Seattle Community

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Posted by Lara Feltin, Seattle, Washington | Aug 06, 2009

Subscribe to The Biznik Community Is it worth $10?

We have asked, and a large number of people have answered. No, Biznik is not worth $10/month. To the Biznik Pros & ProVIPs, THANK YOU. Your membership is keeping Biznik advertising-free, and employs both a full-time developer (who's constantly adding to and improving the site), and full-time support staff. To those using the service for free, what would make Biznik more valuable to you?

In a never-ending effort, to provide a valuable yet affordable community for all small business people, we're exploring this question. Recently, you may have noticed some recent changes to the site.

One effects the members list on the category pages. Listings with a photo are now reserved for those at the paid level. Profiles with photos receive twice as many visits that those without. Are you getting enough visitors to your profile? Upgrade your membership and add a photo. Add a logo and a video while you're at it. Active Members are also shown a list of names of who's visited most recently.

These changes will be followed by some new stuff for paying members, too!


- Message multiple people in your network at one time.
- Choose to appear in more than one city.
- Add your name to an event's Wait List.
- Receive discounts on fee-based events.

[Editor's note: These features were implemented Summer 2009.]

Let us know your thoughts on this. Biznik is a small business too - looking for creative ways to thrive and grow. Our mission is to support the small business people who are committed to helping each other succeed. We're going it alone, together.


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174 Bizniks have posted replies

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  • Linked:Seattle Community Chairperson 
Seattle, Washington 
Joe Hage
    Posted by Joe Hage, Seattle, Washington | Aug 06, 2009

    I like "Going it alone. Together." a lot. Great tagline. Captures it all.

    My membership lapsed when my credit card got compromised. First I didn't get around to following up. Then I found an overwhelming number of social media outlets, Twitter, Facebook, my blog, my company's blog, and on and on.

    It's hard to keep up with it all. But you are absolutely right, if I were an independent businessowner, the $24 a month is a bargain at twice the price.

    You have a great community here and I love checking in from time to time.

    Joe

  • Life, Prosperity, and Small Business Coach. Author. Speaker. Trainer. Singer/Songwriter. 
Seattle, Washington 
Kate Phillips
    Posted by Kate Phillips, Seattle, Washington | Aug 06, 2009

    Interesting... how was the question asked? After investigating other networking groups and even partipating in a couple of them fairly intensely, I thought Biznik was a complete bargain!

    I get to network when and where I want at my convenience (not the same place every week or month);

    I get to choose the topics of the events I attend (and I've learned a LOT, many of the educational events are way better than those I've paid for),

    I get to be the "guest speaker" anytime I want (not just have 60 seconds, or 12 minutes when it's "my turn" in the rotation),

    Plus, It's an awesome articles platform,

    a place for real collaboration and feedback,

    you drive more traffic to my site consisently than anything else I do,

    you've raised my SEO (I'm WAY easier to find on google now)

    I've had bizniks hire me and I've hired other members,

    I've had a lot of fun,

    I've developed new classes and curriculum with willing "guinea pigs,"

    I got a video for $5 (oh,actually free, 'cause I volunteered at Shine)

    and (last but not least) I've made some really great friends.

    THANK-YOU for all you and Dan and your staff give, and if you insist on giving us MORE value, I'll try to cope!

    I think if people aren't finding value, either

    1) they're not USING the tools or participating,

    2) they might be in a community where there isn't a Biznik network, so they're only getting part of the picture, or

    3) Their target market is simply different from "the average Biznik," which is going to be true for some. (I.e., an aquaintance whose business is selling microscopes is going to need a different set of tools and a different audience.)

    I like that tagline, too, "Going it alone. Together."

  • Inspirationalist / Motivational Speaker / Aflac Acct Mgr 
Fernandina Beach, Florida 
Mark Combs
    Posted by Mark Combs, Fernandina Beach, Florida | Aug 06, 2009

    I find Kate's response very interesting from the aspect of "How was the question asked?"

    I'd also be curious, "To whom was the question asked?" as I don't remember seeing an E-mail or survey to that effect.

    Did I just overlook it?

    My initial thought would be that those NOT paying for the service are, by their actions, saying that it's not worth $10 TO THEM.

    That doesn't mean it isn't worth $10. Obviously, I think that it IS.

    And, those who ARE paying for the service at either level are not doing so just in an effort to redistribute their wealth. To the paying membership the service obviously IS worth the price of admission.

    Biznik is a fabulous service offering a wealth of opportunity. We just need to find a way to turn on the light for those sitting in dark rooms.

    Evangels such as Kate (and a long list of others) are the lifeblood of Biznik. I've met some brilliant people such as her and others through your service and it has made and continues to make a tremedous impact on my daily outlook.

    THAT CANNOT BE MEASURED IN INCREMENTS OF $10 A MONTH.

