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  #141 (permalink)  
Old 09-11-2012, 11:38 PM
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Default Quality of service

If the people supplying live feeds are not happy with the change and drop their live feed, we could see a big decline in the number of live feeds. What will be done to encourage people to supply live feeds?
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  #142 (permalink)  
Old 09-11-2012, 11:42 PM
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From a purely Business perspective (without a dog in the fight) solution:

- Feeders get a choice of whether to feed to RR or Broadcastify.

- RR feeders get no perks at Broadcastify and Broadcastify feeders get no perks at RR.

- RR Terms of Service altered to say all feeds can be resold or re-used by other approved businesses. Vice-versa also applies if desired. (I'm guessing not.)

- RR licenses (at $2.95/mo to cover RR's costs) all feeds to Broadcastify to do with as they see fit.

- Broadcastify covers licensing costs to RR for feeds that don't move over.

Surely if both businesses are capable of standing on their own, that's a reasonable solution to the whole problem.

- Content providers that want the $2.95 perk, get that one. Providers that want the $6.95 perk, get the other. Both types of content vendor are happy.

Having built similar infrastructure for Net businesses, the server farm could literally be the same farm, although that breaks the "separate books" rule.

(A third LLC that owns the server infrastructure that contracts to both RR and BC is the behind-the-scenes solution to that simple problem. It's all the same bookkeeper or another sheet in QuickBooks.

(The "front-ends" that receive the feeds would have different DNS names. They'd literally be the same physical server platform, rebranded. That platform is worth something too, which is essentially what I think you're saying about Broadcastify. You could host other communities completely unrelated or even competitors to RR and Broadcastify on the platform. It has intrinsic value.)

If the true goal is two healthy separate stand-alone businesses, there's plenty of ways to make that happen and still provide the original perk.

Napkin analysis:

I don't know the number of feeds, but let's say there's 1500. Let's also for a business discussion assume the worst -- that all feeders really want the RR perk.

Broadcastify then owes RR $4425/mo on opening day.

If it's properly capitalized, that shouldn't be any problem at all, and is probably less expensive than the monthly telecom and data center Operational charges already budgeted. Knowing what I know about hosting providers. (I was in that biz.)

(Certainly less than the cost of the server and storage hardware but that's a CapEx and can't be compared to Operating costs on the balance sheet. Having built this stuff, I must also assume that you're not using Commercial Operating Systems or the OpEx of those would be eating you alive. So you're running on a shoestring with talented coders. Great start.)

There need be no "mixing" of the books.

Licensing of one business' independent contractor provided vendor's content to another handles that nicely with no risk whatsoever to ANY of the content feeds.

And, if Broadcastify can truly charge $6.95/mo to her customers (and I believe she maybe can. Certainly $4.95), licensing RR's content is cheap. Cheap. Cheap. Cheap.

(Especially considering that some feeders would want to move over and get the Broadcastify perk instead of the RR perk.)

So, for fun... and more numbers analysis... Call it 50/50. Broadcastify owes RR $2212.5/mo on opening day.

Broadcastify also now has zero risk of losing any percentage of the content it relies on for it's business model.

A graph of all possible scenarios from 0% moving over to 100% moving over can be made easily, since it's a linear function. The fuzzy part is what damage and risk are done if Broadcastify loses 10%, 20%, 30% etc of the existing feeds to an easily built alternative community-run venture.

Seems from a risk-analysis standpoint to be a no-brainer.

Lots of assumptions here, but Broadcastify does better overall with more feeds, to a point. Especially if the goal is to have tons of feeds sitting mostly idle but enough to capture any "large" event. That seems to be the goal from reading between the lines. If the goal is high-quality feeds, the de-motivation of just a few of those hurts more than losing 100 weak feeds.

However you slice up the risk analysis crystal ball, Broadcastify paying RR $2.95/mo in licensing fees for any feeder wishing to retain their RR perk, seems utterly reasonable and significantly less risky and detrimental to the health of the new business venture than possibly running off an unknown percentage of feeds on opening day.

It also leaves a cleaner exit strategy if it flops with RR remaining the stronger of the two.

Those claiming the straw man of "your local community will suffer if you take your feed down!" haven't seen the Internet at large route around problems.

