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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.

I 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.
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