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Access to Blue Board records and jobs using browniz points and cash to be discontinued as of Nov. 15
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Maija Cirule  Identity Verified
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Local time: 02:36
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Would you Nov 8, 2016

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

Maija Cirule wrote:

Take it or leave it

Last time I checked, proz was not a state-owned and regulated enterprise but a private one meaning that the owner is free to introduce any changes as he pleases and when he pleases. There are plenty more fish in the sea and nobody is forced at knifepoint to maintain proz membership.


I honestly never find it very edifying or enriching when an open discussion is "countered" with a "take it or leave it" (or "if you don't like it, there's the door") stance. I believe this way of reasoning, based on ultimatums and a totally top-down approach isn't a particularly healthy, constructive and open way of discussing things and comparing different points of view, especially in what is sometimes referred to as a "community" (?).

Besides — and it should go without saying — the power to enforce something has nothing to do with the moral/ethical, fairness, etc. aspects of that something being enforced.

And by the way, what are those "plenty more fish in the sea", and how is that relevant, when the discussion centers around the changes that are being implemented to a specific platform, and the people discussing them are members (many for several years) of that platform and have invested their time in it?


please be so kind as to refrain from unsolicited advice and mind your own business? Thank you in advance.


 

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
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Local time: 01:36
חבר
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No advice Nov 8, 2016

Maija Cirule wrote:

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

Maija Cirule wrote:

Take it or leave it

Last time I checked, proz was not a state-owned and regulated enterprise but a private one meaning that the owner is free to introduce any changes as he pleases and when he pleases. There are plenty more fish in the sea and nobody is forced at knifepoint to maintain proz membership.


I honestly never find it very edifying or enriching when an open discussion is "countered" with a "take it or leave it" (or "if you don't like it, there's the door") stance. I believe this way of reasoning, based on ultimatums and a totally top-down approach isn't a particularly healthy, constructive and open way of discussing things and comparing different points of view, especially in what is sometimes referred to as a "community" (?).

Besides — and it should go without saying — the power to enforce something has nothing to do with the moral/ethical, fairness, etc. aspects of that something being enforced.

And by the way, what are those "plenty more fish in the sea", and how is that relevant, when the discussion centers around the changes that are being implemented to a specific platform, and the people discussing them are members (many for several years) of that platform and have invested their time in it?


please be so kind as to refrain from unsolicited advice and mind your own business? Thank you in advance.


I haven't given you any advice at all. Like you, I am just taking part in an open discussion on an open forum.

Actually, it is you who advised other participants to this discussion to "take it or leave it" or to look elsewhere...

P.S. Being a member of this site, what happens on/to it kind of is "my business"...

[Edited at 2016-11-08 17:38 GMT]


 

Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
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Local time: 01:36
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+ ...
A logical fault with the "ROI guarantee" Nov 8, 2016

Not only is Mirko right, there is yet another problem with the ROI guarantee:

If at the end of your first year after purchasing the Plus package ... you have not earned back from clients met via the site at least what you invested in the Plus package, ProZ.com will refund the money that you are "out" on the deal (up the full amount you have paid, less payment fees lost during the transaction)


This provision disregards the fact that non-paying members may also find clients via the site. So, the presumed return on investment is actually the difference between what you earn from clients found here if you pay the membership fee, and the same if you don't. A while ago, I asked on a forum if anyone could provide any evidence (or at least a subjective opinion) that becoming a paid member would increase the earnings of a seasoned professional who is already working full-time (in other words, that the clients met via paid membership would pay more on average than clients met via free one). No one affirmed. I can do another test and repeat this question now.


 

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 19:36
מייסד אתר
Repetition of prior explanation Nov 8, 2016

Jenny Forbes wrote:

Dear Henry,
You haven't answered my earlier question in this thread about asking the "third party" to whom subscription management has been/is being outsourced to find a way of continuing the Browniz discount on subscription renewals.
You simply say that the (unidentified) subscription management service doesn't handle points discounts.
But why not?
Proz is that entity's customer. Why cannot Proz require it to find a way of handling points discounts? If Proz used to be able to do so, which it has done since I've been a member, why cannot the subscription management service do so too? Henry, you are its boss! If it won't/can't comply, why not find one which can?
Please explain.
Jenny

To repeat, it can be done (I assume -- there is always a way) but it would take some development work, and for the time being we are prioritizing the things about to be released.

Why not give higher priority to this? Because we have all we can do to get ready the things we are about to release. Plus, it is true that I consider the fact that the new price is lower than the prior browniz-discounted price, to be a mitigating factor.

I probably have not worded that well but I hope you take my point.