The Internet at large would build a community-driven solution. It's how RR got its start, and it can and does happen. Every community project eventually "forks" whenever a significant portion of the community feels disenfranchised.

Content is King on the Internet. You already understand this if you're venturing into Broadcastify. RR should simply license the content it receives from its independent contractors to Broadcastify and let Broadcastify sink or swim on its own. I suspect it could swim.

Merge the tech platform behind the scenes if that makes business sense for both businesses. Transparently. No one ever needed to know other than TOS wording changes.

Cakewalk. Everyone's happy except maybe Broadcastify who has to work a little harder to sell subscriptions to cover costs of content licensing to RR. RR becomes an even stronger business than it already is. Broadcastify has day-one Sales motivation. Strong. OpEx will pull it under if it doesn't sell.

Either way, with shared ownership the value of both businesses combined is up, and that's a stronger business decision.

The risk falls on the new venture not the old.

Now, if the goal was really is to inject capital into Broadcastify, assuming every person wanted the Broadcastify perk and all feeders instantly started paying for RR DB access, $4425/mo ain't enough to properly capitalize an Internet startup these days. IMHO. If you can pull that off, you're doing really good work there.

$53K a year minus taxes doesn't even cover one salary. It probably doesn't even make Broadcastify profitable in EBITDA terms, let alone truly profitable for a good long while.

Don't get me wrong, I love small business and love that you're venturing out into a new one. And I say 100% you can make whatever decision you like. They're your businesses.

Personally I would say if Broadcastify can stand alone, let it. Passing the capitalization costs along to customers of the other owned business by saying "this is for your own good", just isn't good risk management and it's even worse customer relations.

Just my opinion. Think creatively. They're separate businesses. Truly make them separate.
  #143 (permalink)  
Old 09-11-2012, 11:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blantonl View Post
The feeds will always be available for free on Broadcastify.com
The feeds will always be free but if you lose 5% or more of the people who now provide the feeds, how will you regain that service for the listeners?
  #144 (permalink)  
Old 09-12-2012, 12:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blantonl View Post
..and a couple other things, just to toot our horn for those that are feed providers that value our services.

We have the infrastructure to service hundreds of thousands of listeners.

When a major incident occurs, the following happens on RadioReference (and upcoming on Broadcastify.com)
  • We pay out significant amounts of money to feed providers who experience major incidents via gift certificates to Scanner Master. You can see the incentive schedule here: Feed Provider Incentives - The RadioReference Wiki
  • We scale our infrastructure to support tens of thousands of listeners for any one given feed when required.
  • We promote your feed to the overall community, via the use of social media tools, which further increases your chances of qualifying for a feed provider incentive. (this year we've issued (3) $300 gift certificates to feed providers, in addition to numerous $50/75/150 certificates).

It is very easy for someone to self host a feed. For those that do, they are getting the satisfaction that they are providing for their community and friends, but they don't participate in any of the incentive programs that we offer.. And that's fine, but when something "big" happens, and all the sudden you need 250/mb of bandwidth to support 10K+ listeners, what are you going to do then?

Don't forget that we provide that level of capability to every feed provider. For free.
I never knew about the incentives. Tomorrow morning I am going to buy 7000 computers so they call listen to my feed.
  #145 (permalink)  
Old 09-12-2012, 12:42 AM
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From a purely business perspective (also without a dog in the fight) reason for doing what Lindsay announced (without having any real knowledge, these are just possibilities):

Perhaps there’s a great reason for splitting the two sites:
- The sites may be split to better optimize their infrastructure to reduce costs, since streaming is bandwidth heavy and dynamic while the database and forums are somewhat static (yes, I understand that the database changes and forums grow with each post).
- The sites may be split to isolate one from any legal action taken against the other (say an officer is hurt due to some idiot listening to the feed and ambushing them).
- The management may want to retire to Fiji and can get better value when selling by separating the two sites (Lindsay, please post some pics! LOL).
- The management may have had several requests to add duplicate feeds that they had to reject and thought this was a great way to open up some slots for the new folks when the existing ones got mad and shut down their old feeds.
- Lindsay thought it was April 1, not September 11 and that this announcement would be a great joke. Come on, Broadcastify, really. Sounds like a Bushism as in "We’re going to broadcastify these police and fire radio calls."

