So, I have been a premium member for a little over a year now, and I have to say... I am pretty underwhelmed. It seems like I'm paying more for the idea of this site than what it actually is. Maybe I'm not finding all there is here. Maybe I was expecting too much.
First, I was expecting a lot more content than what is here. Don't get me wrong. I love Tested and all the guys that make it. But I'm looking at the video list and one to three videos a week (if that) just isn't enough. Some of the category selections in the header haven't had a new video in years. Besides, most of the videos are available on YouTube, and the ones that are exclusive are good, but (again) too infrequent. Some of it just seems like member appeasment content. Adam isn't even in all of them (nor would I expect him to be), but I see more content produced from solo content creators on YouTube let alone teams of creators.
Now, I'm not the type of guy that needs exclusivity. Heck, if it meant more overall content I'd be fine (and still gladly join) if exclusive content was nixed. But lately Tested reminds me of an office where 90% of the staff went on vaction. There are people working, but it seems a lot more quiet than it used to and the boss drops in once in a while because he forgot something. I understand that Tested might not be everyone's main gig, but there are other solo content creators (a lot that also seem to have other "real" jobs) that get a couple videos a week uploaded. For an org that has multiple hosts and contributors, 2-3 is sparse. 5 should be minimal. The podcasts are great and the articles are okay, but just not enough.
I mean, if you can't think of anything to post, I know everyone would love tutorials from the pros. Get Adam to do a weekly Bob Ross type thing where we all make-along (doesn't have to be a one-day build). I don't know... something. Just show up in the workshop and make something... anything. We'll watch.
Second, and I didn't know there would be a second before I came to the forum, but this forum is unacceptable. There's spam posts from male enhancement and suppliment fake "accounts." But I can't report or flag them becasue that button seems unresponsive. I don't see a lot of moderator participation here. Just have a look around. It's pretty bad.
Anyway, I'll be a member until next November. But, if the situation hasn't improved, I wont be renewing my Premium membership. I want to, but I see no reason. There's so much great stuff that has come from Adam and Tested's work When they're "on", there's no better site and content for makers.
Maybe they aren't profitable enough to bring as much content as I would personally like. Fair enough. But I don't make enough to pay for a site where I do't get enough content.
These are just my opinions based on what I expect when I join a site like this. If you're cool with it, good on you. But when I pay to support a site, then come on here several days in a row to see "What's new?" and the answer has been "Nothing" for a few days to a week... what am I supporting?
Adam... I love everything you do. You're great at fixing things, and this place definitly needs it.
we all feel the same way from time to time but i stuck around anyways.. no worries. you can always come back if you leave...
@LazyBear: I have to agree, pretty much on all counts. But I continue to support Tested for who they are trying to be and for what they are trying to do. It's not enough, but with more support, maybe it can be more...
And yes, this forum is atrocious. Highly unprofessional.
I signed up for the first time around Sept/Oct, have been watching the Youtube channel for a year or more though and figured it would be nice to see some of the stuff that's talked out, or part 1 only shown on Youtube, so I signed up and have been hammering through the video's going back a few years. There wasn't as much older stuff as I was expecting, although I'm impressed with the stuff that is there (Adam making his own armour with Terry English was excellent!), and like you guys said there isn't a huge number of videos per week either,
But I'll certainly be sicking around when its time to renew, as I figure there's more people getting involved more regularly now (Bill, Kayte, etc) so more chance of other videos coming, I'm guessing a lot currently rides on Adam's availability, and Norms new addition is going to take up some of his time! :) So more makers of their caliber is great news. plus our money helps funds the free youtube stuff as well, if we don't support, then they might not be able to do as many, or as good vids.
Also the great bit that I didn't know about until near Christmas, was they do a members gift too, I don't know what other years have been, but this years was cool, and something you cant get elsewhere.
and yes, 100% agree on the forum, when I first looked at this, yikes!
I've been a member for a few years now, and I consider it more like a Patreon than a membership.
I like what they do, so I throw them some cash, and I get a poster or gift once a year.
I did really enjoy the Bits to Atoms of the Spacelords cabinet though, that was a great build.
And yeh, the forums are terrible, but it almost looks like it's been cleared of spam?
I just signed up in December again having been viewing on YouTube for a while, I also thought there would be more video content than there was but the quality of the video content itself negates the lack of it.
I think the biggest improvement to the site would be this very forum, having run large communities in the past on the vBulletin platform I can quite honestly say that if vBulletin was used here the site would be vastly improved and it would also open the doors to another revenue stream through affiliate marketing which would benefit the Tested and the users.
The forums have been broken for almost 7 years (since Tested split from then owner Whiskey Media) and are unlikely to be fixed under the current ownership. They are so bad that no one uses them, and therefore they are not worth fixing.
The entire site is built on a custom solution, and migrating over to an off-the-shelf one that sees regular maintenance is not feasible with the site's current resources.
The site has only seen occasional patching in the past seven years, mostly to fix breaking bugs and the occasional spam-barrier effort (it used to be a lot worse). Much of it probably stems from the fact that the parent company, and their engineers, are in LA, while the actual Tested team are in SF, and it does not seem that beyond the occasional post from firstname.lastname@example.org around Premium-reward season, there is much communication between the two organizations regarding the site's operation.
As for the value of Premium content, Tested has always a policy of not taking their existing content behind the paywall, i.e. all Premium content is in addition to their regular output. Additionally, they eventually make Premium content available on Youtube (not sure exactly what the time-scale is here, but something like a year or so).
The key thing is that if you support them via a paid subscription, that is a major part of what allows them to make their publicly available content, and any Premium content that comes in addition to should probably be considered a bonus.
The exception is series like the Terry English one (which just posted its first episode on Youtube) which IIRC was a drive to get in new subscribers. For one of their other Premium-drive efforts, they said that in 48 hours of new premium subs, they matched several months worth of their Youtube adsense revenue. That was a significant number of YT subs ago, but they still don't post huge numbers in terms of views. This is still niche content.
Now, I am a notorious apologist for Tested, but I genuinely feel the value is pretty good. Not only do Premium members get the annual gift, shipped internationally, but for the price of a movie ticket, popcorn and parking, we get a couple dozen hours of long-form content that goes into a unique level of detail. I totally get that if you signed up to get Adam, you're probably going to be disappointed, but personally I'm more excited about a new Bits to Atoms that One Day Build. :)
The exception is series like the Terry English one (which just posted its first episode on Youtube) which IIRC was a drive to get in new subscribers.
It worked, at least for me.