 

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 19:36
מייסד אתר
The spirit behind the ROI guarantee Nov 9, 2016

Mirko Mainardi wrote:
This "ROI guarantee" is being marketed (including the visual emphasis and wording itself) as something extraordinary, while I find it's actually less than the money back guarantee that applies (and applied) to the (old) "standard" membership. More fine print: "If at the end of your first year after purchasing the Plus package ... you have not earned back from clients met via the site at least what you invested in the Plus package, ProZ.com will refund the money that you are "out" on the deal (up the full amount you have paid, less payment fees lost during the transaction)". So, basically, if after a year of "Plus" membership you tell them you have earned less than $149/180 with clients you met through ProZ, you'll get a refund, with the refund being "equal to the difference between what you paid and what you earned, less the settlement fees and sales taxes that were lost in the payment transaction", and then your account gets closed down...

Anton Konashenok wrote:
This provision disregards the fact that non-paying members may also find clients via the site. So, the presumed return on investment is actually the difference between what you earn from clients found here if you pay the membership fee, and the same if you don't. A while ago, I asked on a forum if anyone could provide any evidence (or at least a subjective opinion) that becoming a paid member would increase the earnings of a seasoned professional who is already working full-time (in other words, that the clients met via paid membership would pay more on average than clients met via free one). No one affirmed. I can do another test and repeat this question now.

It sounds like you are taking a look at the ROI guarantee, Anton. I appreciate that. And I follow your logic, and your point about "the difference between what you earn from clients found here if you pay the membership fee, and the same if you don't". (Although I suppose it is fairly obvious that being in the first set of results in the directory would tend to result in more clients met.)

Anyway, I feel like sharing my thoughts on the ROI thing. Maybe I will learn something.

The ROI guarantee came from me. The wording is very rough, I know. If anyone can suggest better wording, I am open to it. The intent is basically to motivate you to give membership a try, knowing that the worst you can do, financially, is break even. Because I think that if you try it, and you are a professional translator, it will probably work for you. And then, probably, you will remain a member for some years into the future.

The background behind the ROI guarantee is this:

- Our statistics say that most people who try membership make money off of it (over 80% in most of our surveys, but in the 70%'s in some). Personally I find this remarkable. I would never have guessed it.

- When you add in people who became members but were not looking for clients, you get to high 80%'s or even 90+% of people who are satisfied with membership.

- Then there are the others: the people who hope to meet clients but do not. There are generally three types of people who fall into this category:

(a) The first type of person who hopes to meet clients but does not is the type that does not complete their profile, does not enter their areas of specialization, or otherwise rules themselves out of the right sort of directory searches. Often these are solid professionals who simply do not immediately grasp how the system works. To confess, we should do a better job of informing every member of what they need to do to make themselves discoverable. We plan to email such people individually after November 15 and work with them personally to make sure their profiles are solid. This is part of the reason that in order to be eligible for the ROI guarantee, one has to have a complete profile.

(b) The second type of person who hopes to meet clients but does not meet is the one who appears in the directory but fails to close clients. In other words, they have trouble presenting themselves well. Sometimes there is a misspelling in the tagline. Sometimes there is not a glaring error, but rather a combination of using a too-general tagline, a non-professional image, a choice not to show real name, or so on. Or they just are not that professional in their interactions with potential clients.

(c) The third type is this. Sometimes, someone says they did not meet clients, and we check, and we don't see anything "wrong" with the profile. The person is professional, they have done what they should have done -- there just was not a match. Believe it or not, this rarely happens. And believe it or not, it is usually not a matter of rates. People with high rates meet clients, too.

Here is my feeling about such cases. For type 1, it is a shame. We -- both the site team and the member -- ought to do better. I reason that the ROI guarantee, along with the complete profile provision, will motivate us to do better.

For type 2, what can we do? Sometimes people have suggested a "profile review service". We are not going to do that, for obvious reasons. Another way of looking at it is this: you can bring a horse to water but you can't make him drink. If client flow is produced and none of it "sticks", the service may not work for you. Thanks for giving it a try. Here is your money back. No harm, no foul.

For type three, when a professional capable of marketing him or herself has taken reasonable steps but no new client matches have occurred, hey, we did not live up to our end of the bargain. We ought to return the money.

Now, Mirko, you seem to suggest that you don't find the ROI guarantee to be particularly special. I don't know of anyone else on the internet making this sort of offer. Do you? In fact I have been playing with the idea of making this offer for years, and I continue to ask myself why no one does this. I suppose that maybe I will find out.

