February Pay With Tweet

Anything related to any of the Member's Lounges in BackerClub.
User avatar
ShadowCub
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:40 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:40 am

TashaTurner wrote:Reward ideas - once a month (backer bucks would be cool):
Backed the most BC projects
Invited the most BC members
Invited the most approved Creators
Just wondering on how you feel about these now?

From what I've been reading, Creators and potential members can get upset if you solicit them getting your KS shut down temporarily for "spam", and referred Creators seem to not get approved anyway, at least according to whats been being said in the forums.

And as to "most projects", well, with my fixed income I don't know that I'd even pay attention to such a contest myself. And I'm sure I'm not the only one on a tight budget either.

Ah well. I've been here almost a month and I'm already getting disillusioned.
TashaTurner
Posts: 663
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:29 am
Location: NJ
Contact:

Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:24 pm

Backed the most BC projects does seem unfair.

Invited the most BC members - I'd be curious how this would go as we've slowed on members over the last week or two - I've had 1 - I can see from those following me on Kickstarter a few people who might be appropriate to invite. Although since my friends are mostly diversity interested, I'm not sure this is the right group, so I haven't invited them. Choosing who to invite & how is important.

Invited the most approved creators - mixed feelings. I suspect some members have had pretty good luck with this. I think other members, like me, have found little success. Then there is the problem of when and how to recommend to creators. Guidelines would need to be created & lack of good criteria hamstrings us.

So I'm probably not really for any of these 3 anymore. My links are passive.

Not everyone has to participate in each contest. I'm not sure all our members do. From day one I questioned contests & have asked what their purpose is.
-Tasha http://www.kickstarter.com/profile/479254504
Backed over 3,700 Kickstarters
Social media coach http://tasha-turner.com @turner_tasha
Add signature: Click your name, click send private message, click Profile tab, click Edit signature
User avatar
ShadowCub
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:40 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Mon Mar 30, 2015 1:08 pm

TashaTurner wrote:Not everyone has to participate in each contest. I'm not sure all our members do. From day one I questioned contests & have asked what their purpose is.
To keep the membership from revolting against the admins for taking in so much molah and, for the most part, keeping it?

This point has REALLY been bothering me of late, to the point that I'm not sure that I'll submit any projects I launch to BackerClub as I don't know that I'd really get all that much more value from paying $150 and getting formally listed as a project here, and just posting about them in the forums.

I might feel otherwise if (a) I had a better idea as to what would and won't get approved (and I've contacted Mark already) and (b) how income and expenses compared. Without this information, especially (b), I'm left with the feeling that the Admins approve projects based on their need for money in their pockets.
TashaTurner
Posts: 663
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:29 am
Location: NJ
Contact:

Mon Mar 30, 2015 1:23 pm

I'll talk to,you privately about this one.
-Tasha http://www.kickstarter.com/profile/479254504
Backed over 3,700 Kickstarters
Social media coach http://tasha-turner.com @turner_tasha
Add signature: Click your name, click send private message, click Profile tab, click Edit signature
markalanbaker
Posts: 54
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2014 5:27 pm

Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:18 am

Hey guys,

I've seen a number of comments in the forums in the past few weeks about the fact that BackerClub makes money. To be honest, I've been greatly surprised by these comments and the implied accusation that this is somehow wrong. Here is my short answer: yes, BackerClub makes money...as does just about every other website you use and enjoy. Billy and I both love crowdfunding. It is such an exciting thing to be involved in. We love seeing new inventions and creative ideas each day. As do you all, I'm sure. If BackerClub was a side project that we dabbled on a few hours a week and that was all it took, maybe we'd do it just for the fun of it...as volunteers.

But, no one in their right mind would spend the hundreds of hours it takes us each month (I'm not kidding) to maintain and grow this community just for fun. Nor would we have invested so much of our own personal resources initially into building this community and paying a web developer almost every day since the site's launch (not cheap!), had we not hoped to get it back plus have something to show for all the effort.

Believe me...we are not laying on a beach somewhere drinking lemonade and idling clicking an approve or reject button every few hours. :lol: We are working way more hours that we care to admit trying to serve this community and ensure it is a great place for both members and creators.

And, while I'm trying to offend anyone, to be totally honest, if you guys spent less time in the forums accusing the administrators of the site of various evil plots and conspiracies and sending similar emails, we would be able to devote a lot more time and attention to the positive development of the site. We have a ton of ideas for adding things to the community that you will really benefit from and enjoy, but we get bogged down in too many sideways conversations that end up taking a fair amount of time each day that distract us from the things we really want to develop.

We love your enthusiasm and involvement in BackerClub. Your passion for crowdfunding and for BackerClub are very exciting to see. Why not direct that energy into positive things for the BackerClub community?

Mark - Co-Founder
TashaTurner
Posts: 663
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:29 am
Location: NJ
Contact:

Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:54 am

We'd love to hear about positive things you are thinking of adding to make things better.
-Tasha http://www.kickstarter.com/profile/479254504
Backed over 3,700 Kickstarters
Social media coach http://tasha-turner.com @turner_tasha
Add signature: Click your name, click send private message, click Profile tab, click Edit signature
mdtommyd
Posts: 131
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:36 am

Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:55 am

Mark,
Thanks for starting the communication.


