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Author: eachna Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 88919  
Subject: Re: It's only $29.95.... Date: 1/29/2002 11:42 PM
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6) As an earlier poster complained, the majority of people probably cannot get out of debt in 30 days. However, people can get out of debt armed with the information and support they get from the Fool boards in 30 day-free trial period, even if the actual getting out of debt takes a year.

I did not "complain" that people cannot get out of debt in a month. I was saying that people who get out of debt need support through the whole process.

1) There are some people that are driven, dynamic, alpha individuals who learn for themselves. Either, they're given a good start by their parents, or, they just work it out on their own despite having the chips stacked against them. They don't 'need' the Fool, or, at the most, all they'll benefit from is the free information. They certainly wouldn't be motivated to pay for the site, because there *is* nothing here that they couldn't get for themselves.

2) There are some people who will always feel sorry for themselves, and feel like victims, and those are people who can never be helped by others. If anything, they leech off other people and don't either learn or give back, later. *I* don't want to bring them to the Fool anymore than anyone else would.

Then, there are people in varying degrees of the middle. What it sounds like to me is that the Fool is gearing up to help people that are the most like #1 as possible. People who are "almost" able to manage their money for themselves, but, need just a few little nudges or pushes in the right direction. *I* don't believe those sorts of people are going to pay for the Fool.

What *I* think needs to be done is provide an outlet to help other people who are more like me, when I came to the Fool. The scared people whose spending is completely out-of-control for their earnings. Or, the people who have had medical crises and now are putting their lives back together. The people coming back from bankruptcy. The recent college graduates who have debt balances (between student loans and credit cards) large enough to buy a house. People who have recently retired and *didn't* plan well for said retirement. People trying to scrape by on minimum wage or disability checks.

Give them a "free" month to read with no posting privileges, and those are the people who are going to go away, discouraged. That is *not* enough "help". It would not have been enough help for me, or, many of the other people on the Credit Card board. I had close to a year here, and its's *because of that*, that I'm going to put my money where my mouth is and pay for membership. This fee change came at the BEST time for me, personally. I can throw *lots* of money at TMF staff.

I cannot get on the CC board and say, to lurkers who can't *even* post if they wanted to, "This site is *really* worth $30 a year/$5 a month" (The charter membership is only running a short time, so, it doesn't help newbies when they come here after then). Because, the site *isn't* worth $30/year. The *community* is "worth" $30. The site is a collection of information that you can get at so many other sites. *THAT'S WHY* the content pages are not what's being charged for, the community access is.

I do not mean to imply for even a second that the information on the content pages isn't *useful*. It is. But, it's a rule of the web that you give out a certain amount of information for 'free' and then charge for the 'real' product. Everybody wants to eat, including the Brothers Gardener, and the TMF<insert name here> staff. *I* want the Brothers Gardner and the TMF<insert name here> staff to eat. So, we all eat.

*BUT*, a new person to the site is *not* going to have any emotional connection to the community. They are *not* going to see that their hands will be "held" through the good times and bad times of getting their finances in order. They are *not* going to be told that they're NOT bad people "just" because their debt level is high, or, their FICO score is low (or both). There is going to be very little to nothing to keep them here beyond one month, because, they will have only been a passive spectator, they will not have *paricipated* in anything. If the 'community' is worth $30 a year, they need to be a PART of that community to discover that worth!

Not only are they not going to have an emotional connection to the Fool community, but, the existing members will be lacking in credibility when they discuss budgeting, spending control, and living below/within their means, if they try to suggest to any 'lurkers out there' that paying for the Fool is a Good Thing. There are a few cardinal rules we promote on the CC board (and, that I've noticed on the LBYM and Budgeting boards, when I've lurked). One of the biggest of them is discriminating between 'needs' and 'wants' and cutting out as many 'wants' as possible. *How* can we say "Give up lattes at Starbucks, and cellular phone service, and extra channels on cable, but, come pay to post here on the Fool"?!? Lattes and cell phones and cable service are old and comfortable habits to people. In a small way, that's part of *their* personal community.

I think that very very VERY few people are going to find one month of lurking on the boards enough of a learning lesson to have their eyes awakened to Foolish living AND ALSO be willing to pay to stay on. If they 'learn' in that amount of time, they're going to drift off elsewhere.

I'm not here to whine and complain that the Fool wants to charge. I think charging for some sort of 'premium' level of service is a Good Thing. I *WANT* The Motley Fool to be here five years from now. But, I don't want to be here for five years just chatting with the (then) "oldtimers" from the Credit Card board, and a tiny handful of newbies willing to pay. I want to be giving back to the Foolish community to as many people as we can pack into the boards. I *know* the more people we get here and take in as part of the community with FREE access to the boards, the *more* people we'll find who are willing to pay.

Gwen
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