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Discussion Starter #1
After receiving an e-mail about this, I wanted to clarify our position on using the Ford-Diesel.Com name and/or logo on products. We have no problem with our name and/or logo being used in conjunction with rallies, events, etc. However, we do not want it used on any products that are offered for sale. Whether the price is to cover costs or for-profit is beside the point. We've worked hard to build this site and make it what it is today. Someone capitalizing on our name is just wrong and they will be dealt with. Hopefully users will agree and let us (and the offending vendor) know about improper usage.

Thanks,
Jason


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Ford-Diesel.Com Webmaster
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Apparently what is good for the goose is not good for the gander.


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Here today, gone tomorrow. That's the way of life.
 

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Well, while we're ruffling feathers here, I might as well throw this one out:

We all know that this site is Jason's; he owns the domain name and the servers to run it. He pays the bills on it and for that, we're all grateful.

But... that's not where the value of this site is derived, at least to me. The value of this site comes from the content and all that content is provided by the "membership." Without the contributions of the membership, this site would cease to exist. It's the voluntary attendance of 7500+ people, as well as their input, which gives this site it's value. Without the membership, there would be no advertising banner. No traffic and you've got no market.

Speaking only for myself, while the articles and pictures are interesting, it's the Forums section that keeps me coming back. Without the input of the folks on the forums, this bookmark would get deleted.
As Troutly said, "Not one of them has taught me as much as this site has." The correct quote should have been, "...the members of this site have."

That's why I don't want to see this site become a pay site. That would reduce the traffic and that means less information for all of us to share. That's a bad trade.

It's a symbiotic relationship here; without us, there is no F-D.com. Without Jason, we have no place to meet and exchange ideas. Neither party can exist without the other.

But as for "people using our name on products are just padding their own pockets," well, yes they are. But so are you, Mr. Webmaster. You've got a bunch of goodies to test on your new truck. Without all of us, no advertiser would have given you a thing. The more people who come here to read, post, and more importantly, get hit with those banner ads, the more advertisers who will sign up. Again, symbiotic.

Now before this is taken the wrong way, let me say that I enjoy this site and I have no problems, at all, with Jason reaping whatever he can as the fruits of his labor. This is America, after all.

But with that said, there does need to be some acknowledgement that without the "membership's" contributions, non-monitary contributions at that, this place would not exist. After all, probably 95% of the content on this site was provided, free of charge, by the users of this site.

Perhaps this pie is big enough for everyone to get a slice? If someone sells something with F-D.com on it; obviously the buyer will be headed here. That should build advertising revenue.

I don't know. My only real point was that the users of this site deserve a large chunk of credit for making the site what it is. Jason gets credit all the time, and rightfully so, but all the other 7500 of us, who provide the content that we all come to read, never get the same kudos handed out.
 

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I too agree with a lot of what MTK has to say as well. I am a big beleiever in the success of this site being two fold--hard work of both members and Jason Lester. But i am rather confused on this whole F-D.com product issue.
Is someone trying to compete with Jason's line of F-D.com products? I know in the past, some have suggested making up F-D.com products for rallies and such, with some of the profits going back to F-D.com. I can't see this harming jason or this web site.
But i just can't believe that outside of that arena, there is a whole lot of demand for this product--I just can't imagine that I am going to be walking into Wally-World any time soon to see a F-D.com hat sitting right next to a Nike hat. I'd like to know the rest of this story.

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Ken
95 F-250 SC LWB 4x4, XLT, 4.10, E4OD, Rancho 9000's, Superlift Add-A-Leaf, Warn Manual Hubs, Bridgestone 285/75-16 ATs.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The full story is that someone was going to make Ford-Diesel.Com bumper stickers to sell at a rally. I found out about it from someone else organizing the rally. The person planning on doing this had not even contacted me about using the name and/or logo (and still hasn't).

You are correct that there isn't a big market for these products .. all the more reason to buy direct from us. If there is a demand for 200 t-shirts and you buy 50 from us and 50 from each of three other people, you've helped out the site a little, but helped out someone else a lot more. Wouldn't you rather it go towards funding the site? If not, why are you here?

Whether the site has become what it is from member contribution is beside the point. I'm not even sure how we got off on that subject. Member contributions to the forums don't help pay the bills. I think many of you are confusing content from costs .. too completely separate things. We use a combination of product sales, advertising, donations, and our own personal money to help fund the site. If we drop any one of those, we'd begin to have financial problems. Product sales don't account for a large portion of our income, but even if we make $1000, that's more to use for connectivity and other operating costs.

If you think this site runs by itself on a shoestring budget, you are sorely mistaken. This year we're operating on about a $1000/month budget by the time you average out all the capital and monthly expenses over 12 months. We've never posted public figures, but there they are. That figure has doubled since last year and at the current growth rate, I expect it to double again by this time next year. I hope that is surprising to those of you who have never tried to run a successful online site.

I'm frankly getting tired of people who say they haven't bought anything or donated and yet post all kinds of complaints about how the site is run, the server is slow, etc. I believe that it is very hypocritical of those users. You're getting all the advantages of the site, but are not helping out at all in the financial operation of it. Sure you might generate some content, but those bills keep rolling in no matter how many answers you post.

