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I know that this has all been said and re-said, but I am here to give you my own opinion. First some background on me. I own a 2003 R6 and just sold a '99 R6. I bought my first R6 in 2001 and joined this site at the same time. I couldnt figure out how this R6 contraption functioned, so I came on here to figure out such essentials as 1 down 5 up. LOL yes I was that bad. I learned so much on this board I dont even know where to begin. This board probably kept me alive, and I am not shitting you on that. I learned many things on here that helped me get through the perils of riding in Vegas traffic (which is like riding through a demolition derby (one where killing you means a cash bonus). I also learned that track riding is where it is at, which kept me from the ride a wheelie for 150miles at high speed down the freeway crew. I started on this board at 21 years old with a HS education and no riding knowhow. I am now 27 with a BA, own a business, and can ride like a pro (at least in my mind). Even though I dont have a high post count I hope that my time on here and my experience in both education, business, and the online community that is R6MN means that you respect my opinion. Now on to the goods.

It has been a while since I visited the site because I have been so busy. I havent had time to even get on my R6 in over 2 months even though there is perfect weather. But yesterday I had a question that I couldnt figure out the answer to. The first thing that popped into my mind was to get to the R6MN because I KNOW I can find the answer there. I posted up on the go from my blackberry. Imagine my surprise when I checked a while later and there was only one reply. Ok I thought, ill check back in another couple hours. Did that and still one reply. Well it just so happens that I also bought a new personal laptop yesterday also, so I decided to see what was up. What I found was very surprising. My first impression was "What in the hell did they do to this place". Now Jim that is VERY important, and it is something you need to tell your bosses. That kind of reaction is a VERY bad thing. Next I did some research into what happened. Here is what I think. First of all, you are in a very bad business position and here is the reason why.

First off you run a website which means that in a sense the site is your product. Except the customers that use your product hate the new look. Well no problem, right? Well not really because the forum members aren't really your customers are they? The advertisers are the real customers. They are the one paying right? Yes, except you are also charging the members. So they are your customers right? Well shit now we have a dilemma. You see you are providing the advertisers with a product but they are being somewhat misled. You are telling them that they get x number of visitors to the site a day and their ads are displayed and so forth. But the advertisers probably dont know that there are a large number of people on the board (a majority now) who resent their ads, people who will probably on principle alone choose NOT to click their ad. Then on top of that you have the members who have to PAY in order to have the luxury of you not making money off of them. Now when you do that, do you then tell the advertisers that x number of members of the total member count will not see their ads? Back to our original problem, you have a muddled sense of who is your customer. Remember that the customer is always right. Well if you view the members and guests as your customers (they are the ones who either pay for the priveledge of being a member, or provide the numbers which you sell to advertisers) then you would have to take into account that they dont want ads. But if you view the advertisers as your customers, they want people to click their ads and they want happy customers who dont resent them. Running the numbers on what I know about how much internet advertising costs (I run a business, AND run an internet marketing department for a company) I know that if you are being ethical and honest, there is no hope of making money from this acquisition for a long time now that you have alienated the member base. I have always found that being honest, honorable, and ethical is the best road.
Let me give you a run down of what has happened.
VS has made a horrible name for themselves with many members and guests of this site. These people might not ever do business with VS again. BAD
VS has destroyed the R6MN, which is now its product. BAD

Now I am not saying this because VS bought the site. The VS mistake was to try to turn the R6MN into an ad site overnight. Now maybe this is because the company is run by someone my age who doesnt have any education or maybe bad management, but my GOSH the FIRST thing I learned in my management degree was to not do something stupid like that. You destroyed your own product overnight!!!!
What you should have done is concentrated first on fixing all of the problems with the board. That way when it came time to implement your money making strategy, you would have done so from a strong position. You would have shown the community that you were there FOR them, not to EXPLOIT them. The VS website has some fancy talk about being there to help the community, all that does now is make the company look dishonest. BAD
Then you should have slowly implemented some advertising, while at the same time implementing more improvements. After that maybe you could done something like offer all existing members a way of opting out of ads, while making new members have to pay. I dont know if that would have worked (I would have had to see how the aforementioned changes went) but by doing it the way you did, you took a community that was pulling in new members every day, and wiped it back to the stone age. All of the knowledge on this board and the thriving community is what brought new members here. That would have been a great source of revenue, but instead you killed your own cash cow, you scared off all of the members, this board is dead now.

Jim, I have nothing against you, you are doing your job. But if your company continues to run like it is, well... lets put it this way, I bet you could earn yourself a fat raise by suggesting a little common sense. Your company may be making money now, but it would be doing a whole lot better if it got its head out of its ass.

THAT is why I resent what happened here, not because the board got sold, but because the sale and transition was handled in such a piss poor manner. BTW I have looked at many of the other sites that VS owns. Comparing to the number of members that they all display to the number of posts for today it is obvious that none of your forums are doing as well as they could be. I think that should be a wake up call to your company, maybe it is time to change how you do business.

I hope you take none of what I say personally, this is not meant for Jim or Denny as a person, but for the corporate entity that has managed to trash this and other forums.

PS I hope you dont hold my poor internet writing grammar and punctuation against me, I truly hate writing this much at one time, therefore I make it an exercise in speed rather than precision.
 

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Everyone has an opinion and I respect yours even if I don't happen to agree with it. The data I'm seeing is, in fact very positive regarding traffic as well as sponsorship click-thrus. As well, new membership and post activity is rising. New sponsors are signing up to support the community as well. You are making some assumptions because you are basing your conclusions on observation and that is not always reliable.

I appreciate your thoughts and the time you took to share them. I'm going to close this thread though because I think we've responded to these stated concerns and criticisms clearly and repeatedly and there is little point in opening this up again.

jim
 
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