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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
1-18-05 Update - Server has been upgraded. Details here:
http://www.opelgt.com/forums/showthread.php?p=44443#post44443
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Right now, we are at a little over one half of our servers capacity. The photos in our gallery alone take up over 300 meg of space. At some point in the future, we will need to expand that capacity. And to think, when I started this site 7 years ago we had a 20 meg capacity. So where do we grow from here?

2005 plans
My plans for opelgt.com this year include several new features to expand it beyond it being just another pretty forum. I'm still waiting for the members garage program to be released. I think that will be a huge hit and be the base for the Opel VIN database. The Downloads area will be upgraded. A new Articles program is out for beta testing that is a huge improvement over the existing one. The Auction program is online and we had our first actual auction. (How did it go guys?) And who knows what will come down the development line in the future.

One thing for certain, I will stay with programs that are compatible with our member database so you will only have to log in once. More and more sites are switching over to the forum program we use. It is becoming the standard for forums and has a huge development community that keeps adding features.

I will be dropping support of the @opelgt.com email soon. The usage doesn't justify the license fees. If you are still using that program, please PM me for an alternative.

The "Rate my Opel" site still has a lot of bugs and has been a disapointment even with its new release. not sure what I'm going to do there.

Moderators and Helpers
We will be needing a few more active Moderators to ease some of the burden Keith has keeping the posts in their proper place. At some point I would like to add to the forum FAQ's to help out new members navigate around and answer some of the common questions I get constant emails on. Send a PM to me if you would like to help.

Donations
Donations to the site covered roughly 75% of our annual costs last year. Thank you to all who contributed!! Clicking on the "Google Ads" also helps as Google will pay out for visits to certain sites. I chose Google ads because they are not a "Pop-Up" ad and the sites listed are relevent to what is being discussed in the forums. "Pop-Ups" are one thing you will not see on OpelGT.com.

As we have grown, so have the fees and license costs so your donations were/are greatly appreciated. I have been tossing around a few ideas for offsetting the site costs as it would be good to get into a cost saving, long term, higher capacity hosting plan. Some ideas: 1. Seeking out legit sponsors and running banner ads for them. 2. Setting up a "Premium Member" group that for a small fee, would have greater capacity in the Photo Gallery and limiting the number of photos regular members can upload. 3. Have a fund raiser drive to get enough money to cover the annual costs. 4. Set up a "store" to sell shirts, hats, decals, etc. (one member, Edwin, had offered this last Summer, but I never had the time to set it up :( ) 5. Charge a small fee for auction listings. 6. Just continue on the way we are going.

Now it is your turn. What would you like to see on opelgt.com? New features? Improvements? What are your thoughts on offsetting the site fees?

Post away...
 

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Gary said:
4. Set up a "store" to sell shirts, hats, decals, etc.
I think this is a good idea, as it's stuff a lot of people want anyway, so if it can help cover overhead costs, so much the better.

Perhaps a percentage of all items sold at your booth at Carlisle can be donated to the 'cause' as well? Just a thought.

Bob
 

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I for one couldn't have gotten my Opel up and running without all the good information I have gotten here on this site. Made a bunch of friends, and met people I never would have met otherwise.
Items 1 through 5 sound good. Maybe a small membership fee across the board would help as well.
More moderators and helpers would be good as it seems you and Keith spend a great deal of time here, when I'm sure you'd rather be pulling wrenches. I think the board is a very good source of info and the search feature is the best. There is a world, literally, of good and informative reading and we seem to have a great group here on the board. I certainly enjoy it, and look in at least twice a day, sometimes more when I have the time. Whatever I can do to help, I will be more than happy to. I'm sure others will as well. Jarrell
 

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I just think of all the money I saved by getting expert knowledge here on the forums and realize that a small fee or donation would be well worth the money. Being a good Scot, I don't like the thought of giving my money away but for a good cause and a excellent information site, I would consider it money well spent. :cool:
 

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who's the artist around here?

