I joked with Thomas, the founder of GaySurfers.net, the first time I chatted with him on Skype, saying that I felt like I was meeting Unicorns (“You DO exist!”) when I met him and those gay surfers at my first San Diego meet-up. I’ve surfed with lesbian ladies often but had never come into contact with gay male surfers and I was overjoyed! Since then, I have connected with those in many different countries via GS.net and I am reminded and comforted by the fact that we are one large family, bound by our life experiences, unique challenges and that amazing joy that is surfing.
On Tuesday, Thomas, Brian and I met via Skype to throw around some ideas on how to progress GaySurfers.net into the future. It turns out that our population has grown so large that the simple fees needed to keep this site up and running have increased as well. We need to come up with some ideas on how to keep this site going without allowing it to become a burden on any one of us.
We discussed in depth the delicate balance the web site is trying to achieve between being true to its mission and still being able to generate enough revenue to cover maintenance. While increasing membership for example is highly important, we would hope those joining have a sincere interest in some type of surfing related sport. As such the site currently includes any type of surfing craft from bodyboards to shortboards along with other related sports such as kite boarding and wind surfing. Members abilities range from beginners to professionals, yet we all share the same passion, being out on the ocean and riding waves.
One idea we had for generating revenue is to offer a premium membership that would open up options not available to free users (the site would remain free for everyone but we would offer an upgrade option for those who wanted it). Premium users would, for example, be able to create extended profiles with the ability to post more pictures than free users. A premium user would also be allowed to use a more sophisticated search engine. We are open to suggestions as to what features a premium user might want.
As an example, a $25/year premium service could include:
-advanced search (location, age filter, / waveski / longboard…)
-profile (more profile information can be filled in)
-photos – can upload more photos / bigger photos
-Wall – Can write on specific user’s wall
Google Ads is another revenue generating idea but we agreed that it is important that the ads not be overly obtrusive, simple and not annoyingly placed.
We encourage you to Contribute your stories and photos, to Donate if and when you can, and to Volunteer with us to help make this site a better place for us all. Check out the “Get Involved” tab at the top of the website!
We also value your opinions, feedback and further suggestions, on how to help this community, that has brought us all together, to continue to grow and be a haven for those seeking the community we all provide.
Thank you for your community, for your support and for your continuing stoke! We are looking forward to hearing from you!
3 thoughts on “Members contribution ideas”
Hi Cori another great write ..am all for the premium option ..discussed something similar with Thomas last year. Some sites I have seen have similar options where the basics are free and if you want more you can upgrade …, maybe “Supporter’ is a better term tho ..less elitist maybe
Will see Thomas this weekend in Coffs Harbour for the Coast Out Festival and I’m sure we will be discussing this and other ways to take GS forward .
While I applaud creative out-loud thinking about how to keep this site alive, and fiscally above the waterline, I believe we have to ask additional questions. As most active admin, and perhaps most active site-user in populous San Diego, I’ve noticed many folks at meetups I organize, and then hear later of individual surfsesh hookups. These are hatched out via facebook, cellphone, or just seeing that face you met at the meetup in the lineup (tne face that heretofore had no context). I sorta don’t think the site is the medium of choice, once smiles are exchanged at these meetups. I believe the site would be made better if you could very easily call out your new friend(s) without becoming an admin. (Even being an admin, creating an event is a woesome umpteen-step consuming task.) Each interaction with the site should be gratifying. First discovering the site is gratifying. Though I don’t see the logs, only the posts, San Diego seems very dead. Why is that? Is something wrong? I know this is easy to say when I’m neither building nor funding anything. It takes time and costs money. But perhaps these added features, are what would make it worthwhile to a member to ante-up and become not just a gaysurfer, but a true “saltwater brother” or “sister”. Offer the extended abilities to the gratis to the membership and to newbies for 3 months. If they find it valuable, they can pay a bit more. These are just my suggestions from a singular point of view, but I’m sure if you were to smartly survey the membership to find out what stops them from truly using the site more, not just joining it, you’ll find a good answer. In other words, we can guess all we want, but I doubt we’ll hit it on the head without some real research and feedback.
Hey thanks jonathan
I take your point that we should do a survey and see what members want and would be ready to pay for.
The site that we have today is not so easy to use because it was built with no budget. Hopefully if the site generates revenue we can afford to make it better.