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

Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
962
Location
Banglen, Thailand and a little bit Reading, UK
A donate button does sound like a good idea to me.

I don't want to sound discouraging to Brad & Kat, but it's inevitable that there's not enough new blood to fill gaps left by the oldies, so to speak.

When I left school at 16 in 1977, vast majority of the leavers served apprenticeships and learned valuable skills, using their hands, and making stuff just for the fun of it. I caught the tail end of what was once a thriving engineering legacy in the UK, but those days are now just memories. I suspect most young adults today would not have the skills or inclination to build something from scratch, let alone a recumbent bike/trike. As good as the plans are, they cannot make up for the deficit in hands-on skills learned from elders during a five year apprenticeship.

I have a brother back in the UK who publishes a cartophily magazine, and he is having the same problem. As the more senior subscribers drop off, there are very few new/younger folk to fill the gap. He barely breaks even now financially, but still continues for the love of the hobby.

Sorry for being a bit negative here, and I really hope Brad and Kat can find a way forward for this addictive hobby, and some way of encouraging others to take part.......(y)
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
2,803
Location
Apple Valley, California, USA
I've been contemplating the original request for opinions, and subsequent opinions given.
I always try to read between the lines, and strive to comprehend what the underlying thought/message is.

As I see it

This may have started as a hobby, and to withstand 20+ years, and still be around is remarkable. Many many small businesses, (now closed) wished they had that success.
However, life evolves. I view this not only as a hobby site, as it is, but it has evolved into 'a business'.

" I would never attempt to make any of this about the $$$ "
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.
Understanding what draws people to purchase your plans. ...and what needs of the customer, is AZ no longer fulfilling.

Lacking an immediate 'lotto win', maybe a dogged determination, that might need to be re-thought, for preservation of the site and the greater good.

It is obvious that of those that have responded, view the option for a donation button, be incorporated into the website in some manner, as a short term option.
I whole heartily agree. The current 23,762 times $1.00 would have potentially netted $23,762.

I went online looking into 'How to ask for website donations'. Got lots of information how to go about it.

For this website, and the 'Optional Donation' idea. My thought is that upon membership registration, ask for a $1.00 donation for website costs.
Not only, at registration, but possibly at the point of sale, for the plans as well. Example: Buy 6 for $6 ask for $1.00 toward website costs..
Maybe the donation could be credited toward the next purchase?

Don't just ask for money. Explain as briefly as possible, but get the point across, that this is a small "One Man Operation'. etc.

My thought comes from an idea, that is often used in some of our local stores.
I get requests from cashiers frequently, if I would like to donate a $1.00, toward....whatever cause. Click yes or no...simple.


Price increase ?

I bought my first set of plans @ 5 for $25. Second set for the 6 for $36

Maybe 7 for $47, 8 for $58 .......OR !..maybe all 4 choices

Final thought


Thought of as a hobby..YES.
A HOBBY that has turned into a business .... DEFINITELY

I'm sure you will make the correct choice Brad. This is a valuable website, and deserves to be expanded and continue.
 
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Joined
Feb 5, 2008
Messages
452
Location
Elma, WA
Website
miscdotgeek.com
Brad and Kat,

Thank you for keeping AZ going! I am strongly for donations and selling plans as you are. If you offer all plans for "mother lode" deal, it's essentially devaluing your work. My suggestion would be to make use of the traffic you have with affiliate marketing where possible and spend more time showing the web how awesome your stuff is. Go on YouTube and show the world building a plan from scratch! What hooked me was your book, and the Marauder. But that was 12 or 13 years ago. The web has changed a lot!

Look at what others in your space are doing to support themselves with their hobbies, and see how you can do the same. Don't be afraid to tell other people how valuable your stuff is. WE all know because we've known AZ for years. I personally can relate because I wrote 10,000 words on how to build a radio receiver from scratch; it was hard!


That took many hours and time of research! Your site is a treasure trove of information. Focus on getting others to see the value in it. Add fresh content or even repackage what you already have and use YouTube and Instagram to get your brand seen.

