As reported in the last post, Frumster has now become a paid subscription service. I concluded that “the bottom line is that much work went into creating and maintaining Frumster, and they deserve something back.” While I still agree with that assessment, I question their choice of implementation.
Today I conducted a little experiment with the help of Shosh. Shosh is currently a paid member, although she suspended her profile, and I am not . To test the system, I sent Shosh a message (after she temporarily activated her account). Being a paid member, Shosh was able to read the message I sent her. However, I was not able to read her response unless I subscribed to the system.
So for those keeping score, paid member can send and read all messages. Basic members can still send messages, but not read ones sent to them. As implemented, this system provides little benefit to subscribing, and will serve only to annoy everyone involved.
Practically, if you’re a paid member, you can only communicate with other paid members. If you’ve paid and the other person hasn’t, that person can’t read your message. Even if you can read the message of a non-member, you still can’t respond unless the other person pays!
If anything, this system will encourage people to move conversations off of Frumster’s system. To avoid paying, a basic member will simple write in the message to respond to an outside e-mail address.
In contrast, JDate seems to have a better system. Last time I checked, anyone can post for free and read messages, but only paid member can initiate contact. The paid members have the advantage, and they do not are not penalized for the other person not paying.
If Frumster doesn’t take the JDate route, I have one possible suggestion for improvement. If a premium member contacts or responds to a basic member, then allow that conversation to continue. The advantage to being a premium member is then the ability to communicate with everyone. However, basic member would only be allowed to communicate with premium members.
I don’t know if this will provide enough incentive to attract subscribers, it would make subscribing a much better value.