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Topic: PBS poll

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Subject: PBS poll
Date Posted: 10/26/2009 7:24 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
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Did anyone take the PBS opinion poll on changes they're planning?  I wasn't too happy with anything I read.

Date Posted: 10/26/2009 8:03 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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Where is it? Are they sending it to random members?

Date Posted: 10/26/2009 8:23 PM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2008
Posts: 14,777
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i tried looking, and couldn't find a poll.  i'd love to see if, if someone can post a link or tell us where to find it!

Date Posted: 10/26/2009 9:02 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
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Yeah, I guess it was just a random thing. 

Date Posted: 10/26/2009 9:31 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,520
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I haven't seen a poll either.

PBS must love Monica more.

What kind of stuff was on the poll?

Date Posted: 10/27/2009 7:44 AM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
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:o)  Well it was a lot of questions similiar to "would you be willing to pay an annual fee for pbs."  Then they listed denominations and you were to choose how high you would go.  They also asked if you were interested in there being a feature that would allow you to swap locally, or a feature where you could swap within your forum.....similiar to what we do here already with our "bookshelf" thread.

Date Posted: 10/27/2009 7:50 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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There was a huge discussion/argument about this on the CMT under a thread called Just Took a PBS Survey. 

I didn't get a survey.  But from reading that thread and people who did take the survey posted on it: there were questions about which features they'd like to see, what kinds of added features they'd be willing to pay for stuff like that. 

They've said all along that they might have to start charging a yearly fee.  I think they were just putting a feeler out to see if they could add some more bonus pay features here to help pay for PBS (like Box of Books helps pay for it) and if people were interested in that.  Like paying a fee to have multiple accounts for a household and stuff like that.  Or paying a fee to have your bookshelf be "featured". You know how like on Ebay a seller can pay extra to have their listings come up more prominantly or something like that.

These are not things they are definately going to do-it's just things they are thinking about to earn money. I imagine PBS is not cheap to run even with all the volunteer help they have.  Richard probably has a full time job and running PBS is probably a full time job. The money they get from selling credits has to be kept in an account to back up the credits.  Bob memberships and printed postage fees probably just cover the web-hosting type fees.

Date Posted: 10/27/2009 3:43 PM ET
Member Since: 8/21/2008
Posts: 8,768
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Poll? What poll?

Date Posted: 10/27/2009 4:17 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
Posts: 1,388
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Here's a link to the survey I took:

**Edited by PBS.  These are open forums and the survey is proprietary.  Please do not post such links here.**

Date Posted: 10/27/2009 4:58 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 5,337
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I looked at the poll and none of the ideas were what I would like, but I can see where they would be great for others. I do hate the idea of paying a membership fee of $10 or $20 a year. Yes I do realize it costs money to have this site available to all of us, but maybe they will just make these new features optional and the people that do want them can pay extra for them.

Date Posted: 10/27/2009 5:08 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I didn't get one either, but I did log my thoughts on the CMT forum thread.  It's interesting - as always - to see the different perspectives.

Date Posted: 10/27/2009 10:30 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,520
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I'd definitely pay a yearly membership fee to help support the site.

Date Posted: 10/28/2009 9:52 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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The only feature I'd be willing to pay extra for is Box of Books which I already pay for and consider my yearly PBS fee.  But I would pay a yearly fee to PBS-hopefully they'd make BOB free if they do that.  If not than I would probably drop BOB and just pay the yearly PBS fee.

I have no interest in spotlighting any books for .49/m. If it's not a heavily posted book then it'll get ordered pretty quickly anyway. If it's a heavily posted book than I'd rather post it on bookmooch or trade it in a BOB deal than pay an extra .49 to have it ordered faster.  I have a lot of unpostable books and if I paid a fee on all of them to get them ordered faster-I could just put that money towards buying credits.  But then I've never had a problem earning credits.  I'm at my lowest now at 13 and that's only because I have several out in swaps and sold off 20.

I would love that feature of them being able to hook people up with multiple books on one shelf.  I don't know if I'd want to pay extra for that. But if the price of using that  feature was to use the PBS postage for any orders that came from it-it would be worth it to get to ship multiple books to people. 



Last Edited on: 10/29/09 7:33 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/28/2009 8:01 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,542
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I haven't taken the survey but I would like to say that I would pay a fee to belong.  I wouldn't mind if it helped clear out the people creeping onto the website that join and post books and then do not  respond to requests.  That seems to be happening a lot lately to me.  I realize that some of us are strapped for postage money right now.  I am talking about the book that timed out 5 times before being accepted.  

I am curious if there were questions about those of us that receive unpostable books and never get out credit back?  And if so, some of the reponses.

Pamela

Date Posted: 10/28/2009 10:16 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 808
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MARY L. said "The money they get from selling credits has to be kept in an account to back up the credits."

Huh? The PBS site provides a service and generates revenue from credit sales and postage fees. They could give away a million credits and it would cost them nothing. They don't pay for books. They don't pay the postage for shipping books. In fact, the more credits available to be spent, the more money they make because users who print postage through PBS pay the site a fee for the service.

They use Endicia.com and I don't know how much more they pay for integrating it with the website, but I have my own Endicia.com account. I pay 9.95 per month plus postage. For using e-postage, I get 19-cent delivery confirmations and when I ship something via priority mail, I get a discounted rate on that. For printing postage for me, PBS would charge 43 cents + the postage. If I want delivery confirmation so I can get an instant credit, they tack on another 27 cent fee. That's 70 cents per book or multi-book shipment!

Sooooo, they make $70 for every 100 books shipped using their service. Add to that the service fee for buying PBS money. Their only overhead there is the 3-4% charged by PayPal or their credit card bank. The rest is gravy for them because there is nothing tangible about a credit. It just gives you the right to ask for another member to send you a book (at their own expense).