Amazon and other stores have affiliate programs that are quite good, and could help you Mo etize your site beyond selling plans. Email me at geocrasher at gmail dot com also, I may be able to help with site hosting.

I hope this is helpful :)
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
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Axedale, Victoria, Australia
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axerail.coffeecup.com
It is strange that, with so many communication methods available today, that so much of the population remains ignorant of things. I seem to have great difficulty in getting phone calls and emails answered. Settling in for a night of Facebook might be part of the cause. Seems that everyone knows what is happening on Facebook but don't know about many other things like those things more important to living and enjoying it.

I take every opportunity of publicising that in which I am interested. I'm not saying that everyone who looks at my ride ends up making one, but I try and get them to at least look. Other than for my own enjoyment, that is why I am playing around with the "bling" aspect of my eLecTricks creation elsewhere on this forum to attract the interest. I think there is an element of truth in the earlier statement about skill set of the general population.

I coined a phrased quite a few years ago - Global Muster - the process where the population of the world is being slowly mustered into two distinct camps - those that have everything provided for them (the vast majority) and those that do the providing (the skilled, including those that get paid for it). Those who don't have the skills may also feel that they don't even have the skill to learn them - and that is an increasing problem throughout Australia at least as more and more technical pursuits disappear or go offshore. There is some recognition of that now and the powers that be are trying to rectify it through STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education planning. Locally, there is much energy being injected into what is referred to as Active Transport and Cycling in general at State and Local Government and representative bodies. Personally, I am a member of the Board of an annual activity event on a local rail trail that now includes a 32km night ride, a member of a group that is instrumental in providing/arranging infrastructure for that trail, and a member of a local cycling advocacy group. I don't think I have any more time to commit to these causes but I try to have publicity information available at all times.

Once upon a time, AZ was new - it no longer is. The DIY builders' enthusiasm was new - they no longer are. Individually, we can't keep building new rides although there are some who keep trying. They too will be forced to stop some day. That leaves two options - keep AZ alive for nostalgic reasons or for the dribs and drabs of newcomers if there are any. Both of these options need funding from somewhere.

Another saying I have is "If you are not on the train when it leaves, you will be left behind, but the train is still leaving." You can provide a facility but you can't make people use it and you can't keep beating yourself up if they are not. All you have left is a warm feeling of "I tried."

I don't know if there are any how-to-prevent-the-drought ideas in this diatribe but, "I tried."

So, how do we show the ignorant (meant kindly) masses what they are missing out on?
 

Radical Brad

Garage Hacker!
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Kakabeka Falls, Ontario, Canada
Thanks everyone for your ideas and opinions!
I often feel like taking an angle grinder to the computer and all the web-foolery that it brings, but it is a necessary evil.

I have added a donate button above, as well as the nerdy background stuff to make it work (I hope)!
Thanks for the idea and also relieving me of the guilty feeling of asking for donations.
I have donated to online services as well, and just never thought of adding it here!

We are going to be considering the "one for all" thing as well, but will take time to hash out all the ideas.

This thread has really helped, hope it continues to grow.

Cheers!
Brad & Kat

Thank you for your support!
 
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Joined
Feb 5, 2008
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Location
Elma, WA
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miscdotgeek.com
Thanks everyone for your ideas and opinions!
I often feel like taking an angle grinder to the computer and all the web-foolery that it brings, but it is a necessary evil.

I have added a donate button above, as well as the nerdy background stuff to make it work (I hope)!
Thanks for the idea and also relieving me of the guilty feeling of asking for donations.
I have donated to online services as well, and just never thought of adding it here!

We are going to be considering the "one for all" thing as well, but will take time to hash out all the ideas.

This thread has really helped, hope it continues to grow.

Cheers!
Brad & Kat

Thank you for your support!
Fantastic, glad to see the donate button. I had another thought this afternoon, and thought I'd post it here: There are many sub forums for each individual plan, and they are empty. Until traffic picks up, lump them all into one "plan build support" forum topic so that everyone can help each other no matter what plan they're building. It may also foster some cross pollination, causing people to see other cool plans they want to buy. Just a thought. Take care!!
 

