Dear Tom and Dave,I am writing this post to inform you the I will not be using the free one year membership that you have offered. While I do appreciate the appearance of recognition for whatever minor contributions that I may have made to the Disney discussion board I can not in good conscience accept the offer.I have been a member of this board since 1998 and have visited it almost daily. I have found through the years that the conversations have been thoughtful, funny, and sometimes touching and I will miss this forum and the people who post here very much.I am taking this stand based on my feelings that this offer to certain members of the board is more of a way to guarantee that this board will still be supplied with content than a real recognition of the contribution that this community makes to the Motley Fools. Without the posts of people like PHF, Alice, and all the others there would be no discussion boards for people to logon to and no content for you to charge money for.Some of the posts to this board show a great deal of knowledge about and research into the Disney Company. Some people here put a great deal of time and effort into their posts about this company. If these people were Wall Street analysts, who knows maybe some are, they could be getting paid big bucks for some of this work at some Wall Street investment firm but instead they have choosen their share their work for free to fellow investors. For the Motley Fools to make money off of efforts of these people is simply wrong.What you are also doing is possible shutting out the people how need these boards the most and can possibly least afford to pay for it: the beginning investors. There are a lot of people who have come to the boards based a the principle that you have put forth that this site is for the average working stiff and homemaker vs the professional investor. What you are doing by charging a subscribtion fee is say that this is a sight for the average person only if you can pay for it. This is not the reason that I became a member of this community.In closing if you can find a way to give my membership to someone in need or possibly a school group please do so as I will no longer be posting to this forum.To my friends at the Disney board, God Bless, live long and prosper. Sincerly yours,Scoopa
Walt: I am writing this post to inform you the I will not be using the free one year membership that you have offered.I wondered whether or not there would be some who turn down the free membership.In my opinion this is a clear cut case of discrimination. I'm not sure it's legal to charge different people, different prices, for the exact same service.And at very least, TMF is making a loud statement about how much, or little they value you. If you didn't make the cut, at very least you can say that you fall below the 1,000th position on their list of people who they like.And if you did make the list, you can probably feel somewhat used, and party to a system that hurts other's feelings. We're told we're supposed to be a community, but apparantly one of differing classes. I would not go on a free trip to WDW if someone said my presence there would enhance that community and help entice others to come and pay, but my daughter can't come for free since she won't enhance it that much and so she'll have to pay. That would be so insulting it's not funny.And if I wouldn't stand for it in regards to my daughter, why should anyone think it's okay to do their friends the same way. Unless we're not really supposed to concern ourselves with the other guy, which in that case, it's not a community at all anyway and only a business.I would also say that the majority who stay should realize that the boards will not be the same one that they are paying (or getting free) and that almost everyone will need to modify their personnas. Almost without exception, those who actively post are beligerant in some way, including myself at times.And that's not worth paying for.I would personally not consider it an honor to receive something for free if it meant others that weren't getting it are literally considered unworthy by management.I applaud your decision Walt. You're an upstanding guy.Paul T.
I would not go on a free trip to WDW if someone said my presence there would enhance that community and help entice others to come and pay, but my daughter can't come for free since she won't enhance it that much and so she'll have to pay. That would be so insulting it's not funny.Paul, I think you might be reading too much into the selection process. It was mostly mechanical (i.e. -- the five top posters of the 100 most active stock boards, all former TMF staffers and board moderators, etc.). It was never a case of sizing everyone up and separating the star-bellied Sneetches from those with "none upon thars."If Disney World were to send you, Paul, a free one day ticket in appreciation of having been to the park 100 times in the past, would that really keep you from coming even if you had to pay for your daughter? And would you really feel it was done to belittle your daughter just because she hadn't hit the century mark with you before?I'm going to miss Walt if he never does come back, badly, but it's his right to refuse just as many of those who received the comp are still paying to lock into the charter rate (they will be getting three years for the price of one, as opposed to the current two year offer).The TMF community has always been the envy of everyone else. It was that way when we were paying by the hour to be a part of it (AOL - 1994, 1995). It was that way when we were paying a flat rate (AOL - 1996 - present). It was that way when it was free (fool.com - 1997 - present). I believe it will continue to be now that it is back to a flat rate. If you think the future will bring more and more free discussion forums for investors, I disagree. The trend says otherwise. You're naturally entitled to carry through on your boycott next week Paul. Maybe you will find that place where the moderators keep the place clean, the techies are rolling out innovations and improvements around the clock and you won't find any "BUY DIS NOW!!!" threads to weed through. Maybe that place will be free forever. If not, you'll know where to find us. And, please, by all means, bring your daughter with you. Rick
what a great post thank you Soopa
Hey Walt:Good post, really. But watch out for those "ctboys" - - - they only just "joined TMF" (1 post, 1 rec.) and "they" didn't spell your "alias" correctly ! !Makes you wonder don't it.SheridanBTW. Am amazed at all the "pests that have come out of the woodwork" in the last 48 hours - - - didn't think that there "was such a following".