If you wonder about how much all this adds up to, check Community > Pulse of PBS. Over 8000 books were mailed today. Over 62000 in the past week. True enough, they only make money when you have them print the postage for you. But of the last 10 books I've received, 7 of them used PBS postage and delivery confirmation.

I recently signed up for Swap-a-DVD.com. On that site, they charge $4.95/credit. I haven't signed up for Swap-a-CD.com because on that site, they do charge a fee for each CD you request (each time you request a CD from another user, you have to pay 49 cents to the site).

BTW, did anyone notice that we've lost Swap-A-Goat? Dang. Now what am I gonna do with these animals?

Colleen

Date Posted: 10/29/2009 2:33 AM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2008
Posts: 14,777
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For printing postage for me, PBS would charge 43 cents + the postage. If I want delivery confirmation so I can get an instant credit, they tack on another 27 cent fee. That's 70 cents per book or multi-book shipment!

that's incorrect.  the fee is 27 cents if you use PBS-DC and not printable postage, or 43 cents if you use printable postage which *includes* the DC.  you either pay one or the other, not both.  (the $.19 to cover the DC is postage, not a PBS fee, and has to be paid whichever of those is chosen.)  at least part of that fee goes to Endicia.

but that's really unrelated to what Mary mentioned.  if you click on the Friends of PBS link at the bottom of the page, part of that page says:  "the IRS requires us to maintain a financial liability for the cost of all credits issued on the site."  so they really do have to have $ to cover the outstanding credits, even though there is no mechanism in place to sell credits back to the site.  i seem to also remember reading somewhere that the # of books posted on the site overall figures into how much $ they have to keep on hand - like more books available on the site reduces the $ amount they have to have available or something like that.

Date Posted: 10/29/2009 7:30 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Legally they have to have the money to back up the credits that are available.  Not all of them: whatever # of credits are in circulation over the # of books posted or maybe a percentage of the books posted.  So when people buy credits from PBS-those are new credits that are generated into the system not technically covered by books that have been sent out-So they can't just spend that money.  They have to show that they can cover a mass book ordering.  I don't know why this would ever happen but I suppose if they decided to shut down the site-they have to show that people can redeem their credits by ordering books or selliing them back to PBS.  PBS doens't actually buy back credits-but if they ever had ot close the site they probably would have to do that.

Date Posted: 10/29/2009 7:31 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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And like Ellen said: they don't keep all the money they get for printing the postage-some of that goes to Endicia. 

Date Posted: 10/29/2009 7:34 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I think Richard puts a whole lot of time and money into this site and he deserves to earn something from all the work he does.  He might also get more people willing to help him with it if he could pay for the help. Like more Tour Guides, More Live help etc..., 

Date Posted: 10/29/2009 8:13 AM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2005
Posts: 14,915
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I'd gladly pay a fee to stay a member of this site.  I don't know what I did before finding PBS!  I surely didn't read as many books as I do now, nor did I own as many!

Date Posted: 10/29/2009 10:23 AM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
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 I voted that I would pay a nominal fee.  I mean, how do they really make money here.  I don't see any advertising but generally I'm blind to any sort of marketing. 

Date Posted: 10/29/2009 12:10 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,542
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I would pay a fee for the reasons I stated about and also, especially, so that there is no advertising!!!!!  I would hate that!!!!!

Also, come on, those who think that the website cost Richard nothing.  Server computer equipment, Internet cloud services, maintainence of equipment and programming of web site, ISDN-T1's and T3's for server access,  ETC........  I service companies that host and maintain web sites like PBS and it costs plenty.  Every week some of them are writing me checks for several hundred for upgrades or installs or service or repair or troubleshooting......

Date Posted: 10/29/2009 1:09 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 808
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My bad for misunderstanding the amt of fees collected in addition to postage. I've only used it once or twice when I was desperate for instant credits. And I was not aware that the IRS actually charges them for credits except for those sold (which does generate revenue - namely $3.40 per credit). It's been rare that I've had to buy credits directly from PBS, but then I have 1300 books on my shelf and have sent out a fair number of them. And the Box-O-Books membership and Journal also generate revenue.

As for refunds, the Terms of Use state that after your first 45 days, your not entitled to a refund for anything. Though, yes, I'd imagine that at least 1/3 of the 62,000+ members would be screaming if they did shut down the site.

I am aware of how much it costs to maintain websites and servers. I used to do it. Once a site is up and running, it's more a matter of customer service than actual hands-on programming and such. I do appreciate the enhancements they make from time-to-time and that does require some effort. Nonetheless, I can rent a dedicated server for less than $500/mo. and handle the traffic for all three of the swap sites.

I'm not grousing. I don't begrudge Richard and Co. the revenue they earn from the sites and I, too, would gladly pay a nominal membership fee provided there are enough other users doing likewise. Personally, I think it would be fatal for the site. Mainly because the number of members would drop drastically. Especially when other sites don't charge membership fees for similar services. And that is probably what is stopping them from instituting an annual fee.

Colleen

Date Posted: 10/29/2009 1:28 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2006
Posts: 1,069
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I took the poll and I would pay to use this site as long as it would fit in my budget.   I know it costs to run the site and a lot of time also. Most of the features that they asked about are ones that I really am not that interested in but don't mind  having them if others want to do them. When they asked for suggestions at the end of it, I suggested that since they had a Book Bazaar for deals, unpostables etc. that I would like to see a Book Boutique where the exceptional books could be highlighted for more than one credit.

Date Posted: 10/29/2009 1:41 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 808
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Diane mentioned a Book Boutique, I'd just be happy if they'd do 2 credits for hardcovers as they do for audio books. They cost nearly as much to buy new and a whole lot more to ship than audio books.

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