Nikonians have decided to deactivate all basic level membership after a short trial period, and try to force users to pay $25 a year for access. This essentially turns them into a private club.
Whilst they have been an invaluable community, I feel they have shot themselves in the foot with this. I can see the business angle for them in terms of financial trouble (they argue they have high costs, which apparently includes a number of salaried staff and of course they have to pay for all the services they offer outside of the forums), however the life-blood of the community is the forums. Forums can be run for comparatively peanuts as the majority of the Internet has shown, but Nikonians’ high costs has persueded them that the only option is to charge the entire community for access.
Problem is the majority of the community doesn’t like being told to “pay up, or go”.
Still, Nikonians have gone ahead with their plan, and I can see they’ve looked at the figures and probably estimated they can still make money if only a small percentage remain and pay up. Problem is the contributions to the community (i.e. the forums) dries up. It becomes far less valuable as a result.
Whilst I don’t mind donating some money if I feel I’m getting value, being forced to pay doesn’t encourage me to stay. More so when I only use the forums anyway (and I’m mostly just a lurker). It’s not about the affordability though. Sure, $25 isn’t that much, but no one pays $25 or even $1 for a forum on the Internet! And despite their claims, there are plenty of other Nikon community resources out there on the Internet, just as valuable.
Anyway, they’ve made their decision, and I hope them all the best with their club. I’m not really interested in a private club and can’t really promote them any more I feel. A shame, but there you go.
I can suggest an alternative though. Try out Nikon Cafe 🙂