Look at it from our perspective
1. BackerClub is a business we get that. No we (at least no one I've talked to) don't think you are evil or lazy or running a conspiracy BUT we spend 10s or 100s of hours a month trying to make BackerClub a success also & we must be insane because we do it for free - we welcome new members to the forum, encourage members to participate, encourage creators to participate, help creators out on the forum/BackerClub page/Kickstarter - all stuff I'd expect founders to do (maybe you need to hire someone if your overworked) - you use "backers with experience provide feedback" as part of your marketing (that's us)
2. We promote BC: some use badges on KS, mention BC 1st link of KS profile, links in KS profile, in comments on projects mention we are BC members (BC & non-BC), include BC member (and possibly links) in signature on KS when sending PM (free publicity)
3. We spend tens, hundreds, thousands of dollars a month on BC approved projects (you use this in your stats to bring in projects) - we are likely to back at $1 level on projects we might not usually back to help BC because we understand the impact number of backers make on the day a project goes live. I've also backed BC projects which are not the kind I prefer & not backed projects I prefer because I'm over budget. I know I'm not the only one. (Building BC brand & helping the stats you use in marketing the group)
4. We promote BC projects - even if we can't back a project we are likely to promote it unless it offends us or sets off warning bells
5. Because we back so many projects we notice when a project is in trouble & step in to offer suggestions and support
6. We notice BC projects which might have legal issues or turn bad and let you know because we put a value on "elite backers" although frankly I'd like a definition
Issues we've had
1. Hard to get hold of you. Your lack of participation and visibility on the forum makes it look like you don't value your assets (us the backers) and things sometimes get out of hand while someone tracks you down. I understand with just two of you its overwhelming. It might be time to hire someone to help out with the forum and creators side of the website.
2. Lack of clear mission statement & criteria for the group - approved projects don't seem to follow a pattern although rejected projects might. This is frustrating as you ask us to put our reputation on the line (refer creators). I may spend time next week going through projects to see if I can discern a pattern. I do know I'm not seeing very many of the kind of projects I prefer: feminist, LGBTI, diversity, education (a few), sustainability (a few), Eco (mostly expensive gadgets).
3. Implementing things and then asking us what we think. It's backwards. And this is where a number of our ugly conversations have happened. Ask us what we think before implementing. Think of it like previewing a Kickstarter before rolling it out. There is a reason for that order.
Food for thought
1. Members come from Kickstarter. We are used to being brought along for the journey and a certain amount of transparency. Many of us may have joined the club expecting things to be more like a Kickstarter project than a formal company run hierarchy. A clear mission statement might help a lot. Hopefully you have one from your business plan. You can throw this in the header/top frame so we are regularly reminded of it.
2. The word club comes with a lot of baggage. Most clubs the members have a fair amount of say in how they are run and the direction they will take. Frequently a number of members are on a board which helps top management with direction decisions. I don't think you had that intent with your words but I think, among the active, we expected something along those lines. Obviously we need to reset expectations and decide whether to stay or go.
3. You have a number of things you have to juggle and it's easy to lose focus of all the balls:
A. Assets/backers - without enough backers you don't have a way to attract creators - if we feel neglected/projects aren't meeting our needs - we leave and suggest others stay away
B. Clients/creators - if they aren't finding the experience positive they won't refer others to you, they won't use BC again, they may warn other creators off BC
C. Website - yes it needs work - it's slow, pages need updating, I'm sure you have a long wish list. In addition to the web guy maybe you need to hire someone to update pages so you can focus on A & B
4. The more you share with us the more excited we could be. But lack of communication, keeping everything secret, and constantly telling us "I'm working on the website" without details - doesn't give us things to be excited about - projects go live the day they show up so no time to build relationship & get excited - so many projects a day it's hard to be excited if I'm asked to back every one at $1
5. I took conversations offline to cut down on the negativity on the forum. If you'd like we could keep sharing "what we wish BackerClub was" or "why won't Mark really share the criteria" or "how frustrated I am with this contest". I have moderated groups for 15+ years. I've found taking the negativity offline prevents the forum from getting bogged down in it. The rest of the forum can return to business as usual. Yeah we might have some totally crazy convos offline but then most people get over their frustration or anger and can return to the forum in better spirits.
So based on the above and knowing there will always be some complaining. What positive actions would you like us to take in addition to all the ones we are already doing?
Thanks for opening a dialogue with us.