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

Radical Brad

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I did consider it, and have experimented with it.
Since these ads only make dollars per month, I decided to only run them on my tutorials and blog pages.
I just didn't think the few cents per day was worth annoying everyone with a scrunched up forum sidebar.

AZ is an extremely low traffic site... maybe 2 unique visitors per hour at best.
At this point, having the the lowest traffic here since day one launch, I can't see ads doing much.
My goal now is just to keep this site online, as it does pay for itself thanks to donations and the odd plan sales.

I am pounding the pavement every day for a stable full-time career now, so I will just be a visitor again here for a while!
If anyone in Ontario knows of an opening for a MacGyver type like me, please pass my resume along!...

Brad Graham - Resume

This forum is still a great source of inspiration to me, so thanks to all who frequent!

Cheers,
Brad
 
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If the googles etc. of this world pay for page-hits I wonder if a programme could hit the pages with spoof ip-addresses and clock up cents/pennies?
I'm sure it doesn't work that way, it would be too easy, surely.
 

Radical Brad

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There are companies that claim to do this, and other that even claim more banal things like buying likes on facebook!
I am really getting tired of it all to be honest, and think my next career move is going to put me further from the information highway.
If I had the ability to yank out the plug and just live off this land, trading sweat for sustainability, I would not hesitate!

Being 50 now, I want the "other half" of my life to be completely different than the previous.
The less time I spend in front of a computer, the better I feel.

Having said that, I am off to do something physical that works more than my 3 typing fingers.... <CLICK>!

If the googles etc. of this world pay for page-hits I wonder if a programme could hit the pages with spoof ip-addresses and clock up cents/pennies?
I'm sure it doesn't work that way, it would be too easy, surely.
 
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Nicely put Brad. Living quietly off the land in a self-sustaining fashion would be terrific!
 
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Have you thought about repackaging one of your more popular plans as an e-book and putting in on Amazon? It might get you a bigger audience and draw them to the site to buy more plans.

Also, we appreciate you a lot Brad. You've kept this community going a long time! Just keep doing what you are passionate about, and people will follow. That's my own experience- I've had people tell me they didn't care so much about what I was talking about, just that I was passionate about it and that made them interested in my story.
 

Radical Brad

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Thanks everyone, I appreciate this community in a huge way, which is why I will keep this site running until my own battery dies!
This was my last year of attempting to bring AZ back to what it was for traffic, but I am not going to stop makin' stuff and posting it!
I have been told many times that in this new world of screen tapping and instant gratification, that DIY is mostly dead, and I can agree.
That's ok, we have our little community here, and that's all I need.

Brad
 
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Mostly dead? The same thing has been said of the amateur radio DIY or "home brew" as it is generally called. It is still alive and well for the forward thinkers and those who have the knowledge and tools. Maybe the creative urge or necessity is drying up in some camps. It is all part of what I call the Global Muster - those that do, while still legal, and those that have done for them, because it has been banned or easier..
 
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"I have been told many times that in this new world of screen tapping and instant gratification, that DIY is mostly dead, and I can agree."

I must disagree with those people. It's not always easy to be a DIY'er. It takes desire and imagination.
Something the "screen tapping and instant gratification" group may not fully possess, or even comprehend.

I do agree that the "screen tapping and gratification" thing is alive and well. But I also believe that the DIY'rs will be around for a long time. Certainly in our life time. After that, well.... 'It will be, What it will be'

"That's ok, we have our little community here, and that's all I need."

I know you know this Brad, but this 'little community' is a 'very large window' to the world, for so many around this very large globe. Even if the majority, choose to remain silent.

You and Kate, are special in this internet world. I may be the one, out of touch here, because I am not a member of any other website. But I find, that to be able to communicate directly, with the owners/builders/operators of a website, is truly 'instantly gratifying'
 

graucho

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DIY is mostly dead, and I can agree." ???
Oh heck no! 18 years ago on a few other sites I got a fifty emails a month from people asking questions about how to do "this or that" while building their bikes.
I finally started to tell them that the only way I would help them is if they payed it forward. When they got comfortable they had to teach a few people the steps on "how to do it". And they had to teach a few people and so on. After a few years I started getting photos from people saying I was the godfather of bike building (LOL) and here is a photo of their bike. Pretty soon I didn't have time to read all of their letters and emails and just saved their pictures of their bikes they built. Hence.... 37,000 photos and growing in the "Others bikes around the world thread"
The DIY population has grown to 10's of thousands around the the world who don't need help anymore. Sorry to say it. So now I frequent this awesome site because it is unique. Bikes built with Brads one of a kind plans. Nowhere else like it. Brads a natural mechanical building genius.
 
