AndroidForums.com: Premium Memberships Now Available!

It’s been 2+ years since Google announced Android and over the past 2+ years we’ve received an unbelievable amount of support from readers of Phandroid and members of AndroidForums. From offering monetary donations and contributing time/expertise to simply reaching out and saying “Thank You”, we’ve gotten a lot of love and we appreciate all of it.

We’ve come a LONG way since November 2007: AndroidForums now has about 70,000 members and at any given time you can find thousands of people on the site. With over 360,000 posts, AF is a treasure trove of information for Android Newbs and Veterans alike, and we aim to make the site friendly for both extremes. The bottom line is that we have a rapidly growing user base who want to see new features and improvements… and we want to provide them. At the same time, we have tons of members who WANT to contribute so that AF/Phan can invest in these site improvements. That’s why we’re proud to introduce the AndroidForums Premium Membership.

While Premium members WILL get a pretty cool package of upgrades, we consider it more of a “reward for donating”. Here is the breakdown:

premium-chart

To become a Premium Member on AndroidForums.com you must first register a standard account and then proceed to the Premium Membership page which can also be found in the small blue nav bar on AF. We’ve also added a $5/month option if you’d like to pay less… and if you want to donate MORE or remain ANONYMOUS we’ve allowed direct PayPal donations as well.

We have a TON of ideas for new features – I don’t want to make promises now because I’ve learned the hard way how plans fall through – but your continued support will allow us to pursue our ideas and plans and bring you the best darn Android news, community, information and much much more. And by the way, we’ll be adding more and more special privileges for premium members as time goes on!

FUN SIDE NOTE: All finalists in our Nexus One Funny Video Contest will get a FREE 6-month AF Premium Membership! So far we’ve got 30 entries.

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  • not me

    Less advertisements? If I was to pay, I’d expect no advertisements. WTF? Well, Adblock is free…

  • Rob Jackson

    @not me – having ads in places like the top header/left-sidebar don’t seem to bother people, and removing those ads doesn’t really add to the user experience. Ad views are what keep our site running. Nevertheless its true, you can always use ad block if you want!

  • Firelight

    $40/year seems a bit high. Gold Colors and larger avatars are not worth it. Fewer ads – somewhat worth “A” membership but not $40 year.

    I subscribe to an online newspaper for less than that. I’m a $2/mo TWIT.TV giver and I get full access to that site. Love me some Phandroid – but not this much.

  • Rob Jackson

    @Firelight – totally understandable. We’ve already got a few premium members but, like the post says, you can think of this as a “reward” for people who want to donate. In time, as we add more features, perhaps you’ll be more enticed. Or maybe you’ll get some advice at AF that’ll save you a bunch of money and/or time and you’ll change your mind!

  • Isaac B

    I think you should make it unlimited, people won’t want to be forced to donate again. If people are willing to donate they are likely to donate more than once.

  • wow

    $40/year for ad-less browsing experience = fail… i will pay that only if you can provide cm/modaco-like & unique quality roms.

  • http://phandroid.com Talton "Phases" Pettigrew

    Some of ya are missing the point I think. We’re not trying to convince anyone to join or justify what we came up being “worth” the money. Sure, it’s all changeable and we may or may not rethink some things but the point is just to give people who WANT to donate a little something extra as a thank you.

    :)

  • wow

    @ Talton, alright, I can now think about this issue from another perspective. However, what about a $19.99 once-for-all donation for all that features? Maybe I am being to greedy here xD

  • Dave

    Good luck with that.

    Price is too high, someone will just offer more for slightly less.

  • Vinikq

    You have now been scrubbed out of my bookmarks, reader, phone and podcast agregators. Greed shown, customer of your content gone. What a pity, but life is full of lessons. Will check back in 24 hours to see if you are as quick as google to openly admit poor planning.

  • Rob Jackson

    @Dave, @Vinikq – lots of people already wanted to donate. The difference is now we have an official way of accepting payment and saying “Thank You” with some extra treats. Regardless, the forum is still 100% free for anyone who wants to join. Not quite sure how this can upset people – if you want to donate, great! If not, nothing has really changed LOL. (Turns to Talton: People man… People)

  • Matthew Lenz

    Yeah, I’m gunna jump right on this. NOT.