    The features only offer value as they are put to daily use. It's the BizNIKs that are the treasure! And, you & Dan (along with your awesome staff) pull the 'NIKs to a crossroads where we can interact.

    @JOE - regarding the card charges. I fear "compromise" as well, and not from the site as much as from the 'net as a whole.

    This is why I use "Giftcards" to pay for things on line (ALL THINGS, including my utility bills, cell phone, etc.) and why my membership usually will drop status briefly at some point during the month. When that happens, I purchase another giftcard and renew.

  • Seattle WordPress Trainer 
Seattle, Washington 
Bob Dunn
    Posted by Bob Dunn, Seattle, Washington | Aug 06, 2009

    First off, I just have to say I have also seen the incredible value in my supporting membership, just has Kate laid out...I can echo almost everyone of her comments.

    And I do think it's true, when you go to a paid membership, you need to take the time to utilize this community by being involved, which you can say for any other networking venue, online or in person.

    For someone that has been networking for 16 years, I have found Biznik to be the greatest.

    In a final reflection: we Judy and I both found Biznik we approached it a different way than most. Off the bat we joined as supporting members. My thoughts were two-fold here:

    1) I realized that the online community was also Dan and Lara's business, and I wouldn't walk into anyones business, and ask for either free services or products.

    2) I figured we would give it a few months and if we didn't see the value in our Supporting Memberships, then we could easily move down. But as you can guess, we never looked back.

    And final point, I would never had the opportunity to meet so many unique and talented individuals through the traditional networking venues.

    And $10 a month, heck that's a nice martini in a Seattle bar!

  • Ghost Writer/Blogger 
Los Angeles, California 
Terra  Paley
    Posted by Terra Paley, Los Angeles, California | Aug 06, 2009

    I rejoined after a brief credit card glitch as well. I am happy to be back in the fold, see my compliments and have the ease of email. I see the light, felt the dark without my star and jumped on the milky way for only ten bucks.

    Heck of a deal as Bob so aptly stated. I also met a number of colleagues, associates, peers, mentees and great people. Business has come my way, alliances were forged and potential unleashed in so many arenas.

    Thank you Lara, Dan and Christian! Thank you everyone in my network. Thank you everyone who donated to my charity of choice this year. Ok, exit stage left with my star restored...now where is my crown?

  • Studio Owner/Photographer & Designer 
Bellevue, Washington 
Jack  Young
    Posted by Jack Young, Bellevue, Washington | Aug 06, 2009

    Ditto Terra's comment!

  • Life, Prosperity, and Small Business Coach. Author. Speaker. Trainer. Singer/Songwriter. 
Seattle, Washington 
Kate Phillips
    Posted by Kate Phillips, Seattle, Washington | Aug 06, 2009

    And I'm also confused WHO was asked (if Biznik was worth $10/mo)...?

    I'm assuming the paying members think it's worth it (or they wouldn't be paying), and how would the non-paying members know what it's worth if they're not BENEFITING from the benefits we get as paying members?

    That would be like asking people to review a movie who had only seen the previews... (what do they know?)

    And thinking again, my acquaintance who sells microscopes might find PLENTY of worth in learning about marketing, SEO, and getting support as a solo-preneur, even if bizniks are NOT his target market.

    I'm amazed how expensive the paid levels of LinkedIn and Ecademy get, and althogh our community is way smaller, it is SO much more vital. Like LinkedIn, most will still opt to be free, but there are other ways to monetize.

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Aug 06, 2009

    How about giving all new members 7 day trial with full features then reducing to basic membership. That way they see the benefits, invest in their profile and have a reason to upgrade.

  • Seattle WordPress Trainer 
Seattle, Washington 
Bob Dunn
    Posted by Bob Dunn, Seattle, Washington | Aug 06, 2009

    Hey Christine, that is a great idea. And interesting as you think out the parameters. I would even go a little further, maybe a longer trial, to give them a true taste, especially the benefits in promotions, events and articles.

  • Biznik Co-founder/CEO 
Seattle, Washington 
Lara Feltin
    Posted by Lara Feltin, Seattle, Washington | Aug 06, 2009

    Let me clarify. When I said, "we asked," I spoke figuratively. We ask every day, every minute that the site is up and running. When a basic member is unable to send their 4th message on a given day, we're asking, "Is unlimited messaging worth $10/month?" If they choose to wait 24 hours before sending another message (which many basic members tell me they do) they're "answering" my question through their actions.

    When a basic member is unable to upload their logo, a video, additional category listings, and multiple links, we're "asking" if a fully-fleshed out profile is worth $10/month. The large majority of the community has "replied" with inaction.

