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Author Topic: The Hard Sell  (Read 6609 times)
David Watson
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« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2013, 02:45:44 AM »
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Just an observation, but it seems to me that the "hard sell" of the campaign for the Antartica Workshop simply indicates that this workshop is of significant financial importance to LuLa, nothing more.

Yes I think that you are right.  The aggregate sales value of the two Antarctica expeditions is a shade over $2million - not a insignificant sum.  Add to that what I imagine are the considerable sales of the videos etc. and Lula suddenly looks like a significant business operation.  Nothing against that at all but I just feel that the original concept of the site has been watered down by the quantity of marketing material.

BTW like another poster I do not recall ticking a box that said that my email address could be used for  marketing purposes but I too have received an email advertising the Antarctica trip.

It is up to Michael, Chris and Kevin how they wish to run their site - it is after all their property - and I can choose to log on or not.  I take a little comfort from Kevin's response advising us of lots of new things.  Let us hope that means that the present imbalance between marketing and editorial is addressed.

 

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« Reply #21 on: July 31, 2013, 04:08:22 AM »
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FWIW, I think that the owners of any site have an absolute right to do with it as they choose.

I would think anyone suggesting I alter my site a lunatic; I do as I please with it and everybody has that option with what's theirs. I see no need for anyone to apologize for running their show as they see fit, not their need to offer any sort of explanation whatsoever.

With the exception of amateur-run sites created and managed just for the amateur's self gratification (see also: submitting photos for free to newspapers), the vast majority of the web sites exists on a spectrum between two poles:

1. websites that exists to sell something to the users
2. websites that exists to sell the users to advertisers

I'm not suggesting that LuLa is getting close to either of these extremes, but it is not unreasonable for users to raise their voice if they feel they are paying (via exposure to adds) more than they expected.

Likewise, any community-site benefits to a large extent from the users' interactions and forum posts. To suggest that Michael & co can do with LuLa as they please is technically correct, but without the users it wouldn't be the successful site that it is. So again, it's not unreasonable for us, users, to feel entitled to give friendly advice about how we view the site.

Hopefully that's all this thread is - friendly advice to the people who administer and look after a site we all care about, and which we all want to see flourish.
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Kevin Raber
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« Reply #22 on: July 31, 2013, 06:27:55 AM »
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Iíll take all the friendly advice anyone wants to send me. We are always looking for ways to improve our site. Keep in mind though that we have bills to pay too. What I always liked about this site is the content. You donít get press releases published on this site. You get news of a new product that we have had our hands on and used. You can go to other sites for comparisons of different products. You can come here to get the hands on in use information. Also, we hope our content is always informative and different from others. And, donít forget the forum where you can post questions and participate in discussions as you are doing here. Then we add workshops which are a great opportunity to learn from great instructors and us in the field, not to mention having a good time. Throw in our video tutorials and you have the resources for a more hands on way to learn things. As we begin to make small improvements and changes we hope youíll find they add to your enjoyment of this site even more.

Kevin Raber
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Kevin Raber
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michael
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« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2013, 06:45:49 AM »
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David,

Yes, these two workshops generate over $2M in revenue.

But, do you think that we get the ships for free? Of course not. We have to charter them, which includes the significant financial risk of not filling all the berths. Our charter operator, Antarctica XXI gets the bulk of the revenue.

Oh yes, then there's the flights from Santiago to Punta Arenas and back, the flight from Punta Arena to Antarctica and back, the hotel rooms in Santiago and Punta Arenas coming and going, all meals from touch down in Santiago to return, and all ground transportation. Oh yes, and multiply this all by 120X.

I forgot, there are also the international travel costs for the seven instructors, their teaching fees and other expenses, Humm, and expense without offsetting revenue for their cabins on both cruises. What have I forgotten?

Reality is that these workshops generate quite revenue for LuLa, but nothing like what you imagine.

Michael

« Last Edit: July 31, 2013, 07:17:52 AM by michael » Logged
MarkL
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« Reply #24 on: July 31, 2013, 07:11:35 AM »
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I appreciate this site is here because of ads, sales of workshops, tutorials etc etc and I can deal with the front paged mostly just promoting this workshop that most visitors could never afford but emailing me spam for it is too far.
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David Watson
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« Reply #25 on: July 31, 2013, 07:28:59 AM »
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David,

Yes, these two workshops generate over $2M in revenue.