  • Waka

    I gotta agree with the folks here, I’m not seeing what the donation is for? You’re already getting ad revenue from the site already? The section under “Apps” at the top has been blank for how many months? Essentially you’re offering a VIP access for a donation.

    What are people going to talk about in that forum? “Wow, we’re so elite we donated for premium status… oh wait what are we paying for access for??” You’re using a subscription model for basically nothing in return, it just doesn’t make sense. Most forums that do offer subscription based services like IGN, etc. remove ALL ads.

    I think you guys really missed the ball on this one. If I thought you guys would actually used the donated money to hire someone to finally update the “App” section on the site after 6 months, I’d possibly think about it. As of now, the donations go to pay what? A Bulletin board server? Yikes :(

  • drewstiff

    Fairplay with needing to bring in some revenue but, for example, Ars Technica charges around $25 per year with no ads and I presume their costs are far higher than yours.

  • Jimbo

    maybe this should have been a little blurb on the donation screen or better yet just give it to the people who earned it and not say anything except in a PM to that user instead of announcing “HELLO WORLD, FOR JUST 19.99 YOU CAN HAVE A GOLD STICKER!!”

  • OfTheDamned

    Seriously? WTF? Nobody is saying you guys HAVE to pay to be a premium member. If you want to, then do it. If you don’t, then don’t. You would think you were being forced to use an iPhone or something. @Vinikq, over react much?

  • http://www.phandroid.com VoidedSaint

    For $40 a year, its not that bad, if some of you cannot spare just $40 n a year then I feel your pain, but with all the extra services you get the free Information to help you with you device, rooting, roms, apps, widgets, and all around a great experience from others who can help you with you issues I believe $40 isn’t too much to ask for, everyone can make a profit as they see fit, If you do not want to pay then dont, but some of us who feel the experience and service we get from the forums is more than $40 so I will gladly pay for all the great services rendered.

  • Danny JD

    Man, some people are just ungrateful and want everything for free. Oh that’s right, the site still is free. STOP COMPLAINING! IF YOU DON’T WANT TO DONATE, THEN DON’T.

    ugh.

  • Rob Jackson

    @Waka – Funny you mention the APPS section. I wish you knew the full story. Hopefully we’ll have something there in a few weeks, but I’ve already paid several people to work on it and then been faced with “extenuating circumstances” and had to start from scratch several times. I’ve spent a lot of money on the sites and the “bulletin board servers” that keep them running probably costs a lot more than you think.

    If you don’t see the purpose in donating then don’t donate – this isn’t a sales pitch. For the many that already wanted to: this is for them and now they know how.

  • Waka

    @Danny JD, you’re one of the only people I see using all caps… so it makes me wonder if you have the real issue.

    @VoidedSaint, I don’t see AndroidForums providing that information at all. That information is provided by members of the forum… but the way your post comes across is that you guys (AndroidForums) provide this service, which you do not. You provide a means for users to share information with. I can, as can anyone else simply google any other Android Forums to obtain the same information. The community is just usually better here… with the exception of whackball moves like this. Makes no sense other than greed. If it’s not greed, then simply put a Paypal donate button up and be done with it. There’s your “official” way of providing a donation system.

    Just remove the dang ads for the 40/yr, and you’ll make a lot of folks quit whining about it.

  • Rob Jackson

    @Waka – LOL that’s the whole point – this is the same as a donate button but now people who donate get thanked and recognized. It isn’t like we’re blocking people out of the site for not paying.

    Do me a favor and press the “FORUM” button in the nav bar. So far you have paid $0 – let me know if it is worse now than before we made this announcement.

