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Help Shape this Forum! - Monetization, Sustainability, and Subscription Plans - YOUR Input Requested


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Hello everyone! We believe in a community helping shape the community they desire. And YOU can help!

For those of you who are early birds and here before our public release, we ask for your assistance.

THIS POST:  A TOUGH TOPIC - Money! 

Ok, everyone we're going to tackle a very tough topic - Money! In fact, our hardest decisions are not technical - they relate to finances.

Here is the breakdown of our challenges and how we hope to overcome them

COSTS

  • Online Users and Storage. When we hit certain levels the monthly cost increases. This site is hosted in the cloud, and we don't know if you noticed, but it is powerful! This site was built in less than a few weeks. We use Invision Community and you can see the pricing plans here: https://invisioncommunity.com/buy     
    COST: $45 a month, increases with users and storage
  • Graphics. This is already done.                                         
    COST: $250 USD once
  • Domain Hosting, Email                                                     
    COST: $150 USD per year 
  • 3rd Party Plugins such as Chat and other functionality     
    COST: Estimated $200 USD first year, $100 second year
  • Corporate Filings, Nonprofit filing                                     
    COST: Estimated $800 USD first year, $100 each year after
  • Non-Profit purchases through Techsoup to acquire the benefits mentioned below: 
    COST: Estimated $200 per year
  • Other unknown costs
    COST: Estimated $500 per year

NON-PROFIT

We want to form a non-profit organization so we can:

  • Receive tax-deductible donations
  • Take advantage of technical benefits that non-profits are eligible for, to include FREE Amazon AWS S3 Storage @$2k a year (which will solve the storage cost problem mentioned above), Microsoft Azure @$3k a year (which we will use for development), Microsoft Office 365, and much much more.
  • Raise funds for our Preservation Goals and continued growth
  • Raise funds for research and development
     

THE CHALLENGE

For anyone that has been involved in the communities represented on this site, especially "Life after Death" and "Instrumental Transcommunication" it is quite clear - there is a major lack of infrastructure and funding. A lack of organization. Too much work, not enough people. So we all work our day jobs, and use our passion to drive our Websites, Facebook, YouTube, Newsletters and more. We make posts over and over on social media to see them drop down the feed. So what do we do? We repost. Over and Over. Where does that data go? Into a black hole. Some people find it, most will never see it. It's very obvious - WE ARE WORKING TOO HARD. 

There has also been a negative stigma when it comes to money and topics related to life after death and mediumship. Some people feel that everything related to mankind and evolution should always be free - and we agree. We WISH it was that way. Information SHOULD be free. It is the RIGHT of the people to receive information that relates to our humanity and evolution. However, we will never accomplish the goals we desire to achieve as communities by providing everything for free. So, we are presented with a challenge. How do we survive?


THE BEST WAY FORWARD

It's clear we need to work together. How long has ITC been around? Since at least 1959. How many people have heard of it? How much has Paranormal TV contributed to the education and experience of humanity and the public since it started to grow around 2005? There are gaping holes in our society, we know information is being suppressed, we know entertainment has taken precedence over education. We see the world changing, and we see people starting to gather to make changes, and we are here to answer the call. And we can only do it with your help.

 

BALANCING ACT

We are here to provide a place for everyone to come together, a place where we ALL contribute, a place with the right marketing capabilities, research where everyone contributes on their own level, organized with volunteers where everyone can help contribute in every professional field - and most importantly of all - PRESERVE THE DATA. A place where the invisible walls between Paranormal communities, Instrumental Transcommunication, Physical Mediumship - can all be broken down. They are, after all - subtle energies. They are all related. By continuing separation we are reinforcing that they are separate. It is time to come together. 


???So how do we meet the demand to provide information for free as well as support the infrastructure to continue growing???

 

THE SUBSCRIPTION MODEL

To combat this challenge we have proposed the following ideas:

  • Allow everyone to use the forum for free
  • Create 2 subscription plans for people that want to help support the site AND have extended or improved site functionality
    • "Supporters" @ $5.99 USD per month >> Can have more storage, post more items, use chat, change themes, and other functionality
    • "Patrons" @ $11.99 USD per month >> More functionality, photo albums, can post ads in the classified section, won't see site ads from the community
  • Be able to receive donations
  • Sell ads that are related to our communities for a very reasonable price
  • Volunteers - if a person has energy (regardless of funds), they can volunteer on the site. When they do so in a reasonably supportive manner, they can receive the "supporters" level of benefits. Therefore, an energy exchange is still occurring and everyone is helping each other. Because a site that grows is presumed to be a site that can succeed. 


