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Old 11-12-2009, 01:49 AM
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Default SNOWEST FORUMS: Letter to all Members from Harris Publishing

To: All SnoWest Members
From: Harris Publishing
Subject: Big Changes Coming to the SnoWest Forums

How We Got Here

First and foremost all of us at SnoWest understand that the success of the SnoWest Forums is due to the nearly 50,000 passionate snowmobilers like you that have chosen to make SnoWest one of their recreation destinations on the Internet. When the SnoWest forums were first launched 11 years ago, we just wanted snowmobilers to have a place to hang out and share information, and we were glad that we were able to provide that for all these years. But times are changing and as you have seen, so is SnoWest.

Of late there have been numerous rumors making the rounds on the forums about the impending doom and demise of the SnoWest Forums. I am here to let you know that the recent reports of the death of SnoWest have been greatly exaggerated, if not outright fabricated to serve the purposes of a few disgruntled members. SnoWest magazine was launched in 1974, thirty five years ago and the forums in 1998, eleven years ago. Over those many years both the magazine and the forums have gone through many significant changes as they have both worked to stay abreast of the changing world in which we live. To set the record straight: Harris Publishing, SnoWest, and the SnoWest forums are definitely not going anywhere. To the contrary, we’re investing heavily in our future.

A couple months ago we embarked on a major upgrade of these forums, with a goal of enhancing them in many different ways, and with a desire to take the community in a new direction. Some of our members have liked the new features we’ve added so far, while others have not. But in each case we have brought them to you in a manner that provides you with the ability to pick and choose what you decide to use and what to set aside. All of the new features are intended to let you customize your SnoWest user experience. New forums have been added with more topics to make it easier to locate the information you come to SnoWest in search of, and new moderators have been assigned to help them move along far more smoothly than ever before. Those same moderators are there to help you when issues arise that need special attention or customer service.

Along that path we ran headlong into some unforeseen performance issues with our servers that have resulted in significant delays in the evenings when we see our peak traffic. For the last few weeks there has been nothing that has generated more PMs and e-mails than the "SloWest" issue. But, as you might expect, problems like this aren’t corrected overnight. It has taken some serious time and thought to make sure that the "fix" we implement is a long term solution and not just a band-aid.

Addressing the “Slowness” Problems

After significant discussion and debate, we have decided to move the SnoWest forums off of the main Harris Publishing servers and manage the SnoWest community as a separate, stand-alone entity. This means a few things:

1. SnoWest will no longer share hardware or server resources with the other Harris Publishing web-sites or communities.

2. We’ve ordered brand new switches, firewalls, load balancers, UPSs, file-servers, database-servers, and web-servers exclusively for the use of the SnoWest forums.

3. We’re upgrading the SnoWest forums to the latest and greatest versions of all our software, across the board.

The end result here will be speed, speed, and more speed. The orders for the new infrastructure have been placed, and we anticipate the new hardware will be ready in a few weeks. However, making SnoWest independent and self supporting comes at a significant cost, which brings me to the next issue.

Our New Direction

As you might imagine, the price-tag for all of these upgrades and updates is significant. SnoWest is easily in the top 100 online communities in terms of total traffic and posts, thus the resources needed to keep the site floating are significant. As the SnoWest Forums move from being dependent on the magazine for their support, to being an independent entity, we will need to pick up the costs of our own operation. With that in mind the SnoWest Forums will no longer be exclusively free of charge. We’ll be moving to a subscription model with three different membership categories, and, in order to keep the cost of the subscription low, we’ll continue using advertisements to help subsidize. This is essentially the same pattern used by the printed magazine, and it’s worth noting that many of the premium content sites on the internet have been rapidly converting to paid models over the past 1 to 2 years. A few have failed, but many are doing extremely well, most with communities that are more active under the paid model than the free model.

