Revamping the Patrons

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July 29, 2007 at 6:35 am #310790
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Schlaeps

As summer drags past us and nears it’s ominous end (well, at least for those of us on vacation) I believe that we as the programmers for this site should begin concentrating our efforts on creating a shiny new set of features for the patrons of this site. Why? Well, money for one. If the patrons step up a notch and provide some good, quality tools for brickfilmers, I think that we could see a definite increase in profits. And pretty much right now the only non web hosting feature available right now is the rating of films and a graphic above their name in the forums, and that doesn’t really sound *that* desirable. I don’t think that we should begin making brickfilms into one of those “pay to use” sites, but I do think we should be providing some better services to the people that keep this site running.

My idea for the patrons is this: we create a number of online tools for filmmakers to use that actually benefit them. Things like an online script writing application that allows them to share scripts with users and allow for collaborative editing. Things like an easy way to upload their files without having to go through an FTP program every time. Things like a couple of premade web templates for people who choose to use the hosting provide by brickfilms. Things like a decent email system. Things like discounts in the brickfilms store. Things like getting the weekly update working again. :P

I’ve even begun a lot of work on the script writing application: http://brickfilms.com/patrons/script.php

You can create your own script, share it with another user, and add direction or dialog or notes or transitions to it. (Editing and deleting scripts are still a little bit funky).

Anyways, I really think that the patrons are in need of an upgrade and I think that if we collectively direct our efforts their way, we’ll be able to pull this off.

Thank you. I’m going to go sleep now.

July 29, 2007 at 4:40 pm #310892
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RevMen

Wow.

Great ideas. All of them.

I want to move away from hosting being offered to patrons. It’s pretty much more trouble than it’s worth. I think in the near future I’m going to announce that people have 2 weeks to sign up for digital or saint patronages and then those will no longer be offered.

Perhaps the idea of a single patron rank is one we should pursue.

July 29, 2007 at 8:12 pm #310930
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Schlaeps

I think that maintaining a multiple level patron system is still a good idea because people may want to pay different amounts depending on how much they want to contribute to the site as well as the different graphics (some are just cooler than others. :P ).

As for web hosting, would it be possible to do it for only Saint accounts? Making it more worth your while (money wise)? I think that web hosting is one of the biggest draws for patrons right now (it was for me) and that if we really decide to not include it we should provide some way for patrons to store their films on the brickfilms server (perhaps by an upload form).

August 28, 2007 at 1:47 am #320410
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RevMen

The more I try to sort out the patrons bookkeeping the more I know the ultimate truth is that a single patron rank is the only viable solution.

As you have noticed, I’ve decided to do away with all other ranks. No more hosting… it’s more trouble than it’s worth. Eventually I’d like to ramp our operation down to the point where it can go on a shared server somewhere and can easily be paid for with google ads and single-rank patronages.

As for hosting films, the rise of Youtube et al has made patronages a little bit obsolete. New sign ups are way down this year compared to last year. There are also a lot of free file hosting solutions out there.

August 28, 2007 at 2:16 am #320420
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Schlaeps

I guess we’re (or I’m) just going have to make these new patron features extra awesome then.

August 28, 2007 at 2:20 am #320422
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RevMen

Don’t concern yourself too much with it. One of these days we’ll be completely ad supported.

For now they’ll get to judge contests, have e-mail, rate films, and have an ad-free website. I’ll probably start ramping up the advertising, thus increasing the value of the patronage.

August 28, 2007 at 2:26 am #320424
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Schlaeps

IMO, that’s not the way to go. Ads only turn away new people and annoy the veterans (in my experience).

I can understand the need for more monetary support, and a few more ads might be good for that… but I think using my above approach for patronship would be much more accepted by the community.

And if we do decide to go with ads, I think going with tasteful, good looking ads would be a better idea then a bunch of Google Ads cluttering up pages.

August 28, 2007 at 2:31 am #320426
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RevMen

This I understand and agree with.

But I do not have the time for handling a bunch of patrons. My books are a disaster right now… I have tons of cancelled patrons who still have their privileges.

I don’t want to really load it up with ads, I just want to find a happy balance.

Rather than a bunch of google ads, I’d like to find some targeted ads, like SMP. I think that would be very acceptable.

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