Your Opinion Is Requested! We Are Dead Serious!

The very first image on Woody Boater. October 7, 2007

October marks 5 years of Woody Boater. Shocking that for 5 years we have been able to do one or two stories a day on the community of classic boat lovers. We have covered just about every event out there, and made a pile of new and wonderful friends. We have reached millions of folks from all over the globe, and shared in the joys and sorrows of fellow Woody Boaters through out the year.  Things here at Woody Boater are humming along, and more and more stories are coming thanks to a wonderful community that supports us all with great stories. We could not do it without that sort of support. Texx and I truly appreciate all the kindness, and friendship you all have shown to us over the years.  As we have been drilling through the stats and running of Woody Boater though, one nagging issue keeps coming up. COST!

So here is the big question. Do we change Woody Boater to a subscription based website?

You might wonder why I am asking this in a public forum? Why? Because you are Woody Boater, not me, not Texx, Alex, Paul, Dane, Woody Gal.. All of us. This is yours.. We want to continue, we really do. So here are our options.

1. PBS.. We allow it to be an open site, as originally designed. To be a portal into the hobby for everyone! While asking for your support like PBS.. You get a lame hand bag with a donation… Maybe a special Tshirt that only contributors get.

2. A subscription model. For $10 – $25 a year you get to live like nothing happened and if enough of you cheap skates sign up we pretend like all is well.

These are the options I have been wrestling with for over a year. And honestly do not have a correct answer, this is not a source of income for us and probably would never be, but it sure would be fun to be able to see how it can grow.

Your opinion is much needed. HONEST 100% true feelings. If we get 20 of you saying yeah, thats not enough.. We need to really hear, here, from you.

135 replies
    • Dan Duffin
      Dan Duffin says:

      Sure ,ill give I love to read it after work,donation sound
      Best to me,,,but if you would get more sweat shirts that
      Have been sold out forever,well you need some money
      Do like smart people do put something in the store!
      Thanks and keep the story’s coming

  1. Rick
    Rick says:

    Very tough call. With the free open blog you can pretty much post anything you like and I don’t feel bad posting flippant replies that give no information because hell it’s free. Any type of subscription puts the pressure on you not to post things like giving an outboard engine pleasure. I personally would fork over a fee to keep the blog going but not sure MANY wouldn’t feel just the opposite. It definitely has great potential to change the whole feel of the site. Also how would payment work for foreigners? Can Canadians pay with beaver pelts? Australians have to mail in roo meat or live koalas? Does PayPal even have a conversion for that stuff? Good luck with this decision.

    • m-fine
      m-fine says:

      The timing and quality of the articles could become an issue with a subscription model. If I have to fork over an annual fee, no zipper articles, and I want all weekday postings up by 6:30 EST.

      With the PBS model, I’ll take what you give me when you give it to me and be happy to get it.

  2. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    I would vote for the PBS model.

    Subscriptions will turn people off and make it harder to get new people hooked.

    Donations, advertisising and merchandise sales can bring in a good bit of money if done well. Either way, don’t go overboard on the expense side. Lean operations will be key for any form of media in the future, especially a niche news site.

  3. Jim Staib
    Jim Staib says:

    I think it should be funded through advertising, merchandise sales and perhaps a “donation” button like the CCABC has. There is so much information on Woodyboater that might bring new people in to the hobby it would be a shame to miss out on new recruits. Get people interested in the hobby first. Then they will be proud to wear the swag.

  4. Mike Green
    Mike Green says:

    If giving $10-$25 a year is needed to keep things going then I am all for it. I know for me I waste that on some drinks and food a couple of times a month. I know I could do more for the great stuff that shows up every morning and keeps me connected to the wooden boats world. Thank you to all that make it happen and lets hope it goes on for many years to come. Now I can go to work I got my Woody Boater fix, thanks again

  5. Randy Rush-Captain Grumpy
    Randy Rush-Captain Grumpy says:

    Well lets see the PBS Model sounds good, you can ask for donations and still have large donor advertisers get the coverage they expect for a fee. The subscription fee idea would be ok if it was cheap enough, but If the site just became a way to shill for the big time advertisers, I probably wouldnt pay.
    Im sure that no one thinks this is a free ride. Think your between a rock and a hard place on this one.

  6. Jim Frechette
    Jim Frechette says:

    I agree with M-Fine. Subscription only can only bring fewer people to the site and we are all ready a pretty small group. I vote for the PBS model. Will you come pick up my junk car or boat, running or not, that I donate?

  7. cobourg Kid
    cobourg Kid says:

    I agree with Jim S advertising, merchandise sales and perhaps a donation button is the way to go. Considering the current economy many folks could be asking themselves whether they want to buy a new coil to get there 1957 Johnson Golden Javelin going again or subscribe to woody boater. While WB is fantastic it’s not a necessity, whereas the coil may well be considered so.

  8. BigRed
    BigRed says:

    PBS model. To be honest, I would probably have never paid a subscription to check out this blog. However, I have been impressed and would happily donate now. Furthermore, donations will allow you the freedom to continue to write about what you want. I’m sure there are examples of “I’m not getting what I paid for” when you collect subscriptions…

    This has been a long time coming and the community is likely to voluntarily support it. I’d prefer that over subscriptions or option 3 you didn’t mention but may already be doing, sponsor propmotion with no clear disclosure.

