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Well $2000 is pretty damn good in a year asking for voluntary donations. That is sort of b***ing about getting free products or money, when asking for handouts you can't complain what the price tag is really. I would have to assume that a big chunk of the money from donations goes back into supporting the website and keeping it running. that price tag is anything from $250 to $750 on average depending on hosts and licensing for software, could even be more.

 

I hate to point readers at other golf forums sort of a tabo to me, but golfWRX.com does yearly subscriptions for $35 for member only giveaways. more PM shortage space, discounts in their store, other little perks as well. It is a pretty good way to hide the fact it is really just a yearly donation type of thing. I do the same thing on the Gaming Community website that I help run from a technical stand point, we have memberships so to speak on the forum that unlocks other fun things that non-members on the forum don't have access to. I would be happy to talk to X or T about it in PM if they were interested but not gonna get into a lot of detail here about it.

 

You can say it's "pretty damn good", but the model that was being aimed at here was Consumer Reports. They take zero ad dollars because they get millions in donations. No one here was expecting millions, but there was hope that if people really valued the unbiased content, they would help to support it. At some point, the bills need to get paid and that can be through donations or ads...all up to the readers.

 

As for the membership thing (and I'm not trying to speak for X here) the whole point of MGS is to serve the golfer/golf consumer. It's supposed to be open and free. If you start getting into "this is for everyone, but you can't have this", it takes away from that, in my opinion.


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You can say it's "pretty damn good", but the model that was being aimed at here was Consumer Reports. They take zero ad dollars because they get millions in donations. No one here was expecting millions, but there was hope that if people really valued the unbiased content, they would help to support it. At some point, the bills need to get paid and that can be through donations or ads...all up to the readers.

 

As for the membership thing (and I'm not trying to speak for X here) the whole point of MGS is to serve the golfer/golf consumer. It's supposed to be open and free. If you start getting into "this is for everyone, but you can't have this", it takes away from that, in my opinion.

 

I know, I'm just sort of tossing out what others in the business do golfwrx.com included... I would have to say that they would be your "nearest competitor" in this situation right? But then again they sold out to Golf Digest which is about the mot bias BS you can read so maybe it doesn't apply. golfwrx.com has all their content open so to speak to the public, they just have member only giveaways and discounts in the shop from what I recall haven't been on that site in a long time.


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Tour Edge Exotics CB3 Tour 16.5* @ 42.50" w/ RT Technologies Zeus (85g) Stiff (Tipped 1/2")

Srixon Z U45 19.0* @ 39.75" w/ KBS Tour-V X-Stiff (Soft Stepped 1x)

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Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Black Satin (Blade) 54-12 @ 35.25", 64.00* w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold s400

Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Black Satin (Blade) 60-10 @ 35.25", 64.00* w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold s400

Lamkin UTX Wrap, Including Grip Core: 1/32 over (top hand), 1/16 over (bottom hand)

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Golf Swing & Putting -- Bruce Rearick (Burnt Edges Consulting)

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Don't have a ton of time to address the topic this morning. But first I want to thank all those that have supported MGS. And in no means is this a plead whatsoever to ask anyone else to donate. All I wanted to say is we do have a bunch of ideas for how to keep this place the way it is now. But doing a yearly membership like WRX is not one of them. If I am going to do something for you guys that I have to charge money for I am going to give you some actual value for your money.

 

More PM space and all the others useless things that membership offers can all be done for FREE. No need to charge you $35 to be able to participate in contests (BTW...so many bitched about ours being Facebook required, don't hear many people complaining about having to pay $35 to participate on there...lol...just bustin balls). Anyway I can come up with some more creative, useful and consumer friendly ways to keep this site from having to sell out yet.

 

Trust me I am ALWAYS working on it.


