Since money is amovin'

Seeing that TPTB’s hands are set to “Gimme” and dopers hands seems to be set to “Give” (which is a good thing since I want this place to survive), I will bring back a money making idea that I mentioned a while ago and went mostly unremarked.

Sell a rubber bracelet (key chain or other equivalent 25-cent Made-in-China trinket) for $5 plus S&H. Special limited time offer, get two for $20 or a pack of 5 for $100. Have the shipping address default to your offices in Chicago (meaning that you won’t even have to spend the dollar to bag it and ship it).

That way dopers with deeper pockets can help the SDMB. I know you cannot accept donations and I think this would be a simple workaround to that problem.

For every 5 dopers without $15 to pay the subscription fee, there is one with $100 to give. Leverage that to make up the numbers.

Worst case scenario, you spent $8.95 for 100 engraved key chains from one of those engraving companies (think of it as a lifelong supply of doubling the pay of new mods who will now get a mug AND a key chain). Best case scenario, profit!.


The hassle-to-profit ratio on merchandise has never been too favorable for us. But I’ll give it some thought.

I never quite understood why they can’t take donations. Is there some law or something? The thing is, they also said they could never take volunteer help from the many programmers/ DB experts around here when they were having so much trouble keeping this place up and running smoothly, but it seems they had no problem with xash spending a bunch of time and being given high end access to work on the “Charter Member recoup” solution.

There is an extremely easy solution for those people who want to donate relatively large amounts of money to the SDMB. There are over 89,000 user names registered here. The number who are currently Members/Charter Members has always been a highly kept secret for some mysterious reason but it probably isn’t more than 5000 or so. Let’s say that another several thousand screen names have been banned. That means that there are well over 70,000 Guest accounts.

Anyone who is just dying to give the SDMB some more money can just buy gift accounts for any number of these accounts. Most of them have been dormant for years so no one will ever know.

If you don’t like that idea, just buy yourself a custom title every week. That’s $52/year. You could even buy a few hundred copies of one of the Cecil books and donate them to schools.

The point is that you don’t even need the merchandise, except a couple for the clueless well meaning stranger. This is the stuff that you get a hundred of for under $10 and you just throw them in a drawer, in case someone actually wants the darned thing. Ideally, everyone will be a sport and have it shipped to your offices so you are not even bothering to open the drawer and lick the envelope.

I thought of hajaro’s idea, which has also been thrown around before, I believe. The potential (if unlikely) problem is that someone might actually notice and object to being a member and want to remain a guest. Good luck reversing that.

As for buying custom titles, our super donor might be one of those 3500 users who log in but don’t post. Some people just don’t want to be seen. Some others just read every 3 months but really love the place. You don’t want to make them jump through too many hoops. Here you are giving them the chance to plug in their CC number once for whatever amount they choose and be done with saving the dope. Sure beats having to pop in every week to make a small donation.

Want donations but can’t accept donations? Just let individual members decide their own membership fee above a minimum.

The fact that the people that run this board have never set up an Amazon Affiliate link is one of the most baffling things I have ever witnessed.

It’s apparently not that great a money maker when you are running a commercial site as opposed to a personal one.

Rarely a year goes by that we haven’t begged for a simple T shirt, with the masthead on the front and perhaps, “Cite” on the back. Nothing fancy, simple, basic.

Great advertising, I mean, how long before you see one on some sit com like, The Big Bang Theory.

No sale.

Apparently metal heads can make a profit off of it yet it eludes the dope. What does that say about the business model? It’s even been asked if we can’t do it ourselves, all of the set up and arranging, only passing profit to the SD. Zero risk, free advertising, someone else doing all the work. What happened? The idea died while waiting to hear if they could get permission to use the masthead. The PTB simply never responded.

A business model that continues to baffle.

You know, that’s basically the main problem with the sdmb. Not enough umlauts in the name to make a cool t-shirt.

Umlauts, y’know I never even thought of that! I think you may be on to something…

(Hilariously, at one point they actually implied they wouldn’t venture into merchandising again until they’d moved on the hideous t-shirts and mugs they’d already invested in. Have you seen the t shirt? Truly hideous. But seriously, people are begging you for the stuff, year after year, and you can’t see a profit? Baffling, truly.)

It was last mooted a year or so ago: it was OK in theory, apparently, provided they didn’t use the SDMB motto or slogan. :dubious: Fear of lawsuits, probably.

But I want the bracelet!

I’ll even pay extra for cadmium.

Merchandising has not been worth it, in the past, because of the hideous nature of the merchandise. And it’s been pointed out to you often.

Posters have explicitly lined up to tell you what they’d buy (tshirt w masthead, simple, plain), repeatedly, and yet for some inexplicable reason it’s hard for you to see.

Please, I’m begging you, explain it to us…

Actually the real problem was that we couldn’t pull together a decent design. But that can be rectified: budding graphic designers take note.

Again, the point here is not to produce a pretty trinket for you to proudly wear and show the world your allegiance. For all I care it could be a blank purple pencil and declare purple the sdmb color. The idea is just to have some irrelevant token item that people can buy to donate money to the sdmb.

Straight Dope condoms!

“Little Ed, get out the slide rule!”

As far as I can tell (and someone please correct me if I am wrong), there is no limit on how far in advance you can buy SDMB subcriptions for yourself. I am currently reupped to 2015, and it looks like they’d give me another 2 years if I paid for it. If you really want to give the Dope your money, go ahead and renew as many times as you like – it’s an investment in the future. :wink:


Rawk! \ii/_