New Membership Structure

In 2004, Reso-Nation was born to function as an online community for individuals who enjoy the Resophonic guitar as players, builders or enthusiasts. Since then, the site has grown into the most active community of its nature on the internet. We have drawn over three thousand users from around the world, and are frequented by some of most well-known players, builders and enthusiasts in the market.

Since its inception, RN was developed, debugged, hosted and maintained by private funding and generous user donations. As we've continued to add features and available content, the hosting costs relative to disk space and bandwidth the have increased, as well as the amount of maintenance time involved.
Busy users often have only a small amount of time daily to visit the site, so the content is continually organized, pruned, and maintained to ensure members' valuable time on the forum is well spent. Sometimes it's a little tedious, and can come across as overbearing, but keeping the content from drifting into other interesting (yet possibly distracting) directions is a high priority. While discussions offer the bulk of our content, the richness is enhanced by pertinent images, audio, and video - all which lend themselves to a more conducive learning environment, and foster a greater appreciation for this instrument. The site has evolved into a valuable resource for the community that offers a reliable pulse of what's going on in the Resophonic world. The classifieds section is the most active online market for these instruments online. Typically, if there's a new or emerging development in the Resophonic industry, RN will be on top of it.

After much consideration, I've decided that covering the development, maintenance and operational costs out of pocket is not the best way to ensure the continuance and growth of the site. We've considered various options for funding, but each has its own caveats. Fund raisers via auctions and raffles have been somewhat successful, and while the user contributions have been generous, they only cover a fraction of the costs.

It's also common for sites similar to RN to utilize advertising revenue for operational expenses, but in my experience advertising inevitably degrades the quality of content and the user experience. Personally, I find banner and even text ads annoying and distracting unless appropriately placed, even in minimal form. My goal all along has been to offer organized and relevant content that is easy to navigate and read. Because I place such high value in layout and readability, I've chosen to steer clear of banner and text advertising that would interfere with the functional aesthetics of the site despite the potential revenue. The tradeoff is a forum that to date has been virtually ad-free. We do want the market to prosper and can help enable such growth by offering a dedicated forum for unlimited commercial advertising. This way, market players can reach the audience on their terms, which enables the benefits of visibility to a specific market segment without cluttering up the content of the site.

The primary funding mechanism we've chosen to pursue is subscription-based user memberships. There will still be valuable content on RN available free of charge, but other segments will require a reasonably priced subscription.

The site will now be divided into three sections:

One will open to all registered users, which will include the news sections, the "Miscellaneous" and "Common Threads" forums, and the Classifieds section. These users may browse the classifieds, but not post items.

The second, comprised of the remainder of the forum, will only be available to subscribed users. The content within this section is subject to change, but will only change to the user's benefit. Subscribed users will be able to post classifieds items.

The third will be the commercial advertising section in which authorized users will have an entire forum dedicated to the content and delivery of their choice. New product notifications, product reviews, sales announcements and whatever else they'd like to offer will be fair game.

Over the next few weeks, we'll be transitioning into the new format. Existing users will have a grace period before a subscription will be required to participate in the subscriber features of the site, at which point, they'll need to purchase a yearly subscription at the cost they deem appropriate to maintain access to the entire site. New users will receive a one week trial period before the same stipulation will apply. We'll post a notification detailing the exact date of which the subscription model will take effect. Users can pay via PayPal, personal or certified check, or credit card.

Subscribers will also be required to use their real first and last name. Moving to real names is a measure to increase the reliability of bartering ideas and goods on the site, and to also add a degree of auditing as it relates to content. People will usually choose their words wisely when their real name is attached. This should also aid in reducing the chances of shady practices in the classifieds section as we've unfortunately experienced in the past.

I do realize that new members, as well as some current ones, will not see enough value in the site to subscribe for a multitude of reasons. We've aligned the fees to where they make sense for recouping current costs and, more importantly, to enable the site's continuance and growth. We'll be glad to have members either way, but necessary expenditures such as disc-space, hosting, and development demand consideration - we have to pay the bills. For those who choose not to join, please let us know in what way we could add value to our offering.

I appreciate all those who've been with us since the beginning as well as new members who help make the site what it is. Please bear with us over the next few weeks while we make the necessary changes to accommodate our new structure.

Thanks for your time.

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