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Hi folks. This is Bob, founder of USW. I don’t post a lot mainly because I’m still a little “keyboard challenged”. :) But I am getting better. First, I want to thank each and every member for helping us to deliver the live streams to your home and others around the world over the past year. Without your support, we clearly would not been able to do it. We have been blessed to see some amazing things over the past year. I can also tell you that receiving the wonderful feedback and stories of how USW has had an impact in your life has truly been inspiring to us. We want more than ever to continue delivering this and more over the years to come. Each and every staff member is excited as I am to make this happen.
I wanted to let you know about upcoming plans for USW. We have always had a desire to offer the streams for free viewing to the world, but had to rely on the original model to get us where we are today. We are now at the phase where offering it for free to the viewers is a reality.
No, that doesn’t mean that we don’t still have the costs for cameras, paid cam operators, streaming costs, website hosting and development costs, and enormous feed costs just to name a few. It also doesn’t mean that we’re out of the woods yet. It just means that we are now at a point where we believe we can rely on ad revenue to support the site. Our hope is that by going free to our viewers, that more will be able to come and enjoy the wildlife viewing experience. More viewers will in turn allow for more ad revenue for allowing this to continue and for bringing on more cams and changes to the site.
It will take us a bit to modify the website, but until then we will be making each 3-day sign-up a permanent account. We would like to thank you in advance for helping us to spread the word. I am attempting to answer some questions that might arise from this below. I ask that if you have a question not listed below that you send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will answer you personally and then add the questions and response to this post.
Thank you all once again for everything you have done to make USW what it is today. We are sincerely glad you are here.
Does this mean that the site will get cluttered with ads?
No, our goal still stands to keep the site classy and not what we term “junked up” with ads. Most of what you see already will remain. A lot of great website changes will be coming but we will always focus on delivering a high quality site that is centered on the wildlife. We of course do encourage you to check out our advertisers if you see something that interests you.
Does this mean you no longer need help?
By no means. We still have the costs for cameras, paid cam operators, streaming costs, website hosting and development costs, just to name a few. It only means we are working to get these costs offset by ad revenue. We still have a need for habitat improvement projects as well as enormous feed costs support. If you have a desire to help, please feel free to contact us directly. Until changes can be made to the site, an easy way to contribute is by using the membership payment process since the payment structure will not change until the site changes can be made.
I paid $20 to be a member. What does that mean for me?
You mean the world to us. You were responsible for helping USW make it this far. You have helped make USW what it is today. You’ve also helped considerably to support the wildlife as well. While we sincerely appreciate your support our goal is not to slight anyone along the way as we change to make it free for people to view it. If you would like a refund please contact us directly at email@example.com.
Will anyone be able to post in the comments box?
Anyone will be able to watch the live streams, but only registered members will be able to post comments in the comments box or on the Forum. We will also include in our development the ability to assign moderators to help keep comments in order. This is your website as well and we want to keep it a family friendly and wildlife focused site.
When will the website changes be coming?
We will begin making the 3-day trial accounts permanent accounts right away, but will be making site changes as quickly as we can. There is no set date yet as it will involve significant coding changes and costs. We will be making them as quickly as we are able.
Are you still planning to add new cams?
Absolutely. Our goal has not changed in that we intend to deliver live streams of wildlife from around the world. Some of the new cams will be purchased and setup solely by USW. Others will be provided by other entities/partners using one of the cam network programs that we offer. We have programs for individuals or entities with existing cams, as well as programs for individuals or entities wanting to put in a new cam. We can even offer revenue opportunities for each program. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any serious inquires about the cam programs.
Making this a free site is good, but this will allow alot more people on, will this slow the response time of the cams down? I would like for you to keep my membership fee for the deer and other wildlife.
The $20 is being well used. I don't want a refund. & I'll always be a subscribed member
Infact I mentioned this website to some friends on another wildlife chat/webcam site, and no one has heard of it but was very greatful to know about it. Someone said just this morning, "Wonder how I missed this one?"
FWIW, not sure what it'd cost, but if more people who are looking for live streams of animal webcams could find USW by using Yahoo or Google search engine, it would defintely bring in more members.
Just my 2 cents, but as for myself, I would rather pay a fee and know that things are working and will work 99.99% of the time I click to watch, than have it free and then have problems viewing because of huge numbers of viewers becoming too much of a load and putting cam feeds down,
As the website grows in numbers, you may need this income to expand, to be able to grow with it. Not so sure going completely free would be best, adding more cams, more feed costs, which may require more camera operators, and other costs. Will going free now, cover future plans? Cover any unforeseen maintanence expenses? As things wear out and need to be replaced, or repaired, etc. i.e. "With more things comes more responsibility, with more responsibility more is required"
while it's a very nice gesture, making it free, I'd certainly make for 100% certain USW was exactly where you want it to be first and that the staff is able to reach & maintain anything that is required at that level first, that each person is able (more supply, higher demands) And THEN, make the fee optional. That way, for those who maybe can't afford it can still view and enjoy the USW experience, and yet still leave the door open to those of us who may feel more secure about the site going 'free', by still being able to contribute and pay a yearly fee.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, if the site growing is going to affect viewing experience I'd rather pay the fee and help with that, than have it free and have problems viewing my most favorite webcams in the world, and that's at useewildlife.com. Because it is an experience and each one of us enjoys it so much, we don't want anything to happen to it and hinder it in any way.
If paying a fee makes that viewing experience better, more enhanced, more reliable and secure, and helps USW grow and be able to continue to give us that stable viewing experience and enjoyment, that members love and come to rely on, then I'd rather pay the yearly fee every year when it's due to be able to ensure that everyone can fully enjoy the experience here at USW , so that no one misses out simply because maybe they have an older computer or a slower internet connection.
