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Paying for premium forums......is the BarrReport any different?

Discussion in 'Subscription Information' started by Tom Barr, Apr 10, 2006.

  1. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Apparently several forum owners seem to think that the BarrReport's asking for money is not right and that folks can getb such information anywhere for free, yet they have premium, sponser, vendor, supporting membership where folks pay, so they can add pictures and/or increase their picture sizes they can load into threads, increased mail box sized for PM's, and they also banners all over.

    I have no issue with them doing so, but it's not any different than a subscription pay forum either.

    The BarrReport has never been so much about a forum to replace the other forums, rather, it's more a discussion and help area for other aspects not covered in the monthly articles.

    The monthly articles are the core and give the readership insight into each major area of plant health, husbandtry that you will not find elsewhere.

    I also spend more time with folks here trying to help them solve any issue they might have.

    But consider those premium memberships on other forms and the knee jerk reaction folks had when I offered this for $, it's not much really. Less than some of those services, less than many society memberships.
    An Aqua Journal runs about 10-12$ for one issue.

    I've given to several forums freely, namely because I like them and want to see them continue such as Aquaria Central as well as others.

    I synthesize both science and hobbyists related materials together to find what is really known. Sometimes there are larger gaps in the science and the hobby, that is research and science for you, and one answer leads to 5 more questions, but therein lies the passion for it.

    This next article on Iron and Manganese will be interesting for folks as well as things like Zinc, Copper and other trace elements.
    Some basic ideas I return to but focus much more on certain nutrients.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  2. Bill

    Bill Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Paying for premium forums......is the BarrReport any different?

    Hi Tom,

    You fee is very low and you do an excellent job.

    Some of the items discussed here could also be discussed on others forums but you do provide a lot of material that isn't available on any of the other forums.

    I have learned a lot from many people on the different forums which I am very grateful for but I would have to say that I have learned more about aquatic gardening from the information provided by you thru articles and post than anyone else.

    Since I have learned so much from you I respect you thoughts and opinions on aquatic gardening and I enjoy reading your comments on each thread.

    Thanks for providing this web site,
    Bill
     
  3. freemann

    freemann Junior Poster

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    Re: Paying for premium forums......is the BarrReport any different?

    Well Tom it seems that you have some low popularity around as well :)
    To be sincere I prefer this pay 10 dollars and be done with it, than this premium memberships and all this advertisements all over the forums. I really hate this ads and sponsors coming up everywhere within the forums-postings (gives the sites a feeling of "decadence" for me) and there we really talk lots of money prolly not justified as a means to pay just the monthly charge of the hosting, which it can be at the most 200 - 300 dollars a month. Also I have a feeling that the quality of the forums has deteriorated (maybe it is me knowing more this days and finding the posts uninteresting) but still statistically the posts of real value have decreased (and I visit most of the forums) maybe people have gotten bored of getting half or cryptic answers have stopped posting (I still remember legendary posts that went for ever on various subjects in the past), also the fact that there are no definitive answers given from the "gurus" but only show of on lots of the forums really frustrates me. I mean do they know or they don't?
    I also like the fact that paying creates a kind of "obligation" to help people like you said Tom. The reports make a difference as well here but I still feel knowledge should be accessible to all.
    Keep up with your postings in the public forums it tells me that it worths paying to support you here in this private forum.
    I would appreciate more posts from us members in this forum as well, some days postings are really low but we are few so maybe that explains it.
    All I know is that we need to be humble, opened minded eager to learn and speak of our weaknesses and successes so we and others can learn from them in this hobby.
     
  4. quenton

    quenton Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Paying for premium forums......is the BarrReport any different?

    I have no problem with paying -- the few dollors (even converted to CDN) is well worth it. I subscribe to 2 forums (never mind which other one) -- it has a higher posting rate so I like that, but I really like the quality on barr. I too would prefer to see more posting, not sure why its low -- but if I see email from both my subscriptions, I know I want to go to this one first.

    So just leave things as they are -- its not an issue -- at least not with me.
     
  5. jerime

    jerime Expired Subscriber

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    Re: Paying for premium forums......is the BarrReport any different?

    Well, I've seen this coming a long time ago - it's the human nature at it's worst.

    Unfortunately whenever someone poses some competition to others, reactions like that, coupled with personal attacks are at hand.

    I've seen some of this attacks on you when you decided to open thebarrreport, I've heard some non public stuff and as I said, it was quite expected.

    When I started planted tanks few years ago, I read almost anything readable. You poped up real fast. I found you as the authority in this field and very soon there came only 2 guys I made myself read : you, and I must say roger miller from AB.

