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Author Topic: Working on a "Premium" section, but Facebook might be just as well  (Read 3845 times)

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Offline Garrett Williams

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I've recently started updating my TopWebComics vote incentives weekly, and have wished I could offer up an archive of vote incentives for people that missed some. I've also wanted to create a section to reward people who have donated to the site. This seemed like a natural match, showing the incentive archive to people who have donated, as well as wallpapers(once I make some) and other stuff. Since I don't want to give people another username & password to remember, I figure I'll just give supporters a secret url. This also allows for an easy rss feed for supporters to use. I figure supporters will care about the secrecy of the url enough that the added convenience won't be a problem.
However, I'm also considering a Facebook fan page, so people have one more way to be reminded of Kenny Chronicles, and so they can discuss it and whatnot. This would also be a good way to archive my vote incentives, uploading them the week after(to keep the incentive to vote). Not all that great for wallpapers, though, since you're limited on image dimensions. In fact, my vote incentives have been bigger than the maximum dimensions. At least if I don't update the incentives, or if they suck, I won't have people complaining that they paid for weekly updates("I paid you $2 for lifetime membership! I'm not getting my money's worth HUR HURR!").

What do you think? Facebook for a vote incentives archive? A "thanks" site for donators, which would also give a little income? My site currently gets less than 100 visitors a day, so neither seem extremely advantageous yet. YET.

Offline Rob

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Re: Working on a "Premium" section, but Facebook might be just as well
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2010, 06:27:16 AM »
Why not do both. The Facebook page sounds like the way to go first though.  ;)

Offline JGray

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Re: Working on a "Premium" section, but Facebook might be just as well
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2010, 07:18:53 AM »
I actually do, among other things, a side comic as vote incentive. I've decided to make Mystery of the Arcana's Facebook page the official home of that side comic. It gives the people who are fans there something a touch exclusive (since each strip's only up for one day and then vanishes).

We'll see if it works and people appreciate it, but for now I think it is better for premium content. Especially since I don't think premium content would work without some bigger numbers.

Offline Chadm1n

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Re: Working on a "Premium" section, but Facebook might be just as well
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2010, 10:57:04 AM »
Quote
I figure I'll just give supporters a secret url. This also allows for an easy rss feed for supporters to use. I figure supporters will care about the secrecy of the url enough that the added convenience won't be a problem.

In addition to my IT job, I am also a risk manager. Managing expectations takes many forms, including the messages we impart - intentionally or unintentionally - to our audience. Sometimes, what we don't say says more about us than anything else. With that in mind, I want to offer a couple of thoughts on this idea from an IT "worst case scenario" point of view.

Note - these are *just observations* from an IT geek to help you make an informed decision. I have no vested interest in the material; I just think I would be remiss in my "IT-ness" if I failed to pass along these thoughts (not an exhaustive list, just food for thought).

-- Obfuscation should be confused with neither security nor secrecy. A secret URL will only remain a secret until a few of your "secret admirers" view it. Once they do, the URL will be captured somewhere - proxies, reverse proxies, http accelerators, etc. At that point, it won't be long until a web indexing service (a la Google) finds it and catalogs it. Setting content meta tags to prevent caching won't help either because some proxies ignore those headers.

-- By publishing a secret URL with no viewing cost, you *may* risk sending an unintended message to your donors that tells them a.) you don't place much value their contribution, and/or b.) you lack the technical competency and/or resources to adequately secure their interests.

Now, your visitors may not be sensitive to this stuff. This is the worst-case scenario, after all. :) Unfortunately, I have seen some very "special people" cause a whole lot of grief over the most mundane of things. Best to handle them up-front, if at all possible.

Perhaps the simplest "fix" is to "manage the message." Let your donors know what their donation does - and does not - get them. This way, they can decide if they want to donate to get the content or seek it out via other means.

Personally, I think the Facebook option is kinda cool. For their donation, you friend request them via Facebook. Once they are friends, they get the premium content. You leverage Facebook's authentication mechanism (which means you don't have to build or manage one of your own) and let's face it - almost everyone has a Facebook page these days!

That's my $0.02 worth of free advice. Worth exactly what you paid for it; your milage may vary. ;D

-cec


Offline Garrett Williams

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Re: Working on a "Premium" section, but Facebook might be just as well
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2010, 11:17:35 PM »
Thanks for your input, everybody. I see that my own concerns weren't limited to just me. One of my concerns WAS that the secret address might lower the perceived value. I had already limited the robot visibility on my test site, but Chad is right in that even Google overlooks these meta tags.
I figure I should up my presence on Facebook anyway. When somebody does something on my Facebook fan page, there'll likely be a message on their activity stream with a link back, which helps with promotion. As for wallpapers, I may just show those on a public page and give a "hint, hint" tip jar button below them. Maybe. Optimally, I should start using merchandise to get income from this comic.

Sorry for the late response, the notification emails were routed to my spam folder. I've added the email address to my contacts and marked all those emails as "not spam" now.

Offline Swinsea

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Re: Working on a "Premium" section, but Facebook might be just as well
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2010, 10:47:44 PM »
Have you ever heard of Fanflow? For a minimal monthly subscription fee the readers who want to support your comic can get access to exclusive content that you post, all kept hidden from the general public. It's a good way to encourage contributions, but isn't a one-time donator's gift. For that you can set up Paypal to redirect them, say, to a link to a download of a comic or wallpaper.

Offline Garrett Williams

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Re: Working on a "Premium" section, but Facebook might be just as well
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2010, 11:55:13 PM »
I considered Fanflow, but I didn't expect to offer enough incentives to warrant a monthly fee(4 images a month currently), but more importantly, not enough contributers to make it worth it. I think the biggest problem with any kind of premium plan is the fact that I have roughly 30 unique visitors a day(roughly 100 hits), so I'd expect to get maybe one contributer no matter what plan I used.
I've created a Facebook page, and I currently have 21 fans(I like them being called fans). A fair amount are friends or relatives, but they're still people who can share Kenny with their friends. I think it'll be a good promotional tool, which is what my focus SHOULD be, instead of milking my visitors for what would only be pennies. I'm posting the vote incentives on a week delay, so it's still incentive to vote, which is good. In fact, I may up it to 2 incentives a week once I create enough extra content(Kenny Chronicles is twice-weekly, after all), since I'll have that archive available to keep me from feeling bad about replacing the old incentive. I think having the archive available also shows people what they get for voting, which goes along with the webcomic model of having the full archives for free.

Offline monkeyangst

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Re: Working on a "Premium" section, but Facebook might be just as well
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2010, 10:36:33 AM »
Garrett,
I'm not sure if this is what you're looking to do, but as you're using WordPress, have you considered a plugin like Role Scoper?

Basically, what this plugins and others like it do is allow you to create custom roles for users (so, if you were really ambitious, you could sell Silver, Gold, and Platinum memberships, for example) and users only see content they have a role for. This could be either posts or pages, or whole groups of pages.

Offline Garrett Williams

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Re: Working on a "Premium" section, but Facebook might be just as well
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2010, 03:26:20 PM »
Actually, I've decided I should focus more on building my readership than monetizing it at the moment, since I only have roughly 100 readers currently. I may consider a role plugin later, but I just don't have enough readers to merit making special content for paid users. Thanks anyway.
I will work on some merchandise eventually, though.