Gary, I think you should look into this place:
http://www.cafepress.com/cp/info/
You can set up an account, upload your choice of designs and logos, and people can order them on whatever they want them on, from bumper stickers to thongs. Depending on the type of account you set-up, you set the profit you want to make from each item and they take care of the rest. I have several friends who use them for their bands and the like with excellent results. It's make to order, so if I wanted a gray XXL t-shirt with the main logo from the web site on it, I would order it for the company's cost to make plus your profit, and it gets sent to my door.

I think you could spend an afternoon setting everything up, add a link on the main page, and 5000+ OpelGt.com members could buy t-shirts and hats to their hearts delight, and you with no overhead and excess inventory.

Just one idea.

I also like the idea of charging a fee for more gallery space. It's no impact on the casual browser, and the more active members should be contributing anyway.....

Perhaps a gentle reminder every 50 posts or so that a contribution would be appreciated might be a good nudge as well......
 

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Gary said:
Now it is your turn. What would you like to see on opelgt.com? New features? Improvements? What are your thoughts on offsetting the site fees? Post away...
OK, here are some thoughts...

Gary said:
More and more sites are switching over to the forum program we use. It is becoming the standard for forums and has a huge development community that keeps adding features.
I belong to a couple of Lexus IS300 sites that use this VBulletin software. There are two things that REALLY strike me. First, even though my IS300 is much more numerous, and also popularly "tuned", the combined traffic on both those sites is way less than here. Some of this is related to the passion we have for our Opels. But it is also related to the site itself. Mainly because...

Second, this site is MUCH more user-friendly. Not just in the helpfulness of the members (which is a HUGE understatement!), but in the way information is organized and findable. This may be blowing my own horn, but there simply isn't a site out there as usable as this one. Not for Lexus, Austin Healey, Jaguar, or any speciality make. Our Forum design is second to none, and getting better all the time.

That said, if the "add-ons" compromise the sustainability of the site, or future upgradeability, then maybe just stick with the core. The Forums, and the Photo Gallery is what I come here for.

Gary said:
I will be dropping support of the @opelgt.com email soon. The usage doesn't justify the license fees. If you are still using that program, please PM me for an alternative.
I agree. Say goodbye to the e-mail. Too many other options out there.

Gary said:
The "Rate my Opel" site still has a lot of bugs and has been a disappointment even with its new release. Not sure what I'm going to do there..
Sadly, I also agree. The first version was a neat concept and had a glimmer of hope, but it was just too cumbersome to easily look around after the rating was left. The second version is no better. Does anyone even have their cars listed there? I haven't looked lately, but it wouldn't break my heart to ditch it. Now if you could spend a bit of that time on the OMC site...

Gary said:
Donations
Donations to the site covered roughly 75% of our annual costs last year. Thank you to all who contributed!! Clicking on the "Google Ads" also helps as Google will pay out for visits to certain sites. I chose Google ads because they are not a "Pop-Up" ad and the sites listed are relevant to what is being discussed in the forums. "Pop-Ups" are one thing you will not see on OpelGT.com.
The Google ads have been quite un-obtrusive, and occasionally even interesting. But I agree, pop-ups are intolerable. Which is probably another reason that the IS300 sites I mentioned above are not more successful. The pop-ups drive me CRAZY!

Gary said:
As we have grown, so have the fees and license costs so your donations were/are greatly appreciated. I have been tossing around a few ideas for offsetting the site costs as it would be good to get into a cost saving, long term, higher capacity hosting plan. Some ideas: 1. Seeking out legit sponsors and running banner ads for them. 2. Setting up a "Premium Member" group that for a small fee, would have greater capacity in the Photo Gallery and limiting the number of photos regular members can upload. 3. Have a fund raiser drive to get enough money to cover the annual costs. 4. Set up a "store" to sell shirts, hats, decals, etc. (one member, Edwin, had offered this last Summer, but I never had the time to set it up :( ) 5. Charge a small fee for auction listings. 6. Just continue on the way we are going.
Funny, I was just mentioning to Myrna the other day that one BIG concern I had about this site is it's long term sustainability. Not to belabour the issue, but it is pretty much dependent on the hard work, and continued LIFE (as in being able and willing) of Gary to maintain this site. Maybe if we had better funding, and a commercial host, the site would be a bit more self-sustaining. It will always need powerful protagonists, but it would be a HUGE blow to the Opel Community if this excellent data base were lost. Maybe better not to think about that...