Put yourself in the position, though, of making an offer to thousands of people that if they somehow are not successful, you will give (up to) all of their money back at the end of the year. (After employees have been paid, etc.) How would you do that? Why would you do that?

In my case it basically comes down to this. I don't want anyone to be dissatisfied when they do business with my company. If it doesn't work for you, I don't want your money.

Of course, consistent with that, if it doesn't work for you, I expect that you are not going to want to continue using the service. This is why there is the "close out your profile" provision. We are putting our money where our mouths are on this. I think that it is fair for those who take me up on the offer to do the same. I hope you see my point there.

To Anton and others: I repeat my invitation to please give membership a try. You'll meet one or more new clients and take in more money than you spend, or you'll get your money back in a year. We are holding the money in the meantime. You can be sure we will work hard to deliver on our end of the bargain so that you can "expand your business and do better work".

Thanks for your consideration!


 

Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
גרמניה
Local time: 01:36
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+ ...
נזכור
I am sad Nov 9, 2016

The largest platform for translators decides to use an external payment provider and what we get is this discussion.
This discussion tells me more about our profession than about ProZ.

I more than welcome this step, in my opinion it was overdue and I am confident that it will help to develop ProZ into a more professional website. ProZ has served us well (and I mean all translators) but it needs to change to serve us even better in the future.
No, I am not a blind support
... See more
The largest platform for translators decides to use an external payment provider and what we get is this discussion.
This discussion tells me more about our profession than about ProZ.

I more than welcome this step, in my opinion it was overdue and I am confident that it will help to develop ProZ into a more professional website. ProZ has served us well (and I mean all translators) but it needs to change to serve us even better in the future.
No, I am not a blind supporter of ProZ, people knowing me, know that there are aspects that I am extremely critical with, but I am using ProZ to my advantage and I have a profile that lands new clients.

I will definitely renew my paid membership (also to help financing the services to the people, who are not paying members) and I will work hard to continue bringing several 100 visitors to ProZ per months (yes, this is also a contribution to the success of ProZ and I wonder how many visitors are generated by the members who are so loud and critical here).

For the Plus package however, I have not seen any single relevant piece of information that might convince me to purchase it. I am told that a CAT tool is included in the package – I don’t need any sweets, I am a professional, I can buy the tools for my work. What is in it for professionals?


[Edited at 2016-11-09 05:40 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-11-09 09:44 GMT]
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Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:36
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+ ...
Response to Henry Nov 9, 2016

Henry Dotterer wrote:

Amel, Anton, The Misha, Siegchen, Maxi: please consider finally giving ProZ.com membership a try. I can assure you that we work very hard to have it be worth the price to you, and more.

I'm thinking maybe this is your response to my earlier post. What I was asking about, though was contributions like the Blue Board example I gave. I had a non-payment issue for a substantial amount some years ago, and was able to warn members when the name of that client came up. This is not to my benefit. I was asking whether, with the new upcoming system, a non-member can still exercise that kind of responsibility, or whether we will be shut out from helping our colleagues in the profession? This was my only question.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
ספרד
Local time: 00:36
חבר (2007)
אנגלית
+ ...
But close the profile? Nov 9, 2016

Henry Dotterer wrote:
Of course, consistent with that, if it doesn't work for you, I expect that you are not going to want to continue using the service. This is why there is the "close out your profile" provision. We are putting our money where our mouths are on this. I think that it is fair for those who take me up on the offer to do the same. I hope you see my point there.

It's perfectly fair that you don't give their money back one minute and have them sign up again five minutes later. But why "close the profile"? Must they stop contributing to KudoZ and the forums etc, just because they failed to find clients here? That seems too harsh. Almost like a kid getting revenge and saying "you can't be in my club, then!" Surely it could be toned down to not being accepted as a paying member for the next ... (length of time), couldn't it? Surely everyone has a right to be a registered user, with a profile, unless they've been banned for some foul deed?

I would add what you probably know yourself, Henry. Your project to improve the company offer has been developed within a timescale that has allowed for virtually no customer consultation, no examination of the many implications and ways to avoid potential drawbacks, and as a result your customers are VERY unhappy bunnies.

[Edited at 2016-11-09 10:31 GMT]


 

Roni_S  Identity Verified
סלובקיה
Local time: 01:36
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+1 Sheila Nov 9, 2016

I was thinking precisely the same thing.