    Thanks WB!

  9. frank Miklos
    frank Miklos says:

    The problem is once you start charging you will lose participation… Even if people are reading… We go through the same thing with the Century Boat Club’s page.. We give our web page access away to all to get more involved with the hobby. Yes you will keep the core people but many others will not stay… If having financial problems I would look for donations… Even have a donation button on the page. One of the cool things about woody boater is the number of people involved… And honestly I think that number will fall by at least 2/3 if it becomes a subscription…

  10. Chris / Hagerty
    Chris / Hagerty says:

    I think the greatest asset to the lifestyle that you do, is exposure beyond the usual suspects….we have see this come out this last year with some key feature stories and owners came out of literly nowhere to comment, not club members, not show gowers, but they were classic boat owners and were reading WB afraid some of that exposure may be lost if changed to a subscription base model, I like the PBS model and would think an annual fundraising PARTY would be the keynote of the funding drive. Sponsors will continue to support you. Part of this is getting the message out to the world, and a fee based model would really close that open door… least it could be done in steps, if the financlal support isn’t strong enough in 2 years, you can always go the next step…..Maybe someone might donate a boat to WB to start an operating endowment, it could be auctioned off and that would be the begining of a whole new direction, you could have funding to allow WB to direct funding to other causes inportant to the “Sons of Varnish”

    • Ann Guldemond
      Ann Guldemond says:

      PBS/ donation would probably work the best. It still offers some freedom. And the party idea would be neat too.

    • Rick
      Rick says:

      You could have a donation button when we have our yearly virtual rendezvous also. No virtual slip for your boat without some cold hard cash. Floating docks please, my boat is too low for fixed like in Algonoc.

  11. Alex
    Alex says:

    Matt, you wrote: “this is not a source of income for us and probably would never be, but it sure would be fun to be able to see how it can grow.” The implication is that a source of funds will lead to growth. I think you need to be more specific than this. People will want to know: “what would it get me that I’m not already getting for free?”

  12. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    I will second the Jim Staib position. I know several people that would not have become devoted readers if they would have had to pay to get involved in the first place. However, donation button would be fine, and I also think there could be some revenue generated by additional advertising. About a year ago, you eliminated the list of commercial boat shops and suppliers from the left column of the page if they were not advertizers. How about a two tier advertizing scheme where you charge a full fee for haveing their logo on top of the page, and a lesser fee for just listing their name lower on the page without a logo or graphic. I would solicit a few Michigan potential advertizers if you set that up at a resonable fee.
    Whatever you do, I will stay a reader as I think it is the best way possible to start every day, but you need to keep it fun and simple. If it looks like a business, I don’t think it will continue to grow and help the hobie as it has for the last 5 years. Congratulations on your anniversary!

  13. Mike D.
    Mike D. says:

    Mahogany porn… I’ll bet by now you have tons of guys hooked on the daily photo who won’t have any option but to come up with a couple bucks a year to satisfy their filthy vice.

  14. Matt B
    Matt B says:

    I would vote for the PBS model. Have a fund raising post as often as needed until the bills get paid. I think we will lose/miss potential Woody Boaters with a subscription model. Let me know a paypal account and I’ll donate today!

  15. Alex
    Alex says:

    How about a Telethon? Fact: The Muscular Dystrophy telethon (a.k.a. Jerry Lewis) raised $2.45 Billion between 1966 and 2009. (Hot dang that’s an impressive life achievement!)

    You and Texx could run an online version.

    There’d be special guests. Chad with his new baby come to mind.

    You could auction off WB artifacts. Mayer could donate limited edition signed photos of his Mighty Arabian. Paul could donate his famous drive shaft, mounted for display in a shadow box. Paul could donate his broken transmission. Paul could donate melted snow from his Montana outward bound experience. I’m sure he’ll have more artifacts to donate. He’s past due.

    There’d be corporate sponsors. Fuel certificates from Exxon. Fuel certificates from Shell. Fuel certificates from Chevron. Fuel certificates from Texaco. Fuel certificates from Phillips…

    And then Chris could walk in, unannounced, with a monster keystone donation from Hagerty. (You’ll need to shed tears on cue for that one.)

    Few of us in WB land would be able to turn away. Bleary eyed, we’d watch all 21-1/2 hours of it.

  16. Gerry Lodge
    Gerry Lodge says:

    I like the PBS approach. Don’t forget to come after me for a donation. I really do need another T-shirt !!

    Congratulations on 5

  17. 51Resorter
    51Resorter says:

    Started yesterday, we are having this same type of discussion on Danenberg’s forum. Currently it is free to subscribe to Don’s forum. We are trying to find a way to offset the operating costs like WB (domain fee, hosting fee, time to reply to posts and not working on client boats, managing and updating the data, etc. and for WB travel costs to get to the shows.) but still provide value for the end users “cost.”
    For WB, I like the PBS and donate button idea. How many of us could give up a few packs of cigarettes or skip a few fast food meals during the year to be able to support this vice instead? And doing that will also improve our health!