SCENARIOS
Let's discuss some scenarios

A. John is a forum user. A regular member and has access to the entire forum. John likes to post photos from his camera and doesn't know how to shrink them, so they are each 10MB. John posts a lot. This means John is using a lot of storage. This site incurs a charge for storage. John is incurring a charge but not contributing financially. This is a model that will not work. It is unsustainable. 

B. John is a forum user. A regular member and has access to the entire forum. He is allowed to post 2MB per post and is limited to 5 new posts per day. He has a limit of storage on his private messages. He can't use chat, but hears everyone else is using it. This intrigues him. He would also like to change his theme to something really cool. John is incurring a charge, but it is much smaller. John would like to contribute to the greater good and is considering the monthly subscription of $5.99 If John subscribes he is receiving additional benefits. The site is also going to benefit and hopefully be able to cover their expenses.

C. John is a forum user. A regular member and has access to the entire forum. He lives in the Philippines and is retired and on a budget. $5.99 USD a month is a lot for him - he just can't afford it. But he has a computer, and there is something he can help with. He asks if he can volunteer, and does. John receives "supporter" level of benefits and the site receives the benefit of his help. Win-Win.

 

DISCUSSION

Now, you are a part of the community. You can see we are being very transparent and straight-forward. We created this community to solve problems together. So lets solve this problem together! Do you have concerns? Suggestions? Ideas on how to meet our goals, to survive, to pay the bills? 

Would we love to support this site full-time instead of working our day jobs? Of course! Who in their right mind wouldn't! However, here we are - people just like you. Regular, ordinary people. And if you like what you see here and want to see more disclosure, collaboration, and the fastest advancement of technologies possible because of people working together - then we ask you to speak up. For you share the responsibility. We are simple creating the infrastructure for you, and for our future. YOU are creating this site - that's what a forum really is! There's a research team that is going to give us FREE software, FREE tutorials, Advanced information, experiments, and experiences that the public has never even heard of.  They take credit for the initial energy behind this effort, and you will come to know them well. We have seen what happens when people work closely together, and we are inspired. And many of you will also help these advancements. Everyone plays a part, everyone contributes to the human experience. 

Do you support these ideas? How do you feel about the proposed subscription plans?

Let's chat about it below. 

The subscription plans will be created any day now, and we will move forward as we must. Your input as we shape this site is most welcome, and all input will be considered. 

Varanormal Staff

 

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I think the biggest surprise for me when you first suggested this forum software was the recurring cost. Years ago, I managed a forum with the free software PHPBB.  Through our discussions, I've realized that there are many benefits to having a supported and full-feature website. One is quite simply saved time and effort. How many hours I used to struggle with bizarre PHPBB bugs while forum members complained with sound & fury. Forum security is also huge problem these days. Hopefully, the supported site will help us steer clear of malevolent bots.

With all the subscriptions I have today: my cellphone, Netflix, etc. I don't mind spending an extra $10 / month if I can get a certain amount of entertainment / enrichment from the experience. Since I'm an active ITC researcher, this won't be too much of a stretch. It remains to be seen though how many other people will feel that this forum offers that level of "stimulation" worthy of their hard-earned money.

I am also OK with several advertisements on the site - as long as they are not flashing, and they are not selling low quality work-at-home opportunities, I'll leave my AdBlock off for this website.

One thing I'm secretly hoping is that our ITC technologies will reach a sufficient level of quality, that people will actually pay to use the services. Then, things like this forum will be self-sustaining. Will we reach that point? Maybe. But we can't count on it. 

What I hope for is that enough people who share the interests of this forum (paranormal, ITC, physical mediumship) will be willing to support it with their time, energy, and sometimes $$$ over Facebook. Archiving is a common virtue of many of your ventures, and I'm confident that any ideas / discoveries / discussions on this forum will be preserved for future generations to learn from. 

I'm also super-excited about the cross-breeding of ideas between researchers who speak different languages.

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I totally agree with the proposed subscription models Keith had rolled out. In fact I never was a fan of "getting all for free". As I was using linux Ubuntu I was paying donations because I knew that the Ubuntu community has costs to pay and they cannot proceed without covering these costs somehow. In Ubuntu I used a very good free video editor and i payed donations as a patron on a monthly base.

There is one very critical point about "getting in all for free" if you conclude that you don't need nothing to do for it. It's bare logic and also an important social aspect that no one, may he be rich or poor, has the right to consume something while leaving the uncomfortable aspects of sustaining what he consumes up to the rest of the world. This attitude is also the opposite of personal spiritual evolvement that requires from you to move your ass, to say it frankly.

Therefore I appreciate VERY much the subscription models because it gives you the possibility to contribute by money or by work. And those ones who are not willing to do one or the other have only limited access. This again enables them to make up their minds if Varanormal is worth to be supported, then they can contribute, or not.