When a business is sold or spun off it’s often critical that the separation be complete or at least very well defined. Failing to do so not only can, but generally will cause issues. There also is nearly always a “non-compete” clause as part of the separation agreement to prevent one entity from simply rebuilding the functionality of the other entity, causing both to fail.

Even if this management keeps both sides (which they most likely will), there may be valid contractual obligations that prevent them from doing some optimizations to better handle the sites’ infrastructure or cost structure. They may be locked into their current vendor(s) for the RadioReference.com domain and were able to get a better deal (cost, bandwidth distribution, infrastructure, etc.) for the new Broadcastify.com domain. This may allow them to do some type of distributed feeds for the dynamic streaming content to quickly handle spikes in traffic when a major event happens.

This will turn out very good, very bad, or perhaps something in-between. If feeders don’t like the new terms, they can simply end their feeds and let others take them over. If listeners don’t like the changes (not that it sounds like they’ll even notice anything) they can stop listening to them. If forum and/or database users don’t like the changes, they can simply stop posting or using the database. For others, things will go on as usual or with a few minor changes (like paying for premium membership or manually entering the data into their scanners). For new users of either service, they probably won’t know anything happened unless they run across an old thread. Give this change a chance; you might even end up liking it.
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  #146 (permalink)  
Old 09-12-2012, 1:12 AM
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Reading this thread I've learned the following:

1. A lot of people don't/can't read - How many times has Lindsay reiterated the same facts?

2. A lot of people are either moving a lot or deleting their programming for the sake of a fresh start?? How often does one really need to reprogram their scanner from scratch? I've reprogrammed mine many, many, MANY times. The only time an automatic direct download is really needed is the first time or after a complete makeover of a system - and how often does that happen? Adding or changing a few things is easier done manually by hand or manually in software anyway.

3. Clearly there are a lot of cheapskates out there who obviously have only selfish motivation for providing a feed. Where is the sense of community and pride that providing a feed gives? I thought you were providing a service? If you are doing such for a reimbursement of less than 9 pennies a day, I feel sorry for you.

4. Everyone is replaceable. If you stop your feed there is more likely than not another user out there willing to provide it.
  #147 (permalink)  
Old 09-12-2012, 1:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KLH View Post

I think it would be fair to include access to the RR Database so that we can log in and program our scanners easily. I mean, it is in YOUR best interest that OUR scanners are programmed correctly.
Very good point.
  #148 (permalink)  
Old 09-12-2012, 2:00 AM
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I think its a good idea and I know RR has good things in store for the future. Like another said if one drops a feed which I dont think many at all will drop there is always some one else willing to feed and sometimes more then previous. You cant make everyone happy but the majority will like change.
  #149 (permalink)  
Old 09-12-2012, 2:42 AM
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Default 2 Questions and 2 comments:

Q1. You say a premium feature will be “unlimited listening times on the Web players.” Will iPhone app users (Scanner 911, Police Radio, TuneIn, etc.) be limited as to how long they will be able to listen when the new rollout happens?

Q2. You say “no advertisements” is a premium feature. Personally, I don’t enjoy clicking the Scanner Master ads, but will the new rollout mean there will be a break in listening to a feed making people listen to a “commercial” or click an ad to continue listening?

Comment 1: While I am trusting your leadership, I’m a little apprehensive to some of the changes that are going to take place, because you have created such a great community for scanner enthusiasts to connect and the current system works very well (from a user/feed provider standpoint)…I say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!! I hope that RR doesn’t forget about their hobbyist roots and eventually sell out and have to answer to shareholders who know nothing about this tight-knit hobby and loyal fan base.

Comment 2: I don’t mind paying for some of the cool premium features this new rollout offers, but I understand that I (a feed provider) will have to soon pay to access the RR database in order for my Starrsoft Win96 software and my Pro-96 to update to the latest freqs. Is this true? If so, while I am all for RR making as much $ as you can, don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
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  #150 (permalink)  
Old 09-12-2012, 3:42 AM
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I might as well throw my hat into the ring too. Frankly the Screw You attitude that Lindsey is providing in the majority of his replies just show's that he's already lost touch and it's became all about the money not the people. Just because you attach a larger dollar amount to the so called perks doesn't automatically make them more desirable. You could claim they are worth $24.95/mo and they wouldn't be any more attractive if people have little to no desire to use it.