  18. alfaguy
    alfaguy says:

    Keep the site free.

    However, I (and I suspect many of loyal WB readers) would be willing to make a modest annual donation.


  19. John Stolte
    John Stolte says:

    I think the PBS model makes the most sense, but I am in which ever way you decide to go!

    Thanks for all you do!

  20. Mack
    Mack says:

    As someone who stumbled onto this website while researching a recently purchased boat, I vote for the PBS model. I never would have paid for a subscription until after having become addicted to reading this daily. In order to grow, I think Woodyboater needs to be free to bring in people like me. Increased advertising is fine, but don’t go overboard (unintentional but still punny). I think asking for donations and more merchandise is the way to go. I guess this is my excuse to chalk up the money for a Sons of Varnish T.

  21. ranger
    ranger says:

    I also agree with the PBS model versus a subscription fee.

    I feel that with such a fee it might be harder to attract new readership.

    We use Woodyboater as a tool when talking to folks about the joys of wooden boat caretakership…(is that a word?)

    I would also like to make a couple of suggestions regarding the site…

    1. Is there anyway to make an older story come to the forefront when someone (okay, okay…me) is looking through the archives and would like to post a comment or ask a question regarding it…and hopes to get an answer…

    2. Pictures…it would be really cool if the readership could post their pictures online to share with others…like a special page where we could post our pictures that we take from various shows and events that others could use to find pictures of their boats and download…is that even realistic or a logistcal nightmare…

    Bottom line is that we LOVE you guys and really appreciate all the hard work you do on our behalf…

    Most days I wake up to you and you are the last thing I check at night before going to sleep …I can’t imagine a world without WODDYBOATER…and quite frankly wouldn’t want to live in it!!!

  22. Gary
    Gary says:

    I am leaning towards the Jim Staib proposal but I am not sure what is meant by costs. If they are for the software work and server end then the Staib way. If the costs are to include travel and additional help at the home front then a combination since I just don’t see the revenue from subscription.
    What are your costs? There has to be multiple solutions.
    I need my daily fix.

  23. steve franchini
    steve franchini says:

    matt I vote for the pbs model. maybe set aside one month for donations to help establish a better picture of your budget. I really appreciate the work you and Texx along the many others put into this thing called Woody Boater. Where else can I get Boat Porn and misspelled words in one place.

  24. brian t
    brian t says:

    Let’s be honest. We all know that WB is wonderful. Like PBS, we know it enriches our lives and we know that we should pony up the funds.


    Speaking on behalf of cheap buggers everywhere, I instinctively run away from any sort of subscriber thing. If I see “only $10 per whatever to keep this going” , my wallet shrinks up faster than an Andrew Weiner in the pool.

    I do love and watch PBS, but frankly it takes repeated honey badgering at my conscience before I reach for the checkbook and phone.

    Wait a sec…

    Contact the Guv’ment and have them put Woodyboater as one of those check off boxes at the bottom of my yearly tax form. I don’t give to the Presidential election fund but I do give a portion of my refund to all sorts of organizations, like the Sierra Club and Children’s Hospitals. Of course most of those listed organizations are worthwhile, but like 99% of most Americans, I cannot be bothered to send in the funds via a website or by mail.

    But I do at tax time because it is easy. Just check a box.

    • matt
      matt says:

      Now that is an honest answer. And reflective how most of us really think. The sad truth is that I even feel the same way. The web is free, thats the brand of the web. But we are starting to see a trend of web sites doing this to support the model. Its always fasinating to me that one will subcribe to a magazine that delivers half the content for 50 bucks a year. yet all you are really paying for is mailing and printing. Those are massive costs. the issue here is support in a VERY small niche passion, so the volume of sponsors is not there. Just the big guns. On a side note. We turn down sponsors all the time. We do not want to be associated with less than reputable companies. That has cost us as well. We need to stay indipendant. The PBS model looks like the best model, but the reality is that it may not get us the revenue we need. The party and fun fund raising effort is a more fun way to go..

  25. matt
    matt says:

    last year the hard costs came out to a little over 35,000 bucks. That did NOT include time. Just gas, hotels, web. And that did also not include others helping. This year was and is will be more.

  26. Scott Robinson
    Scott Robinson says:

    Matt, I think the donation button on the website to start is a great idea, the cheapskates won’t give you a penny anyway, lets us good Republicans support you !!! Scooter

    • brian t
      brian t says:

      Hang on there Kemosabe !

      Let’s not make this political. The GOP wants to DEFUND PBS – not support it fer chrissakes.

  27. MikeM
    MikeM says:

    Put the donation button up. We all know this takes time and money to run, but I doubt any of us really understand how much time you and Texx put into the stories and the relationships. Frankly, I don’t know how you do it. You are a great resource…keep up the good work.

  28. WoodyGal
    WoodyGal says:

    I don’t care about spelling, or flags but I do need my Woody Boater fix every morning. PBS model sounds good if it will generate enough money. I’m on board with either option you choose ’cause now I’m an addict!

  29. Ron Stevenson
    Ron Stevenson says:

    Keep at least part of it free enough for people to get hooked. Perhaps a subscription to read more. Include a donate button. Ask for a donations like PBS model does! Hmmm, there is (oops!) their is an ACBS PNW meeting tonite, maybe each chapter could donate too…. starting a contest amongst chapters for the largest donation?