But, do you think that we get the ships for free? Of course not. We have to charter them, which includes the significant financial risk of not filling all the berths. Our charter operator, Antarctica XXI gets the bulk of the revenue.

Oh yes, then there's the flights from Santiago to Punta Arenas and back, the flight from Punta Arena to Antarctica and back, the hotel rooms in Santiago and Punta Arenas coming and going, all meals from touch down in Santiago to return, and all ground transportation. Oh yes, and multiply this all by 120X.

I forgot, there are also the international travel costs for the seven instructors, their teaching fees and other expenses, Humm, and expense without offsetting without revenue for their cabins on both cruises. What have I forgotten?

Reality is that these workshops generate quite revenue for LuLa, but nothing like what you imagine.

Michael



Michael and Kevin

In my original post and the subsequent one I thought, perhaps incorrectly, that I had made it clear that I am not condemning, judging or even unfairly criticising - merely questioning.  I really do understand that the editorial effort and the forum do have to be paid for and I am in no way suggesting that there should not be advertising or items for sale.  BTW I also do appreciate that the $2 million I quoted is not the bottom line and was merely saying that a sales revenue of $2m plus adds up to a substantial business in its own right.

What I believe i was addressing is the current imbalance between editorial content and marketing/advertising as a result of your push to sell the trips to Antarctica.   

I have always thought that LuLa was open to debate and question. I have really enjoyed the lively (sometimes perhaps too lively) exchanges of views and if selling lots of videos and cruise tickets enables that to continue well that must be okay for most of us provided that we do not get bombarded with emails and advertising every time we log on. But I would caveat that by saying that without a significant level of editorial content in the news feed and lively debate in the forum I for one would begin to question why I would bother logging on.
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David Watson ARPS
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« Reply #26 on: July 31, 2013, 09:01:53 AM »
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Free access website.

You come in, read as you will, and leave. Pretty much like most web sites I peruse.

It has never occurred to me that I should be able to dictate content. Or how the site should be supported.

I confess, I do use one of those ad-block thingys in my browser - beyond that, I take 'em as they come...


(Ocean Nova 2009 alumni...y'all missed the big one!)

 
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michael
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« Reply #27 on: July 31, 2013, 10:12:02 AM »
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David,

In the past 30 days (the month of July), we have published 11 new articles. That's an average of one every three days or so.

What's our average over the past 14 years? Excepting when I'm on the road shooting or doing workshops Ė about one every three days.

So, notwithstanding that it appears different to you, those are the immutable facts.

And, I would modestly add, I don't know of any site that covers the subject of photography (in all its aspects, not just camera reviews) that publishes as much and as varied new content as we do as often as we do.

Not being defensive (well, maybe a little), but just wanting to set the record straight.

Michael
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stamper
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« Reply #28 on: July 31, 2013, 10:41:00 AM »
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Another member in the last year, eighteen months, posed the same question. It would be difficult to search for the person but the way I read the post the content is very similar. Does anyone remember who?
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MarkH2
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« Reply #29 on: July 31, 2013, 10:49:51 AM »
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...but emailing me spam for it is too far.

I for one welcome the idea of the occasional LULA email announcing new products or items of interest.  Insufficient time to get here as often as I'd like.  Your email caught my eye.  As did the arrival of Jeff's new book from Amazon yesterday.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2013, 10:52:46 AM by MarkH2 » Logged
michael
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« Reply #30 on: July 31, 2013, 10:56:00 AM »
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Opting out of emails is easy, either at the source, or via ones Spam button.

Michael
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David Watson
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« Reply #31 on: July 31, 2013, 11:32:17 AM »
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David,

In the past 30 days (the month of July), we have published 11 new articles. That's an average of one every three days or so.

What's our average over the past 14 years? Excepting when I'm on the road shooting or doing workshops Ė about one every three days.

So, notwithstanding that it appears different to you, those are the immutable facts.

And, I would modestly add, I don't know of any site that covers the subject of photography (in all its aspects, not just camera reviews) that publishes as much and as varied new content as we do as often as we do.

Not being defensive (well, maybe a little), but just wanting to set the record straight.