 

Arabic & More  Identity Verified
ירדן
מערבית לאנגלית
+ ...
Remaining Balances (Again) Nov 9, 2016

Some people have stated or implied that non-paying members are trying to get something for nothing. I would like to clarify that I have no problem with Proz charging for its services or making a profit as any business would strive to do. All I am asking for is the opportunity to use my remaining balances until they run out. I paid $20 with the understanding that I would be able quote on 20 jobs. Now I cannot do so. It is the same with Browniz. Although I do not have a huge amount of Browniz like... See more
Some people have stated or implied that non-paying members are trying to get something for nothing. I would like to clarify that I have no problem with Proz charging for its services or making a profit as any business would strive to do. All I am asking for is the opportunity to use my remaining balances until they run out. I paid $20 with the understanding that I would be able quote on 20 jobs. Now I cannot do so. It is the same with Browniz. Although I do not have a huge amount of Browniz like some members, these are points that were earned with the understanding that they could be used to access certain features on the site. Proz is the one who came up with this system, so you cannot say that non-members are behaving like leeches. If you think it is fair for money and points to suddenly be taken away in this fashion, then your concept of fair differs from mine.

I have no doubt that Proz membership is worth it for many people, and I have considered becoming a member in the past. However, I am doing pretty well with a steady stream of clients at the moment and also don't want to be "forced" into membership. If I ever decide to become a member, I'll do it when I am ready and on terms that are acceptable to me.

Right now, I have one question remaining, which is:

Assuming one does not wish to become a Proz member, what exactly can wallet cash and Browniz points be used for after November 15th?
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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
הממלכה המאוחדת
Local time: 00:36
חבר (2004)
מאנגלית לאיטלקית
It would be interesting... Nov 9, 2016

to know why the packages have been changed. In my mind, you don't change a winning team. Is the team not winning? Or is the team winning but it needs to win more? Is this an attempt to bring ProZ into a new era? To inject new life? Is it an evolution or a revolution? If the team is not winning, the manager usually go. Just curious... ah, do you know what would really attract new paying members? A total overhaul of the site. New colours, new functions, more interactivity...

 

LegalTranslatr2  Identity Verified
ארצות הברית
Local time: 19:36
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+ ...
Website and email hosting? Nov 9, 2016

The list of benefits does not include website and email hosting (http://www.proz.com/professional-membership)

Will this still be included in either the standard or Plus membership packages?


 

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 19:36
מייסד אתר
FAQ covers some of this. Nov 9, 2016

What is in it for professionals?

Is this an attempt to bring ProZ into a new era?

... why "close the profile"?

[will we] be shut out...?

Rather than getting wordy here again, I would refer you to the campaign page, which has FAQs that address these questions, at least at a high level, as well as a video of me speaking at length about these topics.

http://www.proz.com/professional-membership


 

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 19:36
מייסד אתר
Wallet balances can be refunded Nov 9, 2016

Assuming one does not wish to become a Proz member, what exactly can wallet cash and Browniz points be used for after November 15th?

Browniz, yes, as Jared posted there will be a future use or uses... so we'll just keep the balance records for now.
Wallet cash, no immediate plans for uses, so if you would like the money returned, just ask. If it is possible to refund the money without it all being eaten up by payment charges (it is not practical to wire $3 if a wire transfer is going to cost us $25 to send, and you $10 to receive), we will do so. And when it is not possible, we will be happy to discuss options.


 

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 19:36
מייסד אתר
Hosting was already removed from list of benefits Nov 9, 2016

LegalTransform wrote:

The list of benefits does not include website and email hosting (http://www.proz.com/professional-membership)

Will this still be included in either the standard or Plus membership packages?

Thank you for asking. We took hosting out of the list of benefits a year or two ago. We have been downplaying this service for three or four years, and encouraging people to look into hosting elsewhere, because others do a better job of offering hosting than we do. We started offering hosting many years ago, at a time that something like 3% of ProZ.com members had their own websites, and our goal was only to get people started online, and with their own email addresses. Obviously it was a trend bigger than ProZ.com, but I am very proud that we helped thousands of translators (6000?) to build their first website.

About 1800 people still host with us. We are not going to stop supporting any member who has a hosting account with us, at least not without providing notice and a migration path. But we stopped inviting people to the hosting service about a year ago and do not currently have plans to market it again in the future.

As some of you know, despite arguable conflict of interest, I am a strong advocate of having your own website, outside of ProZ.com, as a freelance translator. (I met a client online, using my own website, before creating ProZ.com.) I just think/know that it is something in the best interest of our members. Therefore we are going to do some new things to support that -- engaging with customers and colleagues via your own website -- in connection with the Plus package.

We have also considered rolling in a service that does not involve site hosting, but that enables people to use an email address with their own domain name, without having to pay what that costs elsewhere. But it is not going to make it into the initial Plus package.


 
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