    Love what you do, you gotta keep it up!

  30. Scott Park
    Scott Park says:

    I think you should try PBS model before going to a subscription. I would definitely donate. It is my early morning ‘fix’. Keep up the good work.

  31. Jason Davis
    Jason Davis says:

    Straight up – subscriptions will kill this website and quite possibly the hobby. Personally, I love this website and would pay dearly to continue to view it daily, but the key here is future success of the hobby. If people have to pay for the site, you’re simply going to attract those that have a passion for it – an ever decreasing and aging population. This website is the best thing that has happened to this hobby, and keeping it free and open will continue to attact a new, younger generation to the hobby. In terms of a revenue source – keep the advertisements going (and increase them if you have to), sell the heck out of the T-shirts and hats, and allow donations. Just my two cents, from a younger, fairly new to the hobby, contributor! 😉 GO WOODYBOATER!!!

  32. Don Nelson
    Don Nelson says:

    I’m in with any path you take.

    I suspect you should take a hard run at securing additional sponsors. Your comment that you don’t want any less than reputable sponsors rings well. How about our ability to rate the service we get from your sponsors much like Amazon provides. I would see that as a value add as we look for services, often out of state.


  33. Steven Reichman
    Steven Reichman says:

    After reading most of the replies/ input I’d suggest a combination “hybrid”. Most all the points a very valid. Small group and decreasing all the time. Subscription equals content/quality pressure, “PBS”-you pay what you pay and get what you get. WB HAS VALUE! My suggestion is get the most “bang for your buck” by bringing the people you have together and making the money that’s out there go as far as possible for the “common good”. The Chris-Craft folks are NOT enemies with the Century folks, etc…. So bring together WB, CCABC (who has their own issues), Century, Riva, Ditchburn, Minett-Shields, Hacker, Garwood, and anyone else you can find and try to best utilize ALL the RESOURCES you have out there

  34. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    Ron, you were correct the first time…:) Honoring Matt, I presume!

    I’m with the PBS idea – and would also suggest that whoever puts on boat shows and woody events consider including some sort of Woody Boater donation activity – ie: “poker run”, raffle for a ride or some sort of prize, dunkin’ booth contest (with the WB rep over the water…) – whatever – or at least allow a promotion/booth at the show.

    You guys have done a tremendous job of bringing all aspects of the hobby to light – There is no way to fully express gratitude for the impact you have made.

    The donation button will be pushed!

    Thank you.

  35. Dreed
    Dreed says:

    I agree with Jason. Also would like to add that it is worth $ out of my pocket to help keep this going and am willing to pay.

  36. Rick
    Rick says:

    Fee to join a virtual WoodyBoater Chapter. Give us a unique T-shirt to wear to shows. Just one more annually renewable $ source.

  37. rabbit
    rabbit says:

    I think some kind of consensus is building here: The PBS model and/or a big fundraiser. Personally, I’ve got a lot of other interests but have somehow found myself hooked on this crazy blog, so it’s worth a lot to me. If you go to a subscription I’m afraid you’ll lose some readers and you’ll definitely not bring in as much new blood.

    The fundraiser is a really cool idea because somehow I think that you’d find a well-heeled supporter out there that would donate something valuable. With the PBS model you’ll get some nice big checks and some modest ones… so be it. Let’s face it, this hobby appeals to a very wide range of incomes, which is very evident by the boats you see at shows. And that’s OK.

    Finally, please no politics in any of the responses. This hobby is supposed to bring us together, not pull us apart.

  38. Pumpkin & ARRRGH!
    Pumpkin & ARRRGH! says:

    I am a cheap skate when it comes to subscriptions, donations and such – but I don’t mind spending a couple of hundred $$$ for boat show fee and more for travel, food and lodging. Go figure! The difference is fun and participation. Right now, I get that for free here, but like most of the addicts, I would gladly pay – BUT I need constant reminders – and when I get them (from PBS), that irritates me too, ’cause they are interrupting my fun. I agree with Staib – PBS – and with Greg L (fun and simple). Merchandise is good, mainly because it is designed by your creative self and staff, and I covet my WB stuff. The best parties have been the Woody Stock parties in Tavares – maybe a cover charge/entry fee, with an auction? A lot of the arts organizations I have been associated with over the years use this party/auction vehicle successfully. Just know, that wherever you go with thing, I am with you on good days and not so good ones. Gimme a donate button or a silly reminder gift, I’m here for y’all!

    • Pumpkin & ARRRGH!
      Pumpkin & ARRRGH! says:

      I would like to see Regional Woody Stocks, so we can all share in the fun and participation. A lot of us would show up at more than one!

  39. MikeM
    MikeM says:

    How about a WB tattoo booth at all the shows, half the proceeds for the SOV tattoo going towards the WB general fund?

    • Pumpkin and ARRRGH!
      Pumpkin and ARRRGH! says:

      You can have those temporary tattoos that the kids love. I’ll bring the grandkids – they are already WB fans!