Top 18 Cool Things You’ll Get With Your Membership

Here is a short list of what your membership dollars are going to return back to you! All paying members of SnoWest will receive the following as part of their membership:

1. New, Super-Fast Servers and Software
More than any single other item on SnoWest, we have needed new hardware to meet the growing needs of our members. As you read above, we’re investing heavily into this area, and it’s going to make a HUGE difference. Also, as SnoWest grows beyond our current size, these new servers will allow us to add more capacity “on the fly” as required. We’ll also be leveraging Amazon’s EC2 cloud for real-time scaling of certain services.

2. Full Digital Copies of SnoWest, Mod Stock and SledHeads Magazines – Current and Past Issues

All paid members of the SnoWest forums will now receive full copies of each month's edition of SnoWest, Mod Stock and SledHead in digital format. This allows you to see and turn each page exactly as it appears in the printed version. So anywhere you have your computer, you can browse through your copy of the magazines.

The team at SnoWest has been putting out some of the best Snowmobile content in their magazines for decades, but never has it been accessible online. Now we will begin the process of going back through those past issues and extracting out the articles, product reviews, editorials and destination write-ups and transferring them to the SnoWest Forums.

3. Steeply Discounted Subscriptions for the print versions of SnoWest, Mod Stock and SledHeads magazines.
As part of your new subscription to the SnoWest Forums, SnoWest Magazine is going to make you a killer deal on becoming a magazine subscriber as well. While you will be getting the digital version included in your membership free, there are always times when it’s just nice to sit back and read the real thing.

4. Video-Chat, Text-Chat, and online Webinar Broadcasts
This is likely the biggest single new feature ever brought to SnoWest. Our new commercial grade chat room will support Video, Audio, Text, Handwriting, Image Transfer, File Transfer, Whiteboard, You-Tube, MP3, and more. This is where you can come to converse, in real time with other SnoWest members, watch (or make) a webinar presentation, and see movie debuts. When you have a few minutes and just want to hang out, or attend a presentation on moding your sled or avalanche safety, this will be the place.

5. Instant Messaging
We’ll be launching a high end instant messaging system where you can build groups of friends and interact with them in real-time while you’re on the SnoWest site.

6. Favorites system
This will allow you to pick and choose from the entire inventory of SnoWest forums only those that you want to display on your screen and make all the others become invisible to you. The goal being to make it much faster for you to sign in and keep up to date on exactly what interests you and not have to wade through the thousands of daily posts not related to your interests.

7. Live Topic
This feature was introduced on SnoWest in October for a few days in a trial run, and then removed because of the massive amount of server power it required. How many times have you replied to a post in a thread, only to find that someone else replied while you were typing. Live Topic will automatically update your thread display to show their post the moment they submit it, making sure that what you see is always current.

8. Manufacturer's Forums
At last, a whole new area that will be dedicated to the manufacturers that produce the products we all use. Each forum will be specific to one manufacturer only, where we will invite a company representative to come and interact with our members. This will be a place for product reviews, manufacturer feedback, new product announcements, customer support, technical bulletins, ect..

9. Private & Public Social Groups
Would you like to be able to create your own SnoWest forum, for any topic your heart desires? The new Social Groups feature will allow you to do just that, and you get to choose who can come in and participate as well by making it open to the public or by invitation only. You’ll also be able to mass-PM all members of your social group. Set up your own special interest groups, riding groups, or create and manage that section on SnoWest that you’ve always wanted.

10. SnoWest Business Center
Imagine a Snowmobile Mall, where every store in the entire mall was filled with nothing but snowmobiling gear. The new SnoWest Micro Business center will become a comprehensive directory of who's who in snowmobiling, a Business Directory, Links Directory, Business Ratings, Business Reviews and stores you can go shopping in.

11. New Search Engine
We’ve created a proprietary search technology specifically for our forums that allows you to take advantage of advanced earch features (include, exclude, put items in quotes, etc.) – it’s a quicker, more accurate way to find the content you’re after.

12. Treadmill
This is a feature that our Moderators have been using for the last couple months that allows you to see ALL the posts on the entire SnoWest site in Real-Time. Are you a SnoWest junkie who just can't get enough? The Treadmill will open a page that will show you the Post Title, first sentence of the post, which forum and the posters name the moment they press the Submit Reply button. This is a live scrolling display that is extremely server intensive and can only now be offered to all the members after our new hardware is online. Ask any Moderator and they will tell you this is one of their favorite goodies..

