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BM Website Issues/Help Requests

BikerMatch upgrades - discuss please

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BikerMatch upgrades - discuss please

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Hey everyone.
I need to discuss something out loud with you all and get some feedback. BikerMatch is your community so to ensure it survives I want to involve you.

Last summer I made a big change to the site to make it easier to pay for a membership (like 2 clicks on a popup) and to also allow small payments for 1 week again for 99p (rather than a minimum of 1 month as had been the case for a while).

The effect has been noted so I need to decide what to do now.

The number of people upgrading is more than *double* since the change, which is great. Sadly, the average price / period chosen is 5x less. Essentially cutting the funds generated to less than half they were before the changes.

So, more people upgrade, but choose smaller periods.

A secondary effect is the payment processing costs of a 99p payment is about 25% vs 5% for a £15 payment. This is because there's a minimum payment processing fee which eats into small payments.

The effect is that the site simply doesn't generate even enough money now to pay just for the adverts on Google, Facebook etc. Never-mind the costs for servers, electricity (£1k per year!), accountant, business fibre internet etc

So how do we bring new people in? I cannot keep dipping into my own pockets. The site costs me a lot in time and energy, it shouldn't cost me my salary from my day job also.

We either need to get the income generated up, or the costs to bring in new daily members down.

Please all suggestions below and I'll see what's possible.

   Update Reply
Matt @ 28/02/2020 11:10  

In my opinion Short term members should pay more, to make yearly subs look look more temping that way you get More yearly subs and you can work out you £££ easiery and anyone paying short term makes you Big gains. To Raise profile of site More day Group meets could be a good idea (Yes i understand these need orgainizing). How about some sort of Mugs, T'shirt, Hoodies, Key Phobs or other type of thingh

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Matt04 @ 28/02/2020 12:07  

Hello Matt, I must admit I like the payment system as it is now. It's quick and easy.
I've just upgraded but only for 20 weeks, I'm considering leaving altogether cos I can't seem to get a pillion ride, it's a real struggle.

Been a member for 14 years in September, since the site was 3 months and it had only a handful of members.

Any newbies reading this, it's a good site with loads of good folk who will make you feel welcome and it's value for money.

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Sandi @ 28/02/2020 12:16  

Hello Matt04, your suggestion about merchandise has been a topic several times since the site started, and although we did have hoodies and t shirts, it was short lived, mainly because of the name, not many folk want BikerMatch on their clobber.

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Sandi @ 28/02/2020 12:30  

Was thinking name on clobber as i wrote, could be right. was just thinking of ways to raise money

(sorry to read you are thinking of leaving Hope you change your mind and find a pilly or more soon~)

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Matt04 @ 28/02/2020 12:45  

Sorry Matt04, didn't mean to pee on your bonfire.
It's a good suggestion, I've still got my hoody with my name on it. Used to wear it to BM gatherings so that newbies could find us all. Especially when BMers gather at a popular biker venue like Squires and Matlock.

(Aww thanks Matt04) 🙂

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Sandi @ 28/02/2020 12:58  

Mr Micawber's famous, and oft-quoted, recipe for happiness: "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."
What I'm saying is, what's the break-even on different categories of membership? That then is the minimum chargeable. If 99p is costing you money don't offer it
You may lose a few, but does the site benefit from folk who dib in and out?
Anyway, that's my starter for 10 and just my opinion.....

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Cupid Stunt @ 28/02/2020 13:04  

Thanks for replying guys.

Matt, at the moment it gives 1% per week. So for 52 weeks it's basically a half-price discount.
Is the system maybe not clear enough do you think?

Sometimes it's hard for me as a developer to understand how you guys see what I design. Because I spend hours and hours looking at the smallest detail, icon, borders etc I know exactly where to click before the page has even loaded. But I understand for other people it might be less obvious.