Hmm. Too bad we can't do this on donations alone. Maybe if we "recognized" donations (at the member's discretion)? Nothing like a little pat on the back to make the pain of giving more pleasant.

The "legit" sponsors could work, if we can be selective. And insist on tasteful ads.

Nope, I don't like the Premium Member idea. What makes this site work is that the members are Opel owners (or wanna be owners), from all walks of life, and all societal classes. No distinction. (except for Moderators, who get unlimited photo hosting capacity. Ah, it's GOOD to have power!)

The auction idea has merit. Maybe a 5 % commission on small items, and 2 % over $1000 (such as for car sales)? $20 is pretty darn cheap to sell a car. Make it the "honour" system, with recognition when a member "donates" the commission.

Gary said:
Moderators and Helpers
We will be needing a few more active Moderators to ease some of the burden Keith has keeping the posts in their proper place. At some point I would like to add to the forum FAQ's to help out new members navigate around and answer some of the common questions I get constant emails on. Send a PM to me if you would like to help..
This is timely. I have to say that I really enjoy moderating here. Even getting in between the occasional "flame" (which have been few and far between) has been largely OK. And the best part is getting (having?) to read every thread. And even better, is to read all the comments in the Photo Gallery when I moderate (which aren't easily read through in it's current format, so THAT could be an improvement, and maybe a substitute for the "Rate My Opel").

I have learned a lot about Opels in the past three years (since I took my first career break, and got into this and the classicopels site), and even more about the Opel Community. Well, some of what I learned about the folks might be better left unknown. Mostly, it has been terrific. But I think my time as Über Moderator is drawing to an end. I now have two Opels sitting derelict at my house, and a career that is back off hold. As in on track, and full time. And then some. And ski season is starting, which is my number one priority after Myrna and the kids. I hate to say it, but in the next month, I am going to wean myself away from here. Not do an "RB" Cold Turkey, but a definite cut back. More like a "right sizing".

Anyway, I think the site is in great shape, and WAY more successful than I ever thought possible. Almost entirely due to Gary, but also to our many notable contributors, such as RallyBob, Ron, Jim, Gene, Dave, Otto, Jared, Dean, baz, Stephen, and many others. Frankly, I am amazed at how many members we have that have contributed so many posts. We have almost 100 (one hundred!) members who have posted over one hundred times. With almost 5500 members to date. And counting.

So what we need are a few good men (and women) to dedicate a few minutes a night (or a week) to reading through new threads, and placing them where they "belong". This will take a bit of organization, perhaps by having two members responsible for all new posts on Mondays and Wednesdays, two others on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and two for weekends. Or some such thing.

So what I am saying is that it is the right time for me to "back away from the car". Well, from OGT.com, and actually get closer to my cars. Either that, or just have a adrenaline-driver like my IS300, long for the good old days when I had an Opel, and get on with my life. But enough waxing...
 

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Keith and his Opels

I agree with you, Keith . . . I'd sure like to FINALLY see your FI Sportwagon at JUST ONE of the shows . . . ANY!! . . . and/or maybe the GT? :eek:
 

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I would have to agree also with much of what has already been commented on in this thread...

Originally Posted by Gary
Now it is your turn. What would you like to see on opelgt.com? New features? Improvements? What are your thoughts on offsetting the site fees? Post away...
  • Drop the email, unless you charge for it. There are a lot of free services out there.
  • Drop the rate my Opel, I couldn't even find one to rate? Doesn't appear to be used...
  • Yes to small fee's on auctions, or ad listings. $20 would be dirt cheap to sell a car...
  • Yes, to the google ad's, no to others. Its nice not being pestered with those other annoying pop-ups....
  • Member fees? Hum... being free to post, helps to entice new people...

I would pay if necessary, but maybe suggest keep the fee small, or one time. It would need based on a per user and not per number of message posts; that would scare away the 1000 post club members...