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Good point X, I could care less if you bust my balls I'm okay with it. I know that not all my comments and or ideas are that good but that doesn't always stop me from opening my mouth about it :)


KZG VC-420 ML (10.5* Loft & 0.2* Open Face Angle) @ 44.50" (2" Bore Depth) w/ Graphite Design Tour AD DI-7 Stiff

Tour Edge Exotics CB3 Tour 16.5* @ 42.50" w/ RT Technologies Zeus (85g) Stiff (Tipped 1/2")

Srixon Z U45 19.0* @ 39.75" w/ KBS Tour-V X-Stiff (Soft Stepped 1x)

Cleveland 588 MB 3-P @ 38.75" - 35.25" (0.25" under), 60.5* - 64.0* (0.5* upright), 22* - 48* (1* weak) w/ KBS Tour-V X-Stiff (Soft Stepped 1x)

Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Black Satin (Blade) 54-12 @ 35.25", 64.00* w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold s400

Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Black Satin (Blade) 60-10 @ 35.25", 64.00* w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold s400

Lamkin UTX Wrap, Including Grip Core: 1/32 over (top hand), 1/16 over (bottom hand)

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Golf Swing & Putting -- Bruce Rearick (Burnt Edges Consulting)

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Thanks MGS. I actually think a "Premium Membership" tier is a pretty good model which would allow you still provide the information you want free but would provide an incentive for those who appreciate that information to pony up. It is becoming more and more common to have to pay for what you find valuable online. For me, its a model I don't object to too much, especially when it's done right.

 

Someone mentioned "Consumer Reports", I just wanted to point out that they are not free, if I remember right it is like $60/year for access to their website


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Definitely have gone over the premium membership concept over the years running MGS, but in my opinion it will just not work for a lot of reasons. Yes it might work in other markets but this one I do not think it will long term.


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If you quit opening your mouth, I'd definitely think that something was terribly wrong down Carolina way...lol...

 

Have a good one.....

 

Fairways & Greens 4ever......

 

lol, true that...


KZG VC-420 ML (10.5* Loft & 0.2* Open Face Angle) @ 44.50" (2" Bore Depth) w/ Graphite Design Tour AD DI-7 Stiff

Tour Edge Exotics CB3 Tour 16.5* @ 42.50" w/ RT Technologies Zeus (85g) Stiff (Tipped 1/2")

Srixon Z U45 19.0* @ 39.75" w/ KBS Tour-V X-Stiff (Soft Stepped 1x)

Cleveland 588 MB 3-P @ 38.75" - 35.25" (0.25" under), 60.5* - 64.0* (0.5* upright), 22* - 48* (1* weak) w/ KBS Tour-V X-Stiff (Soft Stepped 1x)

Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Black Satin (Blade) 54-12 @ 35.25", 64.00* w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold s400

Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Black Satin (Blade) 60-10 @ 35.25", 64.00* w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold s400

Lamkin UTX Wrap, Including Grip Core: 1/32 over (top hand), 1/16 over (bottom hand)

Srixon Z-Star

 

Golf Swing & Putting -- Bruce Rearick (Burnt Edges Consulting)

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Just my thoughts but at some point MGS will have to offer content with enough value to justify offering subscriptions to access it. If content with real value is always offered free, only a small percentage will make a donation. Or provide content with value that generates so much traffic that ad revenue will run the site. Either way it's about quality content that generates traffic to the site. Be first with a great idea and do it better than other competitors who will try to copy success. Not an easy task. Hopefully your contest will generate some ideas to run with. I would expect some competitors to be scanning the submissions for the contest to get ideas for things they can do.

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Though I agree with the general approach MGS has taken to date, growth beyond a certain point is going to be tough, if for no other reason than the cost in time and people to really take what I think are some of the best ideas in what they have and take them to a level where the readership comes here first.

 

For example, the Club Comparison tools they are creating are fantastic, as far as they go. The problem is that the spectrum of what has been reviewed is still so small. To really push the envelope, they need to review more clubs, and continually grow that database. Now you have the chicken/egg problem. The man hours and equipment costs to get there requires more eyeballs to generate the income, and the eyeballs come with more depth in the coverage. MGS has done a great job expanding the reach and the eyeballs (and despite all the negatives about FB, using it to power the latest contest has a HUGE upside of exposing MGS to a much wider set of eyeballs). There is however, only so far you can go with a single F/T, a couple of P/T and a bunch of volunteers.