TMFEdible: If Disney World were to send you, Paul, a free one day ticket in appreciation of having been to the park 100 times in the past, would that really keep you from coming even if you had to pay for your daughter? And would you really feel it was done to belittle your daughter just because she hadn't hit the century mark with you before?Yes, I would accept the free ticket in that event (and no I wouldn't feel it was to belittle my daughter). In fact, now that you mention it, this is a sore spot amongst the most devoted of Disney fans. They complain that Disney has no rewards program for faithful and persistent patronage. Eisner actually heard that beef a few years ago, and (after I made a suggestion for Disney on a posting site) they came out with the Disney cards that track your purchases and offer you rewards incentives based on your history. (at least that's what was announced)But the Fool's methodology in choosing free users still seems inequitable for several reasons.First, and personally, I have more recs, and a higher rec percentage, than many of those who were chosen for free accounts. So I don't really buy that one.And as for numbers of posts...personally I've always tried to avoid making a nuisance of myself by not dominating a board. Every time someone seems to dominate a board, it upsets other users. Spam, I believe it's called. And I know of some who are the most prolific posters in some boards, and truthfully...about half of their posts should be removed! They call names and make snide remarks, seemingly 24 hours a day. But using your system, they're the apple of your eye and get free accounts.And then it says in the faq that you are also going by popularity. Personally, I wouldn't brag that one up too much. This criteria is actually a point that supports my contention, that it boils down to a "popularity contest."You have to play a game in here, to get recs, and to be on people's loved list. Usually, the more you gang up with others on an issue, the more people that will love you. But if you are a maverick who speaks his/her mind, without regard to kissing up to others...well come to find out it will cost you your Motley priveledges, while those who play the game now get in for free. I like recs and the list of those who love me, but if I liked those things too much, I would completely change my style. Many who have the most of those things, are fakes who only know how to stroke the most users, and they live for their recs and being loved. I believe you guys used the criteria you did for one reason: to keep the boards going while enticing others who may have loved those users, to then pay so they too, can play.And that, to me, means those with free accounts are bait, or being used kind of like marionette puppets on strings.In a true community where the people love each other and are fair, the people would say "you have to take all of us, or none."And Scoopa just said that, and I really admire him for it.I don't blame Motley for coming up for air, for the third time. But that doesn't mean that feelings wont get hurt by Motley seemingly becoming an exclusive club rather than an inclusive one. By the way, the "boycott" isn't next week but this Friday, (one day only) and it's not in protest. It was supposed to merely simulate what the boards will look like, minus those who will not be here after Feb 12th. If people are going to pay to stay, it may behoove them to see what the boards will look like, before they pay. Doesn't that sound like a good idea?Paul T.
"First, and personally, I have more recs, and a higher rec percentage, than many of those who were chosen for free accounts. So I don't really buy that one." You got that right, you wouldn't believe some of the fools (and I meant small "f") who got comped, while many good contributors didn't. Hmm, perhaps I'm not the only one who thinks the "comp" system is likely to sour as many people as the $29.95 will.jb...who also is not worthy and will not pay for the privelege of being a second class citizen
You got that right, you wouldn't believe some of the fools (and I meant small "f") who got comped, while many good contributors didn't.Hmm, perhaps I'm not the only one who thinks the "comp" system is likely to sour as many people as the $29.95 will.jb...who also is not worthy and will not pay for the privelege of being a second class citizenI'm still on the fence about the whole. No, $30 is not alot of money, but it will be alot of money if the content isn't up to snuff.If Fool founders and Fool employees were confident that the $30 fee won't change a thing, they should've been brave and not give out any free memberships and THEN see how things will really be. But then again, they know hence the freebies.....