  • Covert

    yea but your demanding ALOT of “donations” for simple things, yes people wanna donate… but MAYBE 5 bucks here and there, not plop down 20 just for ad-free viewing…

    what about the people who DO donate just not at your outrageous prices… donations are donations, given by the USER, not demanded for by the recipient, that is NOT a DONATION.

    your up there in pricing to a 360 online account, but that provides me with online gaming for ALL my games and is veryyyyy useful… what does my 20 bucks get me here besides better avatar and ad-free,

    this is a get rich scheam and i don’t like it, your just a website

    and @voidedSaint

    forums are FREE, stop saying the help you get from a forum is worth $40, forums are for users and posted BY users, so MOST of your help will be from people who ARN’T getting the money you so generously ‘Donated’

  • Matt – London

    A bit too expensive for me, I don’t see why people are bing flamed for saying it though?

    A comments system is for comments, good and bad. When you only see comments that support the post then whats the point?

  • Rob Jackson

    @Covert – We’re not demanding anything, you can continue using the forums for free and we’ll all be fine and happy with that. The idea isn’t for people thinking “what does my $20 get me” – we’re targeting the people who say “I want to support the site, how can I donate” and then also happen to (as a side note) get some benefits that come along.

    @MattLondon – We’ve published all the comments and responded because we’re trying to clarify… people are kind of missing the point. And getting *upset* about a donation system disguised as a premium membership is just silly.

  • Me

    I wouldn’t have a problem with donating, but I’d rather not “brag” that I’m the guy who donated with a gold name and fancy avatar.

  • Waka

    But after the 6 months, their donation “thank you” goes away. It’s a subscription service anyway you twist it.

  • http://phandroid.com Talton “Phases” Pettigrew

    Wow. Ok guys, listen. You’re being very silly. Read the article before commenting please. You don’t have to donate anything, and it’s no big deal and nothing changes. @covert.. It clearly says there is a 5 dollar option. And on top of that an open ended regular old paypal link that lets you donate as little or as much as you want as a one time donation. And yes, hosting this place is quite costly – I think you’d be shocked. The money “so generously ‘donated’” helps keep the community up and moving, so that you can get your help from the other users.
    LOL this is crazy people. We’re not trying to convince you its “worth it”. It’s just an option for THOSE WHO WANT TO. And if you don’t want to, no big deal. (Except that you’re making it a big deal.)
    I tell ya Rob, there’s no pleasing the masses. ;)
    edit: Hey, @me: There’s an anonymous option. Just FYI.

  • Rob Jackson

    @Waka – people making a donation aren’t usually looking for all the great things they get for donating. They’re supporting a cause. In this case the cause is creating a better community with more features. Nobody is forcing you to donate or convincing you that you should. If you want to? Great. If you don’t want to? Great.

  • Covert

    yea there is a 5 buck option… with no tank you because you didn’t pay as much as they wanted you too… and then even when you do, you have to do it over and over again every 6 months to keep all your “charms” im just saying

    i’d be all over this if it were a one time thing, but 20 bucks every six months is called a subscription, my popular science and engineering weekly are cheaper than that combined and i actually get a physical object for payment. all im saying is what about the people who do donate, just not $20, and for $20 it should be a onetime fee…

    and @Rob if your targetting the people who are wanthing to give you money already, just give them a donate button, don’t tell them how much to pay and how often to do it. just give them a button and that’s it

  • Rob Jackson

    *sigh* this is a helpless discussion. I can’t explain it any more clearly than I already have. I hope everyone continues to enjoy AF with or without a premium subscription. We’ll continue to add features, both big and small, that EVERYONE will be able to enjoy.

    /thread

  • Covert

    rob i’m not saying it’s a bad idea, you guys NEED donations, all im saying is that you shouldn’t tell people how much/often to donate. and if you do, then add another feature, such as a DONATER banner above their avatar and some smaller features for anything above $1 and below your $20… just show appreciation for the people who maybe can’t chunk 20 bucks your way just because

  • Shay

    @ Vinikq

    Please go fuck yourself we don’t need people like you on here man!

  • Joe

    @Vinikq

    kill yourself

  • vinikq

    I had not really got involved in the comments here before, I just used the site to catch up on android and occasionally threw a few tips/hacks I came across towards the site owners and clicked on a banner add or two. Not really into having this kind of crap talking thing in my life so, seeya.
    @Shay your wish is my command

  • webby

    Recently some newspaper on the Eastern seaboard, forget the name right now, tried a pay site. They got all of 35 subscribers. I am aware that this isn’t the same at all, as you have a forum, not a newspaper, and you can still visit your forums, but still, in general, it doesn’t seem to be an internet business model that has worked.