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Radical Brad

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It's not dead here, or on any of the other forums I frequent that have "regulars".

What I do hear though is that there are less and less DIYers willing to take on a large project or anything hands on.
I also seen this problem in my three jobs where I was in charge of hiring.
Even the tech nerds had only theory, and zero hands on.

I have been part of a large electronics hacker community well before I started AZ, and it's the same thing... just code, no hardware, and fewer getting involved.
Hackaday is a good example. I talk to the mods often, and they see exactly what I see. The times, they are a changin!
My hardware projects do get massive traffic, but only because I am a freak out there now... the guy that actually builds hardware not just code on premade board like an Arduino.

I truly believe that it is a different DIY world now , and that started in the mid 2000s.
Everyone here is not part of the new world, but nothing can convince me that we are not the exception these days!

Brad
 
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I couldn't agree more Brad. The masses appear to be "avoiding" DIY maybe because today's world/lifestyle leaves little time for them. You also need tools and some expertise. Our "indulgence" in DIY is moderated by the amount of each that we individually have. Add increasing legal and municipal restrictions, space, other resources, and it starts to mean quite different things to different people. On a percentage basis, and in a given DIY field, it will always be for the minority - regardless of how active they might be.

When you think about it, DIY is how a lot of businesses, also not for the masses, got started.
 
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I don't think DIY is dead at all; I think it's just shifting to (for lack of a better term) social building. At least around here, there are a variety of "maker spaces" that thrive on people working together to teach each other new skills. Sometimes they take those skills and build something solo, but very often they wind up collaborating.

The sheer range of available tools may be a factor now, too. Laser cutters, 3D printers, CNC routers, and all those cool electronic components (including arduinos) that let you build interesting things. If you have the same percentage of the population interested in DIY, but all those other interesting things to play with, then of course some of them are never going to make it around to grinding and welding - they'll be creating new and different stuff, often in exciting ways. Even for the most avid DIYer, there's only a finite amount of time to spend on projects.

In terms of AZ itself, I wonder if borrowing a page from the open software world might be a good idea - pick a couple of fairly popular plans, and make them available for free. You could do it under one of the licenses that allows people to redistribute, but requires they keep the page that credits and links to AZ. So every time they share a plan, it leads back here.

That would give anyone new to AZ an opportunity to read the plans and get a sense for the high quality and level of detail they provide. It also makes it possible to take them back to their friends and maker spaces and say "hey, let's make some of these together". And at those spaces, they'll be able to find help to guide them with the parts of the build they aren't confident of, such as welding thin wall tube, or machining a hub flange. It's much easier to get people to take a bunch of small steps than one large leap.

In the meantime, you could still charge for the rest of the plans. Lots of people are going to want to customize their builds once they get a taste of what's possible, and knowing there are plans out there for those tweaks (and of a quality they are already familiar with through the free plans) may make them more likely to spring for a package. I'd play that aspect of things up, with a prominent reference guide of what unique features each plan contains - such as rim brakes vs disc brakes, the direct steering of a Streetfox vs. the linkage steering of a Warrior, etc.
 

Radical Brad

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I was considering the public domain model earlier this year, and once again actually.
Since plan sales are almost nil, and donations cover hosting now, I may just put all 40 plans as massive 300 page tutorials one day.

I will be thinking about the AZ plan for 2020 during my 2 hour commutes to my day job once I get working again.
For now, nothing is going to change as I need to focus on finding a solid career.
Either way, this site and forum will remain online until my last breath in 50 more years!

Cheers,
brad
 
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Good to hear. Though if and when you do go that route, it might make sense to go with one of the Creative Commons licenses rather than just simple public domain - encouraging people to keep sharing any changes and new stuff they might come up with.
 
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