Over on one of the woodworking forums I frequent, someone posted a question, what is it that becoming a “contributing” member gets you? It isn’t like the cost is high, just a few dollars a year that goes to keeping the site functional, but his question was actually one that I’ve considered many, many times. What is it that I actually get out of handing over money that I wouldn’t get from just using it as a free member?
And frankly, I can’t think of anything. The only benefits are things like bigger icons or a larger mailbox, things I don’t care about, plus access to a “private” forum that never gets any messages, and the ability to post in the “for sale” forum. That might be fine, if I had anything to sell, which I don’t. I also never see anything in there to buy, something I think I’ve complained about before, but it really doesn’t do me any good to have a “for sale” forum, where the overwhelming majority of stuff is “local pick up only” and everyone is on the other side of the country.
That’s really the only thing that kind of pisses me off, that there is no one “local” to me, and by “local”, I mean within a couple of hundred miles. The overwhelming number of ads are east of the Mississippi. Sure, I’ll drive out there to pick up a jointer! Let me get my coat!
Granted, I really don’t need anything. I think that there was only one thing I saw there that I would have gotten, had I been closer, a new router plate, lift and router, and only because it was something I was just about to buy anyhow and would have saved a bunch of money. But such is life, I guess.
Now don’t get me wrong, I already have a contributing membership there, simply to support the site. I don’t really care what I get out of it, but I have to admit, that guy had a point. What is the selling point for a paying membership to something that you really don’t get anything out of, other than a good feeling that the site will continue to survive? If it was any more than a couple of bucks a year, I don’t know that I would do it. I’d really love to get some kind of measurable benefit from it, but I suppose that’s just too much to ask for.