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Aug 06, 2009

    Lara, its much harder to lose something once you have it than to never have it. A lot of people don't think it's worth upgrading to HD TV but once you have it, square CRT TVs are pretty lame. I'm just saying, give everyone a chance to experience the HD version. Comcast do this with their intro packages and I've been paying $160 ever since the intro expired because I like the full featured version.

  • Biznik Co-founder/CEO 
Seattle, Washington 
Lara Feltin
    Posted by Lara Feltin, Seattle, Washington | Aug 06, 2009

    I agree, Christine. In an earlier conversation, Mark Combs, Florida Biznik (who commented above) gave us an even better idea! Provide paying members with the option to "sponsor" another member.

    Like Gmail, a "sponsorship" would be a coupon code for a free 1-month trial. But it's not available to everyone, you must get a paid member to gift you with the trial.

    One of the benefits of paid membership is unlimited messaging. If you've noticed that spam is rare on Biznik, it's because spammers can only send out 3 messages before we catch them - and I can count the total number of times on one hand that a spammer used a stolen card to upgrade their membership and send out 350+ junk messages (and then we caught them!)

    We love the idea, Mark, and are working out the details on the back end.

  • Seattle WordPress Trainer 
Seattle, Washington 
Bob Dunn
    Posted by Bob Dunn, Seattle, Washington | Aug 06, 2009

    Hey Lara, I love Marks idea, and a good takeoff from Christines. I know that a good number of people that sign up for the basic accounts don't do much with their profile. This would give us a better target to work with. I can imagine giving this to a basic member, who is quite active in the community. It could be the perfect nudge!

  • Linked:Seattle Community Chairperson 
Seattle, Washington 
Joe Hage
    Posted by Joe Hage, Seattle, Washington | Aug 06, 2009

    Lara, I rejoined as an active member.

    Thanks for the prompting.

    @joehageonline on Twitter

  • Inspirationalist / Motivational Speaker / Aflac Acct Mgr 
Fernandina Beach, Florida 
Mark Combs
    Posted by Mark Combs, Fernandina Beach, Florida | Aug 07, 2009

    @Lara - TY for the mention and idea credit.

    @Bob - I've been active in promoting Biznik through our networking group here on the island and have found that a lot of the members sign up and browse a little bit, but tend to lose that initial excitement when they run up against limitations.

    It's similar to taking someone to your favorite store and leaving them standing outside, watching you through the windows.

    Old retail store analogy here: See with your eyes and not with your hands.

    But even retail stores learned to sacrifice some product as "display items" knowing that most people truly see much better with their hands than they do with their eyes & that translates into a move from "shopper" to "customer"

    I also use Biznik frequently to gain referrals. I detailed my approach with that in the "What do you need?" thread.

    I'm excited about the possibility to offer "test drives" to my network members in the near future and I think many of them will find that Biznik fills a void that FaceSpace and other such sites fail to touch.

  • Video Production For Web and DVD/BFA Directing in Theater 
Seattle, Washington 
David Krafchick
    Posted by David Krafchick, Seattle, Washington | Aug 07, 2009

    Okay I have decided to answer. I am one of the Basic Membership. I have a different take on this. There are basic members who are no less talented than paid members, but do not have the funds to be a paid member. I am on Food Stamps. I have to dip into my IRA monthly to pay all my bills. I tried to interest others in helping to promote my businesses, but that did not happen.

    I have been working hard to develop both businesses and making some headway, but at this moment in time, I cannot even pay my membership in Temple.

    So this is not an idle decision. If I was doing better financially, this would be easier on many fronts, I have lost out on opportunities in Biznik because I am a Basic/Non-Paying member. And now more things will disappear because I cannot afford to be a paying member.

    This is not an act or even a complaint. It a statement of my personal limitation in being a paid member. At some point, I might suggest an exception or a grandfather option, but that's just a thought. I understand what Dan and Lara are doing. I wish my circumstances were different.

    I will see what happens and make the best of it.

  • Tax Professional and IRS Representation 
Blaine, Washington 
Bill Bradfield, EA
    Posted by Bill Bradfield, EA, Blaine, Washington | Aug 07, 2009

    I was wondering when a basic member would chime in. Thank you David for your comments and insight.

    I like the ideas I have heard here and have one more. Why not set up a fund, that those of us who can afford it can contribute to, that would allow Lara & Dan, et.al., to cover the cost of a free membership for a period, say a month or two for selected new members. Maybe, in certain hardship cases, they could even offer a scholarship, or whatever you want to call it for a year's membership.

    Although I have only been a member for a few short months, I have already gotten so much that is good from this site that I would be willing to contribute $120 to such a fund. It's a small payback for such a wonderful service that Biznik performs.

    Bill

  • Certified Public Accountant 
Seattle, Washington 
Laura Dodson, CPA
    Posted by Laura Dodson, CPA, Seattle, Washington | Aug 07, 2009

    I had a question. One of the things that I've noticed about in the short time that I've been a member of BizNik, is that unlike other social networking sites, it really encourages face to face meetings.