13. AME (Auto Media Embedding)
No longer will you have to leave SnoWest to view a linked video. AME will embed and display YouTube, Myspacetv, Google Video, Bolt, iFilm, Yahoo, Dailymotion, Amazon and MetaCafe right from within SnoWest!

14. Automated Answer Forums
This will be a new forum where members can post questions and select the best answer given by one of our members? This is similar to yahoo answers, a very effective website where users can post questions and seek answers from registered users.

15. Individual Blogs
Would you like to have your own personal Snowmobiling blog? This will be a feature-rich blog application, with support for fully formatted WYSIWYG posts, attachments, comments, trackbacks and pingbacks, draft posts and categories, as well as seamless integration with the overall SnoWest system.

16. Group Rides
SnoWest will be sponsoring group-rides for our members and their immediate family. We’ll try to do this a few times a year in different areas.

17. Emergency Alerts
A new automated emergency alert will send a text to your cell phone alerting you of any emergencies in your specific geographic area. We hope to use this to generate more interest and participation for search and rescue operations, as well as a service to help keep you safe.

18. Club Forums
Would you like to see your local sled club represented on SnoWest with their own dedicated forum? We will be adding a new section to the state forums for each of the state snowmobiling associations, and for your local organization as well. We can even offer discounts on memberships to members of your club, and your club will have full control and full moderator capabilities in your section.

Looking forward:

With over 36,000 members on SnoWest, we know that there will be some, for whatever reason, who will choose not to join with us and support the forum as it moves forward. For those members who choose not to participate with a full membership, all is not lost. While they will not be able to fully enjoy all of the coming upgrades and enhancements, neither will they be locked out.

SnoWest will have 3 categories of members in 2010.

* Will have the ability to see all the forums and read a portion of all the threads
* Will be able to READ SwapMeet Forum
* Will be able to READ the SnowSafety Forum
* Will be able to READ the SnowMembers Forum

Basic Member:
This level will be completely free. Members here will have all of the privileges of a guest, but will also get:
* Full posting ability in the SwapMeet forum, the SnowSafety forum, and the SnowMembers forum
* Limited posting ability in the other forums
* Limited ability to read other topics and forums
* Limited Private Message Capabilities

Premium Member:
All of the above privileges, plus:
* Unlimited viewing and posting privileges across the forums
* Unrestricted private-message capability
* Unrestricted access to all of the new features (chat rooms, treadmill, live-topic, etc.)
* Instant-Messenger
* Personal Blog
* Photo Albums
* "My Garage"
* Polls
* Enhanced Search Engine
* Social Groups
* Invitations to meetups and group rides
* ... And MUCH MUCH more!!!

A Few More Goodies

In order to attract high-quality members who are as passionate about snowmobiling as we are, SnoWest Magazine has agreed to run Ĺ and full page ad in most of the print issues They have also agreed to let us run contests for articles to be published in the magazine from our forum members, and we might even begin to see some of the best photos from our forum members appearing in futures issues of the magazine!

From time to time we’ll be seeing the editorial and publishing staff drop in on threads here and there, or show up at one of our forthcoming SnoWest member's rides.

We are also exploring the idea of a “one paid membership per household” policy. That means we would offer your spouse and your children free memberships to the forums as long as you stay current. We haven’t finalized any details around this yet, but we’d like to make a serious effort to reach out to lady riders and the upcoming generation (our kids). Getting our wives, sisters, daughters and girlfriends out on a sled next to us would likely do more for this sport than anything else. And, quite frankly, we need to start growing this sport again!

You can also look forward to SnoWest Forums taking on a greater role in becoming an advocate on the core issues affecting our sport, such as Avalanche Education and Land Closures.

So What’s The Cost?

