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Would you pay $5.00 to be a member of MCC (read first, then answer)

Lots of people have been suggesting that Motor City Connect should charge $5.00 per month for membership. When asked why, the responses have been:

It will make apparent who is serious about being a member

It increases the value of membership

You (well me, Terry) will spend more time focused on it

We can do more good for our community

The potential downside is we go from a group of near 4000 to a group of a hell of a lot less. Arguments have been made that the group is a lot smaller regardless (I am inclined to agree).

I would love to hear from you all on this topic but especially from the people who don’t chime in often.

I look at how the value of this group has increased since we were a small yahoo group and know that with a bit of an income from it, we could do GREAT things for all of our supporting members.

If we did it, the change would go into effect September 1. We would give all members who sign up September-December for $15.00 and you would have the choice if you wanted to do it again in 2010.

Be connected-

Terry Bean

Replies to this Topic

I like the idea of culling the group, cleaning up the list, and currating the content, etc. ... and I'm working on updating my profile, however, I'm NOT very happy about the $5 per month charge.

I can tell who is serious about MCC by how active they are on MCC, and if they participate (and update their profile) so the $5 only makes another barrier, not an enabler.

 

Terry,

I would not support a $5 fee for the following reasons:

1) People who would participate in MCC may choose not to get involved

2) Creating some type of charter or policy spelling out basic expected behavior of participation in MCC might provide the means to more proactively keep "non participators" out, and not place a financial barrier (albeit small) on entry.

3) Treatment activities such as the "culling" you are proposing will certainly eliminate "non participants", and/or provide some incentive for people on the fence to jump into the activities.

4) I like the idea of improving value, however people right now are tending to be very careful about every nickel they spend. and would appreciate being involved in a professional organization that does not charge a fee.

5) MCC does charge a fee for other events.

Hope this helps in your decision making

Regards,

Dale

I have a completed profile, read the newsletters, check the book club forum and go to events when I have time.

I was fairly active 8 months ago, haven't had time anymore but I now have an employee who is active and attends events and participates on the website.  If the site charges a fee I'd probably drop my account because there would be no reason for us both to have accounts on the site.

So I would probably NOT pay $5.00 a month.

I feel that a five dollar fee is more than fair. Discount for a year in advance? I have been to one event with my son who became more involved with M.C.C. I have a hard time attending meetings scheduled in the middle of the day because of work. I also need to come to a training to better understand M.C.C. and social networking. My fault not yours. Please keep up the good work and do not get disccouraged.

I am glad I followed this after seeing Brad Johson's post. He's right. Let's keep it upbeat and constructive, not destructive. As your Grandmother used to say, "You get what you pay for". Well, if its free....you get the idea. $5 to "get some skin in the game" is not too much skin in the game to be honest. No one expects the MCC board to play "Ghandi" forever do they?

Again, Terry and group are putting it out there for discussion in a democratic way before taking the autocratic, "$5 starting on Monday, like it or leave it".

Thanks for putting it there for discussion. I'm sure this $5 is fully tax dedcutible also so the real investment's probably closer to $3.25. 

Yes - give a new member a 60-90 day trial and if it doesn't feel right, then no one's any worse the wear!

My Chamber memberships are 4X this amount per each one.  My Rotary membership more like 6X.

Whatever you decide, kudos on growing this to 4000 members from nothing!

 

Profile Image for Jeff M. Jeff
  • Mon, Jun 29, 2009 7:19 PM

No, I would not.

I restate my opposition to a $5 fee.  It serves no good purpose.

My view of MCC is this:

It consists of an internet site, weekly break bread meetings, other social events, seminars and charity events.

Right now, besides the charity work and internet site, MCC charges for everything on a per attendance/event basis.  Yes, there may be fees for a charity event but I presume 100% is diverted to the charity and none taken by MCC.

The weekly meeting fees of $20 are usually $13 for food and $7 to MCC (last I heard).  That's a pretty good fee to pay for a meeting and people pay it gladly because of the value provided.

Seminars are also charged a varying amount and get good value for the money.  No complaints here.

But a $5 fee just to be a member is basically saying it's $5 just to participate in the internet site.  I just don't see the value.

Plus charging a fee limits membership.  Who cares if out of 4000 members you have 3500 lurkers or non-posters.  I've know people who have 'lurked' for over a year before making a contact or post.  Personally I'd say let's have 10,000 members with 8000 lurkers. 

Sure, it'd be great to have higher participation but it doesn't work that way.  Some good MCC people may join the board and do nothing but they do attend meetings or help a charity event.  Does that mean they should be booted?

