EDIT: Poll is closed. I won’t be offering a paid subscription to the sites.
EDIT: Poll results Week 2
Results remain at 75% not interested in paying for a subscription with half wanting to pay once and drop.
EDIT: Poll results Week 1
After a week, the polls say that 75% of the people who answered the poll aren’t interested in paying for a subscription. Of those that are, half would only pay for the subscription once to make changes to their characters and then drop the subscription. The amount those people would be willing to pay is a total of $58 for the first month and roughly half of that afterwards. This would keep the sites running for about two days the first month and one thereafter. Most subscribers would prefer to go ad-free, which would drastically reduce the amount of money I got from ads. There was a couple suggestions that I make forums, which failed miserably in the past (see comment section of this post).
Takeaway from week one: Adding a subscription option without additional options would not be worth the time and effort I would need to put into making it possible. Adding a subscription option and going ad-free for subscribers could potentially mean I wasn’t making enough money per month to keep the sites running.
For anyone who has read our About page, it should come as no surprise that the MMO Fashion sites barely earn enough money to cover operating costs. I realize that many people think I’m making a ton of money, but that just isn’t true. Both Dulfy and I donate our time to the sites and don’t earn a paycheck. Because of this, I’ve received several suggestions over the years that I should add a monthly subscription to help earn extra money.
I’ve been very hesitant about even looking into something like this because the sites were purposely set up so that people could use them anonymously. We never require a name to peruse or post on the site. In fact, you can even guest comment, though many people mistakenly think they have to create an account to comment.
I will never set up content behind a paywall. If I were to include a subscription option, people who don’t pay for the subscription would have exactly the same options for viewing and posting that they have now. I will never give early previews to those who pay for subscriptions.
My initial thoughts on what I could provide people who were willing to pay for a subscription is an account on the site(s) they use and contributor access to their character/stronghold gallery submissions or Prolific Poster pages. What this means is they would have access to change or delete their personal posts, but would still need to use the submission forms to upload new ones. I would not give people access to change the visual database posts.
Some things that people could do with their posts is change out pictures, update the items characters are wearing, include a link to a video, their personal blog, or livestream, write up a character biography, etc. For their Prolific Posters page, they might add a personal biography, links, or add some pictures.
This is something new I could provide subscribers without taking anything away from people who don’t wish to subscribe. I would still make requested changes to posts of non-subscribers just like I do now.
The biggest problem I see with allowing people to make changes to their posts is there is no way I can create a static template that they cannot change. It would be very easy for people to screw up their post if they don’t know HTML and I am afraid I would spend even more time fixing people’s mistakes than I do updating posts for people now. I also don’t want people to turn their posts into a massive advertisement for another site. I’m willing to allow links as long as they don’t break the Terms of Service (eg, no gold seller sites).
Obviously if someone were to cancel their subscription, they would lose access to their posts and could no longer make changes themselves.
To see if there is actually enough interest in a subscription option to make it worth the time and effort to build the capabilities in, I’ve set up some poll questions. Please take the time to answer these even if you have no interest. Note that you will only be allowed to answer the questions once, but your answer are anonymous.