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Author: ptheland Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 88919  
Subject: Bringing in new readers Date: 1/29/2002 11:02 PM
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Now that we've had a day to digest the fact of life that there is a cost of living, even for TMF, I've got a couple of thoughts.

One of the most salient points I've heard repeated is that TMF needs to attract and keep new readers (along with their $29.95 :-) Free access for a period of time seems like a logical choice. However, I suggest a couple of improvements.

A lot of people are saying they got addicted (yes, Foolishness is an addiction!) slowly - in more than 30 days. I'm sure part of that addiction came in the friendly and helpful responses to their first few questions. Or maybe is was like me, in sharing a few tidbits of information to those who needed help.

First suggestion: Increase the free reading to 90 days. Two reasons. 1) people need more time to become convinced that parting with their hard-earned dollars is worthwhile. 2) 90 days will give virtually all stock boards the opportunity to digest a quarterly report. Watching that happen in real time is a real eye-opener to the quality of posts here.

Second suggestion: Allow a limited number of posts during the free trial. 5 - 10 would do the trick. That would let people know that the posters here can help with their individual questions. It would help new posters realize that there is valuable, personal assistance available on the boards.

A refinement of this idea would be to limit the areas accessible to free posts. I recommend that it include only the Information Desk and Managing Your Finances boards. These are areas that tend to attract first-timers. We can then help a few people for whom even a single monthly fee is a barrier to posting. If you want to post on the stock boards, you're here to help your portfolio and can pay to post. If you like the "content-free" areas like Speakers' Corner you can pay. (Although there are some boards with excellent content there, too. REHP comes to mind.)

Just my $29.95 worth.

--Peter
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