You never know when a 'lurker' will suddenly become active or may notice a post that they assist a person with.  In the online forum I think that limiting or restricting membership is a poor idea.

I know that CollectiveX is not free. It's a monthly charge or annually a flat $500 plus storage. I'm not sure if additional charges are levied due to group size. Hosting costs are the only valid argument to limiting the group size or charging a fee for online registration, but it would still be counterproductive.  I'd be willing to wager you'd lose 80-90% of your membership, especially since there are so many free online networking sites.

If hosting costs with CollectiveX are an issue then just say so and maybe add some banner ads to defer costs.  If you explain it then people will understand, but since we already pay fees for meetings an addition $5 monthly fee is not really justified.

 

 

Profile Image for Charlie W. Charlie
  • Mon, Jun 29, 2009 9:07 PM

Thanks to those who have weighed in on both sides of the issue.

Most of you have been clear in your points and have been nice about it. The one who wasn't, strangely is no longer here (not by my doing).

It's very interesting to note that both sides are evenly represented. There are notes supporting each side from people I see often and those I have never met. Very cool. By my count I have 10 for and 11 against (one of you against folks posted twice so I will be charging you $5 next time I see you for having to read both of those haha).

I want to be very clear about a few things:

1. Charging $ as an idea came through the group, not through Charlie or I.

2. We are very passionate about doing what is right for the future of Detroit and MCC members.

3. MCC is designed for business professionals. We acknowledge that some of these professionals are currently in between opportunities and support their efforts. But we were not designed as an unemployment support group, just like MI isn't designed to have 14% unemployment. We will continue to do what we can to share opportunities and keep people upbeat during this less than up time.

I want to thank Brad Johnson for suggesting we keep it clean and productive. Great advice Brad.

I also want to say Hi to Paul. Paul, I am not sure how you know how many people have visited your profile, but I can assure you if you had a photo, it would help tremendously. And I disagree that the idea is pathetic, but appreciate your point. I for one am happy to be a part of a group where we can have a conversation about it.

One last thing, Charlie sent a video out that you may have seen the message about. You will have to come back to the site to see it. It talks about how people read tone into e-mail.

I had lots of messages today supporting the fact that people do indeed read tone into my note. I can assure you that I have one tone...

Making this group and Detroit the best place they can be.

Be Connected-

Terry

this is just stating facts:  There are many people that pay for things but still don't participate. You will still have members not doing or participating even though they pay a certain amount.  (one example is a gym membership)

Maybe have two levels of membership - one of them free for members that are laid-off and can't afford $60, because only getting $300 some dollars a week from unemployment.

Organizing and being in charge takes alot of time and effort along with fees of running the group. It is worth the amount you decide to charge however you decide to do it. I appreciate what you are trying to do by hosting the group, you time and concern for all of Michigan. I am in agreement of the fee. Thank you for letting everyone know and voice both sides before you make a decision.

PS I would hope for more breakfast or after 5 meeting, as the live meetings are at lunch time and I am busy serving lunch.

Profile Image for Charlie W. Charlie
  • Mon, Jun 29, 2009 11:34 PM

I vote for more meetings at Maceri's Soup and Scoop. Wink

http://www.soup-scoop.com

Edited Mon, Jun 29, 2009 11:36 PM

I am not opposed to the fee. However, I think there needs to be more breakfast and after five events. Lunch time events are often hard for people to attend as businesses are becoming more strict on the time that employees take for their lunch which may only be a half hour or hour.

I've been participating in MCC since the very beginning. I've been an Advisory Board Member, and an Area Connector. I've been deeply involved as MCC grew from a handful of colleagues committed to helping each other and changing the world to a list of 4,000 people. 

I have some things to say.

Terry has invested his time, energy, and HEART into building this network. This discussion wouldn't be happening if he had not had a dream and followed it through.

He is the "voice" of MCC in the email blasts because CollectiveX, like other sites, requires a group to have an administrator. Most of you have no idea how many spammers and hackers have been stopped in their attempts to send malicious "stuff" through the MCC board - thanks to Terry and Stephanie's diligence in monitoring everything.

$60/year is a pittance for those of us who are in business or employed, but it is very reasonable when balanced against the value of Motor City Connect - when you work it.

As in any organization, your benefit is equal to the value you GIVE (or as the Beatles put it all those years ago, "...in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.") If all you are doing is putting up your profile and expecting people to come to you, you will gain nothing. If you complete your profile, start and participate in discussions, attend events, and do all that you can to assist other MCC people, you will gain immensely.