A 12-month membership to the SnoWest Online Forums will cost $29.95. However, we recognize times are tough for a lot of people right now, so we’ll be doing a few things to keep the subscription affordable:

All Current SnoWest Forum Members:

∑1 Year Forum Subscription: $14.95/yr, 50% off (thats just 4 cents a day)

∑2 Year Forum Subscription: $12.50/yr, 58% off

∑3 Year Forum Subscription:
$9.99/yr, 66% off (Only 3 cents a day!)

AND with any paid forum membership you qualify for either a SnoWest or SledHeads magazine subscription for only $14.95!

Free Membership Extensions:

For every person you refer to SnoWest that enters your user name when they join, your account will be credited with 3 months free membership. Recruit 4 members a year, and you will pay nothing for your next year's subscription!

Now, before you go running off into the woods howling at the moon, gnashing your teeth and wrenting your clothes over this, you should know that we intend to put the subscription revenue to extremely good use.

When will all this happen??

As of today we do not have a firm date set for these changes. So please, don't be worried that everything is going to suddenly change tomorrow, or next week or even next month, its not. Rather than having a preset date, we have chosen to use a progress line that will bring us to that point in time on it's own.

During this time period, all 36,000 members will have full and unrestricted access to everything on SnoWest.
Then, only after all of these goals have been met, will we determine a date to convert the forums in 2010.

Get the new servers & software installed and operating smoothly.

Firmly establish that all speed, performance, and throughput issues have been completely resolved, and that there are no lingering mechanical issues left unaddressed.

Resolve the current issues concerning the layout of the forums and their sub-forums.

Upgrade the SnoWest Search Engine.

Activate the Treadmill, Live Topic & Personal Blogs.

Install the basic Chat, Theater, Webinar Room.

Install the Social Groups Module


Some Personal After Thoughts.

Now that all of this has been clearly laid out, and all the various rumors and debates officially set to rest, I thought I might take one last moment of your time for some personal comments.

I know all too well that the forums have been in a state of turmoil this Fall, and that all has not gone nearly as smoothly as we had hoped for last summer. What we are trying to do here can be likened to taking a 2 lane road and transforming it into a 6 lane Freeway, but all the while never closing the road to traffic. There have been huge traffic delays, potholes, detours, short tempers and some serious road rage from time to time.
We simply thought we could do far more with what we had than we could. In sled terms, we modded our rod till it broke! And for all that, more than anyone else, I am responsible, and I offer you my apologies. But with this new roadmap I am absolutely confident we will have our Super Highway, just as smooth and straight and fast as could ever be hopped for!

I also think it's important for you to know that over the last 11 years the SnoWest forums have slowly and consistently grown season after season, but have always ridden on the coattails of SnoWest Magazine. Yes, the forums have banner ads and they do generate income, but at the end of the day, the forums have never covered their actual operating costs, and have been a drain on the magazine, which is the chief reason it has never had the infrastructure or full time staff it has so badly needed.

I am told that for the last 5 years SnoWest Magazine has investigated various ways of making the forums self supporting, but had never come up with a viable solution. Then just last week they made the unexpected decision to try something bold and daring, to ask you, the member, to take a direct part in supporting your forum. The moment that decision was made they started investing in these forums in a BIG WAY knowing full well what would have to be done to convince you to spend your hard earned money here.

That investment in the future of SnoWest has already hit $30,000 in the first week in just our initial hardware and software alone, and there will still be more to come as 2010 rolls along. And if all goes well, and you and other members like you choose to get behind SnoWest (ignoring all the naysayers who will predict nothing but Doom and Gloom), and support these forums then just maybe, by the end of 2010, the forums will break even for the first time in 11 years. And when that happens, you can rest assured that there will be even bigger and better things coming here than have ever been seen before.

My friends, the future of SnoWest is brighter than ever before. Don't let the "doomers" get you down. Together we can make SnoWest the absolute best snowmobiling site in the world!

Last edited by christopher; 09-29-2010 at 05:02 PM.

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Old 11-12-2009, 07:46 AM
bigdarrin bigdarrin is offline
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Personally, I'd like to add that over the last couple of years, many people have said things like "so and so doesn't even get on here any more." The main reason for that was the frustrating trend of people logging on here just to pick fights rather than offer solid, sound information about snowmobiling and machine set ups.

