View Full Version : Should there be a subscription charge for PPRuNe?

You want it when?
9th Aug 2001, 16:18
Pardon me if this is an old thread resurrected, and I'm not even sure if it will be allowed to run!

PPRuNe is an undeniable source of first-hand information, pithy tips, witticisms, and hodge-podge of opinion from (admit it) like minded individuals. There will always be extremes of character and the occasional flaming (ouch) :) and pistols at dawn stuff but by the next post we've all stopped smarting and are ready to go again.

Uptime (Computer speak for availability) seems pretty good and when its "hung" it seems to come back pretty quickly.

I haven't a clue what advertising revenue it is capable of drawing - but as a real time information service with over 38,000 members it must get some good rates and need some pretty hefty servers to power it.

Currently PPRuNe is free, this is good, it means that a massive cross-section of people can use it without financial exposure. It's as anonymous as you like - the age, creed, sex of the contributors is rarely known beyond their circle of pals. 12 year old wannabees can contribute along side of 30,000+ hour pilots who first flew with Orville Wright.

Obviously the answer is to keep PRuNe free, and derive its operating costs from advertising.

But what if it had an annual subscription of say 15 per annum (inc. VAT). Would you pay for PRuNe? What could / should they do with the money? What additional services could a paid up member as opposed to a guest get? Would the free-flowing of ideas and guidance be halted?

So to propose answer to my own questions...

Would you pay?

I would, I've joined the AOPA and seem to get little for it, I spend about 50 a year belonging to some classic car clubs and all I get is nice magazine every month.

What could they do for the money?

PRuNe badges, air-show / hotel chain discounts, PPRuNe sponsored fly-ins, (OK drinking sessions!), subsidised merchandise (baseball cap anyone?), better servers, chat room software, legal support etc..

Guest v. Member?

Keep your handle, access to Jet Blast, right to attend and benefit from the above.

Free flow of ideas?

Probably this would be slowed down, unless as a guest you could register on the fly - of course guests would be highlighted in a different name so you'd know if your were talking to Tornado1 the wannabe or Tornado1 the schoolchild.

Let the thread commence... :D

9th Aug 2001, 16:31
Hows about a free black and white version on a creaky old server, and a subscription service for a "weasel **** off a shiny shovel" full bells and whistles server.

just a thought. :D

9th Aug 2001, 16:37
One of the very good reasons that a lot of your suggestions have not worked in the past, and will not work in the future.....Cos you look pretty new to the site, you've never seen Danny or PPT recount that this is a PRIVATE site.....3 blokes, or thereabouts, run the thing from home, and they dont do it for money, they do it because they have a passion for this stuff...namely, Aviation.
These 3 blokes , you'd think, would be pretty busy running a site like PPRuNe, with the high volume of traffic that it generates, but you'd also thinks that, hey, they can do it! Well they DO do it, but what is totally astonishing, is that these chaps also have Full-time work committments, Family committments etc.... And hey, who knew, back in the 90's that a few years down the track that there'd be over 30,000 registered members on the Bulletin Board!!

Who knows where it will go from here....maybe it will get so big one day, that it can justify becomming a company and employing a staff to wholey and souly concentrate on it's upkeep and performance......and maybe that's exactly what the creators of the site do NOT want to see happen....bottom line though....their call.

Good one for showing some initiative, and I do sincerely hope you dont get flamed for it, but so expect that there will be those who will :rolleyes:

PPRuNe has become an insitution, but it IS, afterall, a website at this stage, nothing more, nothing less......maybe Danny's just waiting till retirement, and this is his little nest egg :D :D :D


Tricky Woo
9th Aug 2001, 17:10
There is a common misconception that some internet companies adhere to: "Keep it all free for a few years, and then charge 'em for access once they're hooked. Ha-ha-ha!"

The trouble is that the few people that have tried this approach have watched their once thriving websites dwindle down to just a few hits per day. Website suicide, matey.

I must say that charging would at least solve any future performance problems, seeing as PPRuNe would go from 30,000 members plus, down to around 300. Danny could run the lot on an Acorn Atom.


9th Aug 2001, 17:19
As a relative newby to PPRuNe (less than a month), I'm not in the same position as GoGirl to comment on what PPRuNe "is", and I've never met Danny (but I'd like to take this opportunity to say Danny, you do a great job, keep it up, we do appreciate it!)

However, I have been active for several years on a group of car-related mailing lists (well, specifically on the one list relating to the type of car I'm interested in), and there seem to be parallels - the mailing list is operated privately by someone who has a passion for cars. Unlike PPRuNe, these lists do not have any commercial sponsers at all.

However, every now and then, the guy who runs the lists will send out an appeal for donations. He stresses that the donations are entirely voluntary, and he doesn't suggest an amount. He asks that anyone outside of the United States does not send donations, because it's too much hastle for him to convert foreign money to US$.

