I’m back from a visit to the first Bulk Barn to open in Quebec and I am back home with roughly 30 pounds of sugar and gelatin based products, with roughly 10% of that already coursing through my veins… and what do I love to do when I’m jacked on 3 pounds of sugar? WATERSKI of course! But seeing as it’s -30c outside, we’ll just have to go with posting a new v5 update! After all, I did promise to get down to business, so lets get biddy wit it!
I have a few items I would like to cover tonight, and in between these points I want to address comments that you guys posted on the first v5 blog posting. Thanks guys for taking the time to post your comments and feedback, I hope you continue to share your ideas and welcome more questions and comments both pre and post release.
The current newsletter is a dead duck… a moldy one.. a moldy dead duck that’s been lit on fire, run over and thrown in to a very, very deep hole. And then cement was poured over the hole and a very large building was erected over said hole, never to be revealed again. Needless to say the newsletter was not anywhere near what I wanted it to be, so the current incarnation of this feature is not being pursued at all. For whatever reason, the current newsletter’s readership is somewhere just over 13,000 subscribers… and when I send out a newsletter, I usually get a staggering ZERO responses to it and overall conversion on both P2L and advertised products was virtually non-existent. Why you ask? Well, apparently 12,000 zombies subscribed to the newsletter and don’t actually read it due to rotting eyeballs and the other 1000 are junked automatically by Hotmail’s fabulous spam filters that we can not be white-listed on.
Are you seeing what sugar does to me yet?
So we are going to revamp the newsletter system with a new authoring system, sign up system and a visually more appealing newsletter in your inbox. I am also going to completely nuke the readership database and start everything over from scratch. We’ll be changing to a double opt-in system so the non-readers and spoofed emails will be automatically removed and hopefully those that sign up ensure they white-list us on Hotmail, MSN and all the other places that delete our emails due to the volume of emails our server sends out. This means that once the new version goes out, you will need to RE-SIGN UP for the newsletter, which you can do with the sexy new sign up form or you can enable right in your account settings:
Told you I would start to show more screenshots! OK granted, small, hard to read screenshots…
Ah… the forums. We all love to hate the forums and you can tell by both the comments on my last post here as well as the feedback left on the forum itself, it is impossible to make everyone happy and we get completely opposite ideas on a weekly basis. We need less sections, we need more sections, we need better moderation and should be more strict, our mods are too strict, we need to reorganize, don’t touch the forums they’re great, the forums are devil spawn, the forums are touched by the kiss of God, you suck, you’re awesome etc. And seriously, aside from the kiss of God part, all that stuff is real feedback we’ve received. So let me address a few things I intend to change or add, but of course this list may (read: WILL) change as we get closer:
1. The entire area for posting tutorials will be removed and people will be asked to use the Publishing System for posting their tutorials. Right now people are posting tutorials in the forums AND in the Publishing area, and this doesn’t make an sense. Not only that, but the tutorials posted in the forums are not even being included in our index. PLUS I should also mention we’ll make it worth your while to use the Publishing System instead of the forums.
2. The tutorial request area will be expanded upon… I think the idea of having an area where people can post tutorials they would like to see if a great idea for webmasters that are constantly asking “What should I write about? All the good tutorials are already done!”. I honestly think everyone would benefit if this area was developed and supported a bit better.
3. affenmunkEY is going to have a cow if I don’t address the questions and comments about the graphic services and all that good stuff. This too will be moved away from the forums and become part of our MarketPlace area. All the sales areas for services, websites and such will all be moved to our MarketPlace as well as a bunch of new categories we think are relevant to the community (feel free to share your ideas). There will also be an area for volunteering and free work etc. Please see further down for more details on MarketPlace.
In terms of getting feedback on designs and such that you post, I can’t force people to post… make it interesting and I’m sure people will post feedback if they want to. We really need to focus on what our site is about, and that’s tutorials. Obviously critiquing and feedback go hand in hand with learning and tutorials, but there is no real way for me to force people to post on the forums… you have to be careful how this is handled because forum posting incentives tends to lead in to spam. I’d rather have no feedback than lemmings all passing through posting “Great Job” *click* Neeeeext.
Honestly though, I believe with the increased community involvement and forum exposure that you will find more people posting in all areas of the site. At least, that’s what we’re aiming for!
4. In terms of adding new areas, I don’t believe there are any new areas that need to be added… actually I think further diluting the posting members would only make matters worse. But I am open to suggestions for new areas on the forums, so feel free to suggest.
5. You will be able to jump to a specific tutorial category directly from the forum without having to go to the main page first via a jump menu in the forum header… sneaky peaky below:
That’s about all I want to touch on for the forums for now, but again, if you want to suggest a new area we should add please do by leaving a comment right here on the blog.
To help support P2L and to fund cool prizes (you’re going to see TONS of cool loot up for grabs on the site on a consistent basis), we will be setting up a well organized MarketPlace for pretty much all sales and professional services our users want to offer or buy. All users will be able to post items in the Market Place for a small fee (think $1.95 small) and you will be able to post ads for the following:
1. Websites for sale
2. Domains for sale
3. Templates for sale
4. Design or programming services
5. Freelance jobs
6. Looking for volunteer work
7. Selling miscellaneous items
8. Link exchanges and advertising offers
9. Web hosting
10. and more!
This area won’t be ready for the release however, but it will be the first site update to v5 after the initial release… basically we’re going to release v5 and while we fix bugs and the inevitable issues that crop up with a new release, we’ll be attacking the marketplace for release. We hope that you guys will appreciate a nice organized place to advertise or purchase items and services for a very minimal expense, and depending on it’s success will be a big factor on how much advertising we need to put on the site to fund operations. The more money we can generate with our internal services like the MarketPlace and our Ad System, the less network ads we need to ram down your throats at every turn. Believe me, it would be AWESOME if our internal systems negated the need for external ad networks completely, how cool would THAT be?
I should also mention that active members will be able to purchase MarketPlace placements without having to pay any monetary fees… and you will see why fairly soon! So that’s my little introduction to the MarketPlace for now, we’ll have more on that guy in the near future.
A P2L Chat room that integrates with the forums is a distinct possibility on the new version… we shall see. I’m hesitant because chats tend to be like a shiny new toy that is fun to play with for a week or two and then gets forgotten about once the novelty has worn off. Maybe you guys can convince me otherwise!
That’s it for me tonight guys, need to run down and get me some more gummi bears! Please be sure to click the comment button below and leave me your feedback/suggestions/comments and we’ll see you on the next update!