Michael


Michael

Thank you for pointing that out but in the last month the perception as opposed to the actuality is different. As I said it is about balance.  By my reckoning there were 9 articles posted on What's New since the 1st July and 14 promotions on the Whats New feed.  I counted 9 adverts for the Antarctica trips and 5 promoting the videos and training products.  So whilst the editorial content may be roughly similar the perception - borne out by the numbers - is that the promotional and advertising content has gone up dramatically. 

Hopefully when you have filled the remaining slots in the trips things will return to normal. 

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David Watson ARPS
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« Reply #32 on: July 31, 2013, 11:42:42 AM »
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Opting out of emails is easy, either at the source, or via ones Spam button.

Michael


Michael

Thank you - I have clicked the unsubscribe button on the bottom of your email about Antarctica.  I guess that means that I will not be notified of replies to my posts on the forum, new personal messages etc.  Perhaps you need to have a preferences pain which allows the user to opt in or out of different kinds of emails e.g.

1. news, replies and updates from LuLa - yes please
2. Advertising of LuLa products - no thank you
3. Marketing of 3d party products - definitely no thank you

Just saying (as Mr Schewe would say)
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #33 on: July 31, 2013, 12:35:29 PM »
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Please, David at al!

As much as your posts are well meant, there is a time to let it go. We heard you, the owners heard you, everybody got your point. Continuing it any further amounts to a greater pest than the one you are complaining about. As for emails, that was the first and only ad email I got from LuLa in the last number of years. I can certainly live with that.
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« Reply #34 on: July 31, 2013, 12:55:52 PM »
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Please, David at al!

As much as your posts are well meant, there is a time to let it go. We heard you, the owners heard you, everybody got your point. Continuing it any further amounts to a greater pest than the one you are complaining about. As for emails, that was the first and only ad email I got from LuLa in the last number of years. I can certainly live with that.

Totally agree - subject has been well aired, points made and listened too.

Thank you
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David Watson ARPS
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« Reply #35 on: July 31, 2013, 01:08:37 PM »
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FYI
OP has locked topic
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Christopher Sanderson
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« Reply #36 on: July 31, 2013, 02:14:29 PM »
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Now unlocked
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David Watson ARPS
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« Reply #37 on: July 31, 2013, 02:58:42 PM »
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Please, David at al!

As much as your posts are well meant, there is a time to let it go. We heard you, the owners heard you, everybody got your point. Continuing it any further amounts to a greater pest than the one you are complaining about. As for emails, that was the first and only ad email I got from LuLa in the last number of years. I can certainly live with that.

Unless of course....you have a comment. 😉
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« Reply #38 on: August 05, 2013, 03:14:20 PM »
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Honestly, I think the prices LuLa are charging are fair & competitive.  Just do a little research for fly/cruise combinations, and take into account the factr that the cruise is dedicated to photographers. Affordability is another thing, but Antarctica is not cheap, thankfully. There are much cheaper options, but you have to judge each on it's merits.  Some companies offer cruises on massive ships - totally inappropriate for those waters IMHO - where probably you can get a berth near the engine room for $2000, but you'll never even go ashore.  If travelling with an all-star cast is your thing, then one has to say that the team that Michael, Kevin and co have put together is pretty hard to beat.  And it's a great ship (except when it runs aground  Grin )

Personally, I like the Drake Passage.  It allows a building anticipation, and time to decompress afterwards.  For a first visit, I'm not sure that being flown in really gives you the full experience.  But then again certain aspects of the full experience may not appeal to all :-)
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tim wolcott
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« Reply #39 on: August 06, 2013, 12:29:35 AM »
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Having known Michael and Kevin for a long time.  Hard sell, Sorry just don't see it.  But a site like this and trips due take an enormous amount of time and effort to keep filling this with insightful stories and topics.  I'm amazed they do it and to try to keep it fresh.  But hard sell NO.  I wish there was a place where manufacturers would be allowed to offer Lula members to get specials. BUt making money fro it really, I think you should run and write something this big and I have done some workshops but I don't do it anymore.  I will do them but only if someone else sets them up.  I do private ones, but I will have to say it takes a lot of money, time and passion to do them and make everyone happy.  Its not a big money maker thats for sure.  They do have lives also outside of this.  Michael and Kevin may say I'm a bit over consumed on my quest to shoot and invent photographic processes and shooting but its runs in my veins.  Photography definitely consumes me!

It must be hard sometimes to do this work on Lula and get criticism for it.  But one thing you can't please all the people all the time.  Just my observation.  Tim
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