Using this system, he was able to buy an entire new server for the lists a few years ago. And recently he sent out another appeal, and was able to upgrade the server's hard disk considerably with the cash raised.

Maybe something similar could work on PPRuNe? Being a real-time web-site complete with chat-room it obviously requires more resource than a few dozen simple e-mail lists and archives - I guess this is why PPRuNe needs to be supported by commercial sponsership. But if Danny published an occassional request for financial (or any other kind of) assistance, on a purely voluntary basis, I know I for one would help out. 30,000 registered members you said? Even in 1 in 20 of them responded with 1 each, that would be enough to buy some pretty decent hardware if ever an upgrade is required....


9th Aug 2001, 17:33
But Danny's a Captain of a wide-body airliner. A King of the Skies plutocrat. Goes to the office in his private helicopter. Has a Bentley pick-up to pop down to Fortnum and Mason for a bit of Scotch Salmon for the cat and all that.

Why would he need to beg for coppers to pay for a new server? He can probably buy a Cray Supercomputer if he wanted to :D

Isn't that right Danny? :D

Well, maybe not, but a hobby is a hobby and most people don't count the cost of their hobbies, they just do their thing for personal satisfaction. PPRuNe is a wondrous work, I thank all those whose efforts pander to our vanity. Thanks Guys...

Through difficulties to the cinema

9th Aug 2001, 17:36
Keep it free! YWIW must be some sort of capitalist wan**er. Some of us are not in life for the money but for the joy. :eek:

tony draper
9th Aug 2001, 17:57
I would have no objection, you should have seen what I had to do to become a MADE MAN in a certain Italian organisation I joined. ;)

[ 09 August 2001: Message edited by: tony draper ]

9th Aug 2001, 19:15
Keep it free. This is the only way we will continue to see the variety of wit, intelligence, information, beligerence and frustration that we presently have. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

We have all sorts of people on here with lots of differing viewpoints, which understandably, does give Danny and his band of helpers a sore head from time to time.

I am quite happy to contribute financially from time to time and have done so. However I suggest that many may not.

We all need to appreciate Danny & his team for the work they do and understand what they are up against. Maybe a Danny & co testimonial evening is called for!!!!!


PPRuNe Towers
9th Aug 2001, 19:41
GG and Tricky sum up beautifully what we've written in the past.

Charging will kill the site - other than a few generous souls, people just will not pay. As to the goodies and so on you can have a thriving site or a wonderfully well organised marketing operation - we can't do both.

The badges are the way to support us because we refuse to take your money without you getting something real in return. However, actually banging out a letter to get one shows how few actually care enough to spend 5 minutes away from the screen. That's not a moan - we've always known that's how it is and we press on regardless.

We have wonderful assistance from our moderators but the site is genuinely run by 3 people all holding down full time jobs. We'd love to only need a simple mail server but isn't the case. We're pumping out more than 10 million pages per month and for every hour I get on site I spend 3 on admin. The ratio of 'quality time' spent here is even more adrift for Danny and Mik (PPRuNe Dispatch).

We do what we do because we're doers. The site always carries on evolving and growing. We 'd love you to buy a badge - it's never going to be compulsary but it's about the only tangible appreciation we ever see. Not one penny goes to us. A pound goes to the wannabees fund and the rest supports the site.

Thanks for kicking off the thread WYWY, the topic rears up several times a year. There are much more profitable things we could be doing with our time and skills but that's not really the point is it?

We are talking about PPRuNe after all...........

Rob Lloyd

[ 09 August 2001: Message edited by: PPRuNe Towers ]

You want it when?
9th Aug 2001, 19:55
Cool - cheques in the post for a badge. Any chance of a baseball cap for when I drive my convertibles? And you never know someday I might even fly something which doesn't have bl**dy great big wings over the cockpit :)

Edit'd cos - I'm in the 100 club :D

[ 09 August 2001: Message edited by: You want it when? ]

9th Aug 2001, 20:09
YWIW - all the best aeroplanes have bl**dy great big wings over the cockpit. They also have great big wings below as well, and lots of short bits connecting the two sets of wings together!


PS - Congrats on 100 posts - hope to be there soon too

PPS - Do you spend more time here than I do?


PPPS - Love your signature - comes from personal experience I take it?

[ 09 August 2001: Message edited by: FlyingForFun ]

You want it when?
9th Aug 2001, 20:18
FFF Probably, got some wizzy refresh software and it is pretty quiet here in the dungeon. Thanks for the help on technical plane stuff - now exactly what is that sticky up bit at the back called again :D

Edit for Signature explanation...

Yep - it is the mantra from John (instructor) as I try and fly the C150 into the numbers on R22 at Cranfield. Course we then balloon and I push the stick forward which really gets a sharp intake of breath

[ 09 August 2001: Message edited by: You want it when? ]