    Also, I had seen in a different posting that most of the people who actively participate on the BizNik site are the paying members. From what I've heard, that pretty much is the same on every social networking site.

    Why not encourage the paying members to take two to three non-paying members out to coffee? It would give the non-paying members to connect with the other members and to let them see the benefits of being a paying member.

  • Video Production For Web and DVD/BFA Directing in Theater 
Seattle, Washington 
David Krafchick
    Posted by David Krafchick, Seattle, Washington | Aug 07, 2009

    Laura,

    I think your idea is a very good one, but unless there is a badge at a meeting, the basic members are listed only online.

    The key here is not who's paying or not as much as what are the basic members reasons for not getting paid membership and what they have to offer to other members. That's why I never have charged for my Events - and losing compliments is the biggest loss as well as my picture which shows people what I do, not just tell them.

    So what is happening here is a decision to make a Basic Membership less and less valuable and make a case for a paid membership. That's their right, but it doesn't change my situation at all.

  • Certified Public Accountant 
Seattle, Washington 
Laura Dodson, CPA
    Posted by Laura Dodson, CPA, Seattle, Washington | Aug 07, 2009

    David,

    I respect your opinion on this, we are all faced with budgets. I would never encourage anyone to overspend.

    Laura

  • Customer & Technical Support 
Seattle, Washington 
Biznik Community Tech Support
    Posted by Biznik Community Tech Support, Seattle, Washington | Aug 07, 2009

    Everyone has life circumstances they need to deal with, and sometimes $10/mo is a lot of money.

    But, if $10/mo is NOT a lot of money to you, and you are still a free member, why? What feature would put you over the edge and turn you into a paying member?

    The original question was "What would make Biznik worth $10/mo to you?" This assumes you have the $10/mo to spend, and that you do not currently feel compelled to do so.

    I do not believe that this was intended as a way to make free members feel like freeloaders. It was an honest question to the large percentage of people who do not pay for membership.

  • Certified Public Accountant 
Bothell, Washington 
Justin Dagna
    Posted by Justin Dagna, Bothell, Washington | Aug 07, 2009

    I love Biznik. It is the only online network that has produced tangible results for me. I recommend that every client go look at it. (I don't use the Biznik invitation form, so I don't get credit on it).

    Why am I not paying for a membership if I so clearly recognize the value? Well, the bottom line is that the only feature of Biznik that has value to me is events. Those have a cost of their own - time, gas, lunch, etc. - but they're a feature I can access (and host) without a paid membership. My goal is not only to generate business for myself, but to help the small business community grow and to build a network of people who I trust enough to send my friends to.

    My marketing philosophy (learned the hard way over a decade of different kinds of attempts) is simple: if I'm not shaking someone's hand, I'm wasting my time and money.

    So, I hope I don't sound ungrateful, but I don't see value in the additional features of an upgraded membership. I don't want to be listed in categories or cities or Google - I just want to shake hands.

  • Inspirationalist / Motivational Speaker / Aflac Acct Mgr 
Fernandina Beach, Florida 
Mark Combs
    Posted by Mark Combs, Fernandina Beach, Florida | Aug 07, 2009

    Hmmm. . .

    . . . shakes head . . .

    . . . bites tongue . . .

    Happy Friday Everybody!

  • Blogging Coach and Copywriter 
Seattle, Washington 
Judy Dunn
    Posted by Judy Dunn, Seattle, Washington | Aug 07, 2009

    Okay. I'm doing a bit of head shaking here, too. Too many competing interests here.

    At the risk of stepping on toes, isn't there a fair way for us all to share some of the cost of the incredible value we get from Biznik membership?

    THERE MUST BE A WAY. Let's keep thinking.

    Thanks for bringing us back to Lara's original question, Christian.

    Have a great weekend, everyone!

  • Biznik Co-founder/CEO 
Seattle, Washington 
Lara Feltin
    Posted by Lara Feltin, Seattle, Washington | Aug 07, 2009

    One piece of feedback we've received again and again, from consultants to friends, is that it's too generous to provide free members the ability to send up to 3 messages a day. A lengthy list of reasons for free messaging includes ones that mirror David's points about the financial hardships many small businesses face; includes the fact that Facebook and Twitter are free; and addresses real concerns about adding value to membership, not punitive incentives.

    Combined with the idea that it's not smart to take stuff away and start charging for stuff that was once free, means we haven't ever changed this.

    According to Justin, the value of a paid membership is the ability to shake hands - then is the ability to message others (and "shake their digital hand") also worth $10/month? (LinkedIN charges free members, $10 per message to contact someone outside your network.)

    I'm not proposing a change here - just asking...

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