    I followed your way. experimented as you did (as much as I could) and changed my views accordingly. Since I was 1 of few, soon many in my country changed their's.

    You are really one of a kind, you stand out immediately and you influence others. Be proud of yourself and what you've achieved so far.

    Don't let anyone discourage you. Keep up the exceptional work you do here, in your articles and other forums.

    The price you take is nothing compared to what you give in return. Those who feel it's not, it's their loss, not yours.

    Ignore and move forward.

    Regards.

    Eyal.
     
  6. Paul S

    Paul S Junior Poster

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    Re: Paying for premium forums......is the BarrReport any different?

    Tom:

    The fee that is being charged is very minimal when compared to the value of information that can be obtained from this site.
    To put it into another perspective, if one were to take the monthly Barr reports and put them into book form, how much would that cost to buy?
    Consultant fees in Toms field of expertise would probably cost US$50/hr. or so.
    To get that kind of help for pennies in this forum is one of the best investments I have ever made.

    Keep up the good work Tom and if you ever get your book started :) put me on the order list.

    Paul S.
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Paying for premium forums......is the BarrReport any different?

    Thanks for the input and support.

    I'm ranting a bit here.

    I just found it hypocritictal and ironic as I've had long discussions/rants with some Forum owners and their moderators about my personal ethics of charging for membership and access, yet they have public and private premium sections in their web sites.

    Of course their own ethics are not questioned by the very folks like they judged me. If you hold some one to some standard, better sure as hold yourself to that same standand. I really try to do this myself.

    I too believe strongly in freedom of information for the hobby.
    But any author that sells a mag or a book can be labeled a "profiteer" under these folk's defintion.

    A good in depth article/book on aquatic plants that brings new information to the table is very rare.

    Some are nice and fuzzy, but often lack much substance and often end supporting more myths than resolving anything.

    Then I spend time explaining that siestas, or heating cables etc are baloney......... and I do tend to play both sides of fence when arguing something and looking for support for one side or the other.

    They offer little support for such equipment or methods.
    I suppose that is okay if they actually work, but most of the time, they don't. and they do not support odf expalin it much often when something does work or not any better than something hair brained such as cables.
    If they do, I'll say so and critique them.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  8. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Paying for premium forums......is the BarrReport any different?

    I don't see where anyone else has the room to sit back and Judge you, or the services you provide for such a small fee. I feel that the forums are just an added bonus, what I am really paying for is the monthly articles, much like you would for any other suscription for a magazine. But where are you ever going to find such in depth articles on topics that No one else is willing to research and cover? your not, which is exactly why it is so worth it..... I dont see what the deal is, if others out there have a problem with it I personally think they should just keep it to them self and go out and offer the information that can be gained from this site for free, doing the research, editing it and posting it for all to view at no cost.

    Suddenly they may see the enormous amount of work that goes into doing that and thier views may be changed about charging such a small fee each year for those who would like to have access to such information.... Keep up the good work Tom!

    ~Matt
     
  9. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Paying for premium forums......is the BarrReport any different?

    I mortgaged my house and joined up here.......ok, so I didn't need the mortgage....but I joined here largely to get to read about CO2 mist, EI, CO2 reactors, and all of the other goodies I felt sure would follow. Most of the monthly articles are far more than I want to know, but at least I could read them if I wanted to. This forum is very good for discussing problems, reading others experience and trying to avoid the problems others report. I am perfectly content to have joined.

    The other forums I read and comment on are primarily of interest because I can buy good plants cheaply there, or sell off my prunings instead of dumping them in the garbage. But, I do learn some things there, and enjoy trying to help others where my limited knowledge lets me. I pay for premium membership at one of the forums just to get the larger mailbox for when I buy or sell plants. That's pretty cheap too.

    We are fortunate in this hobby to have the great forums we have, plus having Tom do our science for us, plus getting advice from him as we need it. Most of us would be plastic plants and algae growers without the contributions he makes.
     
  10. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Paying for premium forums......is the BarrReport any different?

    I think that there is more here about culturing aquatic plants, and fewer political debates (although a few of those can add some spice and educate) and less long-running discussions on the care and feeding of various needle valves and ballast arrangements.

    I note that Tom continues to post to other sites, sharing his knowledge as he always has.

    In the final analysis, the free market will make the decision about whether "free" or "pay" or both will survive. I bet on "both".

    Bill
     
  11. brad

    brad Prolific Poster

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    Re: Paying for premium forums......is the BarrReport any different?

    As of today, you have 1,712 people who didn't think it was too much.