    I go to lots of forums. The only forums I have run across that solicit donations do NOT have advertising. I’ve never run across a business model quite like yours. Maybe they exist and I just haven’t been to those forums.

    Anyway, good luck with it. I wish you well.

  • Ben (Muuurgh)

    Hey, that’s a bit harsh on Vinikq, and attitudes like that aren’t going to keep AF the friendly place it is that I keep coming back to.

    I like this option. I’m not going to do it personally as I don’t have the spare cash, but phandroid is my favourite site for news due to the reporting style used here.

    1 suggestion I have though is make it a round number instead of 19.95. The extra 5 cents is not going to make a serious difference, but it will stop it looking like it’s revenue raising. People see something at *.95 cents and think it’s advertising. Just a thought?

    I’m looking forward to the additional features that will be coming for the site, including updated information for each phone ;) Keep up the good work guys, I love this *free* resource for android information.

  • gary1973

    Ok i can’t understand why people are complaining it is a free site if you want extra stuff then donate if not shut up and enjoy the free stuff. If you don’t like the site and the members that are here find another place to gripe and complain. Sorry I will step off my soap box know.

  • azboricua

    For all I care Android Forums could close let alone pay to be a “premium” member. Fuck That!

    Or wait this is a better answer.

    Its not April 1st yet!!!!!!!!

  • Colts Fan

    I don’t want to sound like another negative post here, but I think this is a terrible, terrible mistake. Waaaay too much money for what this site offers and forcing a subscription model on people that just want to donate and be recognized for it is kind of ridiculous. You are definitely out of touch with reality in this model.

  • anon

    Time to just save face.

    Just put a donate button prominately on each page.

    Or maybe just have a fund raiser for new features from time to time.

    This concept just isn’t going to get it. Pick up the pieces and move on guys.

  • cool

    The “PAY for what is Already Free” business model has not worked too well on the Net. And the question will always arise, that you were doing it for free, so what’s the problem now? Adverts are ok in my book as long as they aren’t too in your face, some are actually worth clicking on, lol. But By and large, charging $, I think it’s a nice idea, but ultimately will fail.

    Just my two cents…

  • aldo80

    I think Rob that using the word Premium+Donate in the same line is not a good thing. Trust me we all know we are not being forced to “donate”. You see that just is not the right way of putting it. You should have said we are offering a subscription based ad-free,goodies and a gold sticker for blah blah. But using the word donate only ignites a flame that beckons to be released by me, I mean US.

  • andiron

    I think having a way for people to donate is just fine. It’s a great site! But…the starting point for a donation that has benefits and gets a few “thank you” type things thrown in seems a little steep. Of course this is your call. I think most people get upset because they think…hmmm…I would be willing to help and the perks would be nice…but $40 per year?

    BIG POINT IS…I think you’d get a lot of takers at half the price and probably actually generate MORE DONATIONS.

    Then…as your services increase…you can suggest a platinum level etc etc or raise the rate for donation and the resulting “perks”. IMHO

  • John M.

    Lmao!!
    You guys are missing the point!!!
    Rob J… Talton ma man… in the words of the great George Lopez.. “I Got Thisss, Watcha!” XD…

    *Clears Throat*
    THE ONLY PURPOSE OF RECEIVING ANY TYPE OF BENEFITS FOR DONATING 20$ IS AS A THANKYOU!!!
    For example….

    Guy A says: “hey I wanna thank you for allowing me to say things during your web page.”

