I have been quite happy with the initially success of the paid membership drive here. By any measure, $4.95 is a trivial price to pay for a year of the SDMB. And I’m particularly pleased to see the number of new or not particularly active posters who are signing up.
But I’m a bit concerned about what will happen when the charter membership period expires. Although I realize that $14.95 is an incredibly good value for a year of the SDMB, I’m not sure that this would be obvious to someone who is newly approaching the board. Specifically, I think that $14.95 is a relatively big initial payment for something that a potential new member might not use much beyond the initial period.
I would suggest that the SDMB administration consider offering shorter-term memberships at a lower initial price so that uncertain potential new members could join with a smaller investment (and then get hooked like the rest of us).
As an example, the board could offer a three month membership for $4.95. If renewed every three months, this would bring in $19.80, slight more revenue than the $14.95 annual rate, but I imagine that the member would convert to an annual membership at some point.
I know nothing about the membership processing software that the board uses, but from the way I saw it operating when I signed up (with a pull-down for membership category), I would expect that it would be fairly simple to offer three month and twelve month membershps at different rates.
Either way, I’m happy to see the board going to paid memberships, and I hope it leads to more improvements in service.