  40. Jim Volgarino
    Jim Volgarino says:

    I would probably donate more than I’d pay for a subscription anyway, so might be best to just ask for donations. While I’m on the subject of funds…any possibility of getting things set up with Paypal to purchase, donate, etc.? I just like having a single source where I have my credit card info stored and don’t have to spread it around to several storefront operations. Just a thought. Let me know when you need a donation sent in!!

  41. Dave Clyne
    Dave Clyne says:

    Just another voice in favour of supporting this important blog in whatever way you decide. Too much value here not to pay for it, fun activity, donate button, or more hats and t-shirts, I’m in !

    • m-fine
      m-fine says:

      Public Broadcasting System. Basically a network of radio and TV stations across the US that is primarily funded through viewer donations, corporate sponsors, and events like fundraising auctions and telethons. A lot of people think, based on the name, that they get a lot of government funding but what they basically get is airwave spectrum with small (very) amounts of tax dollars funneling in to them through indirect grants to the content creators. Content is varied but includes a lot of BBC programming which allows Americans to laugh at the silly people who don’t know how to speak English properly.

  42. Wes
    Wes says:

    I agree with the general consensus here.
    If there is a way that it would work to ask for donations/contributions it would still give everyone (daily viewer or Google searcher) an opportunity to participate. You might be able to rig it up so that there are different benefits for contribution level ie posting ability, tee-shirts/hats, copies of the coffee table book that you’re working on : ) ect.

    You guys have a great thing going and I feel a subscription approach would limit your readers too much.

    Thanks for WoodyBoater. I can not fathom how you guys have enough time(coffee) to provide the product that you do and have lives on the side.


  43. Chris / Hagerty
    Chris / Hagerty says:

    COME ON….nobody offered to donate a boat????? Lets Auction the Whaler….. OK not the Whaler, but there could be a full time WB Ebay site and we would all donate stuff to be sold and WB getas to keep the proceeds, heck, I have enough stuff gon my desk to cover a few weeks operating cost….

  44. Denis D
    Denis D says:

    Being a pilot and classic car collector/ restorer for many decades, I have a lot of varied interests but had always lusted after a classic mahogany runabout. I finally pulled the trigger last year with the purchase of a CC project boat. As I do with all of my interests, I read and researched everything I could find about wood boats. In doing so I came across this site about 2 years ago, got hooked, and have been lurking every day since. This site, with it’s intersting and varied stories, entertaining characters and in depth reporting of woody events, has really helped fuel my passion and helped with my decision to take the plunge.

    With that said, if the site had been a subscription model, I doubt I ever would have started reading it. As a number of posters here have stated, at this point I would be willing to pay to continue enjoying the site, but that is only because we are already hooked. I believe the subscription model would severely hurt your efforts for growth and ruin the successful model you have developed.

    So obviously, my vote is for the PBS model, donate button, fund raisers , WB swag, etc. Also, in an effort to perhaps reduce your costs, why not consider enlisting regional reporters around the country to photograph and write reports on some of the events so you and Texx don’t have to incur the costs of going to so many of them. I am sure many people would be happy to do this for free and perhaps you could provide them with an official WB reporter edition T shirt and hat. I know I would be willing to volunteer to cover some of the northeast.

    Good luck in whatever you decide, I will support you, just don’t change my Woodyboater.


  45. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    PBS is “Public Broadcasting System”‘ here in the states. TV stations that are paid for primarily by public contributions.
    They have on air fund raisers to raise revenue on a regular basis. You are getting this from a Chris Craft guy! I give you a lot of credit for hanging in there with all of these posts without knowing what we are talking about!

  46. matt
    matt says:

    I just like having a reason for a party. I want to make sure everyone understands. We are fine. Money is strong as is support. Texx and I have gotten some kind emails asking if we were OK.. YES! But we have found that we can not go to to many events as we want, and invest in cool things, like events or chase a barn find, travel to Australia..ITALY! etc.. or a As we grow, and we are. at a 25% clip or so now a year.. We do not want to feel the presure to take on sponsors that don’t help the hobby grow.To be pure of any outside influences. Possibly print a coffee table book.. Some crazy swag.. All these things require capital… We are stead fast focused on value, and creating fun things that make folks smile when they think of old woodys.

    • Bob B.
      Bob B. says:

      You don’t need a reason to have a PARTY, same as you don’t need a reason for a BOAT RIDE.

      btw-I like donations over subscription as per earlier comments from others.

  47. Philip Andrew
    Philip Andrew says:

    Thanks Greg! Thanks for solving that for me.
    Im more than happy to contribute financially.
    Like many of the other posts I’m not sure of the best way.
    The first place I would start is by looking at the advertisers. The are many magazines published globally that are free to the reader with the revenue coming from the advertisers.
    Not that I’d want the WB plastered with ads but if they were tastefully down the sides as they are now that might work.
    Could be featured boats for sale, specials on varnish and CPES or anything related. Matt could endure the ads had to be to a respectable standard so there were no crap ones.
    Just a thought.