It's very obvious too all but you Lindsey it seems, that access to the database is what makes people happy to provide a feed. You act like you are personally offended that people like and prefer the perk with less value. If you'd stop and give it 2 seconds of thought if we choose the lesser value perk it means more money in your pocket because that's less you have to offer us.

I mean seriously, how hard is it to click refresh every once in a while when you are likely already sitting at the computer listening. That's not a perk, that's a pig with lipstick on it.

The ease of being able to download and program my scanners from the database is a major appeal to me. No I don't do it every day, but it's enough to know the time savings and value it is. That said I'm with the MAJORITY not minority on this one taking away the database access is a dumb idea that is ill conceived to say the least. Like others I'll hang around for a while to see what all goes down in the end but if I have to go back to doing everythingthing manually there isn't too much incentive left for me, because the rest is free without strings. I don't have a large feed my peak was around 70 listeners but without it that's 70 people you wont be having visiting your site and anyone else they might tell to come stop by for a listen, because not only am I the ONLY provider in my area I'm also the ONLY provider to some neighboring counties. If/when I go I will leave a nice hole in your coverage map.

Also if you look through this whole thread the majority of the ones that are in support of all this are admins. Just thought I'd point that out.

As we all know the life cycle of things on the net are never very long for most. Are we seeing the signs of a new has been and possible opening for the next best thing. I don't know, but we'll find out I guess wont we.

Okay, my hat has been thrown.
  #151 (permalink)  
Old 09-12-2012, 3:46 AM
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Feed providers should protest this by dropping their feeds until this is changed. Feed providers use electricity, computers, internet connection, and passion to the hobby to make the feeds available for all to enjoy with the cost paid by the providers themselves. The more feed providers that bail, hopefully will change the mind of lindsay. Boycott!!!!!
  #152 (permalink)  
Old 09-12-2012, 4:14 AM
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If RadioReference.com Premium Subscribers are losing access to the Live Audio Feeds being ad free, and Audio Feed archives will the Premium Subscription cost change at all for Radio Reference?

Usually if services are cut, so is the subscription cost. Maybe this has already been discussed and I just didn't see it as I skimmed 8 pages.

I'm a firm believer that "If it isn't broke, don't fix it." I understand the intent but, RadioReference has been the place that many look to when there is something going on in their neighborhood or something much larger, like the Colorado incident earlier this year.

Why not add the broadcastify features here? Give the end user options... For example
- $xx per year for full access to the database and premium access to audio (recorded & live) with alerts, etc.
- $xx per year for full access to the database. Only access to live audio with ads, no archive access, no alerts, etc.
- $xx per year for premium access to audio (recorded & live) with alerts, etc. No premium access to the database.

With something like that you could at least give feed providers a discount towards the membership option of their choice.

I have already said it in another thread (begin reading at this post) and feel this is only further evidence that I am making the right decision. I have submitted found frequencies, information, and been a premium subscriber here for years. When my subscription expires in April, I will not be renewing. Read the thread I posted above for the other reason behind my decision.

Scanners are how I make my living, I can't afford to continue to share information here when it is not benefiting me or my business and the cost/ease of use is rapidly fading out of sight. I am fully capable of programming each of my scanners by hand, and I intend on doing so. Access to the archives is great for incidents that occurred when I am sleeping, however they alone are not worth $84/year in my honest opinion.

For someone just getting into the hobby, this is becoming VERY expensive. $300+ for most new scanners, $20+ for software to program that new scanner, $30/year to download data to keep your new scanner current, $84/year if you want access ad-free access to live audio, archives, or alerts.
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Last edited by MadSpleen85; 09-12-2012 at 4:16 AM..
  #153 (permalink)  
Old 09-12-2012, 5:32 AM
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I will be waiting a bit I guess to see how this all shakes out, but I do feel the new feed provider "benefits" are not really benefits. It seems the last couple of years there has been more and more mention of options we as feed providers will be able to purchase (trimmed audio, longer archives, etc).