What does it take (average annual cost) to keep the site going? Or shouldn't I ask here...

Originally Posted by Keith
Funny, I was just mentioning to Myrna the other day that one BIG concern I had about this site is it's long term sustainability. Not to belabour the issue, but it is pretty much dependent on the hard work, and continued LIFE (as in being able and willing) of Gary to maintain this site
I have been there on this issue. After being the sole driving force for the former NWOC, it takes a lot to keep people motivated, a club together, and publish a monthly newsletter. I eventually had to give it up, as those life things demanded more attention. :(

I see you, Gary, and a few others as that driving force. And it sounds like you could use some help, as I am sure you have got Opel projects like the rest of us... So how about it everyone, lets all pitch in... I am sure others, like myself, would hate too loose this great information base... :eek:

I would like to take time to say that the work you all have done here is simply fantastic! This is an AWESOME place to find information, ask questions, and offer advice. This message board and image site runs very smooth, simple to use, and is not to complicated, unlike many other boards on the WWW. It would be great to keep it that way. The great asset this site has is its members, and the collective vast knowledge you all share...

Just my $0.02...
 

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As a member of the 1000 post club I do see and understand how the site is gaining momentum. I also agree with the mail, rate my opel and auction coments.

Considering the amount of time I spend surfing this site. I think a fee basis of some sort would be appropriate. Possibly at the 6 month or 1 year mark of membership. That would not discourage new members but keep some of the costs in check maybe.

It's kinda funny timing since just yesterday I had logos done. I think I'll have more done and donate them to the cause, just tell me what color or colors you might want.
 

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boomerang opeler
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2 things to say that might help 1 that might hinder
help wise i use a british site
http://www.granada-and-scorpio-online.com/forums/index.php?s=
that as with all sites needs funds
the owner Phil Waller has done a 2005 calender (with pics sent in of members cars [from2 forums to cover all models ])to help with funds, they are sold through his online shop within the forum and is getting some good sales from it
this brings me to the 2nd thing an online shop within the forum to make running costs for the site ,then all adds and sales have to go through the shop with a small fee to the site (a look @ the site is the best way to see how it works )
since we trade all sorts of things then this would help and no one would object to a % or 2 for the site im sure
now for the hinderance
if you need more moderators i am here to help :D (and for keith i will even start to use the spell check)
as greg said the free post part of this site is what i came here for in the first place but if you were to charge on a post basis then i think you would double membership as we all joined again for the early free posts
 

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I am a member of a couple of MR2 boards as well, and they remain free. They do do an annual fund raiser, and tag your avatar with the level you sponsor. Along with your donation, depending on the level, you get a preimium (logoed shirt, cap, mug etc.) It works. They also use banners for site sponsors, not pop-ups.

Google links is good along with the idea of a site store for Opel logo items.
 

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boomerang opeler
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1 other thought
cosmetic but could we have an choice of page layout ?
i would love to dump things like the weather channel as it dont work in the uk and slows loading the page each time
also an option to change around the page so we dont have to scroll down to get to the posts
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
baz said:
1 other thought
cosmetic but could we have an choice of page layout ?
i would love to dump things like the weather channel as it dont work in the uk and slows loading the page each time
also an option to change around the page so we dont have to scroll down to get to the posts
Baz - Click on the "Quick links" button in the nav bar and you can search for new posts only from several time periods or Click on the "archive" link at the bottom of the page for a text only index of the site. ( Good candidate for a FAQ tip)
 

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Nothing in Life is Free!

It never ceases to amaze me that people don't realise that a site like this costs quite a bit of money - and huge amounts of dedicated time from volunteers! - to be kept up and running.

It is nice and easy for people with Paypal ( everyone on eBay???) to make a small donation from time to time to keep this great resource alive. It is also very easy to just "click" on a Google add or two when visiting and so earning a bit more for the site - some of the adds are extremely interesting too.

Maybe we need to be a bit more forthrigth about expecting people to donate a dollar or two from time to time and we certainly need to let all our members know that just clicking on some Google adds is worth money
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I don't know what the site costs to kee running but a donation of even $5 per member would bring in over $25,000!

