Why I Like The Supporting Member Idea (Also, An Appeal To MN)Submitted by Duane Vick on Tue, 07/05/2011 - 14:26
I think the idea of creating a supporting membership is a fantastic idea. While I don't know the financials directly, it appears that there are two main sources of support: donations and ads. Not only are ads a distraction, it puts the advertiser in a position of control over the site. I don't know what percentage of ads are served by AdSense, but this essentially puts Google in an elevated position of control. If Google decided that DailyPaul needs to "change" in some way, Michael may be forced into a hard decision. In fact, this is often how media is devolved to suit some agenda. It also means that if enough pressure is put on those advertisers to quit supporting DailyPaul, then DP's livelihood is dependent on the will of those who would not be supportive of this site.
Now, on the other hand, if DailyPaul does successfully develop the supporting member concept, then the site becomes beholden to it's direct supporters. This means that the advertisers aren't in charge of the purse, but members are. However, and this is where I appeal to Mr. Nystrom, it is very important that no member be allowed too great a controlling interest. I was removed as a paid member of another site because the largest contributor butted heads with me. In the end, that site might as well have belonged to that individual since he exerted control through financial influence. I suggest limiting individual contributions to no more than 5% at first and as the number of supporting members grow, decrease that percentage further. It will actually decrease by itself as long as people can't contribute more as supporting membership grows.
I do have a few ideas that I would like to offer and I hope others will chime in here and add their ideas as well.
1. Create a separate forum area where only supporting members can view and comment. Posts in this area should not be reposted elsewhere on the site and should not be crawled by spiders, etc. An extension of this could also be to create a For Sale/Help Wanted thread where only supporting members can create an ad if they wish to sell something or hire someone. All members could reply and ask questions of the seller, etc, but no ads of their own.
2. Create an Author's Thread. People can write articles that are subject to moderation, proofreading, and group consensus. These articles are then released to an Articles/News Releases forum once approved by a consensus of supporting members. Consensus is obtained by the current upvote/downvote system. Articles can begin in a Fresh Articles subforum and if upvoted enough, moved to a Rough Draft forum, then a Final Draft forum and from there it can be released to general viewing or even cross-posted to Facebook and other social media. The principle idea here is to create a sort of think tank. Perhaps we can even have an "Article Of The Month" award. The natural evolution here is a potential Daily Paul News Page.
3. Donation Raffle where the prize is a supporting membership. Do these on a routine basis where each $10 donation is entered into a raffle. This would be great for those that can't afford to be a regular contributor. The raffle can have various prizes such as a Grand Prize Lifetime Membership, Five Year Membership, One Year membership, etc. Give away 1 Lifetime Membership, 5 Five Year Memberships, and 25 One Year Memberships. Based on the last $10,000 fundraiser, there would be 1,000 entries. Looking at the value of a 1yr membership being worth $120, The approximate retail value of the secondary prizes is $6,000. Not sure what value to place on the grand prize but if you estimate 10 years, then it's $1,200. So for $7,200 in prizes, you can raise $10,000 or more. The actual cost to the site for these prizes is probably near-negligible if all you factor is the average advertising revenue generated by 31 visitors and the cost to support them.
Let's hear some other ideas as well.