    I have a gold membership at TPT which costs 15$. I'm still waiting to see if APC will offer other options but probably be Paypaling them 15$ as well. So far, you're the cheapest board I visit.

    I found myself visiting the other boards and posting questions for you anyhow, and I figured that you took quite a few hours to answer me over the course of a few months. I also was able to get on top of my algae problem because of the advise I got here which saved me more 13$ worth of plants. I could have gotten the same advise for free. yes! But I also would have had to filter out the poor advise from people who know nothing. This way, I went straight to the source. I got free GH boster from Greg through this site, got some Nerite snails from you through this site.........

    That said, I do feel it warrants that extra effort to make sure a question never falls too far down the page without getting answer. I would like to see this board have more discussions instead of the "ask Tom" format it has taken, but I think that will come with time. So far, especially given that it's all new here, I'm happy with the 13$ I spent.

    Thanks to both you and Greg for the work that goes into running this site.
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Paying for premium forums......is the BarrReport any different?


    Well, member vs subscribers are quite different, that number is much lower than 1712 folks. I'd be doing pretty good if that were the case.

    I'm the cheapest? haha
    I'm not really a board though, that was never the intent, that was namely the readership and a user friendly format that folks where already use to.

    Well the board here is a lot of ask Tom stuff.
    But the focus are the monthly reports.
    That was the goal here.

    But if folks want to discuss more, I welcome that too.

    I can also play devil's advocate if it's something I already agree with just make it nice and messy:)

    I'll jump the fence and often do to see what types of responses might come out of it.

    I sometimes say things that are purposely contentious to lull folks out of lurk mode, but a good discussion is a rarity these days, so I've gone to writing articles instead. From those, others will distill down further, but have a good encompassing basis for that for referral if they need it.

    The distillation on this site's forums is a good way to get discussions going, there's a lot in each month's article for discussing a topic.

    I raise a number of questions and can ask some at the end of each month after folks have had a chance to look the artilce of the month over.

    Hummm..........maybe that might be a good idea, I know what conclusions and ideas might come from them, so I'll just guide and not offer my notions/concluding remarks till the very end based of the thread's consensus.

    This is sort of the Socratic method.
    Are folks ready for that or want that?

    I can do it easily.

    Whether anyone wants to take the bait and put it out there, is another matter. The questions would be designed to make you think and discuss, not for me to come in and answer.

    I can make exam type questions, say 10, if folks really want to have that type of format.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  13. shake

    shake Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Paying for premium forums......is the BarrReport any different?

    I don't mide paying for things that will help in this hobby. I have spent hundreds of dollars on books, so a small fee (which I think was $18.50 Aussie dollars converted) in my mind is no different to paying for a book. I get as much information, if not more, from the BarrReport than most books.Tom has set up this site because of his love of aquatic plants and his desire to help people in this hobby. I have no problems paying for this privilege.

    Tom, keep up the good work.

    Zack :)
     
  14. detlef

    detlef Subscriber

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    Re: Paying for premium forums......is the BarrReport any different?

    Tom,

    please no questions at the end of your reports. I myself had lots of questions after reading but did not ask for several reasons (due to lack of time etc.). The summary allows for a quick check if one does not want to reread the whole thing after some time. Also, it serves for a better understanding ...... so, please stick the main statements together like you did in the past.

    As we all know one answer poses lots of new questions and I will bother you for sure ... if you don't mind.

    You are doing an incredible amount of work for the hobbyist. Thank you so much.

    Regards,
    Detlef
     
  15. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Paying for premium forums......is the BarrReport any different?

    Well, you guys are the best advertizing that there is, so get out and tell folks if they want to learn more, this is a good way to do so.
    It really is not a bad deal $$ wise and helps the hobby much like support of other forums.

    I think many place barriers up and have mind sets that cause them to not want to subscribe due what they claim to be the cost, yet then they pay for other services on forums.

    So tell them that the they are asking for $ from many forums that are helpful to the hobby, why not get some real meat on the table and do the same here with some deeper articles on the specific topics.

    We already have 10-12 pages per article x 15 months=> 150-180 pages worth of meaty plant info. After a couple of years=> 24 months x 10-12 pages = nearly 260-300 pages.

    So tell folks about it, what type of resource it is and ideas it provides.

    Thanks,
    Tom Barr
     
  16. rrguymon

    rrguymon Prolific Poster

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    Re: Paying for premium forums......is the BarrReport any different?

    I subscribed for the monthly reports. I think they are worth the price of admission alone. Getting a direct response or recommendation from someone with your or GW's experience and success in the hobby is a great bonus to the articles.