    FRANCHINI says:

    Who ever has this “PBS” model sounds like they are sitting on a gold mine! Not sure what it is or where it was made but EVERYONE likes it. It can’t be a sedan or Paul would have one. It must not be a lapstrake or we would hear about it not showing up enough in at least one comment everyday. Maybe it is Italian, every thing good is Italian! Regardless, you just blew the rest of my day searching for the last remaining, unrestored, barn find PBS. With any luck I can have it to Mayer in time for a sypathetic restoration and debut it in Florida. I hear there is going to be a great Woody Boater party where I can make a donation and get a super cool t-shirt!

  49. WoodenRookie
    WoodenRookie says:

    PBS vote, I think you should commision a barn find once a year to cover costs in addition to a donate button. Pull it around the country to shows and drop off at sponsors for each to donate their expertise. If need be, two donate buttons, one for operating costs, and one for funds used to restore the barn find. Restoring one boat a year and selling should not be impossible. Watching the progress each day with our morning coffee and the excitment builds until the day of the big sale and see what she goes for. It would also be great for the new readers to watch and feel like they are part of the building process as the boat develops. Each of us would feel like it’s partly our boat if we donated a few dollars toward her restoration.

  50. Jim Godlewski
    Jim Godlewski says:

    Like a lot of you I don’t think option 2 is a good one. But then I keep hearing the word cheapskate. How much and how often will most donate? How will we know if we are donating enough? One year goes quick. I know this is a big deal and money is always needed.
    I vote for PBS, with some sort of indicator that states you are not a WB cheapskate.

  51. matt
    matt says:

    I agree, it will have to come with some sort of thing. And not a regular deal. I have to figure out the lagistics so its fair,legistics. Ligistics.. Oh god!

  52. Bob Kays
    Bob Kays says:

    I like the WBS ( PBS for woody boaters ) Include a donation button thru pay pal. If you went subscription, you would lose the newly interested and you would have to learn to spell! Don’t give any swag for a donation, it defeats the point of us giving $ if you have to spend $. Thanks for all you do.

  53. Eric
    Eric says:

    I also like the PBS/WBS/Donation models vs. a subscription fee. Good luck in whatever you decide, I’ll lend my support!

  54. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    I don’t have time to read all these post. I will do ANYTHING it takes to keep Woodyboater afloat. Either/any way/option is fine with me. I appreciate all you guys do for us.

    John in Va.

  55. rdapron
    rdapron says:

    1. The subscription model would kill growth.
    2. Donation model is a partial, but incomplete solution.
    3. I would re-think your advertising reservations.

  56. ranger
    ranger says:

    hey –

    in scrollling down the stories, i am seeing a lot of blank space on both sides of the page…

    we have a small business unrelated to our passion for wooden boats…

    maybe we – (your loyal follwers) could make a donation and get a small space that would display all of our diverse business web sites…i’d like the idea of supporting a fellow woody boater over another guy if i could…

    kinda like your woody boats links thing…only under a different heading…

    it’d be interesting to see what others do to support their habit…

    • Pumpkin and ARRRGH!
      Pumpkin and ARRRGH! says:

      Good suggestion, Ranger! A category for non-boating related businesses of affectionatos of wood boats in general and WB in particular. It should be a listing, not a big ad – if your name doesn’t describe what you do, you get 25 characters to say “plaster artists”, “Realtor (location)” or whatever.

  57. Pumpkin and ARRRGH!
    Pumpkin and ARRRGH! says:

    P. S. I am not excited about unfettered posting on the blog – I have a lot of crap pictures that I like that are not really worthy of sharing with a global audience of serious WB’s – there needs to be a gate keeper.

  58. Simon
    Simon says:

    I can honestly say that my home and work computer along with my iphone, ipad and laptop all have the Woody Boater website as the home page so I am stealing right now and would gladly donate or subscribe – it would seem the majority are in favor of the donate option so Matt it would seem your constituents have voted with their fingers!!!
    Great website always something for my Dad and I to discuss on skype between Australia and Stamford CT!!

  59. steve
    steve says:

    Matt and Tex, thankyou for all you have done, one possibility of creating a new revenue stream is a real time barter/sales site of wood boats and parts , free to list for 7 days or so and a 5 to 10% optional donation if the connection or sale is completed. something new and different. thanks,steve and laurie

  60. 51Resorter
    51Resorter says:

    It took me about a week to get hooked. Make a subscription service that gives you the first month free? Gives newbies the “free” time to drink the Koolaid! As a pusher would tell you, the first one is free, the next time it will cost you.

  61. Kevin
    Kevin says:

    I vote for PBS style. Honestly it makes it hard and this website gets you in the hobby. I got into boats because of woody boater. But it’s hard when your a 27 year old kid who’s not making tons of money and is paying for a wedding and fiancee still in college. It’s rough to find money to pay for it

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Kevin – We hear you loud and clear, but hang in there. It’s fun to have things to look forward to and dream about.

      We often think of Woody Boater as a place you can visit for 15 minutes each day to get away from the humdrum, to smile or learn.

  62. MHoward
    MHoward says:

    I would start with the PBS model, and if that doesn’t work out, then go to the subscription model. As for the PBS model, offer 2 different tiers, the higher one gets a discount on the swag and perhaps something else, like updates for something very interesting, or perhaps an archive of the site. The lower tier just supports the site. Warn people if there isn’t enough support, you might have to go to a subscription model. On the whole, I would avoid the subscription model as it places you in another category site-wise and I don’t know if you want to go there.