 

FWIW, I say all of this as someone that's tried to do something similar in another market.

 

Somewhere along the way, there is a grow or stagnate threshold that every site has to cross, and how they choose to go from there is the stuff of nightmares for the operators. Regardless of the path they take, they will alienate a subset of the early adopters. Looking hard at what MGS has built here, they have the parts in place to move forward successfully, and I suspect we have only begun to see what they have in mind for the future.

 

I say this with great respect, but I get the feeling that we are only just beginning to see where our kind host is taking the site, and I think his engagement with the users is a clear indication of the respect he has for his community.

 

Over the last couple of months, we've seen some hints, that IMO, point to a direction that will have an enormous appeal. Launch Monitor information, a broadening of relationships with some big vendors without really compromising the integrity of the reviews. It's enough to convince me that going forward, as a member of the community, the most and best I can do is to contribute, financially, but also contextually with feedback, and help keep that 'jerk' quotient away (this being the interwebs and all).

 

Ultimately, the continued growth of the site and it's reputation lies not only in the hands of the staff, but also in the hands of the community. Keeping the snarky nastiness of the internet as a whole out, and retaining the genteel nature of the game we are here to discuss.


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Tried the Consumer Reports model and researched it pretty extensively with lawyers and accountants, although setting up a non-profit which allows those types of donations is next to impossible to set-up nowadays.

This is the model that I thought you were paterning MGS after, though I didn't want to start down the road if it was incorrect...Good model, though it takes time & there were some major donations & they were named in trusts with annuity set-ups also....

 

Fairways & Greens 4ever.......


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I'm going to straight out admit I haven't donated to MSG because I'm one of those guys who thinks it's there I'll just use it. Sad thing is I'd be lost if this site was gone. I came here specifically for the excellent written and laid out reviews. Then I discovered the forums and can lost reading them. You'll notice my post count is low as I consider myself a reader/observer and just always feel if I really don't have anything to add to this discussion why bother. I'm donating today cause I hate to lost the experience that MSG offers.

 

Also a note I'm a huge Facebook user and I get a lot of my MSG info via there because I use my FB as more or less a news feed to my favorite sites so its' nice to see MSG taking advantage of this since social media is pretty much the free marketing tool everyone should have. You may not like FB but social media is the way things are going and you truly are falling behind the rest if you're not on board with it.


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I want to make sure that I'm taking this as you mean...You state, " at some point MGS will have to offer content with enough value to justify offering subscriptions to access it"...Are you insinuating that the MGS site, with it's current content & set-up, does not offer enough value to look at some type of tiered subscription plan?....

 

I'm not trying to be offensive and put you on the defensive, I just want to make sure that I take that statement as you mean it.....

 

 

Fairways & Greens 4ever........

 

MGS is competing against several other sites with golf forums that also have prize giveaways, contests, and reviews. Several of those sites have much larger participation in the forums and offer content that is not available here with no fee. The MythBuster aspect of MGS and the reviews distinguish this site somewhat from those other sites. But all differences considered, do I think MGS could setup a tiered subscription plan and attract a large quantity of paid subscriptions based on current content? My answer would be no.

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Yes that number surprising. I recently made a contribution simply because of the great prizes being offered in the contest. Not that I expect to win, but I felt the opportunity to win was worth a contribution.

 

Will, Please PM me the email address you used to make the donation (I think I've got it, but want to make sure I'm right), and I'll get your donor badge added.


MyGolfSpy is only major golf site that refuses advertising from large golf companies. With your support we can keep it that way. Donate Today
 


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Firstly, let me say that I greatly appreciate that SeeRed started this thread as 1)I love anything that promotes our donation program and 2)It's nice to have the opportunity to retell the story of how we got to where we are today and clear up some of the apparent misconceptions about how we operate, and I suppose what it pays to be a Golf Spy.

