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Former site forums adopt free-to-view, pay-to-post model  
Thursday, May 4, 2006 | by Rob Galbraith

It has been one week since this site's discussion forums officially re-opened under new management. Now called the Pro Photo Comunity Forums, the new owners -  working photographers Drew and Melissa Strickland - have been busy fine-tuning the operation of the online community to ensure that it remains a useful resource for serious and professional photographers while also becoming financially viable through the sale of US$25/year access subscriptions.

Yesterday, the Stricklands implemented a significant change that will be of interest to those who like to read discussion forums, but rarely post themselves: all existing topic areas are now viewable by anyone, even those without a subscription (a paid subscription is still required to post).

In addition, those who purchase a one-year subscription before May 29, 2006 at the charter member price of US$25 will now receive a 25% discount on all future subscription renewals. Starting on May 29, an annual subscription climbs to US$35/year.

New Home: The Pro Photo Community Forums

(Full disclosure: The terms of the deal between us and the new owners includes a revenue-sharing arrangement, so a subscription you purchase today will help support the forums into the future as well as bring us some cash for running them in the past.)

(Fuller disclosure: The revenue-sharing arrangement isn't going to see us (or Drew and Melissa) driving spiffy red foreign sports cars anytime soon, so please subscribe only because you want to be part of a new chapter in the existence of this site's former discussion forums!)

While we're out of the forums business now, it has been important to both me and former forum moderator Mike Sturk that the online community go to a good home, one where the owners are keen on preserving and growing the community while also not having to dig into their own pockets to keep it running.

With almost 300 subscribers so far (including a long-time contributor to the Canon topic areas, Canon USA's Chuck Westfall), they're off to a fine start. Thanks to everyone who contributed the questions and the answers that made the forums a great place to visit when they were under our stewardship. And thanks to everyone who is making the same effort to see the forums in their new incarnation be an even bigger success.

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