Getting things done / Covering the cost of running the site.

The guidance for posting on www.ClinPsy.org.uk and any comments on the forum, suggestions for improvements, etc. Also information about our e-magazine, Aspire, and how to contribute or download your copy.
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miriam
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Getting things done / Covering the cost of running the site.

Post by miriam » Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:05 pm

We have moved clinpsy to a new ISP after some problems with vidahost's deteriorating service. We hope this will reduce the incidence of server errors, particularly at times of peak demand, as we have decided to upgrade to a better service with a different provider. The planned outage for the migration has been successfully completed, and hopefully everyone is managing to get back in to the forum now it is back open in its new location.

The new server should be more reliable, but it comes with increased costs because of the heavy traffic this site generates. We do generate some advertising to subsidise costs, but it might be that we need to explore other options.

One thing I have considered is on top of how we do things now having a paid tier of membership, in which you get to stand for and vote in a steering committee and chair who take on the role of making decisions about the site, such as reviewing our rules and policies, contributing to the wiki, publishing Aspire, deciding what research to undertake on the site data, and considering whether we want to release any policy statements or comments on topical issues. Hopefully these roles would be interesting and good CV fodder, and people would put themselves forward for them each year and give suggestions as to their desired outcomes for the site. We could then have an election amongst paid members with voting rights to select the committee for the next 12 months. I'd suggest a subscription fee of £10 per year for membership.

The other potential advantage for subscribers, is that we can set our advertising to be selective. Thus, for example, we could make it so that members would also only see adverts we have agreed directly, and not display those served up by third parties. That way you'd get to see banners about courses, books or new issues of aspire, but no google served generic advertising.

So I'd like to hear feedback on this proposal. Is this a good way to generate income without blocking anyone without the means to pay from accessing the site content? Would you pay to become a voting member? Would you run for committee? Would you want to vote? Or would you prefer an periodic donation drive in a wikipedia style? Let me know here.
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

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Re: Planned closure for server migration - and paid member tier proposal

Post by maven » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:41 pm

Migration now completed.
Maven.

Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something - Plato
The fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool - Shakespeare

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Re: Server migration and paid member tier proposal

Post by laurenr » Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:38 am

Hi Miriam

Thank you for migrating the site so we get a better service. I was having a think about your proposal and thinking a subscriptions offers good value for people who want to get onto training. However I wonder if there is any incentive for qualified CPs to pay for this kind of service as we have great facebook pages to support our learning and questions. This might mean that those who are qualified then don't come to Clinpsy anymore and there will be lower numbers answering questions or offering support from the post-training perspective. I might be wrong, but I know for me having to pay would put me off coming to the site and offering experiences/reflections.

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Re: Server migration and paid member tier proposal

Post by Geishawife » Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:46 am

As a qualified CP I would willingly pay such a small amount for the services outlined. I would hope most qualifieds would want to see up and coming CPs have access to this kind of service and would be willing to contribute. The idea of Facebook being a major source of support and learning actually horrifies me given their record on confidentiality, hacking, security etc! Personally, I would much rather pay a small (in fact, VERY SMALL!!) feeand see this site grow and develop.

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Re: Server migration and paid member tier proposal

Post by NotReally » Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:04 pm

As noted above, thank you miriam for doing this, it's much appreciated.

As also noted above, I would probably steer clear of paying for membership. Obviously the cost is extremely reasonable, but I think lauren raises a valid point about people leaving once qualified and therefore the value for money for paying members decreases

I'm going to suggest something a little left-field here, but in terms of generating income via other means, would it be feasible to branch out a little? For example, would the idea of a youtube channel appeal to anyone? I haven't really thought this through, it was something which just came to mind for some reason. Obviously with workloads too, setting aside time is also going to be a problem.

But my thinking is this: YT allows advertisements to be added for a video that is atleast 10 mins in length and receives 1,000 views (i think). Qualified staff can make 10 minute videos every few weeks on contemporary issues (or just general interesting psych videos). With the number of psych undergrads in the country, plus people at a more advanced level, and given it's via the medium of video/images, I think 1,000 views is easily achievable (especially if we can all spread the word about the channel within our professional/academic circles for popularity). We can then get YT (or Ad Sense/google, see link » http://smallbusiness.chron.com/youtube- ... 59420.html ) to essentially pay for site maintenance without actually having to spend on it ourselves, whilst not compromising access to the site and its content.

