Blip Central Blog

By BlipCentral

The Re-introduction of Memberships

Hi there
A lot has happened on Blipfoto in the past year.  In December 2015 a crowdfunding campaign was started to buy Blipfoto, and in February 2016 the community was successful in this crowdfunding.  A (not for profit) community interest company called Blipfuture CIC was formed to run the site on behalf of the member community.  The crowdfunding paid for the purchase and for an initial period of the site’s running costs.
Our focus then turned to ensuring the site’s sustainability.  Paramount to this aim was the re-introduction of a membership scheme, which would bring in enough income to ensure the sustainable operation of the site.  This includes all of the costs of the infrastructure that supports and maintains the site’s operation, and a small amount of development time for critical fixes – but does not involve any payment to the directors of the CIC, who are working as volunteers.
In the spring, we consulted with the community on options for memberships.  Thanks to all your feedback from the consultation and after some technical work behind the scenes, we’re now ready to start the transition to paid memberships to make a sustainable Blipfoto a reality.
In the consultation there were many and varied responses, but after due consideration and professional analysis of your responses, we are coming to you with the following membership scheme:
* A single level of full paid membership – with added benefits
* A pay monthly option
* An option to make an additional contribution on renewal
* The retention of a basic free membership
When we compared the projected revenues from the different options in the consultation, retaining a free basic membership made very little difference to the numbers. The Blipfuture board favoured the inclusiveness of retaining a free basic membership, which has always been part of Blipfoto.
So here are the details:
Full membership of Blipfoto will cost you £36.50/year, or the exchange rate equivalent if you live in the Euro zone and elsewhere in the world (currently set at €42.50 and $46.50 respectively).  That’s just 10p/day.  We regret not being able to provide the option to pay in each user’s local currency, but with so many nationalities using the site, it would have taken too much time and cost to implement.  Even if you see a foreign currency when you come to pay, it will still work for you and your card provider will make the conversion from your local currency.
Of course, the most important reason for you to pay that fee is to keep Blipfoto running, but as an added incentive paying members will have access to the full range of added benefits you have been using since the site was redesigned in December 2014, including:
* Detailed statistics
* 100 extra images each year (introduced in early 2015)
* Choosing your thumbnail crop
* Downloading your original images
* Giving up to five favourites a day
Paid memberships also help to keep the site advert free.
We know that some of you may be unable to contribute to the running costs of the site due to personal circumstances.  We are therefore really pleased that our research indicated that retaining a free basic membership would not reduce the projected income.  It also means that we will not lose members who were unable to pay, which we felt would diminish the community.  As with any projection, we will only be certain of this once the membership scheme is implemented.  While we have no wish to add words of caution, should the take up of memberships be lower than anticipated, we may need to revisit this decision.
A new user will get access to the same benefits as full members for the first 30 days using the site, after which they will get the choice to buy a full membership or revert to the basic level of membership.
We will also be offering a pay-monthly option at £3.65/month (or €4.25 or $4.65 if you live outside the UK) – it is more expensive than the one-off annual payment because transaction costs are higher for monthly payments.
For anyone who wishes to support the site further, there will be an option to donate an additional sum with your membership payment.
The store is open now and you can buy your memberships as soon as you like.  Simply sign in to your account from a web browser and choose “Membership” from the drop down menu that appears when you click on your user name.  
Please note that the phone apps do not offer any payment functionality.  This should not be an issue though, as the website is optimised for easy access on mobile devices.  Anyone who has not opted for full membership by 1st November 2016 will revert to the basic membership.  If you have any problems with payment, please contact us via the helpdesk.
As we have said before, we had a huge response to the consultation and we know many of you made suggestions for all sorts of alternatives.  We know that we won’t satisfy everyone with this offer, but professional advice following the analysis of the consultation results gives us great confidence that this is the best option.

Now it’s over to everyone in the community – the future viability of Blipfoto is in all of our hand.

Ps thanks for the responses so far. If you want to ask a question have a quick look through the responses we've already given, just in case the answer is already there.

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