We have always known that that sort of thing needed to be dealt with, but simply did not have the manpower to make it happen. The addition of the moderators has been awesome in this regard. They have proven to be more responsible than the self-policing that we were using.

Now, with the changes that are coming, it is less likely that we will have the "my sled can beat up your sled" arguments because the tendency for trolls to just pop in, stir the pot, then leave will be much reduced.

Yes, there will be those that feel that $9.99 is too much to pay for the camaraderie and friendships that have grown from this forum, but I still think that there is an inherent value to this forum and that value is set to increase dramatically going forward.

I look forward to watching this forum thrive and grow like it never has before. And I will do so without having to stress so much about crap that needs to be deleted or moved that I haven't seen. We have people to help take care of that part.


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Old 11-12-2009, 01:52 PM
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Smile Pudding

Well I for one (of many) am glad that all of this is getting sorted out.

Many of you know me and my dedication to this forum, to helping people where I can and sharing the information that I'm fortunate to be exposed to with the members of this forum. So, Hopefully you can see that I don't make "knee jerk" reactions to things nor do I bend easily to satisfy others.

Just like you, I will be paying for the service when that transition happens. For me, I couldn't look other members in the eye and say that I'm rowing the same boat as them if I didn't. And... for such a small amount compared to my normal daily activities I'm very happy to pay to have such good access to other members, the camaraderie and information on this site.

The charity that I have participated in, and from, with fellow SnoWest-Forum members has been a life changing experience. Whether that was helping Sawyers niece Gracie get over her life threatening illness, learning more about people like EricW who Daily make a contribution to the world he lives in, having many members last year GIVE parts to get a young man back on the snow... or mourning the loss of people that have changed our lives like Rick Ward....

The PEOPLE on this site DO make this site... that is why I want to be part of it for years to come and the price of a 12pack is not going to get in my way of keeping that as part of my life.

So, before you say "Moderators get free "dues" " ... Even if they did.... I'll be paying the same as you regardless as part of my own decision to support this site. I WILL BE PAYING when we get to that point....REGARDLESS. To me, it's worth the price of 1/3'rd of a gallon of 2-smoke oil.

The issues of speed, search-ability and other performance related items will be a thing of the past with the new equipment.

There will be some great options to add entertainment, communication and connections to the forums that will make it easier to communicate and find what you need here.

These early changes to the layout of the forum that Christopher has been trying out, that seem to be frustrating to some, will be refined in response to our suggestions as members.

From my viewpoint, Christopher & SnoWest is putting in a massive effort into making this a better site for us. His is a thankless job that, by definition, will have a target pasted to his back for quite some time while the changes are made.

Christopher has a "tall order" in front of him... He'll need to bring the site back up to speed, and fix many of the technical and communication issues on this site. I'm not a computer specialist... but Christopher, NeatBrian and others at Harris are... They are on task right now and we should see some results in the very near future.

So hang with me here... Christopher has already told us that the priority is to bring these forums up to speed... We get a FREE trial run of this after the new servers are brought online and we get to see just what is possible for this site.

We also will get to have many free aspects of this site even AFTER the "dues" kick in.

For as long as it's free... lets not "write the script" here.

With so many challenges facing the snowmobile community in the West, I believe that Christopher and Harris Publishing will be stepping up to the plate in a major way to act as good stewards for a sport/hobby that gives us all a lot of enjoyment!

You will have to make your own decision on whether or not you want to stay... But please, make that decision based on what this site can give you in return for your investment.... not spite or anger... there is enough of that in the world today.

IMO... the proof WILL be "in the pudding"

I'm sorry that it has taken me so long to chime in here today... lots of heartfelt family issues to deal with today that make me appreciate what I have and who my friends are!! Pray for snow so I can come and visit you guys this winter and make some NEW friends... nothing better than sledding for that to me.

Last edited by mountainhorse; 02-13-2010 at 02:31 AM.

