I'm looking at instituting a paid membership program, similar to what we see on various forums and sites on the web, and through programs like Patreon.
We would make the memberships free-for-life for currently active members; probably anyone with 25 or more posts, and anyone who has ever won Homemade Tool of the Week. I don't know a good explanation for charging people money when they're the ones creating the content on this forum anyway.
The best reason to do this is to move away from an advertising model to support this site (you see ads on this site when you're logged out). Nobody really likes advertising, but people generally understand that it's a necessary evil. However, subscription-based models seem to be on the rise on the net, and, as this forum grows larger, they're a better option than relying on advertising.
Paid memberships would probably be around $5 per month (free-for-life for currently active members) and might include some of the following:
- An ebook bundle upon joining, with regular new ebooks. Stuff like: Best Homemade Vises, Best Harbor Freight Tool Modifications, Best Lathe Tools, etc.
- More access to free homemade tool plans. Perhaps even a private "Plans" subforum, that lists all homemade tools with free plans, plus regularly curated additions of more homemade tools that include free plans.
- Ability to enter more homemade tool contests with larger awards. Maybe month-long themed contests like: Lathe Tool contest, Rebar Tool contest, Wood Splitting Tool contest, Measuring Tool contest, etc.
- Additional forum privileges like: larger signature, membership badge graphic, highlighted username, special user custom title.
- Ability of members to tip other users by gifting them months of free membership, if they see a post that they like.
What are your ideas or feedback for a membership program? What would you like to see?