticket that would let me do this full time, cranking out plans and tutorials every week!

I will also be completely honest about that part of it, in the fact that in the last 5 years (not sure why), traffic has plummeted to the point where having AZ is actually a financial burden. The new website was put out in hopes of at least making this old corner of the web pay for itself. I am no social media rockstar, so no doubt, that has a lot to do with it.

There was once a point in time though (perhaps 2010-2012) where this site allowed me to focus half time on adding new content.

So this is the goal... to get back to that point and really dig in. I missed building more than I can even put into words!
Building and writing up The Yard Mule was like a reawakening, and I need more!!!

Thanks again for all of your suggestions and opinions - I am just a dude with an angle grinder pretending to understand the web!

Oh, and this forum and all the tutorials will never be put on a "pay to play" model ever!

Cheers,
Brad & Kat
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
292
Location
Axedale, Victoria, Australia
Website
axerail.coffeecup.com
My viewpoint, from a member who has a daily read and has made the odd{?) build contribution and bought a couple of plans, is that the submitted responses are all valid. In reality, it is a case of “different strokes for different folks”. We all have our own requirements from a site such as this and the Internet is full of desirable “services” that are priced out of reach for some of us. That out-of-reach price is an individual thing and can vary over time.

Having said that, Brad has real costs in providing this service that, at times, would come closer to his nominal out-of-reach price. If it gets close enough, despite the pressure, he would be faced with greater heart-string-tugging difficulty with the mandatory decision whether to place his angle grinder on the shelf, or not, as it will affect so many other people. Unfortunately, this is a decision we will all have to make some day. What then happens to this site?

It can be a very expensive undertaking to provide a quality web site such as this, especially if someone has to be paid to create and maintain it. Add up the cost of domain name registration and hosting (yearly) management software and time to do it all and the distance to that out-of-reach figure becomes shorter. Free sites have space and facility limitations – things that you have to pay for if you want more than the free allocation. I use a free hosting site for my history collection mentioned below and have to be mindful of the storage space limitation. I do, however, maintain the page code myself with purchased software and the time to do it is another matter. That's why there are still some errors and out-of-date items.

The number of active members is a transient number. There appears to be only one way to answer Brad’s question that highlights that his out-of-reach point has poked its head up on occasion, and that is to provide for an opportunity to throw some financial assistance his way – a “conscience/thank you” donation if you like. That should not cause any current member to disappear or put off any prospective new ones. If not enough contributions are forthcoming there will still come a time when Brad must choose to feed himself and not us, but that decision, hopefully, will be forced to be much later than it otherwise would be.

Finally, all this could change if any of us should win a lottery. More impost on one's time in working out how to spend it.
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2016
Messages
2
Location
United States
My viewpoint, from a member who has a daily read and has made the odd{?) build contribution and bought a couple of plans, is that the submitted responses are all valid. In reality, it is a case of “different strokes for different folks”. We all have our own requirements from a site such as this and the Internet is full of desirable “services” that are priced out of reach for some of us. That out-of-reach price is an individual thing and can vary over time.

Having said that, Brad has real costs in providing this service that, at times, would come closer to his nominal out-of-reach price. If it gets close enough, despite the pressure, he would be faced with greater heart-string-tugging difficulty with the mandatory decision whether to place his angle grinder on the shelf, or not, as it will affect so many other people. Unfortunately, this is a decision we will all have to make some day. What then happens to this site?

It can be a very expensive undertaking to provide a quality web site such as this, especially if someone has to be paid to create and maintain it. Add up the cost of domain name registration and hosting (yearly) management software and time to do it all and the distance to that out-of-reach figure becomes shorter. Free sites have space and facility limitations – things that you have to pay for if you want more than the free allocation. I use a free hosting site for my history collection mentioned below and have to be mindful of the storage space limitation. I do, however, maintain the page code myself with purchased software and the time to do it is another matter. That's why there are still some errors and out-of-date items.

The number of active members is a transient number. There appears to be only one way to answer Brad’s question that highlights that his out-of-reach point has poked its head up on occasion, and that is to provide for an opportunity to throw some financial assistance his way – a “conscience/thank you” donation if you like. That should not cause any current member to disappear or put off any prospective new ones. If not enough contributions are forthcoming there will still come a time when Brad must choose to feed himself and not us, but that decision, hopefully, will be forced to be much later than it otherwise would be.

Finally, all this could change if any of us should win a lottery. More impost on one's time in working out how to spend it.
 

Twinkle

Super Moderator
Joined
Apr 14, 2013
Messages
3,560
Location
Peacehaven nr Brighton, Sussex ,UK
Another option is a "bucket buy it now" for say $125 for new members , and a donate button , but beware like earlier the rogue who will buy and try to recover his outlay by piracy. This has happened with the buy 6 for $36
As for the other whistles and flutes , can't see it being viable . All the " usual " forum users past and present give free advice now.
As time passes the number of users seem to diminish due to a lack of facilities . New younger members are few and far between lacking both experience and "teachers" and without anywhere to work or practice new metal and woodwork skills..

Regards Emma
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2012
Messages
408
Location
Wakefield, UK
I doubt a subscription model would work. One of the main reasons for building these contraptions is we're too skint to buy them. I suspect most people buy the plans they want then learn and improvise, not really needing much more guidance to come up with their own ideas after the first build or two. I can see offering a price for all the plans would tempt some and would suggest doubling the 6 plan price. More than that would probably not sell as few would have a genuine interest in them all and to tempt them at all they'd need to be interested in at least 12 plans. You'll have a better idea than me how many people make a second purchase of plans at a later date. I suspect relatively few do so you'd want to make the most of that first (and only?)sale. If I'm wrong and you get a large percentage of second and third sales to the same customer then you'd not want to give away a lot to start with.
I've donated small amounts to forums I use in the past and may do so again though those forums were much larger than this with consequently much more bandwidth needed and so larger hosting costs for them. It may help generate donations if you say what your monthly costs in running the form are.
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2008
Messages
2,080
Location
Nottinghamshire England
Thanks everyone for your honest opinions!

I must admit that I once considered the "donate" thing, but felt guilty about it.
Don't we would rather ' have ' the option , if then one day we come on here to see the site has closed due to hosting costs we only have ourselves to blame ?

I will also be completely honest about that part of it, in the fact that in the last 5 years (not sure why), traffic has plummeted to the point where having AZ is actually a financial burden. The new website was put out in hopes of at least making this old corner of the web pay for itself. I am no social media rockstar, so no doubt, that has a lot to do with it.
I am a member of BROL as well and whilst the site is still vibrant and seems to be active the Homebuilders section has almost dried up ?

Some of this is I think an age thing as almost all of your regulars of now of pensionable age and came from a background of expecting to build things rather than going out to buy them , and if you are like me and much enjoyed reading magazines for your ideas etc then the web is just a large magazine ?

Also a member of the BHPC where when I first met them the racing was mainly done with home built machines now they race commercial recumbnets and the home builders are getting old and some no longer race and have faded away. The BHPC web site has almost closed now , the reason ? most of the traffic has moved to a Facebook page.

Is this a reflection of the fact the ' youth ' of today are not prepared to read a A4 sheet of text [ lack of attention span ? ].

all the best Paul
 
Top