Why do I charge for access.

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Recently I received an email concerning why I charge for access. The emailer wrote:
I'm confused by the requirement to have to pay to see the whole forum. I am on other forums for things like trucks and boats and I've never paid. I'm not sure why you have to charge and they don't, maybe they have ads? Couldn't you get GD to sponsor the site? GD seems to use the site to reach customers and get feedback. I just think you are going to lose many possible contributors that make this forum interesting and useful.

My reply was the following:
1. Why do I charge when others don’t? The primary reason I do owner supported forums over ad supported is simple – it’s cleaner. Other forums have rotating advertisements from Google ads. They make a good living with that. They also have forum sponsors that pay for the right to be sponsors. When there are group buys, or you’re advertising a product on a site, then you have to link to one of their sponsors – otherwise your post gets deleted. I don’t do that. I figure that $12 a year is pretty cheap. A buck a month helps keep the riff raff out as well. People who are just looking to troll – especially those who own other brands – take advantage of free sites to go in and stir up trouble. I don’t allow that.
2. Why not have GD sponsor the site – I could have them do that. I don’t remember if they offered that up front or not, but I’m against it. By having GD sponsor the forum, I have the issue about “Free Speech”. If someone posts a negative review or a problem with how things have been dealt with, then GD can simply remove that – if they are in control. I have told them that I will not remove a legitimate post concerning issues with a trailer, or with the factory, but I won’t allow someone to trash them unforgivingly either. People want a forum where they can hear the good and the bad, not just what the factory wants them to hear.
3. I may indeed lose a few contributors, but forum operators know that you’re going to lose them due to trolls and other issues with people who are just stirring up trouble. Boards have a much harder time surviving that and end up being dominated by a few strong personalities instead of having a great amount of participation.



  1. TucsonJim's Avatar
    Chris - When I first joined, I missed your post that this board was not owned and operated by Grand Design. My thoughts were "why on earth should I pay to read about the Grand Design product?"

    I like the process you've put in place, and I agree with your logic above. $1/month is cheap information, and I'm all for it.

  2. Navigator's Avatar

    Thanks Chris for providing us with this great site for the owners of Grand Design RVs! We spent 10 years on the Montana Owners site and learned a lot. I'm thrilled that we have this site to ask questions and share information.

  3. Jeff K's Avatar
    Chris, we think you have put together a great forum and have no problem paying the annual fee. The amount of time youve obviously put towards the site is greatly appreciated. Thank you. As first time owners, We have gotten so much valuable information from other GD owners.

    One of the things I really like is, of course no ads, they can be very annoying! Also I like that people are being honest about likes and dislikes with their 5th wheels and GD is paying close attention, offering solutions to some problems, contacting owners as a result of the forum and hopefully making notes for future builds.

    Anyway, thanks again to you for your commitment and to other members for sharing mishaps, solutions and overall knowledge with us newbies!
  4. mandolin57's Avatar
    Chris, I agree completely with you regarding the google ads and all of the crap material you have to wade through on most blogs and I appreciate $1 a month not to have to continually x out of things I don't want to see or that have an opportunity to corupt my laptop. It's worth every penny. I'm sure the amount of time you have put into this is incredible as well, so thanks very much for a place we can get good feedback as well as encouragement and help from other owners. It's great!
  5. Bret and Linda's Avatar

    The information regarding the TV in the basement was worth every cent! I too appreciate all your work on the site, keep up the Good Work and Thanks
  6. thompsk7's Avatar
    Chris, I think anyone that can afford an RV by Grand Design should be glad to pay the small fee, it a lot less than the fuel it takes to move the unit. Thanks for a great site.

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