 

As you all know we don't accept advertising from big golf companies. Actually, what I should say is big golf club companies. As you've seen we take ad dollars from KBS and TrueTemper, and Harrison. Those guys basically qualify as larger companies, and we're excited to have them here. To an extent we see shaft companies as ideal advertisers. We will also continue to accept advertising, and help promote and support the little guys. We've been fortunate enough to be able to turn you guys on to some really great, inexpensive, and innovate products from some pretty great and innovate people over the last couple of years.

 

As for the economic realities... Last year I lost a job that paid me almost 6 figures. Truthfully, I was burnt out, wasn't having any fun, and didn't want to go back to it. I decided to do this full time, work hard, and hope that what could be seen by some as a frivolous adventure wouldn't cost me my house, my family, or my sanity. Much of what we've added over the last couple of years is my doing, with a lot of support from X. Newsletters as a product is my baby (incidentally, simply subscribing to our newsletter helps support the site). The review process is my baby. The club comparison tool which X pushed heavily for, was the logical extension. We have 100 more ideas, and not nearly enough time or financial resources to make them happen. Feed the family, sustain the site, and grow much as our revenues permit.

 

What I do on a weekly basis is test and oversee club testing, I write articles, I almost single-handedly build the newsletter each week. I work with sponsors to keep their content fresh (when possible), and when time permits I do little things like rounding up sponsors for the biggest contest in our history, and then build the application that powers it. X and I also work hard to find a feature sponsor each month for our Forum Member of the Month Prize. I work harder than I ever have in my life to create products that readers/users don't actually pay for, and I have to support my family while doing it. Some weeks I could earn more per hour making sneakers in Malaysia.

 

As X stated, we made about 2K in donations last year. The average donation is probably $15, but we've had a few $100 donations over the last year. Based on how loyal we assumed our readers were, we projected donations at 20K. Obviously we missed the mark...badly. Not dissuaded, we launched the Spy VIP program. It did ok...at least it justified the expense involved in setting it up.

 

There are 2 paid employees on staff (me and X). My income is projected to be about half of what my old job paid. I'm able to make as much as I do because X is putting a substantial portion of his potential income into my pocket. Apart from a very rare payment for a special article, none of the other spies are paid a dime. We do cover their travel and expenses for the PGA show, but that's it.

 

Understand that the big money...the real money...is found in big OEM ads. Over a year ago we almost placed an ad from a large OEM on the site. The agreed upon price was $3000 per month. Again...that's a mid-tier OEM. Imagine if we had 3 or 4 of those? In contrast, the average MGS advertiser pays less than $200 per month. We do have a few that pay more, but we have several that pay less. Those are the realities.

 

I understand the "they don't need me, they have advertisers" mentality. It confounds me that people would donate to a site that takes in hundreds of thousand in big oem dollars. As one of my contacts told me about a site his company advertises on..."we pay them a lot of money, and they behave themselves". Now I respect people's right to make money any way they legally can, but we hope to remain the only golf site that doesn't operate with strings attached. Our ability to support ourselves with ad dollars from small companies is what this whole thing hinges on.

 

To succeed with our current model, we need all the help we can get.

 

I appreciate all of you who have defended our decision to use Facebook for the contest, and even those who expressed their displeasure in rational terms. In hindsight there are things we could have done better. Nevertheless, it's disheartening that so-called loyal readers would take a giant dump on months of hard work (this contest was first conceptualized last November), simply because they dislike facebook, and can't enter a 10K contest on their own terms. Quite frankly despite thus far successful results, the overall reaction has been depressing. So much so that I'm wondering if it's worth trying to organize something of this magnitude again. And more to the point, if this is the reaction we face from some loyal readers, does the current path really make sense, when there are obviously much easier, and more lucrative options?


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Thanx for the response....Obviously, you stepped up with your donation because of the type of person you are, versus what value you're getting out of MGS presently, however in the future, or if this where another golf site, what would have to be offered for you to pay for a subscription?.....Fairways & Greens 4ever.....