Maybe things like this would go over better if there was a listserv or private area for feed providers on the forums to discuss changes prior to the decisions being made, or at least give a heads up and time to get complaints out in the open. When we signed up, we agreed to terms and conditions with RR which could change at any time, but we did NOT sign up with Broadcastify.

Ultimately if I do decide to terminate my feeds, I will most likely continue hosting and archiving them myself via shoutcast. I know there will be others who will come along and fill the small gap I leave in time and things will continue. I never used the features provided to me as a free premium subscriber but appreciated and valued presence of the offer.

With all of the talk about the importance of the "community" - it seems to me the community was left out of this decision. I wish you well Lindsay and hope you have great success with the sites, but please don't try to sell me on this being something good for the community when the community did not have any active participation in the direction a few people decided to take. However, Money Talks and Bull**** walks and to many of us, we see the bull backing towards us.
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  #154 (permalink)  
Old 09-12-2012, 6:33 AM
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Maybe a happy middle would be a choice of subscription to either brands for providing feeds. Myself, I would choose the new Broadcastify subscription because the Archives are the only thing I find useful, but I can see where others can find the database very helpful. Provide more than one feed, receive Subscription to both. If it wasn't for the feed providers, RR and it's predecessors would not be in existence. Sure, there is monetary value in these subscriptions, but the actual cost to provide them for free to those who help build the network is Zero.

Many feed providers like myself are scrambling to find ways to enhance their feeds. Because of the mandatory narrow-banding, many municipalities are making the switch from analog to digital as well. My current feed is one of these. I will need to purchase a new digital scanner within the next few months to be able to continue my feed. With the economy the way it is, it is hard to justify that expense as well as other added expenses just to keep the scanner online, but that is my intent. I do look forward to the changes, but feel that some may want a choice in which they want as a "perk" to continue providing the feeds.
  #155 (permalink)  
Old 09-12-2012, 6:42 AM
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Originally Posted by bbrown77 View Post
Maybe a happy middle would be a choice of subscription to either brands for providing feeds. Myself, I would choose the new Broadcastify subscription because the Archives are the only thing I find useful, but I can see where others can find the database very helpful. Provide more than one feed, receive Subscription to both. If it wasn't for the feed providers, RR and it's predecessors would not be in existence. Sure, there is monetary value in these subscriptions, but the actual cost to provide them for free to those who help build the network is Zero.

Many feed providers like myself are scrambling to find ways to enhance their feeds. Because of the mandatory narrow-banding, many municipalities are making the switch from analog to digital as well. My current feed is one of these. I will need to purchase a new digital scanner within the next few months to be able to continue my feed. With the economy the way it is, it is hard to justify that expense as well as other added expenses just to keep the scanner online, but that is my intent. I do look forward to the changes, but feel that some may want a choice in which they want as a "perk" to continue providing the feeds.
What if you want the archives, but occasionally want to use the database? "Pay up" is what I hear...
  #156 (permalink)  
Old 09-12-2012, 6:45 AM
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After reading quite a few of these post's I am amazed at the amount of intelligent people that seem to think that they must pay for a premium account in order to use the DB or forums. I have been a member of this site for many years and have seen a few changes, some I agree with and others I don't, but this site has never charged to use the DB or forums. I have provided frequencies to the DB because I felt that it was important to the community. I have requested to be a Database Admin, and turned down because my state has too many, but I continue to give back to the community. I have my application to be an audio feed provider again because my city is not on the feed list. Although I use programming software for all of my radio's, it is just as easy to enter the information by hand as it is to go through all of those questions each time I wish to download to my software package. It is a shame that some of you are only doing this for the use of this one perk. We seem to have forgotten that Radio Reference is a business, it does cost a great deal of money to provide this "FREE" service. Lindsey is fortunate enough that there is money left over to pay himself and what few employees he may have a salary. The way I look at this is I have a FREE platform to share my feed to others. If I had to host this it would cost far more than a premium subscription. Yes I am tech savvy and could provide a small feed for myself at little to no cost, but could not allow a large number to listen and continue to allow the family to use the internet for there entertainment.
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Old 09-12-2012, 6:46 AM
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Originally Posted by jvic View Post
What if you want the archives, but occasionally want to use the database? "Pay up" is what I hear...
yes, if you want the best of both then you would need to pay for one, but for those who only want one or the other, having a choice s better than being stuck with a perk you do not use.
  #158 (permalink)  
Old 09-12-2012, 6:52 AM
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Originally Posted by GrumpyGuard View Post
After reading quite a few of these post's I am amazed at the amount of intelligent people that seem to think that they must pay for a premium account in order to use the DB or forums. I have been a member of this site for many years and have seen a few changes, some I agree with and others I don't, but this site has never charged to use the DB or forums. I have provided frequencies to the DB because I felt that it was important to the community. I have requested to be a Database Admin, and turned down because my state has too many, but I continue to give back to the community. I have my application to be an audio feed provider again because my city is not on the feed list. Although I use programming software for all of my radio's, it is just as easy to enter the information by hand as it is to go through all of those questions each time I wish to download to my software package. It is a shame that some of you are only doing this for the use of this one perk. We seem to have forgotten that Radio Reference is a business, it does cost a great deal of money to provide this "FREE" service. Lindsey is fortunate enough that there is money left over to pay himself and what few employees he may have a salary. The way I look at this is I have a FREE platform to share my feed to others. If I had to host this it would cost far more than a premium subscription. Yes I am tech savvy and could provide a small feed for myself at little to no cost, but could not allow a large number to listen and continue to allow the family to use the internet for there entertainment.
I agree with you for the most part, but also understand those who are upset with the decisions made. I have to manually program my scanners so it isn't a big deal, that info is readily available for free.