I don't think anybody begrudges you the fact that you should get paid for your efforts.

I do think you need to realize that to a large extent, you're enabled to get paid by dint of the fact that you have approx 2100 users operating under the BC umbrella and you market this to others. Long story short, lose that base or alienate it, and the earning power (and benefits BC members derive from that) will deteriorate/evaporate.

Intentionally or unintentionally, I think you contribute to the sideways stuff -
- Whatever your reasons, you seem to hold certain things (BC project acceptance comes to mind) as tightly held secrets - so much so that is seems like people have given up on trying to figure it out or help with it. Decide what is and isn't off limits about the BC to the regular membership from your perspective, state it plainly, and let the chips fall where they may.
- This whole recent redesign of the lounge contest. Threw your plan out, got backtalk/discussion, then evolved to current form. It got done, but it would have been a whole lot smoother if the people you were inflicting this on doing this for were consulted first.


I think it's great that you have a ton of ideas. If you started sharing them with us, that would help us focus on them, and direct energy to positive outcomes. I would suggest organizing them in terms of timeframe - short term, medium term, long term. Start thinking about whatever you feel comfortable delegating to others so that you don't necessarily have to do it all. In many respects, you appear to be trapped in the classical small business trying to grow to medium and large issues.


Keep at it - it will get better. Looking forward to things just getting better and better from here on.
--- Tom
TashaTurner
Posts: 663
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:29 am
Location: NJ
Contact:

Thu Apr 02, 2015 9:27 pm

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. :)
-Tasha http://www.kickstarter.com/profile/479254504
Backed over 3,700 Kickstarters
Social media coach http://tasha-turner.com @turner_tasha
Add signature: Click your name, click send private message, click Profile tab, click Edit signature
User avatar
ShadowCub
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:40 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:09 pm

Wow, Mark. Did my frustration and anger do that?

I think you've heard it loud and clear from people who have been here longer and backed more projects than I have. But I suspect that since I've only been here about a month and have closer to the minimum number of projects to join, I might be more of the mindset of the typical KS Backer that you want to attract and join.

Backer CLUB. Not Backer BUSINESS. Add to that ZERO clue as to what expenses are. I've been told there have been other payment methods in the past (% of $$ raised, for example), but all I've seen/known is $149 up front with the possibility of a partial refund if BC members don't pledge at least that amount. And not only do I not feel properly informed as to what might make an acceptable campaign (even with the link you shared privately with me, and I have respected that privacy as I said I would), but I've read from other, longer term/more backed campaign members that they don't understand either.

Based on the number of campaigns launched for the current contest, you should approved over 1300 campaigns this year. At $149 each, thats close to $200,000.

I look around and see "high performance" web hosting with "unlimited" disk space and bandwidth starting around $20-50/month depending on the company. Let's call it $100/month for a dedicated server somewhere. That'd be $1,200/year. Lets round even that up to $2k for web hosting/bandwidth.

Median salary for a web developer is $63k. Lets call it $76k for a full time, above average, web developer.

BackerClub is a lot younger than I thought it was and so probably has fairly high advertising expenses trying to attract bother Backers and Creators. (This would include member contests.) Call that 20% of the gross, or around $40k for the first year.

That's still $82k not accounted for. Two of you @ $41k each, and all the money is accounted for. (And I suspect the income when this first year is over will be a lot higher than that given that you're young and as you & your Membership grows, you'll be able to attract more Creators and potentially charge each one more as well.)

But wait a minute. Under the current billing plan, to keep that $200K from Creators, we, the Members, have to pledge at LEAST $200K out of OUR pockets. Tommy said you have about 2100 members. $200K/2100 members is just a hair over $95/year. Given the most popular pledge amount on KS is roughly $20, if your Members pledge to just one BC approved campaign at that level (and many approved campaigns don't have a pledge level as LOW as $20!) per month, and we're collectively pledging a Half-Million US Dollars for you and Billy to collect your salaries.

So you make $41K off of a "Club" where Members pay at LEAST $100/year on average (and likely much more than that) as a result of our participation.

Stop for a moment. Reread that. My numbers may be off a bit, but the fact remains, YOU get paid because I and thousands more like me, spend money on project YOU ask us to in order to demonstrate to Creators (who are DIRECTLY paying you) the value of not finding US some other, possibly cheaper, way.

You went on to say how much time you and Billy spend trying to make Backer "Club" better. Call me cynical, but while there may be some indirect benefits to Members and Creators, I'm willing to bet you're mostly working to make it more profitable, whether directly (getting another 100 Members to increase the total impact to attract Creators/$$$) or indirectly (adjusting contest rules and making some fixes to the site to keep 100 Members from deserting).

As Tasha said, a "Club" denotes a certain level of mutual management for mutual benefit, but that's not what's going on here. You and Billy make the management decisions, typically before consulting or even adequately guessing what Members want, and you and Billy, again, get the benefit. That's a Company, not a Club. And as Tasha also pointed out, we, the Members, are what you're selling. We are the ones that take money out of our pockets to convince Creators to take money out of THEIR pockets and put it into YOURS. Doesn't sound much like any "Club" I've joined before!