 

I think the ultimate purpose of the contest was to encourage entries that offered suggestions that would grow the site and increase traffic. Based on the entries I've read, like T, I'm disappointed with the responses. I've seen very few that offer any new ideas. When I considered my entry, I tried to think of things that I really enjoyed from other golf sites and submitted an entry based on that. I could elaborate on it here, but that may not be appropriate since it could be considered an extension of the 100 word limit. If my suggestion was implemented successfully (which may not be an easy task), that would be something I would pay for, regardless of whether it was a winning entry or not. (I don't have any Facebook friends to vote for me either. :) )

 

Bottom line is this, if you are going to pay for something online, you want it to be information that is not readily available, information that either helps you play better or increases your golf knowledge, or is something you really enjoy spending time doing. Combine all of those things into one idea and you may really have something. MGS already does this to some extent, but I think it can be expanded.

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Why on earth do you want to be "non-profit"?!!


Ping I20 8.5* - Aldila NV 65g S
Adams XTD Super Hybrid 15* - Stock Fubuki S
Adams DHY 21* - Stock Matrix Ozik White Tie S
Mizuno MP58 4-8 Irons - Fujikura MCI 100 S
SCOR 42,46,50,54,58* - SCOR/KBS Genius S
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"As X stated, we made about 2K in donations last year. The average donation is probably $15, but we've had a few $100 donations over the last year. Based on how loyal we assumed our readers were, we projected donations at 20K. Obviously we missed the mark...badly. Not dissuaded, we launched the Spy VIP program. It did ok...at least it justified the expense involved in setting it up."

 

I wondered about this, as have maybe a few other readers. I don't care how jaded a person has become regarding human nature, at some point you have to go with what you believe will work. It is the expressed loyalty of so many forum and article posters that also led me to believe the donation level would be much higher. Would I subscribe if it were required? Obviously I would as I donate now when it is not. Maybe a more interesting question is the one of content and what would have to be different to make the site worth subscribing to. A hot list equivalent? MGS already has a quality over quantity review process that is unequaled as far as I have seen. Maybe they need a travel feature. Do golf travel destinations count as big OEMs? I'm guessing yes. Oh wait, they could provide a golf pro's "4 Best Tips for Wedge Play" (exclusive to MGS, of course). Anyone ever get anything valuable out of these that's worth paying for? I mean over and above what you can already find in the forum topics? I know...WITB. No, that's also in the forum. So what is it? I used to visit many, many other golf sites and subscribed to at least two golf mags before finding MGS. I still visit the other sites (non-paying) to check and see what I've been missing. Nothing, that's what. And as for the mags, well you can probably guess. I'm bummed that now two MGS staffers have mentioned doubts as to whether or not a large scale contest is worth trying again based on what's happening with the current contest. It's no secret that I was perhaps too vocal (at least initially) in my opposition to the FB connection/requirement. I get it now and hope they will continue to offer such great contests. And while it wasn't the contests that brought me to MGS in the first place, they are very cool and I will enter whenever I can or choose to. I'm wandering off topic here because it's late, but I do think there is no shortage of content on MGS, provided both by staff and contributors. I guess the content in some form is available elsewhere, but at MGS it feels like quality over quantity. It feels more genuine.


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Making money using online subscriptions/donations is not just a problem for MGS, it is something everyone is trying to tackle. Most major US and international publications are trying and failing to generate income through online subscriptions while they watch there hard copy sales collapse. The fall back plan (as you guys know) is online ads, but there remains big questions about the sustainability of that, which is the main reason you have a company like Facebook with 100's of millions of visitors and a collapsing stock price.

 

So lets look at Facebook as an example. I love it. It great for my family to stay in touch and since my friends are all over the world, it a great way to keep in touch with them as well and it has all kinds of neat features that no one else has. BUT. The second they try to ad an annual membership fee I am gone. I would not even have to think about it. My guess is that 90% of their users would be gone as well. Same goes for Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and any other forum/social media sites.

 

So if that is the case with all these huge players- imagine the challenge for MGS?