Other wildlife webcam sites have ads across the webcam viewing screen and is extremely annoying and some times I simply won't watch them because of it. I'm in the process right now of trying to negotiate with them to allow me to pay a fee so I can enjoy the webcams without having to click ads off every few seconds. Sometimes it's nice to record webcams and having ads splilled across the screen, advertisements ruins the whole "life-like" viewing experience. I pray this is not what will happen to the cams at USW.
Anyways, just wanted to say, you guys have an awesome website, Number 2 on my lists of favorite webcams, Number 1 is another live webcam, African Safari at wildearth.tv. where you get to ride along in a jeep and look for wildlife in Africa and view a live webcam. But with the time difference you only can see well early in mornings or really late at night. During the day is only infrared and the cams have trouble keeping a solid signal and FULL of ads! Ugh! .But it's exciting to see live wildlife, in real-time, like you're actually there.
The only webcams on the internet that can even compete with this one, or come anywhere even close, is USW. I seldom watch all the other animal cams anymore since I've discovered USW. And you've got 8 cams! AWESOME!! And believe me I've looked all day long, from sun up to sun down, for weeks and months on end, for animal webcams. I am in a wheelchair from MS and have nothing but time, so I have seen pretty much everything that it out there. I can tell you, nothing comes close to USW.
Just got to be able to find you guys on Google/Yahoo to let more people find the site and you'll grow. FWIW, when it comes to quality, some things in life, are just worth paying for, to be able have & enjoy the best! Besides, when you give, you always get something wonderful back in return, You tend to look after it and tend to it more often when it means more to you, simplye because it cost you something to get it,
And what this site has to offer a viewer is "priceless". It brings joy, healing and comfort, and peace to many. How do you put a price on that?? Just for the good it has done in my own life in the short time I've been a member, I hardly think $20 is too much to ask, I am willing to give back for what it has done in my own life, and if the site goes free, I hope others will do the same, not only to help the site grow, but to say "thankyou!, we appreciate everything USW staff does for us every day so that we can continue to reap a blessing from it in our daily lives."
If it goes "free", I hope each member will continue to give back in return for the good USW has done in each of our own personal lives, and hopefully, many will continue to support USW as they are able, and continue to show support over the years as USW grows so that the financial requirements doesn't get left entirely on USW's shoulders to carry alone.
"Thankyou" and may God Bless the entire USW Staff & families!!
Michelle in Colorado
Michelle, you have made alot of good points. I hope the powers that be take all of your thoughts into account. I have to say I to would rather pay and have good feeds then to have it free and not have good feeds. Thank You for writing my fears down so the staff will know our concerns.
Thank you all for the wonderful feedback. Going free will help us draw more viewers and ultimately proivide the funding necessary to achieve each and every goal we have. While going free will increase the number of viewers, we will grow the system capabilities in step to ensure there is no slowdown or negative impact to the viewing experience. High quality (streaming, audio, website, and overall animal sighting experience) is still the number one goal for USW. The end result is that going free simply shifts the revenue from membership fees to advertising revenue. The increase in ad revenue numbers that come from the increase in viewers will support the revenue required for expansion across the board (streaming, number of cameras, and changes to deliver you a much better experience). We still want the user experience to be the best we can deliver and we do not want for the site to be what some have termed "pimped out" with ads. Our goals have not changed at all. Our approach to making it a reality is the only thing that has been mondified. In today's economy, even $20 can be a challenge and we want to do our part to help in helping to deliver this to everyone. We want to remove any barriers for people getting to view nature at its best.
So if I'm understanding this correctly, does this mean it is free now to join? My Mother is also housebound and would like to join, but she told me this morning "I'd love to see it, as long as it's 'free', I can't buy anything right now".
Been a member for a full year & some. I post pics I scape from here at 2 other forums, one of which posted the link to this site last year. Got me hooked. I've Copied & pasted the notice that Bob has on top to let them know. I know some are already members but don't post here, yet. This is a great site for true addict like me. Been addicted to cams since /06 with the Hornby eagles. This site makes you want to research the birds & animals we see.
Yes maam, it is free today. We are modifying all new 3-day sign-ups to a permanent account right now. Eventually we will have the changes on the site to reflect it, but for now we are just modifying accounts. We will continue modifying existing accounts until all accounts are updated, but it may take a bit. If anyone reading this has an account that is no longer active, please shoot us an e-mail to email@example.com and we'll get it modified right away.
We are also working on the search engine optimization, but it is a challenging thing.
I've HWF & BCATW forums know ,Bob.
Bob, I thank you for offering this to everyone. I did not mind paying the $20 a year for the wonderful viewing we get to see. As I understand it, if someone does not pay the $20 they will not be able to post comments? So the posting will be only the paying members? I know you have had problems with the uplink providers lately and that is something you have had no control over. We appreciate your working with them to get the problems solved. Sometimes we forget how much goes into having a wonderful website like this. I thank you and want to make sure you know how much I appreciate your offering your website to us in the first place. Beverly
Quoting Beverly" As I understand it, if someone does not pay the $20 they will not be able to post comments? So the posting will be only the paying members?" or is it still for free members if they register to use the forum & post like on the Hancock forum? There anyone can read but can only post if they are members (no pay)
Little cornfussed here
Eiguoc you are right free members can use the forum and post as long as they register.
Thank you Suem
Thanks Suem. I did not understand that.
If there is ever a need for me to contribute $20 or whatever I'm willing to do so. Maybe you should setup a paypal account for donations and put it up on the website periodically when there is a need for some help with funding. This is a great website that is needed not only for those who love wildlife,but also for those who are unable to get out or just need some comfort in their lives.