KoolKat

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On a mountain top enjoying life.
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www.ATOMICZOMBIE.com
Hi everybody and thanks very much for your suggestions, kind words and advice. We read every comment.

We have added a Donate to AZ button on the top menu bar that leads to a page explaining why we are now accepting donations, thanks to advice from some of you. We've resisted the donation option for the past 20 years, but now we really do need your help.

A small donation will help keep this community online.

It means so much to us that many people around the world care about AtomicZombie, this community and each other.

Thank you for your generosity and continued support. Please keep those suggestions coming. ♥

3589
 
Joined
Apr 16, 2017
Messages
263
Location
Winnipeg, Manitoba
I have purchased plans a couple of times and really appreciate the time and effort put into developing them. So far the Warrior trike gets the most use by me and remains my favorite ride. It also gets many comments when riding around Winnipeg. I'm often asked where the idea came from or - did you invent that? As a result I have told many folks to visit Atomic Zombie to look around. It's just an observation but it seems bicycling is on an upswing in my area but not many folks know how to turn a wrench these days. They just head down to the local big box store and buy a generic 2 wheeler which is then used for casual evening rides. So I don't have many answers on how to increase traffic to the site but noting the comment made re all the project classifications that remain empty it might be good to lump most of them into a bike project area maybe something like recumbents 2 wheeled, recumbents 3 wheeled with a tadpole and delta subsection. Electric assist is getting really big these days and vendors offering kits are doing well maybe something in that area would draw traffic. I now have 3 E assist bikes and have fitted a kit for a friend with health issues plus convinced another friend to buy an E assist factory model. Plus there has been a large in E bike sightings around town. Other than that the Donate button is a great idea.
 
Joined
May 31, 2013
Messages
2,671
Location
South Benfleet, Essex, England, UK
I would echo what has been said above. 1 "low" price for all plans devalues the plans, I would not do that.

With 20,000+ members (albeit many are inactive) there may be an opportunity to gently market to them.

Daft Idea of the week.... Make a T-Shirt/Sweatshirt design promoting the AZ branding and have a drop-shipper make and deliver them to order off the site with you taking a small percentage.
When the three of us (John, Paul & me) went to Holland we had everybody asking to take a picture of our T-s plastered with AZ etc.

"I made my own $2000 value trike for only $50" or the like. Get people exercising their bragging rights for their home-built.

As long as you have no outlay and each order earns $1 in commission, it's a "win".
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2008
Messages
452
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Elma, WA
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miscdotgeek.com
A shirt to wear while I ride my AZ or AZ inspired creation would be awesome! I'd probably buy stickers over a shirt though.

A funny thing about the donate button just happened. I thought "I should donate something especially since I posted in favor of a donate button." and then I said to myself "might as well buy a plan in that case... heck might as well buy 6 plans!" So I did LOL. A huge value. Maybe even too great a value. It's 1/3 price for each plan. I don't think you should sell them for less than $11.99 each, even in bulk. Of course I say this after I bought 6 of them :p
 
Joined
Aug 15, 2010
Messages
278
Location
Hutt Valley, New Zealand
Right - enough pontificating. Thank you for adding the "Donate" button, but as Rykoala said above, if I'm going to donate then I might as well buy a plan instead. I've grabbed the YardMule plan because we live out of town in the tall timber so the YM is sure to be useful. In the meantime I have a few evenings of fascinating reading ahead.

The land around us has just been divided into 10-acre "lifestyle blocks" which will probably be built on in the next couple of years. If things go really well then my YardMule could appear around the time when all the new neighbours think about buying quad bikes. I can but hope.

Brad and Kat - my email address has changed since last time I bought plans so I had to create a new purchase account. I won't post email addresses here for obvious reasons, but if they are stored on your server then feel free to delete the old one to save space.
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2015
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Ontario
In terms of generating more revenue, my thought is that perhaps the 6 for $36 purchase could make you an "AZ plan subscriber", with the privilege of then being able to get more plans at a discount price. Another possibility would be to market AZ decals for builders to stick on their creations and advertise the brand.
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
2,803
Location
Apple Valley, California, USA
Well Done Brad......hoping you will be seeing the 'sunnyside up', real soon.
 
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