 

A subscription fee or extra levels that you have to pay for might get you a small pool of dedicated members, but that pool would be smaller than you think, and you would lose quite a few of the non payers which would reduce your ability to charge for the ads. The structure would be different, but overall income would likely not change much while your reach would be reduced.

 

Offering only the first paragraph of each story then charging to see the rest? That is what NYTimes and Economist are trying, but it isn't working well. And frankly, unless you are getting some pretty famous writers on board few are going to pay to see more.

 

What you need is an innovative way to keep the content free and reach out to a huge audience, while still being able to attract some sort of income without turning into spamalot or alienating your audience. Not easy. But there are some things that might work

 

An MGS membership card. Lets say you charge 20 bucks a year for a standard and 50 for a gold. And with the card you can a discount at various courses and shops (ie Golf Town or Dicks- big places with lots of locations). Members that play a lot of golf, or buy a lot of stuff would probably pay for something like that, as long as it potentially would save them money over the year. And you could sell the cards to an audience way beyond the forums. Dicks might even do it for free. 5% is not much to bring in more customers and get the name out.

 

I mentioned in the contest the idea of an app or booklet on public courses across North America. I would take time to compile the member reviews, but the idea of a little MGS app where I can select the state/province and city and get a list of MGS rated courses on my phone would be a nice feature. Certainly worth paying 4.99 or so for so long as it was comprehensive. And your market for that kind of app could be HUGE. I am not aware of anything like right now, and when I travel anywhere one of the first things I do is look up what golf courses are around.

 

In other words you need some 'things' to generate real income. Beyond the great articles and the forums. You need something that people can't get anywhere else and will be happy to pay for. And you need to look beyond just your forum membership.

 

You might even look at other sponsors. How about a sponsorship from one of the big box retailers? No biases as they sell all brands of clubs. They could for example sponsor the Tests and as a result open up more brands for testing. Cleveland may not give you a club to test, I bet Golftown would happily give you a demo and sponsor a MGS hot list. (though there may be more levels to this than I amware of)

 

You might even think about a survey just to get a feel for what your audience habits are. Not just forum members, but golfers in general- your targets as well as your current visitors. Are any actually paying for a forum subscription anywhere? Is so why? How many have ever clicked on an add? How many actually bought anything after clicking on an add? Where do they buy most of their golf gear? How much do they normally pay for a round? What do they usually score? How many rounds do they play? What was the last product or service they bought online? What online publications do they read? How do they access them? Do they pay for any online content? When was the last time they bought a Golf Magazine. Have they bought anything on the app store? Would a discount card worth 5% at be attractive? Questions like that.

 

My guess is that almost none pay for forums anywhere, almost none click adds, a majority of online sales will be through ebay or Amazon, a majority of store sales are through Golftown/Dicks and quite a few made small purchases through an app store or spent some money on streaming movies and TV shows. My bet is that the number using mobiles to access the site is over 50% which should have a big impact on how you design the next version of the site. But who knows?

 

Anyway I guess I am saying that if the NYTimes, the Economist and Facebook have not figured out how to make enough money through online subscriptions and ads, don't be too suprised that MGS is struggling with it as well.

 

Sorry, that went on longer than I thought.


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I know, I'm just sort of tossing out what others in the business do golfwrx.com included... I would have to say that they would be your "nearest competitor" in this situation right? But then again they sold out to Golf Digest which is about the mot bias BS you can read so maybe it doesn't apply. golfwrx.com has all their content open so to speak to the public, they just have member only giveaways and discounts in the shop from what I recall haven't been on that site in a long time.

 

 

They have 1 or 2 ClubWRX giveaways to every 20-30 non ClubWRX giveaways. The discounts in the store are for WRX product. The discount here for GolfDiscount is better (6% versus 18% for here), you get 5% at Morton Golf, exemption from the 75 post minimum to post in the classifieds, and a 10% discount to Joe Kwok's services. It's more of a support the site than anything else, as what you get for being a member isn't much. It's their way to make it easier to justify the bottom line of taking donations, and it's a way to get yearly renewals. That's it.