Keeping this site "Free" is the ideal as otherwise "someone" has to collect subs and chase up non-payers etc. etc. etc.
 

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fees and costs

I am a member of Nikon site that is free to use, surf and post, however, If you want to post a picture, it then requires a small annual fee.


:) Cameras and old cars - it gets kind of expensive. Although not as bad as Airplanes - Used to have one of those too.
 

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boomerang opeler
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Gary said:
Baz - Click on the "Quick links" button in the nav bar and you can search for new posts only from several time periods or Click on the "archive" link at the bottom of the page for a text only index of the site. ( Good candidate for a FAQ tip)
gary i like most of the home page (things like who's on line whats on second who's on second no who's on first whats on second )its just things like having to scroll down half a page when you come to the site to to get to the recent posts box
its the reviews and recent pics and polls boxes id like to dump or minimise so i can get to the box we all read first . the only minimise checks are on the donate and menu boxes and only 1 of them does anything (i can understand not wanting the donations box to minimise )
 

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I think the idea of making everyone pay for a membership, no matter how often the use it isn't a good idea, i know when i joined i probably wouldn't have joined if i had to pay because i didn't check it everyday or post that much and it wouldn't have seemed worth it to me. Newcommers don't know how useful and a weath of knowledge this site is, sure the membership fee might bring in the money you need at the beginning, but in the long run it would come back to get you when you don't have very many new people. A "premium" membership wouldn't be a bad idea, because the people who would pay for that are most likely ones that have been here a while and know how great the site is, but it would also let the new people surf, post and learn for free.

I think the store is an excellent idea and a great way to make money. I don't know about other people but if you had to throw a few more banner ads on here to cover cost I wouldn't mind..... what about OGTS? thats a link everyone could use if they're willing to do it.

Pretty much anything to keep this site up would be worth it, but getting the newbies to pay would end up driving them away and who wants that?

also if younger people like me had to pay, it would be through a credit card i would guess right?..... being under 18 means no credit cards..... and parents usually have something against their kids using their credit cards over the internet :eek:
 

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I've donated previoulsy and will certainly be donating again. Personally, I would prefer to donate $XX once a year, however that anniversary date is easily forgotten. Perhaps there could be a reminder PM sent out on a certain date to remind us to donate.

Another idea is to have a fundraiser thermometer on the homepage like the United Way uses to raise money for new swingsets or whatever it is that they buy. That would allow us to have a goal as a community. This doesn't pull from those that hide in the corner and absorb all the good information here, but it might encourage wallets to open a little wider.

Gary mentioned selling merchandise and I think this is a wonderful idea. Remember, there is very little turnover in our community so I would anticipate there being an initial surge then a slow trickle of orders.

Also, I am going to take a moment here and encourage each of us to favor the few Opel specialist suppliers that we have instead of always going after the lowest cost. There are very few people/businesses that cater to Opels in the USA, and it is a terrible shame that we don't encourage them more. By no means do I endorse blindly purchasing from an Opel specialist simply for the sake of loyalty, but if there is only a few dollars difference between Amazon.com and Opel GT Source, please consider the effects of not having OGTS around to tackle the hassles of importing the little things like solid lifters and rocker studs or the task of reproducing heater control panels and corner lenses.

And I think the OMC should have track days at various racetracks
 

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:cool:
I shudderr to think of where I would be if I didn't have access to the wisdom found in the information on this site. I really think that all of the plans that Gary has for this site are good ideas.

It may also be helpful to have a "fundraiser" at the local and national meets that we all attend (such as Carlisle), even if it's just a donation jar. Personally, I think the "premier member" idea is a good one. Maybe a jacket patch could be designed that we could sew onto our Opel jackets or hats. Just an idea.

Whatever we do, this "show must go on". I know that we just had a death on the West Coast that really affected our other "club". It really makes one appreciate what we have and give some thought as to what we can do to not only make it continue, but make it better.

My hat is off to Gary and all the moderators that donate so much time, $ and effort to keep this site going. It really is the premier site of its kind that I've been able to find. If you need my help, Gary, please call me.

Allen & Vickie Gage :)
 
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