    Guy B: “oh its ok you can use it whenever you want…”

    Guy A: “really oh! Well then I would like to give you something for allowing me to do so out of my OWN FREE WILL…”

    Guy B: ” oh you would… well I’m really not asking you to do this but since insist on doing so OUT OF YOUR OWN FREE WILL… then i don’t mind providing you a little extra features when you use my site… just as a ‘thank you’… because I greatly appreciate your donation and am not requiring you to give it to me…

    Guy A: “oh wow I wasn’t expecting that but its pretty cool thank you…

    The Moral??
    Regular AF.com user you are Guy A….
    AF.Com you are Guy B….
    Guy B appreciated Guy A and just for the heck of it gave him a little extra for something Guy A was already planning to do…

    Rob… Talton… I Hope That Helped…

  • John M.

    P.s. remember you can also give any amount you wish using paypal….
    But again if you were already planning on giving 5 bucks.. or 20 bucks as a Donation (NOT A SUBSCRIPTION) then you would also receive those extra perks…

  • Waka

    @JohnM – You missed the part where Guy B says, “I don’t mind providing you a little extra features when you use my site…. just as a thank you, for only 6 months. If you want to keep your little extra features, you better pony up the donation cash again.”

  • that guy

    As stated numerous times already, this is not something they deemed a necessity for folks to donate to the site. If you don’t want to then by all means continue to enjoy one of the friendliest Android forums around for a grand total cost from your pocket of..$0.00!! I personally think it is a good idea to have premium memberships on forums (I am a premium member on numerous blackberry forums). I bet if they were to announce that premium members would get 1st shot at some apps that they were working on with developers there wouldn’t be a negative post in here. Who knows, that could be forthcoming.

  • http://www.talkdelaware.com Caddyman

    Seems like a lot of whiny cheap skates here, pony up or forget about it, no need to complain. You get the site for free anyway, everything it has to offer, free. If you want to contribute, here is your chance, if it’s not a good fit for you, don’t do it.

  • http://www.talkdelaware.com Caddyman

    Now that I have read some more, many of you think this is a bad model or won’t work, you are wrong actually. 2/3 or more of my regular members that are on my site everyday are paid supporters/donaters/what have you. I run forums all day every day, I help people run their forums, give advice, give tech help, whatever, I deal with this stuff everyday and it is a proven, successful, “model”.

    Reading over the comments, it seems many people are jealous more then anything else. Start your own forum and run it for free, with no ads, and no donations/subscriptions, see how super awesome you do.

  • rogueman

    caddyman is right.

    Rob needs more revenue to invest in better features for people, what’s wrong with that? if you don’t like the sound of premium, then just stay as a regular member, nothing has been changed for a regular member.

    Not everyone are cheap folks like you. People want to show their little extra support by donation.

    I personally think it’s a wonderful idea.

  • Alex

    Uh oh it’s been 6 months, time to renew my donation!

  • Covert

    it’s not the donation that is bugging everyone! it’s the PRICE tag… if i donate $5 bucks, that’s actually alot of money from one person but i don’t get a thank you of ANY sort, i don’t get any goodies, and even if i save up to do $20 i have to do it every six months!

    LOOK, you can’t have it both ways or you’ll be stuck with 5 donations, either lower the RENEWING price to $5 every six months or make $20 a onetime fee, you’ll get people to buy in and do it once, and the people who really want to keep donating WILL, don’t TELLL them too. your buisness model sucks! seriously let me manage it for you… for %50 of profits, and you will STILL make %500 more than you will with this model!

  • that guy

    Covert, obviously you are riding the cotton pony over this so how bout you come back next week and act like a rational adult. Or you can just stick one of those little magical wads of cotton in each end to calm the flow of BS pouring out of you. If you do not agree with his model, do not contribute to it. As stated by Caddyman, this is a proven successful business model. Hell, I am probably a premium member on one of the forums he helps with.

  • nero

    Alex said it best “Uh oh it’s been 6 months, time to renew my donation!” I have no horse in this race, but the hue-and-cry is quite simple – why set a standard for showing appreciation? What? Can only donate $15? No “extra thank you” for you. $20? Good, just be sure to sustain that every 6 months. It’s not about the price tag and by extension, neither is it about folks being “too cheap to pony up…” it’s just a bit of deceiving to call it a thank you for donating when said donations have an expiration date AND a minimum.