    FWIW…I would also reach out and talk to the ‘somafm’ online radio folks and find out how they do it so well. They are following the PBS model in taking donations, and their bandwidth costs must be through the roof as they are streaming radio programs commercial free. At the breaks between tracks, every now and then, the DJ ‘Rusty’ will come on and make an appeal but that’s it. I don’t know how they do it so well.

  63. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    I haven’t had time to comment yet today due to work and then leaving for the 3.5 day drive to Table Rock. Hopefully I won’t suffer any breakdowns along the way!

    It seems the users have spoken and will support the site through donation but not subscription, and to me that sounds very reasonable. People are used to content for free on the net, and the advertisers seem willing to pay for the exposure on the sites that offer it. Fair enough, I suppose.

    I would of course be pleased to donate and contribute, as it looks like most of us are. I think people understand how much effort, committment and stamina is needed to produce this site everyday, and it is clearly appreciated by all us users.

    It also appears that though budgets will have to be assembled and the offering sized to fit the budget – that is natural. I have no idea what and where the costs are in operating this site, but it is not a charity. It looks like a hobbyist blog that is in some ways a victim of its’ own success, as growth must mean increased operating costs. Something will have to give, and I hope that a combination of donations, selling swag and advertiser/sponsor revenue will all contribute to a solution.

    Matt will have to ask himself what he ultimately wants out of the site – I haven’t seen any comments referencing that. We all know what we like and what we get out of it, but what about that mad, creative guy that conceived and nurtured this from the start? And Texx, who’s contributions almost equal Matt? What do you guys want out of it, and how do you get there? How does it stay fresh and fulfilling for you, and how do you stay motivated to keep at it? We as visitors and site users need to make sure we are attuned to this and can help your goals be reached.

  64. Bruce
    Bruce says:

    Some of the very best things in life are free. Spellchecker apps and Woodyboater are just two examples that come to mind.

  65. Jon
    Jon says:

    You guys put into this site a lot of care and hours. And its deeply appreciated. I would vote for the PBS model in order to attract others to the hobby we all cherish. Its a great layout, a great read and a very addictive format. I’d be happy to throw $25-$30 a year towards it.

  66. MikeM
    MikeM says:

    A lot of great ideas today but I’m thinking the ideas that actually create more work for our fearless leaders are probably not going to fly…..accepting and trying to sell/auction boats comes to mind. Great idea but a lot of work.

    Love the idea of a box on a boat show app or maybe the ACBS renewal to donate a few bucks to the boys….that would be cool.

    Or, Matt and Texx could start ‘pocket picking’ at boat shows. You know how crowded those docks can be…and who would accuse them? Done.

  67. Carl Garmhaus
    Carl Garmhaus says:

    Wow! I missed a day to get my golfing fix and we got a good one going. Even though I’m hooked and would gladly pay a subscription I have to go with the PBS and donation idea. Maybe you could also get something really cool to raffle off every once in a while, maybe a barn find or something. Use pay pal. I buy a lot more when I can use my pay pal account, cause I’m basically lazy. Keep up the good work, you guys are the greatest.

  68. Ann Guldemond
    Ann Guldemond says:

    A sad discussion of our times. Nothing is free anymore.
    I would support the PBS/donation method. And I like the party Chris suggested…. Greg and Roy??

  69. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    Wow That is alot of postings. If I pay money will someone edit them. I usually post early in the morning but had to go early yesterday when I saw this, this morning I did not have time to read them all. If everyday has this much feed back I think my wife is not going to be thrilled with me spending more time on Wood Boat Porn then I already do.
    To the question at hand…. First I save all my pennies to put into my Lymans, including the time that I work on them not out there making money. I am a frugal person, cheap and tight. I do love boats and the people who have them. My brother and friends and Matt and Texx.
    I try to read Woody Boater each day and try to add my comments to connect with the group. Not the rest of the world really understands. It is like being a botanist and talkin plants in all their variations, you really need another botanist.
    I really appreciate the effort that goes into this operation and when push comes to get out your wallet I can be moved. I believe that I an responsible for at least 10 percent of the hits on the site, but I am sure that Matt’s tracking software would tell the real story.
    I like the idea of PBS with the thankyou gift, like a piece of Woody Boater bling. I would have to give up my anonymus standing that I used to use, although I never dissed anyone like say Mr. Curtin. I have even actually made an intelligent comment from time to time. On the other hand some might argue that owning a wood boat is not so smart, a second one kind of crazy and looking at more certifiable.
    So call me crazy but I am sure their is a way to get some money out of me if I can donate anonymusly.

  70. Sean
    Sean says:

    We know the issues…
    We know the options…
    I would add just make it easy to do.
    Donate button is good, but have a Paypal option.

    I would also wager that many of us are already ACBS members and also members of at least one other club besides…
    So, drive an awareness campaign through the antique clubs. Use swag (or whatever) for the donation carrot. I can’t wait for my 2013 Woody Boater exclusive Captains cap with compass and secret decoder ring!
    Be creative but, again, make it easy.