"If Fool founders and Fool employees were confident that the $30 fee won't change a thing, they should've been brave and not give out any free memberships and THEN see how things will really be. But then again, they know hence the freebies..... " The funny thing is, the people who are the heavy posters are the ones MOST LIKELY to have paid. I'm not sure what the people at the fool were thinking. They are giving freebies to the people most likely to pay, while alienating the rest of us (no one likes to be told they aren't worthy). Doesn't seem like the best business plan. I wonder if this was one of those business meetings where the boss comes up with a bad idea and no one had the courage to say anything...jb
Right on!February 2, and I won't be here!I've been trying to get my last kicks in here, thumbing my nose at AOL, taking a look at SIRI, CBH, I'll make my way to RAD, WAG and back to IMCL.Heck, why come back after February 2?Good luck investing!
For the Motley Fools to make money off of efforts of these people is simply wrong._______________________I think you've got it backwards, I really do. TMF isn't trying to make money off of your efforts, it's trying to stay in business so that you can have this kind of forum at all. There have been all kinds of arguments on the boards these last two days about the situation, but this is my take on it:I signed up a couple of years ago, and since then, things have changed. For one, the economy has gone into a recession. Which means that ad revenue has fallen. Also, the "click-through" rates have changed quite a bit (downwards), because people just aren't "clicking through" as much as they used to, or because they have less money to spend.Remember all of the issues surrounding the changes made in the "my portfolio" part of TMF? I went to the "Improve the Fool" and read many of the threads (some positive, most negative), and found that TMF was attempting to reduce costs.Also, just before the changes in "My Portfolio", there was an announcement of layoffs - and there were a number of fond fairwells made to various TMF(Staff) posters, who, at one time or another, made their presence felt for our benefit. And then came all the pop-up ads - for this, that, and the other thing. Along with the "TMF Money Advisor", which they introduced to turn things around.Obviously, TMF was cutting back, attempting to save money by outsourcing the portfolio data and charting data, attempting to add revenue with advertising and with their own special take on how to manage finances for those who needed some hand holding... The point is, from my perspective, TMF had been doing everything possible already to cut costs and get themselves out of a widening hole. And it just wasn't enough. Now, I'm not privy to TMF's accounting, so I can't answer or comment beyond my own observations, ok? But it does seem to me that the Gardners did everything they could to make this site work - at least to a "break even". And it didn't work. Maybe part of it worked, or maybe some parts worked better than others, I don't know - but at some point there was a meeting with the accountant, with charts and graphs and P&Ls and Balance Sheets... and as an investor, I can tell you that such meetings are not always pleasant...The upshot was that to continue TMF, the Gardners would have to charge a fee of some kind. Their choice was a) discontinue operations, or b) charge some kind of a fee. For whatever reason, the Gardners decided to forge ahead, by charging a fee. And yes, these boys are no dummies, ok? They knew that there would be chaos on the boards. Heck, there was chaos on the boards when "My Portfolio" changed. There was grumbling in the ranks when the Java "tennis ball" ads appeared. There was absolute misery on some boards when layoffs were announced and we found out that some of our favorite TMF staff members would be leaving. And if the members screamed then, you know you can hear them now, right?Be that as it may, TMF took the first hit. And the second hit. And the third hit - all just trying to turn this site around, financially. But the final hit (fee-based membership), was more personal in a way, because they announced that all of "us" would have to be a part of the solution for this site to go forward into the future.There is an old saying: "lead, follow, or get out of the way". Well, the Gardners have decided to do what they know they have to do to make this site work. That is called leadership. It has to do with the ability to make tough choices, and it comes from character, belief in core values, and common sense. I have not seen any post over the past two days that has a single suggestion of how they could do it any differently.Think about it. From all that I've read, the Gardners started this site out of whimsy, and continued with it because of the community they created. And there really was no other site like it on the web. None. And the site grew... beyond all dreams, it grew because investors like you and I felt that we had at last found a home - a place to discuss investing (and other) issues with other rebels - people who somehow knew that we were being manipulated by brokers and so called "market gurus". And we appreciated the stance that TMF took - that "market timing" was virtually impossible, and that the best stance any investor could take was to really look into the fundamentals of a company prior to investing - and then to back away from market fluctuations. They advised us to be different. They advised us not to "churn" our portfolios. And, at times, that seemed like terrible advice - but over the very long haul (which they also advised us to take), their advice is statistically correct. You know it, and I know it. So what will happen now? A lot of members will leave at the end of the month. Many will stay. Some will stay simply because they've been invited to stay. A whole lot of non-serious investors will leave, including the ones who enjoy trolling specific boards just to get a rise. I have no idea what the eventual outcome will be, but I do have a suggestion... Give the Gardners their due; they've done a hell of a job. And for me, I'm in it for the long haul... I want to remain a part of, and contribute to the fabric; I want to hear what "evildavid" (from the AAPL board), has to say about the "evil MSFT" - and what comments Blueherring has from Europe... all that "stuff" is important to me. In the olden days, this was called "being in the union", and it meant a lot to the working folk. Like me. Like you. Like TMF. Jon
The upshot was that to continue TMF, the Gardners would have to charge a fee of some kind.Dave Gardner specifically said that the new fees are not neecessary for keeping Motley afloat, so your entire hard-worked post above is based on a false premise.Dave Gardner: We did not have to do this.http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=16570235I don't necessarily believe his message is all encompassing of the truth though. As I said in another post, it would be very non-conducive for a financial planning site to admit it needs the very people it intends to educate, to bail them out. Do you now see why, since the Gardner's are "smart" as you put it, that they recognized the need to convey this move as not really necessary?As said though, both you, and I, and probably most everyone doesn't believe that Motley isn't turning to it's users as a resource for cash out of necessity.But we cannot just go around calling them liars so we must be civilized and move forward under the premise that what Dave says is true and that Motley does not need the new fees to stay afloat. They need the fees, according to Dave's words, to build more Community.But he goes on to admit that "not everyone will choose to be a part," again in his words.So apparantly "Community" isn't the users. The users are "Community customers," in Dave's words.Basically, he's saying he knows readership will go down but Community will go up. So obviously there's more going on here than meets the eye.He spells Community with a capital "C" as I suspect this involves some legal jargon, which doesn't intend to refer to customers as "Community." You will heretofore be considered a "customer."There is an irony here. Dave wants to build Community while admitting a shrinking in discussion board users. So he knows that the discussion boards will be offering less, in the way of user contributed content but is charging us more.So you will be getting used, to fund areas that you may or may not be choosing to use in this new "Community." He's using one portion of the Community to bolster a different portion that has obviously proved non self-sufficient.They claim that it's the wave of the future: Charging for discussion. Admittedly, a moderated group with specific topics of interest and frequented by a slightly smarter pool of contributors, is a service above and beyond what most free sites afford. So in my opinion, the fees are ok if you are the type that is predisposed to paying for such a concept. But I believe they are dead wrong in this being the wave of the future. They turn their heads and focus on the few sites that charge, and then lose peripheral vision. They mistake what they see as the trend of the future for successful and intelligent forums, as being the correct vision for the future. But the truth is that dotcoms that hope to make it in this world have to offer real services and real commodities. And even the majority of those fail.Cyber "communities" as a source of revenue by mere virtue of their existence, is what has caused the huge crash. You have got to provide actual products, tangible products and services. Not "virtual" ones. I think they, and you, are mistaking the concept of coming up with a different set of related subject matter (investing) for forums, as some sort of innovative new product. My perception though, is that (investing forums) isn't a new "market." Just new subject matter for a very old concept: message boards. Which have typically been and still are, basically free in the vast majority of cyber space.Paul T.
Heck, why come back after February 2?Maybe because they don't start charging for access until the 14th?;-)PHF
Scoopa,As a good friend of mine said once: "you pay peanuts, you get monkey".I think investing is about recognizing value and paying a reasonable price for it - if everything was free, life would be easy right? (and we would go nowhere fast?)Quite frankly, 29.95 for two years is a pretty good deal if one finds this site valuable. If people don't find it valuable they will not pay and eventually it will disappear. I would argue that the first trade a beginner investor should make is on what information source they find valuable and how much they are willing to pay for it. I think we should thank Tom and Dave for providing this for free so far, and now consider this a small "operational subsidy" - if they wanted to "make money" in the large sense as you put it they would be charging a lot more.live long and prosper,kaplah!