    Yes, I understand and I will continue to use phandroid for free. Spare me that tiresome argument, but the business plan belies what a donation is and belittles sub $20 contributions.

  • that guy

    Look at most smartphone forums and you will see business practices like this in use. There are 4 blackberry forums that I know of that use exact same procedure or a similar one and are very successful. For what we pay for our devices obviously we as consumers are willing to put the money out to enjoy our devices. And as such, paying to become a premium member to reap additional benefits for ourselves and our devices is not a big deal. Do you call your mobile carrier and cry because you have to pay for a data plan?

  • http://www.talkdelaware.com Caddyman

    Seriously the price is about in the middle for most popular forums, and think about the help you get here (well most people get lots of help here), better support then you get from your carrier, who you pay $60 PER MONTH or more too.

    The admins from what I have seen are pretty good and fair here, I can smell a poor admin a mile away. This is not the top android forum because of mismanagement and improper judgment calls.

    I’m not kissing up either, as a admin of multiple forums I can relate to the BS that comes up when things and features like a supporter model are implemented. Rob and Phases I think are still working out some details and what not but bottom line is, you can still sign up and use this forum to it’s fullest extent for absolutely free. If you like it and want to contribute monetarily that is great, and you will get some perks for that.

  • Greg

    $40/year is a little pricey. I’ve paid $10/year to be a premium member on other (non-Android) sites in the past.

  • Mensahwatts

    I manly read phandroid…and I like it a lot. I can see that Rob isvery much so into android and in a way I trust most his and others on the android teams ideas. However I may are may not pay if I start reading android Fs…..and that’s fine and dandy as it has been stated….yo

  • NowVoyager

    I think the bottom line is that people think the fee is too high for what they would be getting. Donations are voluntary. You were not precluded from accepting donations. Ostensibly, you are being paid by your advertisers. So, charging a high fee in addition to that has a different ring to it.

    You have a nice site at which lots of people gather. I can see how you may have wanted to turn that into another revenue stream. Got it. But the price ($40 year) exceeds perceived value. There is nothing in that $40 package to enhance the user experience.

  • Caddyman

    i see lots and lots of jealousy here….it’s kinda gross.

    “well when i have an authoritative website with 100k’s of hits i will never do anything like this!!!”

    bullshit…i thought the same thing till i starting seeing things from the admin spot.

    you people are ridiculous, nothing has changed, you can still be here free as a bird, or you can show your appreciation for the help you get here and donate…no one is making you do anything.

    get a grip.

  • Chaitanya a.k.a nOrULz

    Androidforums.com is a wonderful place. I found it just 3 days back and found what I needed. I was just goin through the forum and I come across this. I don’t understand why people are cribbing about the premium membership.

    From what common sense and wikipedia tells me:
    “1.A donation is a gift given by physical or legal persons, typically for charitable purposes and/or to benefit a cause.
    2.Donations are gifts given without return consideration.”

    So,
    You are not buying the premium membership from them so as to haggle over the price !! You are DONATING.
    They just set a limit and for anyone contributing over that limit, they decided to thank them by giving them a unique recognition.

    It’s a fucking donation!

    To those who are cribbing, it is ok for you when no one gets recognized for their contribution. But when someone does you have a bloody problem?
    Don’t hypothesize about “if i pay x, why shouldn’t I blah blah” You are donating because there is something you like in the site.

    Phases,Rob I’m writing this in appreciation of the work you guys are doing. I couldn’t have done anything to my galaxy without this forum. I rooted my phone within 2 days of buying it, that too without any prior experience with android.

    Keep up the good work.

    Regards,
    Chaitanya “nOrULz” Reddy
    India

  • Chaitanya a.k.a nOrULz

    @Covert: Wow, Where did you do you business management course from ? Please do let me know lest god forbid I join the same University/College.
    .
    Fact:
    - 1% of my brain > 100% of your brain.
    - Androidforums is popular because it’s free and friendly.
    - Your Business skills are legendary no doubt, why don’t you set up your own forum? and you can rake in 100% of whatever you earn.

    I just couldn’t stop laughing at your stupid post, I still am.. although I feel a bit sorry for you.