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Hi,

I absolutely support this plan.

I like to think that there is no such thing as "free". It is only that someone else pays for it. People are accustomed to use the internet "for free" just because advertisement pays for the services. But that balance only works for the kind of sites that can charge top money. If Varanormal could do that, then people would be able to use this forum "for free/with someone else paying for it"

Additionally, I think people might be realizing, by now, that the fundamental fact that someone always has to pay for services and products, determines the quality of what you get. I think that there was a time when people demanded free stuff, but since they got low quality, started to realize that is better to pay at least something but get a decent service or product. Pretty much as Michael said about PHPBB.

For example, I used to use OpenOffice, etc... but in the end I decided that it works better for me to pay for an Office 360 subscription.

And I agree with Andres about the financial responsibility associated with using a service. If you are not paying for it, then someone else is paying for you. And while that might make a lot of sense, such as the advertisers in, say, FB... if it doesn't, then it's up to you to support the service you are using.

Having said that, I really like the "multiple options" plan that Keith proposed. It balances out very well all scenarios. 

There is just one thing I would add, if possible. 

$5.99 is about the price of one big mac meal in the states. But as it turns out, in, for example, South Africa, it's less that $2. Additionally, the current bottom of the middle-income class is about USD 48K in the States, but it seems to be less than 1K in India, all according to a search I just made.

It seems that, due to differences in economies, 6 bucks can be a fortune depending on which country you are from. So, I wondered if it where possible to address that somehow.

I'm not at all familiar with payment gateways to suggest a concrete solution, other than, perhaps, somehow use the so-called Big Mac Index.


 

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Given the extent of years of tireless devotion to subjects within this domain, $5.99 is incredibly cheap.

Like sending a 500 lb package for 5.99.

Absolutely a decent and fair and reachable amount that almost anyone can afford. Giving those who may not be able to afford the 5.99 nor have a way to pay for it electronically,the opportunity to earn their subscription is a kind and thoughtful one. 

 

I love everything Im seeing. Thank you

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Administrators
4 hours ago, Fernando Luis Cacciola Carballal said:

Hi @Keith J. Clark

The payment gateway is still not active, correct? Or did I miss it?

Correct. We need to have the proper subscription plans in place and money separated from personal accounts, which is requiring a few administrative actions.

Working on it!

Thank you so much for checking in!

We hope to implement donations tomorrow as well as begin to receive new user registrations.

Thank you,

Keith

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  • 2 weeks later...
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On 10/29/2020 at 5:55 AM, Amberrose said:

The pay tiers are totally reasonable, especially given the fact that it looks like anyone can still have a free account with restrictions. 

I agree, the only concern I have and it has already been flagged is relative cost between countries.

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  • 1 month later...

The options presented are very reasonable and offer a way for everyone to participate. 

What about grant options? I know they're time consuming to research, but to become a non profit, it could be worthwhile to research that aspect. The costs of obtaining a non profit seem high to me, but that could be based off of the area filed. 

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  • 8 months later...
  • Administrators

FYI: UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 5TH, 2021 Our organization strongly believes in freedom of information. It benefits the public, which in turn translates to the furtherment of evolution of mankind in relation to knowledge obtained using advanced technological practices in paranormal sciences.  At present the monthly associated cost of maintaining this website is approximately $200 which is within our current financial means as a  volunteer base. Presently we are focused on leveraging social media to raise public awareness regarding the potential that exists when spirituality is combined with technology. We currently do not have any subscription models implemented to recoup the costs of running this organization and do not have a current projection as to when such a switch could/may happen. We ask you to enjoy the free content, and if you are inspired to make a donation to our community you will automatically be included at a premium level of membership which will enjoy all the benefits associated as a Patron regarding our efforts in the future, should we attempt to monetize this organization in an effort to make it sustainable. Our focus for 2021 Fall will be fundraisers associated with the preservation (digitizing) of historical Metascience Foundation material , headed by the late George Meek, a pioneer of the field of ITC (Instrumental Transcommunication).  The Metascience Foundation existed for at least 15 years from the early 1980's through the mid-1990's. While they are most known for their "Spiricom" effort, this organization had many volunteers, including career professional technical advisors and has contributed greatly to the understanding of subtle energies and communication with non-physical personalities across space and time. We are the custodians of all of the Metascience Foundation's historical material and intend to digitize, preserve, and present it to the public for generations to come. For FREE. The majority of their contributions have never been made public. For public inquiries or how to donate please email info@varanormal.com https://www.varanormal.com/forums/topic/33-help-shape-this-forum-monetization-sustainability-and-subscription-plans-your-input-requested/?do=findComment&comment=3425

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