    I am also a member of the the planted tank. I like it also. Their forums move faster and I really enjoy browsing the photo album and swap and shop section. I buy most of my plants there now from other members. Rex is hoot a too. You come by often also 8).

    Both are great and I enjoy them and think they are well worth the few dollars I spent.

    Rick
     
  17. reiverix

    reiverix Lifetime Members
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    Re: Paying for premium forums......is the BarrReport any different?

    So it costs around 2.74 cents per day for the Barr Report. Somehow I think I'll cope. Even this mean and grumpy old Scot thinks he's getting a bargain :D

    Seriously though. I first got into this planted thing without a clue except I'd barely heard of anacharis. What is really cool is when people see my planted tank next to my coral reef and they give all the attention to the plants.
     
  18. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Paying for premium forums......is the BarrReport any different?

    Reiverix, I am Scottish as well, There's even a Barr's Tavern dating back to the 1730 in Edinburgh. My grandfather was a Presbyterian minister and John Knox, the Edinburgh churchman, played his part in the reformation in Scotland, which adopted a Presbyterian tradition losing the link between church and state (which is retained in England). St Patrick was born in Scotland also and went to Ireland in 432. John Muir, Adam Smith is also from Scotland and a bunch of other onerous folks.

    But back to the issue here.

    I have some say that "why should they pay for for information such as the BarrReport....", yet, they ask for $$ on the forums for support as well. I can get free forum info as well.

    Part of the forums here are free, just like many forums.
    So that is no different.

    But what are folks getting for the premium memberships on these so called free forums? More photo space, more PM space, no monthly Report?

    What happened to the advertizers paying the bills etc?
    I have none of those(other than you, the subscriber).

    I have no issue like many of you in supporting the hobby, but I don't like folks judging me when they cannot judge thy self by thy own standard.

    No one gets into this hobby to get rich haha, certainly neither Greg nor myself. We can make considerable $$$ with other endeavors, this is for fun and for it to pay for itself for the most part.

    I may do a competion coming up here in about 1 year.
    But it'll be an aquatic plant science competition with prizes etc.
    Show off your brains instead of your aquascape.
    I've toyed with the Marine plant competition as well.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  19. Naja002

    Naja002 Prolific Poster

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    Re: Paying for premium forums......is the BarrReport any different?

    Hi Tom,

    Just Subscribed....

    Hypocrites is the word: They collect at the Backdoor(advertising) and the Front (Supporting Membership et al). Whether they collect at the Front or Not---they are still collecting at the Backdoor. So, they have no place to say anything to anybody about getting paid.

    Your Up-Front fee is just that: Up-Front. Websites cost Money. Period. The amount of Your Time alone that has to be put into this website--justifies the subscription fee.
    I would hazard the guess that You have already forgotten more about Aquariums and Aquatic Plants than most people will ever know--again, that shared knowledge is worth more than the subscription.

    I'm willing to bet that the other forum administrator's never bother to complain about You sharing Your wealth of knowledge on Their Forums. That just Helps them out....

    Yep. Hypocrite is the word....

    Keep up the Good Work!

    I've always been Impressed by the simple fact that Your site requires a subscription, but You are still out there on other forums freely giving away help and advice.....
     
  20. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Paying for premium forums......is the BarrReport any different?

    Well, they most certainly did on 3 boards.
    And all 3 use both methods.

    I decided to be different, well, because I am different.
    But more than that, I wanted it with a magazine type model but without all the hash and advertizing. That makes it harder for both Greg and myself to deal with and less time we would have for content(which is my goal and will help the hobbyists). I just do not have time to play with that angle to begin with. Greg helps me do the business and web side. He is as much as this as I am. Some folks like the advertizing and look at that(like in FAMA and TFH ad's for Big Al's etc). I don't.

    You can find plenty of ads for free if you wanna be like that:)

    I'll give the public some general advice, not much really if it relates to a report I've done/doing etc.

    You'll note, we do have a public forum section as well.
    Some things are read only.

    There's a lot more I know than what I tell them on the public boards.

    You can see that once you read one or two monthly articles,
    and that's only maybe 30-50%. A lot of it just cannot make it into the month's timetable of article production. Folks there, I may ignore at some point. Not here. Till you get it right if it takes 5 years.

    Greg and I will be doing a lifetime membership fee shortly.
    Then you'll have access to the all the Reports from here on, past present and future.

    If the future, I'll produce a book with about 70% of what I know for each chapter, so it will bring even more to the table and drawn upon the relationships built here to explain the way Macrophytes grow and their environment.

    It'll likely be 500-600 pages and contain 30 chapters or so.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     

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