 

Not bashing either platform, as the donations (that's what both places do) are what helps with server costs, admin costs, etc. No one is getting rich in either model, IMO(the money is in big OEM ad dollars, some take it, MGS doesn't). Here, there are less members because the forums have been around much less time. There are a core group of members here, and it's not a huge core group of members. It's kind of hard, right now at least, I'm sure to justify anything like the ClubWRX membership. It's also harder to do giveaways, as we all know the model that MGS was built on is contrary to what pretty much every other site of this type is in the industry. Some manufacturers won't even work with MGS because they won't guarantee a good review. That's where I applaud X, T, and the rest of the spies in that they're not caving to the huge ad dollars that are out there and keeping the original model in mind and keeping the readership happy in what they do. I'm sure that it'd make their lives much easier, fiscally, to cave to the pressure and take the huge ad dollars, but that's not their vision nor mission statement from every conversation I've had with any of them.

 

The views expressed above are mine and mine alone, so please don't interpret them as anything except that.


In The Bag
Driver: TaylorMade M2 (2017) w/ Project X T1100 HZRDUS Handcrafted 65x 
Strong 3 wood: Taylormade M1 15* w/ ProjectX T1100 HZRDUS handcrafted 75x
3 Hybrid: Adams PRO 18* w/ KBS Tour Hybrid S flex tipped 1/2"
4 Hybrid: Adams PRO 20* (bent to 21*) w/ KBS Tour Hybrid S flex tipped 1/2"
4-AW: TaylorMade P770 w/ Dynamic Gold Tour Issue Black Onyx S400

SW: 56* Scratch Tour Dept(CC grooves) w/ Dynamic Gold Spinner
LW: 60* Scratch Tour Department (CC grooves) w/ Dynamic Gold Spinner
XW: 64* Cally XForged Vintage w/ DG X100 8 iron tiger stepped
Putter: Nike Method Prototype 006 at 34"

Have a ton of back-ups in all categories, but there are always 14 clubs in the bag that differ depending on the course and set-up. Bomb and gouge. Yes, I'm a club gigolo.

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They have 1 or 2 ClubWRX giveaways to every 20-30 non ClubWRX giveaways. The discounts in the store are for WRX product. The discount here for GolfDiscount is better (6% versus 18% for here), you get 5% at Morton Golf, exemption from the 75 post minimum to post in the classifieds, and a 10% discount to Joe Kwok's services. It's more of a support the site than anything else, as what you get for being a member isn't much. It's their way to make it easier to justify the bottom line of taking donations, and it's a way to get yearly renewals. That's it.

 

Not bashing either platform, as the donations (that's what both places do) are what helps with server costs, admin costs, etc. No one is getting rich in either model, IMO(the money is in big OEM ad dollars, some take it, MGS doesn't). Here, there are less members because the forums have been around much less time. There are a core group of members here, and it's not a huge core group of members. It's kind of hard, right now at least, I'm sure to justify anything like the ClubWRX membership. It's also harder to do giveaways, as we all know the model that MGS was built on is contrary to what pretty much every other site of this type is in the industry. Some manufacturers won't even work with MGS because they won't guarantee a good review. That's where I applaud X, T, and the rest of the spies in that they're not caving to the huge ad dollars that are out there and keeping the original model in mind and keeping the readership happy in what they do. I'm sure that it'd make their lives much easier, fiscally, to cave to the pressure and take the huge ad dollars, but that's not their vision nor mission statement from every conversation I've had with any of them.

 

The views expressed above are mine and mine alone, so please don't interpret them as anything except that.

 

Good points. The key distinction is that unlike WRX, we don't take in hundreds of thousands of dollars (and yes...you can be certain it's a healthy 6 figure number) in big OEM advertising to subsidize our donation program. WRX has their model, and more power to them, but seriously...from my perspective it's difficult to justify asking for donations when the OEMs provide you everything you need to make a comfy living and then some.

 

Whether you call it maximizing your revenues, or double-dipping, is a matter of perspective, I suppose...even if you sell at as a Membership.


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