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Matt @ 28/02/2020 13:13  

Matt part of the problem is much closer to home. You ask us what we think about stuff and when we send PMs you don't read them . Maybe a slap round the back of your own head by your boss may help LOL. You do have to remember that money is very tight at the min with cutbacks in most sectors and Boat sales are at an all time high.
Check your PMs

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JP @ 28/02/2020 19:05  

pmsl @ JP

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Double six @ 28/02/2020 19:46  

Hi Matt
I joined the site on a free to belong basis but found that I had so many benefits from being here that I felt guilty to think of myself as a free loader so paid up and became a full member and I think the membership fee is more than reasonable.
Why not put a time limit on free membership, say 6 months and then you have to cough up or go.
I understand all the stuff about money being tight but this place doesn't run on fresh air any more than a charity does. If you want to get something out then you should put something in if it means that the books get balanced just like every other form of entertainment.

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Deleted Member @ 28/02/2020 20:39  

That is understood gbear, but when there was a BM rally available the last one was not as well attended as it could have been. I don't go to Matlock anymore as I find it to be a bit over rated as a meeting place, constant looking out for the traffic womble and having to find a new place to park your bike every hour, plus the hassle from the coffee shop we met at when we didn't buy his over priced coffee, instead opting for his neighbours more favourably priced and frankly better tasting beverages. Having said that, it was always the same faces that turned up and I personally didn't have a bad time when I did go. Same as Squires, on my doorstep and yet even though there are a lot of members in the area, not very well attended when meet ups are discussed.
Nick has a point when he says don't charge 99p if it is costing the site owner from his own pocket. At the very least, put a maximum limit on how many times short term memberships can be bought. I think quarterly, six monthly and annually would be sufficient in conjunction with lets say 5 one day subs and 3 one week subs, something along those lines, but charge accordingly for the short term ones. If someone is interested in becoming a member and staying to enhance the whole experience, then they will be willing to pay for a longer membership period.
When I joined just under 9 yrs ago approx., the chatroom was a vibrant place to take the mick without offense. There wasn't a great deal of bike talk going on but the forums and pm's were in place for that. The fun side of BM was drained by certain individuals that were reviled by many but couldn't be got rid of easily. As a result the more risqué members, mostly women I might add, didn't come into chat and eventually left the site altogether.
That's my two penneth.
Back to the subject of the topic, appropriate pricing with restrictions on the number of short term subscriptions.

   Update Reply
Double six @ 28/02/2020 21:31  

If the old sistem made money go back to it.
I sometimes get new members asking were I got my BM tee shirt from so maybe we should have clothing

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Bikeabill @ 29/02/2020 02:37  

"You pays yer money,you takes yer choice"....but why should anybody expect any of it for free?I think all of the current competitors charge more for a subscription,whatever length chosen..(not that i wander far,or often,lol)
I suspect poor attendence at various venues may be geographically driven..not all of us live North of the Midlands,but i try to turn up anywhere that piques my interest,particularly if it's more than an afternoon's worth...have to agree with 66 about that coffee in Buxton,i've oiled chains with nicer tasting stuff ! :)>
All boils down to what people are ACTUALLY looking for on here..waffle over,back to my glass case until the princess arrives to awaken me with a kiss..:)>>

   Update Reply
jinx57 @ 29/02/2020 06:29  

Hi matt,
My two penneth worth from a lurker that posts occasionally

I went for subscription when you halved the pics I could see, yes I'm a cheapskate and we all want what we can for free, I was slightly disappointed as it seems I only got all the pictures for my payment, a members only area would be nice but saying that I've subscribed again 😂

Drop the payment of 99p if you're losing out but make them a rounded figure of £5, £10 etc also advertise or put on the payments page the prices per month/quarter, as you say 12 months works out at half price, I didn't realise that, I just rounded it up to what I was willing to pay, in my case £20......thats mainly because I lurk and if I'm lucky I get a message or two

How about only 5 posts on the forum free each month for non subscribers? If they want to post more then subscribe.
Or when anyone joins, the first week, 2 weeks or month is free, get all pics, free messages and posts on the forums etc then after that the only pictures they see is the profile one, 5 free messages a month, 5 free posts on the forums a month, everything else they have to subscribe to with a pop up regularly saying this.