It wasn't a big deal for Terry to manage this group and orchestrate the meetings when it was 30, 100, even 300 people. But today, at 4,000 "members" and close to a dozen events each month, the logistics are extensive - and Terry has his own business to run.

I'm 100% behind the $5.00/month concept. Terry has done something exceptional for Metro Detroit in creating and managing Motor City Connect. I am grateful, and willing to participate in helping him achieve his dream - - which is helping the rest of us achieve ours.

 

 

 

 

Correct me if I'm wrong Terry and Charlie, but MCC wasn't set up to just be a social networking site, it was created with the hopes of doing much more, a 'vision' if you will.  It might help if in here you posted the original vision for MCC and what could be done with fees collected, the thought process on a fee may change a little.   People tend to buy into a vision (no pun intended).  If someone is participating and gaining value, I think that $5 isn't too much to ask.  And for those that are opposed, what could not paying $5 a month cost you?  You might miss out on something with much greater value.  If the cost would make you drop, I would recommend going to a seminar hosted by these gentlemen (I use that term loosely Wink).  I understand that you would incur a cost to do so, but there are no free lunches. 

I would pay, but would recommend that free trial period for future people who want to check MCC out.

Profile Image for Danielle B. Danielle
  • Tue, Jun 30, 2009 10:58 AM

I agree with Debbie as well, there's a charge for just about everything else - live events, lunches and breakfasts. I don't mind the fees for events, but I don't want to have to pay to join the discussion online. $60 a year isn't that bad compared to other networking groups but the reason I have been active in MCC is because of the low cost. When I graduated from college and was looking for a job it was one of the only groups I could afford. I can definitely see both sides, but I think it just depends who your willing to exclude.

While I don't have a preference I would be open to paying the $5 fee.  However, I believe that it would be to assist with operating costs.  MCC has done a great job about limiting advertising on here and when it is present, it is relevant. I can appreciate that.  However I don't believe that the $5 fee will weed out the inactive.  There are some that have more unlimited resources and will pay to say they are a part but will remain inactive while there are others with limited resources but may be a valuable part of the organization.  I know my comments don't offer a solution but I wanted to share my support for this great organization and commend you for trying to keep it relevant for the users and continuing to push us forward!

Charlie, I would be happy to host any meetings.

Linda, Totally agreed with you.

Great job Terry and Charlie for all you do.

5 Buck Chuck??

The equivalent whine (sic) at Trader Joe's is considered to be some of the best value around.

The first online community I ever connected to was using a UNIX emulator and and a TimeNET dial up to a host at 1200 Baud.  It was using the Internet but before the Web.  Text based and all UNIX.  That was something like 20 years ago.

You know what?  This same argument was had there.  And again and again and again, over and over, since.

Legit arguments can be made.  More importantly, arguments will be made with wallets.  But one argument that I find pretty darn ARROGANT is a sense of entitlement to a free community.

There is nothing free about running a community.  I can assure you that exactly 11 people in 20 years made any significant money doing it.  Most are lucky to cover hosting costs.  What I find even more interesting about this situation is that nobody is even trying to make money, really.  5 Bucks?  That doesn't even cover beer and cigarettes. 

I think the question was:  Will MCC lose participants over $5 a month?  Maybe, maybe not.  (I'd pay $5, for the record)

Maybe you wouldn't pay $5.  Maybe it isn't worth it to you.  Nothing wrong with that, it's your call.  But what are you collecting at your free profile social networks out there? 

Maybe we can all ask ourselves how much business we've done at Plaxo and compare it to the number of stupid e-mails they send reminding that Joe Blow (who I've never met, but they think I'll really like) has a birthday coming up, then compare it with the amount of real economic impact that MCC has had. 

My own answer to the Danny Ocean quote:

"Hey, you're Jerry Cauldwell's kid"
"yeah.."
"You live in Chicago?"
"Yeah"
"Is it nice there?"
"Yeah it is"
"Good, get in the god damn house"

 

 

I think everyone who joins MCC should have to provide their business product and service to Terry for free.

People think that because MCC is online then it should be free? Maybe...  But, Terry's time, intellect, energy, and insight to make our businesses better shouldn't be free.  Anybody want Terry's MCC job with Terry's MCC pay?  I don't!

Terry maintains MCC, provides us insights and guidance, coaches us through the tough stuff, teaches us how to be better at business, leads by example with a giving heart, reminds us everyday to "Be Great", and keeps the issues in Detroit in the forefront. 

Really?  5 bucks is too much? 

Can we start a discussion topic called, "Everything I spend $5 a month on that is useless"?

PS.  The $5 is a write off...

PSS.  Sorry for the sarcasm...  Some posts got me fired up...

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