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Old 11-18-2009, 12:12 PM
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I know we at SnoWest have not been involved in the forums and that is due to a lack of time. We have deadlines to meet. We have other magazines and projects. We read the posts and keep track of what is going on and would liked to have had a presence on the forums. You have seen the large amount of time Christopher has spent on the forums. We just donít have that luxury.

Times are changing. Print media is being replaced by digital content. Many sites are going paid. Yes we do make decent money on the advertising on the web site but it also takes a great deal of money to run the site. Salaries, hardware, licensing, internet connectivity and on and on. We have done our best to keep the site free; we have asked for donations to which the response was very minimal. Our goal is pursuing this direction is more about content.

We have partnered with Christopher to manage the forums and take them in new directions. Most of what you have seen this far is added features. Some users like them some do not but they are not forced upon you. They can be turn on or off so itís really not that big of a deal. New forums have been added and you can select what you want to see and what you donít. We want to keep it customizable. Moderators have been added to each forum.

The big reason in converting to paid is to provide far more content. You have yet to see any of this. This is will be significant.

The forums have been very successful in building a community among snowmobilers but have largely neglected the vendors, retailers, techs, developers and a lot of other resources. There is a lot more information that can be shared.

I want the forums to remain fun; the jokes, the socializing and everything that has made it what it is. But what I donít want is for them to become over-moderated. We will be going through a challenge with all this change but we wouldnít do it if we didnít think it was for the benefit of the forum and its members.

Christopher will represent SnoWest and Harris Publishing on the forums. He will give as presence which has been lacking. He will bring massive new content. And there is a lot more he will be bringing to the forums that he will share with you soon. We are open you to your suggestions and comments.

Chuck Harris

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Old 02-09-2010, 10:23 PM
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Dear SnoWest Member:

As you may recall, on November 11th, Harris Publishing, owner of SnoWest Magazine and the SnoWest Forums issued a letter outlining their future plans for the SnoWest Forums (Letter to all member from Harris Publishing). A major part of those plans was the introduction of a "Paid Premium Membership" category. At the time that letter was issued there was no solid date to begin the new paid membership status, rather they laid out a series of goals that they wanted to accomplish before that would happen. When those goals were met, they would begin the introduction of paid memberships.

On February 1st, we quietly added a link to all member's menus that took them to a new page where they could sign up to become a premium member. On the black menu bar that goes across your screen is a link, at the far left that says USER-CP, when you click on that link a small list will appear, the top of which says UPGRADE TO PREMIUM. We did this quietly because we wanted to have time to test and debug the system before thousands of members upgraded all at once. During the last week a few hundred members have gone through the system and allowed us the time we needed to get the bugs worked out. We are now announcing this option to all SnoWest members and encouraging you to take advantage of it.

What will you see when you upgrade?
Those who do choose to upgrade to the Premium membership will see a few differences right away though..

1. Your User Name font will change to BOLD ITALIC BLUE.
(you have probably already noticed other SnoWest members with this)

2. Your User Title will change to "Paid Premium Member".

3. You will be able to read all public Social Forums without being a member of them.

4. The controls for using the Chat Box will offer more options.

5. You will now be able to Open & Close your own threads without a moderator.

6. You will be able to tag other's threads.

7. Your ability to upload pictures directly to posts will increase to (1024x768).

8. You will be able to increase your Avatar to (150x150) instead of 100x100.

9. Your Signature block will now allow you to include an Image.

10. A new option will appear that allows you to chose to hide your user reputation from others.

11. Your personal Photo Album size will increase to (1280x1024).

12. You will have increased control over your participation in Social Groups.

13. You will see a new private forum that contains your digital subscription to SnoWest Magazine.

14. Your paid membership also entitles you to several new features in the new Classifieds section that will allow you to make your ads stand out from all the others...

What happens if I don't upgrade?
Commencing this week we will begin the gradual process of bringing the "
Free Basic Member" accounts into line with the features that were listed in the Letter to all SnoWest Members from Harris Publishing. This will be a gradual process and will not happen all at once on any one given day. Nevertheless, those SnoWest members who choose not to participate in the "Premium Paid Member" option will see changes to their accounts on a daily/weekly basis throughout the month of February as those account's features are slowly modified.