Also I'd like to say that I'd love to come to an event, it's OK for everyone who's outgoing, take partners or friends but it's daunting for someone like me, on my own or nervous....sometimes it's just easier to lurk lol

   Update Reply
Deleted Member @ 29/02/2020 11:37  

Lol JP, I replied before reading this here. Last week I sent out 18,000 PMs and had hundreds of replies. Taken me a full day to get through them all.

gbear - Thanks. So basically you think that too many features of the site are available for standard users? It's really hard to balance the features without making the site too inaccessible for standard members. The site needs to remain active otherwise nobody will want to be here.

D6 - good feedback. Noted. Thanks.

Bill - the old system had other downsides though. Like making the site less busy. In 2019, thanks to changing the system, the site has been 200% more active and 40% more people upgraded their accounts. That was my goal - to make the site more active and get more people to contribute. It worked. Sadly most people choose to upgrade for 1 week, maybe 2 weeks, with a handful of people who always choose 1 year.

Jinx - I hope you washed yourself down after visiting any competitors???

Jollyrambler - Great feedback, thanks. The problem in 2018 was the site activity was going down drastically as people found partners or just decided to use Facebook. Also less bikers out there these days as most millennial don't have the money for multiple vehicles and their car is more important. Times are a changing. So the goal was to increase activity. That meant making more of the site open for standard members. Like the forum, PMs etc. But there are limits to how many PMs you can send (5 per day), forum posts (I think 200 max), etc The idea is to enable people to get a taste of the site (after Jinx has washed himself down lol) and limit freeloading. The balance is just hard to get right. When I made the site mostly locked for standard members, that resulted in complaints from paying members that the activity was going down and not everyone could reply to PMs etc. So I'm constantly tweaking it.

Yesterday I changed the minimum number of weeks that can be selected with the slider from 1 to 5. I'll monitor it and see what impact it has.

The most important thing we need though is more events. Fortunately I've had a huge response to my mailshot so we have a new events army that I will announce this week.
Fingers crossed we have an exciting 2020.

Please keep the feedback coming. It's all useful and will help me decide how to proceed.

   Update Reply
Matt @ 29/02/2020 12:53  

The £1 option has gone been doing it last 12 weeks , i don't want long term soon as i find a match i won't log in again.

   Update Reply
RONNIE.J @ 29/02/2020 17:35  

Is this the sort of member we want, who is only here for a few weeks while he finds a mate, surely we need the long time members who will use it has a social site and get involved in the event we have if the site is going to survive, this goes back to are we a biker site or a dating site, make your mind up Matt which way you want to go

   Update Reply
Bikeabill @ 29/02/2020 20:16  

I pay for a year, as I'm a cheap skate and it works out much better financially.

Perhaps 3 month, 6 month and yearly subscription would be a good option, rather than a week here and there.

I suppose it depends on whether you want bigger membership numbers or larger income from subs.

Lower prices brings higher membership rate, which brings in higher income in the longer term.

Higher prices brings lower membership rate = lower income.

Although I'm not an economist so I could have got that wrong ... 🤔🙄😂🤣

   Update Reply
Lindsay @ 29/02/2020 23:51  

I will admit that I for one was “initially” attracted to the site from the dating point of view!
Soon found myself asking if in reality folks could simply expect to look at the online adds (BM, POF et al) and choose a partner as they would a TV? ROFLMAO
Indeed for anyone looking to find that someone special then the social events should provide a far safer way (particularly for women) to meet others than by making “blind dates” based on a few pics and messages
To me the real value of this site lies in its social aspect – which maybe is not emphasised as much as it should be?
It is a fantastic place for events such as rallies etc knowing there will be like minded folks from the site happy to simply have a laugh and a beer with
The actual “BM” organised events are particularly good and I have attended these anywhere from Scotland to Cornwall with anything from 2 or 3 to fifty plus in attendance.
A Field full of tents with bikes parked alongside - a decent ride out – a few cans in the sun (lol) and off for dinner in the pub – then repeat again the next day – what more can a anyone ask for 
Ah roll on Summer
Ronnie maybe you should risk the subs, get out to a few events and see another side to the site?

   Update Reply
Mister Pete - Optimist @ 01/03/2020 17:37  

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