This was a bit of a hurried suggestion, so no doubt I've not thought about certain factors, but I think it's got potential :) .

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Re: Server migration and paid member tier proposal

Post by miriam » Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:50 am

Thanks for the feedback.

First off, the paid tier of membership would be entirely optional. Nobody who doesn't choose to pay it would lose any of the features or access they have now, so I can't see how it could possibly put off people! What I'm suggesting is that people who do choose to contribute would have less advertising, and more influence over the way the site develops and the chance to stand for and/or vote for a committee to oversee developments here.

Second, youtube advertising would pay pennies, and take huge amounts of time to create content. They pay up to $2 per 1000 views of adverts. You are suggesting I waste an additional 5-7 hours per week and pay out over a grand on equipment and hundreds of pounds per time for editing to put up videos that would get me $2 back. I'd earn way more by just doing more of my current work and continuing to subsidise the site out of my own pocket. I'm not expecting anyone to have a realistic sense of what income is generated in various ways, or what time they take to develop, but the most cursory research shows you need millions of views to make a youtube channel with advertising cover costs, and you need to invest in lots of expensive equipment and editing to make it professional enough that people would watch it, and then people will resent the adverts (and skipping them means we don't get payment for them). Here is an example of a CP channel, it gets 90-2000 views per video, except one video that got 17k views - but none are long enough to qualify for advertising, and the advertising would have generated a total of $40 across the entire channel even if it had.

IMO It is better to have a podcast with relevant sponsorship, or in our case an e-magazine in which we can feature adverts or have a sponsor for an issue - but even then producing it is remarkably time-consuming, and the income generated isn't proportionate to the time taken. It would take me significantly more than a day to put together an issue of Aspire, and we'd need two adverts just to cover the cost of typesetting/graphics before we subsidise my time at all. We don't have advertisers lining up even to do that.

When we had a patreon we had subscribers who used it to support the site, but I felt very guilty that they weren't getting value for money because they didn't use the rewards available (eg we had very low turnout for the online workshops and discussion sessions), and one person got really grumpy that they couldn't just demand my time at short notice because they were a subscriber, so I closed it.

I'm not expecting to ever recoup enough from the site to cover the time I've spent on it (which adds up to about two years of full-time work) but I am hoping that over time we can cover the running costs, and trickle in enough extra to pay for the type-setting of Aspire, and then to gradually repay the fees I paid for hosting and google presence before we had advertising to generate any income at all. Its one thing to give my time for free, and another to be out of pocket whilst also having given my time for free.
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

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Re: Server migration and paid member tier proposal

Post by NotReally » Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:16 am

Ah, think I've misunderstood the paid tier of membership proposal (that'll teach me for trying to skim-read!). I suppose my main concern would be that nobody takes the option to pay, but given Geishawife's feedback above, it looks like they would so it would work.

The YT suggestion was just a suggestion (though admittedly I didn't realise how little they paid). The idea I was trying to get across was growing ClinPsy and generating income via other means. You could also create an app and charge for that (maybe specifically for qualified staff in the members section). Obviously at that point I hadn't completely understood the proposal you put forward, which I think makes more sense.

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Re: Server migration and paid member tier proposal

Post by persephone56 » Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:15 pm

miriam wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:05 pm
One thing I have considered is on top of how we do things now having a paid tier of membership, in which you get to stand for and vote in a steering committee and chair who take on the role of making decisions about the site, such as reviewing our rules and policies, contributing to the wiki, publishing Aspire, deciding what research to undertake on the site data, and considering whether we want to release any policy statements or comments on topical issues. Hopefully these roles would be interesting and good CV fodder, and people would put themselves forward for them each year and give suggestions as to their desired outcomes for the site. We could then have an election amongst paid members with voting rights to select the committee for the next 12 months. I'd suggest a subscription fee of £10 per year for membership.
Perhaps this reflects my life at this moment, and certainly may not be representative of how others see it, but those strike me more as 'work' than 'rewards'. They would look good on a CV for an aspiring trainee or CP, so I can imagine how they would appeal to that group, but I'm not all that comfortable with it being something they'd have to pay for (even in a very nominal way).