But it's not just the money. As we, the Members, have no clear cut information on what it takes to get a project Listed, let alone Featured, or what, if any, work you do with Creators before listing their projects here, we're, or at least I'm, left with some nebulous notion that you must be doing SOMETHING but we (I) don't know what or how long that takes. How many projects get submitted per day/week/month? How long does it take to do an initial review of each one? What happens after that initial review if a project isn't immediately approved -- simple rejection or do you try to work with Creators to get their projects approved, and how much time, if any, do you spend doing that? What about projects that ARE initially approved? Do you & Billy have to spend much more time at that point, and if so, how much?

Meanwhile, we are each quite aware of how much time we, as individuals, spend looking over projects here on BC and then on KS after following the links. We know how much time we spend talking to Creators about the benefits of doing things a certain way. Giving feedback about wording, Rewards being offered, presentation, and so much more.

So again, this "Club" you and Billy started. We spend money and time to create the value that you then sell to Creators, some portion of which goes to your two (and your web developer) in salaries. How is this a "club" again?

And I know for a FACT that I'm not the only one that these issues, and others like them, have left a bad taste in my(our) mouth(s).

I think Tasha outlined the solution perfectly. Make your salary. Nobody is going to begrudge you for getting an honest dollar for an honest day's work. But every single detail about BackerClub would be improved with more transparency.

Want more Creators paying you more money because more quality projects are coming in to be improved without having to pay more in advertising? Give us, the Members, the information we need to be your unpaid sales reps to go out and solicit business for you. Nebulous "black boxes" just lead to frustration and people simply not bothering to try to help.

Now, I only joined BackerClub on March 4, so today is my 32 day as a member. In spite of my limited income, I've backed roughly twice as many KS projects in those 32 days as I did in the entire year I was a member of KS prior to joining BC. I've also gone from having incidentally backed about 5 projects when I joined to my current total of 23 BC "approved" projects. And about bringing you more Creators/Projects/Income? I've backed a bit more than twice as many NON-BC projects as BC projects in those 32 days. And I help those Creators as much as I do the ones that come through BC, or maybe even a bit more as I tend to figure if it's on BC, some 6 or 7 Star member is probably already helping that Creator. (Side Note: As I scrape by on a fixed income, I think of the 23 BC projects I backed, I think I've only earned a BC bonus twice. The other 21 I just couldn't afford to pledge enough to get the freebies. And yes, some Bonuses are a flat discount, but seemed to have been ones I just couldn't pledge even a minimal level to. So at the end of the day, I'm not getting ANY benefit from You and Billy beyond having had the chance to meet Tasha, Torin, Tommy, and others on the forums.)

No, I don't know that I'm typical. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I'm not. If I was and every KS project I backed anyway came through BC, that would mean a tripling of the number of approved projects and $149's coming in. Even if it only doubled, that'd be a nice increase in the bottom line for you and Billy to share, wouldn't it? Why not listen to what we''re asking for and see where that ship can sail?

PS: One final comment. Lest you think this was just the frothing of a mad man and can safely be ignored. This took over an hour for me to compose, edit, re-edit, and re-re-edit. With multiple windows to open to double-check facts as quickly as I could. I may be but 1 voice out of 2100, but the rule of thumb is that for every 1 person who speaks up about a problem, 100 were dissatisfied....
TashaTurner
Posts: 663
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:29 am
Location: NJ
Contact:

Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:31 am

Mark & Billy have a right to make as much money as they can from BC. Could be millions. Not overly relevant. The questions & issues I posed is about how both assets & customers feel & the impact it might have on their business. Creating contest created a situation of expectation by members. Had contests not existed backers probably would not expect anything. Referrals similar - if they weren't suggesting we refer people we wouldn't care as much about the criteria nor would we expect money for referring backers/creators. This is where trying to motivate backers creates unexpected headaches for the founders. But how much money they make should still be irrelevant. The relevant questions are:

1. Are they motivating us in the ways they want

2. If not (which seems to be the case) what changes could they make to motivate us to do what they want

FB & Twiiter make millions doing things I don't like but I still use them as they are necessary for my business. And I complain when they do things I don't like.

Any business will do as it will. In today's world with social media one of the things that separates different businesses from their competition is how they treat their customers & in some cases assets. There business might spawn competitors who do things differently but then they are competitors to existing businesses like Backers Hub.

Having helped co-found several businesses, helped write several business plans to be reviewed by others including the small business association, the most critical parts is showing how you will profit and how you will differentiate yourself from competition. So again if they were to make $100k or $5 million in profit is none of our business. What is our business is the questions:

1. Is the club meeting our expectations/needs

2. If not are the founders willing to make changes to meet our needs or should those of us hunappily leave instead of causing "sideways" issues
-Tasha http://www.kickstarter.com/profile/479254504
Backed over 3,700 Kickstarters
Social media coach http://tasha-turner.com @turner_tasha
Add signature: Click your name, click send private message, click Profile tab, click Edit signature
Post Reply