Yes, it does cost money to provide the free service, RR sells advertising to help offset the cost. It also cost money to provide a feed, these "perks" are just a way to give the feed providers an incentive for incurring that cost and allowing RR to host their streams, It is a two way street. I am thankful for RR for allowing us to have this platform, but at the same time, they should be thankful for the feed providers for helping build the company.

Last edited by bbrown77; 09-12-2012 at 7:13 AM..
  #159 (permalink)  
Old 09-12-2012, 7:19 AM
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I agree with you for the most part, but also understand those who are upset with the decisions made. I have to manually program my scanners so it isn't a big deal, that info is readily available for free.
I do understand those that are upset. But again if the only reason they are providing the feed is to gain the premium membership in RR they are doing it for the wrong reasons. The same would be true for the folks that want to be Admins, so they could get the premium membership for free. The bottom line is each feed provider is being compensated for their feed. They are receiving a premium membership on the host site. RR will no longer be hosting the live feeds therefore the feed providers are not eligible for premium membership on this site. Weather I agree with this or not is not important and complaining will not change this situation. Only time will tell if RR did the right thing in spinning off the live feed to another site. Although I also don't care for the name of the new site.

Quote:
Yes, it does cost money to provide the free service, RR sells advertising to help offset the cost. It also cost money to provide a feed, these "perks" are just a way to give the feed providers an incentive for incurring that cost and allowing RR to host their streams, It is a two way street. I am thankful for RR for allowing us to have this platform, but at the same time, they should be thankful for the feed providers for helping build the company.
The amount of money that most will spend on this feed is nominal. Most people already have a spare radio that is not doing anything, the software is free, and the amount of band width is nominal that is used to upload the feed to the server. The biggest expense is the small amount of electricity used to power the computer. And the new site will still be compensating the feed provider with a premium membership.

Last edited by GrumpyGuard; 09-12-2012 at 7:37 AM.. Reason: respond to second part of statement
  #160 (permalink)  
Old 09-12-2012, 7:47 AM
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Very exciting times! Although I will miss having the premium subscription to RR, I know it is necessary and I am very glad to be a feed provider during the switch. A couple things that may have been already mentioned, but I haven't seen:
1: Are you planning on sending out an email to all current feed providers about this switch? I think this would be helpful especially for those people who do not actually log onto RadioReference.com on a regular basis.
2: Will there be any way for listeners of feeds to chat amongst themselves about the goings-on on a certain feed?

Thanks again and I am very excited for the changes!
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Dan, KC9VZV
IPN Dispatcher: ILL043
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