  71. Peter Gantt
    Peter Gantt says:

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading WoodyBoater, and would subscribe to it as a paid web site. Thanks for all the great energy you’ve put in over the years. I like your philosophy. Peter Gantt

  72. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Probably ought to employ a hybrid PBS/WBS model with a minimum $10 “subscription” otherwise all us cheapskates will “skate” while we let the others haul the freight. With 2 in college and one in tech school, I’m scraping by until the ”deductions” get out on their own. That’s could be awhile under current economic conditions.

    I really appreciate the efforts you guys and all submitting writers put into this blog. Having written and published chapter newsletter for 6 yrs, with few submissions, I feel your pain. At least your layout format simplifies that somewhat. I imagine the email you must have to weed through for potential articles must be considerable and time consuming.

    Free initial access for 30/60 days without posting or searching functions should give individuals a taste. Donation would allow “search” and “post” functions. I don’t need a trinket every yr to acknowledge donation, but maybe after 2 – 5 yrs continuous. Quarterly, semi, or annual fundraising “webathons” might help to pick up short falls. That or just apply for stimulus funds, why not?

  73. Rich Marschner
    Rich Marschner says:

    Matt, Texx and Co. —

    Having been involved with PBS/NPR over many years, I’ll offer one cold truth: only 7 to 10 percent of those audiences actually contribute anything. That said, the average contribution is around $100 per year; not too shabby.

    You might do better than that percentage, but I wouldn’t count on it. And you probably wouldn’t come close to that contribution average. So pick your numbers, apply them to your “unique” site visits, and you’ve at least got something to start with in assessing your potential for the contribution model you’re considering.

    That would suggest two things to me:

    1) If you ask for support like public broadcasting does, give people some idea what you’d like them to contribute. the T-shirt/goody bag premiums are popular, but fulfilling that stuff is time-consuming and expensive. Not sure you need to do that. But if you say “25 to 50 bucks is the range we’d like to see from you,” you’ll do better than if you suggest nothing specific.

    2) Once you have built up a donor base (that would take a couple or three years), you will have identified your “core” group of WoodyBoater fans. That’s a group of folks who really care what you’re doing, and they can be counted on to get involved in ways that the casual reader will not. There are things you can do with that gang’s support. Your imagination is all that limits that potential.

    I’m not recommending the donation approach; the subscription model may well be better, and easier to deal with. You are very much like a specialty magazine from the “old media” days, and as such you probably could attract a good subscription base. But presumably you’d limit access to the site only to subscribers, so your impact on the hobby would be greatly diminished by losing so many daily readers who won’t pay up.

    Your choice, guys. I understand why you have to do this, and I will participate either way.

    Rich Marschner

  74. matt
    matt says:

    Its like you were on our phone call.. Thats why we are not going to do it. The gains do not out weigh the loss of independence. Our great vetted sponsors get the benafit of the eyeballs and clicks. We are going to keep it the way it is, and hopefully other sponsors see the light

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Yes – Our independence is the freedom to be different and innovative. That’s what makes it fun every day…

      We need to “think outside the bilge.” – Ha (I just thought of that)

  75. Rich Marschner
    Rich Marschner says:

    That all sounds right to me. But as to the current model — aren’t you getting big enuf in “eyeballs” now to attract some non-boater-specific sponsors? Other insurers, banks, some specialty retailers…the ones who spread their appeals to anyone who can aggregate enuf page views? Just a thought, but it might pay to investigate.

    “think outside the bilge” indeed….


  76. Brian Aiken
    Brian Aiken says:

    I have seen a lot of businesses fail because they “Improved” their business plan. There is a concept of benign neglect. It’s sort of how you raise teenagers; you bring it to a point where it is almost capable, turn it loose and see what it becomes, tweaking as little as necessary.
    Face it; there is so much free info out there that only by building a sense of comfort and community can any one source expect any loyalty. I’ll buy shirts and stickers, I’ll promote the site on Facebook and Pintrest as well as with my ACBS friends but $10 [or whatever] is $2400 over the twenty years since I completed my restoration…Your audience thinks in terms of decades not months.

  77. Jay Wagner
    Jay Wagner says:

    PBS style site is my vote, but an annual party/ meeting with stuff to sell would make cash flow also. I also like that thinking about (meetings!)in regions would help also.

  78. Troy
    Troy says:

    Don’t know if you get new posts to old stories, but I will try anyway.
    So here I am in late June 2013 and reading this old story.
    I had never even heard of Woodyboater back then.
    Now I not only read it every day, but I have also used the “donate” button. (and will again) However, I never would have subscribed in the begining to find out what you are all about, so I like this PBS system.

    Final note: The Swag store has been closed for a LONG time. I hope it opens soon and I hope you use it as a profit center this time.

  79. matt
    matt says:

    Thanks, I do read all the comments, and love it when old stories get a new life. Thats why we keep them alive. The store is a frustrating story about a company that just dropped the ball. they said they had product ordored, and did not. The left over inventory was so small that I just shut it down , and now have had to move all the inventory to another store, and still need to print the new stuff. Its beyond fustrating

  80. Darthtrader
    Darthtrader says:


    Go look at Similar audience, parallel interest group. It is free to the casual user, but like any habit, once you get hooked, you want to pay to get to the good content. Talk to Rob Lay.

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