I think there are perhaps two separate strands:

1. Financial assistance with running the site
2. Assistance with research, administration and maintenance of the site

My sense would be that treating those as separate might be more useful. To address (2), perhaps advertise on the site for people to put themselves forward if they would be interested in assisting with those roles. To address (1), I wonder if simply having an option to 'Donate' to the site would be more useful? It could be a banner or notice on every page with a link to how to donate, where it could also specify that the donation is entirely voluntary and goes towards the cost of running the site (i.e. don't expect individual rewards in return!). There is obviously a lot of goodwill on this site, and I imagine some members may prefer to donate £2 but not £10, and others might be happy to donate £20 or £30.

Regarding adverts, I honestly wouldn't worry about having ads. I don't think it would be much of a deterrent because people come here with a specific goal in mind, and not just to pass time. If I were still an aspiring trainee, I'd be happy to tolerate increased numbers of adverts in return for the knowledge gained here! I'm not sure how much revenue ads generate for you, but I would think that increasing the number of them would be fine if it's feasible (as long as they're not popups or horrendously obtrusive or they make noise!).

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Re: Server migration and paid member tier proposal

Post by miriam » Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:22 pm

We've done the latter, and never got enough volunteers to complete even the most basic tasks. And a donation option makes people think I'm earning money from the site when it would bring in negligible amounts. And there is always someone who thinks every option is "exploitative" in some way - as if this forum is an entitlement for every member to access for free forever, no matter what it costs me in time or energy to make that possible.

Adverts are an okay option, but it takes time to identify advertisers unless they come to us. We get a trickle of job adverts and banners, but it needs to increase to cover costs let alone recoup what I've put in previously. I've had a suggestion about more active advertising (where you click a link to complete a small questionnaire or task, and we get paid for the number of participants, rather than the number of page-views or click-throughs to the product advertised) so I will explore that at some point. But life is busy, and my business is struggling to break even right now, so I have to prioritise how I'm going to get the mortgage paid over putting in effort at a low reward ratio on this site.
Miriam

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Re: Server migration and paid member tier proposal

Post by miriam » Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:40 pm

I've had some advice about better monetising the site to cover costs, and I think the idea of a paid membership tier is on hold for now until I've tried them out. We've also reached an agreement with Pearsons (the psychological test suppliers) to advertise on the site and in the next two issues of Aspire, which helps with the immediate financial pressures.

I think one action we need to take is to get more core psych books reviewed on the forum and linked through our affiliate links. We can also charge more for our job adverts, and set up a mailing list for people who consent to receive a newsletter. We should be able to make a list for those interested in receiving Aspire, and some job adverts and information about courses, CPD, books and materials. The other positive option is to use a more interactive form of banners with actions on them, where you get the chance to participate in quick polls and research, and we get paid for participants.

We also need to reform the "action group" to help get things happening with regard to Aspire, and the update of the wiki, and the research on the site. So if you want to be involved in that let me know.

Finally, I might look again at setting up a Patreon account for those interested in supporting the site, having the chance to ask me questions, or hearing more about current issues and hot topics. I think the error I made last time was to focus on offering more time-intensive higher tiers to help people prepare for course applications, rather than just a "tip jar" for those who want to passively support the site, and low-cost tiers to be able to ask questions, with the top tier being a monthly personal development group in which we review papers or discuss cases, or I can present various models, hot topics or aspects of practise.
Miriam

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Re: Getting things done / Covering the cost of running the site.

Post by Spatch » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:58 am

Might there be some mileage approaching the new Association for Clinical Psychology and seeing if they want to support/collaborate with ClinPsy in any way? They may be more amenable to this than the BPS.

I do wonder about how sustainable ClinPsy is in the longer term, because you have already gone beyond what would reasonably be expected and it is NOT free. I can't imagine anyone else funding it and it probably would have reverted to a Facebook/LinkedIn/other social media platform based group by now (like the qualified group, which I am not part of).
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Re: Getting things done / Covering the cost of running the site.

Post by miriam » Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:55 am

I do talk to the ACP fairly regularly, but asking them about a formal association might be worthwhile.

BTW I hate facebook groups. They are hard to manage, and the ones I've tried have been cliquey and full of bad advice being given to people who are not properly qualified to implement it.
Miriam

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