In my opinion this is a clear cut case of discrimination. I'm not sure it's legal to charge different people, different prices, for the exact same service.Of course it is. There probably aren't two people on an airplane who paid the same price to get from Point A to Point B. And do you really think you paid the same price for the same car as the last person in the car dealership?And at very least, TMF is making a loud statement about how much, or little they value you.Well, sort of. They wanted to figure out a way to insure that there was sufficient quantity of posting to make sure the boards continued to have value. They own the place. That is their right. It is yours, of course, not to continue, just as you don't have to buy a newspaper if you don't like what they publish. Or if they don't choose to print your "letter to the editor". Or if you don't like the tie the publisher wears.I would personally not consider it an honor to receive something for free if it meant others that weren't getting it are literally considered unworthy by management.OK, but by accepting Disney's "rewards" program you show the lie in your reasoning. I'm not eligible since I don't go there often enough. You are because you do. Do you take frequent flier miles? Since they're useless until you accumulate 25,000 of them, doesn't that create "two separate classes"? Businesses have a variety of strategems to thank their best customers. Offering a $30 incentive to some, but not all posters doesn't seem overly nefarious.In the interest of disclosure I should point out that I got one of the freebies, but I would have paid even if I did not. I also fly on airlines where I am not rewarded, nor regarded as "a preferred customer." That's just the way it works, sometimes.
I think we should thank Tom and Dave for providing this for free so far, and now consider this a small "operational subsidy"The boards are basically changing on other ways beyond merely creating a small operational subsidy. This small subsidy also turns these into private boards as opposed to public (especially insofar as read-only ability goes)I think that there exists a certain mindset amongst many posters here and unless I am mistaken, with Scoopa too. And that is, that since these are public boards that they have (had) value as a tool for change.If Disney, for instance, is aware of a board out there (call it the Motley Fool Disney Discussion Board) with critics, fans, journalists, amateur publishers, and professional & amateur analysts, and most importanlty the public they may pay some heed to the goings on here.But you can erase that "public" aspect right off the list once the fees are implemented. These boards and our input will carry with them much less weight and significance, as they will have lost their ability to influence public perceptions. It will be strictly a private gig from here on out.Disney should subsidize Motley now. It is in their interest to have the voices & critics in here as effectively quelled in the manner with which they will be, post public-access days.Paul T.
Pul T,If Disney, for instance, is aware of a board out there (call it the Motley Fool Disney Discussion Board) with critics, fans, journalists, amateur publishers, and professional & amateur analysts, and most importanlty the public they may pay some heed to the goings on here.Yeah. Sure.About as much attention as you should give to the investing advice one receives from message boards. NADA!OTOH, some employee of Disney will probably read and answer your message. Doesn't mean it will ever get to the attention of a decision maker...even in the mail room. These boards and our input will carry with them much less weight and significance, as they will have lost their ability to influence public perceptions. It will be strictly a private gig from here on out.I believe it will depend solely on the quality of the gig, nothing else.Harry
And I know of some who are the most prolific posters in some boards, and truthfully...about half of their posts should be removed! They call names and make snide remarks, seemingly 24 hours a day.Guilty as charged, you whiny twit.<note: tongue planted firmly in cheek>
Goofyhoofy: Of course it is. There probably aren't two people on an airplane who paid the same price to get from Point A to Point B. And do you really think you paid the same price for the same car as the last person in the car dealership?and...OK, but by accepting Disney's "rewards" program you show the lie in your reasoning.The difference is that everyone is eligible for the same rewards. But Motley is limiting who they give the freebies away to.Airlines have come under great scrutiny and criticism in the media for their price practices. Because they do it, doesn't make it right.And under most circumstances, everyone is able to try to find the same discounts, themselves.Regarding cars: The sticker price is the same for every person. And every person has equal opportunity to try to get their best deal.A Disney rewards program would be a program that is equal to everyone. Every person alive has opportunity to get the same rewards.That simply isn't the case with Motley's methods of giving out free accounts.Paul T.
Point well made - there I agree with you and see the point. So perhaps the answer is to try keeping free access, but also encourage people who find it valuable to make a small contribution, kind of like shareware.....Would anyone pay?
Heh,heh. Good point parrot! I was going to make it but you beat me to it. LOLWell I'm staying and I hope most people will. I think the subscription will end up adding value to the site. It will separate the wheat from the chaff. :-)
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