What should I do now?
Regardless of your decision to upgrade right now to the "Paid Premium Member"
status or to remain as a "Free Basic Member" for a while longer, we strongly encourage you to go and make yourself familiar with the Premium Upgrade page so you will be fully informed about what we are offering. When you are finished reading this post, please scroll to the top, locate the black menu bar, click on USER-CP and then select UPGRADE TO PREMIUM and review the material that is listed there. On those pages everything will be clearly shown to you with all of the available options listed out in detail.

What have members been choosing so far?
Among the members who have already upgraded to Paid Premium Membership we have seen the following.

17% choose the 1 year membership at 50% off

7% choose the 2 year membership at 58% off

choose the 3 year membership at 66% off

The announcement that SnoWest is moving to a free/paid option has generated strong support from a significant number of our members who, like us, believe that this will dramatically increase the overall quality of the site, the content, and the community. Sadly there has been a small gang of naysayers who have used this as a rallying cry to support their personal agendas and have taken it upon themselves to do as much damage to the site as possible by spreading their anger and discontent through what seems like an unending series of hate filled posts and threads, and of late spamming the site with pornography. (If you have not seen any of this you can thank all of the volunteer moderators who have been working overtime at cleaning it up as fast as it appears. If you have been the recipient of their scorn or abuse, please don't hesitate to report the post so we can remove it from SnoWest. Life is simply to short to have to put up with this nonsense) Unfortunately, the vindictive and spiteful actions of these few people serve only as another reason why we are moving forward with the paid member option. Even when it only costs 2 cents a day, paid memberships act as a filtering system to separate those who give our sport a bad name (the Trolls) from those who really care about our sport, it's people, and the community at large. Members with a vested interest in the success of the SnoWest Forums will seldom squander that investment for the opportunity to trash other members or the site itself. Our paid premium members will also have a real voice in helping us choose the direction of the SnoWest Forums as we move forward, and will discover that we now have the resources ready and available to help make SnoWest work the way they want it to.

As you have already seen, we've set the upgrade prices extremely low to give all of our current members a chance to upgrade at a steeply discounted rate. There's very little to lose. For less than the cost of a tank of gas for your sled, you can join the future SnoWest Online family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All things considered, its probably one of the least expensive items you can purchase in our sport. I think I can speak confidently when I say that it's the best money you'll spend on your favorite hobby this year.

Lastly we want to take a moment to address some of the lingering controversy of this transition. Up till now its all been something that was going to happen in the future. But the future has just arrived, and the transition will have begun as soon as this letter was sent out. Last November when we started this process, SnoWest had just over 35,000 total members. As of today, in-spite of, or perhaps because of all the controversy surrounding our decision the membership of the SnoWest Forums has swelled to a historic all time high of nearly 43,000 members making SnoWest the largest most active snowmobile site on the internet. Will we loose some of those members during this conversion process, absolutely. Sad though it may be, there are those among us who would cut off their nose just to spite their face. But for every one of them, there are many many more who will come and join with us and help us build a new SnoWest that is stronger and better suited to meet the new and evolving needs of our current and future members. From the moment we opened the payment gateway, we have brand new members, that had never been on SnoWest before signing up and becoming Premium Members right from the get go. Which proves to us that paid membership is not an obstacle to new members joining us.

On behalf of everyone at Harris Publishing, SnoWest Magazine, SledHeads, ModStock and the entire staff of the SnoWest Forums, we invite you to upgrade your membership, show your support for the best Snowmobiling forums on the internet and become a SnoWest Premium Member !!

Please scroll to the top of this thread.
Locate the black menu bar.
Click on USER-CP and select

Last edited by christopher; 02-09-2010 at 11:20 PM.

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Old 09-13-2010, 09:01 AM
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Updated September 13th


Last edited by christopher; 09-13-2010 at 09:06 AM.

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