Jason


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2000 F-350 Crew Cab Dually Lariat 6-speed 4x4
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Jason wrote:
"I'm not sure what you mean by that. If you are referring to Ford, we were attempting to license their logo .. a whole separate issue
from just going out and using it without permission. The products we sell are used to help fund the site. Other people selling
products with our name are just padding their own pockets..."

Well, now that Frederick is gone, let me play devil's advocate


1) If Ford-Diesel.com is not a registered trademark, I doubt you have any legal rights to limit the use of it by others, for any reason.

2) True, you were trying to license Ford's logo, and couldn't because of the cost. But you are still using the word "Ford", which is trademarked, and which could still result in a trademark infrigement action by Ford. I was appalled that Ford didn't want the free advertising they would get by letting us use their logo.

3) The market for Ford-Diesel.com merchandise is so small that any attempt to limit the use by legal action (if in fact it was a registered trademark, which I gather it isn't) wouldn't be worth it. The lost revenues from Joe Blow selling Ford-Diesel.com hats would never equal even a couple of days of lawyer fees and court costs. You can ask people nicely not to use your logo, but if they decide to ignore you, I doubt you have any reasonable recourse.


4) Wouldn't it be a good thing for Ford-Diesel.com to get some free advertising?

5) If you can't fund the site as a free site (and it is looking increasingly like this is the case, given your high anxiety over loosing a few $$$ in merchandise sales), then why not just make it a pay site and quit spending all your time worrying about how to pay the connect charges and server costs? Or is the fear that so many people will leave if it becomes a pay site that the site will no longer be viable?

Finally, an anecdote to illustrate my point... about 20 years ago at the University I now work at (I was a student here then), we were discussing how to do large college size fundraisers. A distinguished professor raised his hand and seriously suggested that we have bake sales. I'd be surprised if anyone ever made $50 from a bake sale, let alone $1 million. People would have been better off just donating the cost of the materials for the bake sale. I similarly am unconvinced that you will be able to fund this site very well with "product sales". I predict you will have an initial large set of sales from the 8000+ current member base, then a dribble of sales from new folks, but not really enough to really fund things. What are the profit margins on the products? I doubt you make more than about 6 bucks a t-shirt... Takes a lot of tshirts to pay for a month's high-speed connection costs...

Now that I've probably enraged everyone, let me say that I love this site and think it serves a very useful purpose. One reason I have never donated in the past is that there is NO prominent link on the site that I can find that gives instructions on how to donate... I would submit that if you make it easier to donate, more donations will come in. Just add "donation" to the Ford-Diesel.com on-line store, and encourage folks to donate "early and often".


Cheers,
--Lee


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'93 F250 XLT 4x4 SuperCab HD, 7.3L IDI, 3.55's, E4OD (Acck!)
 

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Rebelhawk - can't find information that speaks to making a donation to Ford-Diesel.Com, let me help you.

At the bottom of the list entries on the Main Menu there is a section titled "About". Click on that entry, then click on the upcoming "Donation & Funding" sub-menu. The information is there.

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Landon... 2000 F-350 PSD SC 6sp 4x4 SRW

[This message has been edited by landon_carter (edited 08-15-2000).]
 

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Lee,

You did not enrage me
. I happen to agree with you on most points. I too cannot see the difference between this site using Ford's name in it, and someone else using Ford-Diesel.com in something they do, as long as F-D is not a registered trademark. Maybe I'm missing something here. If I am, I'm sure many will straighten me out
!

I am actually leaning more towards wanting this a pay site. I'm tired of the trolls and other pain-in-the-rears logging in to cause havoc on a nearly weekly basis. If changing this to a pay site would help do away with those people and help bring in a steady income to fund the site, I'm all for it. I belong to a whole bunch of organizations and subscribe to a few magazines, all of which cost a yearly dues. Not one of them has taught me as much as this site has.
 

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Jason, you are having to defend yourself and the other moderators way too much and for the same things. Maybe it's time to 'moderate' out the ones that start these threads. MOST of us are here for info, not political bantering and petty squables. GREAT SITE!!

PS- Love the toolbox and T-shirts!!

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This is exactly why I was leery of posting that in the first place. I was concerned that it would be responded to in a defensive manner, as one is apt to when something near and dear to them is questioned. But it's a point that needed to be made none the less.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>
Member contributions to the forums don't help pay the bills.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That's true, they don't pay the bills directly. No arguement here.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>
We use a combination of product sales, advertising, donations, and our own personal money to help fund the site. If we drop any one of those, we'd begin to have financial problems.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

And that advertising revenue is generated based upon how many users are registered here and how much traffic comes through the door. Without the traffic, no one pays to advertise.

Same with the donations. If no one comes through the door, no donations. Or more accurately, if they come and find nothing of value, they don't donate. The value here is derived entirely from the contributions of the users.

For example, Beagle1 has posted some very useful information to this site; information that no one else has come up with. That's an item of value that we've all benefitted from, you included. Can you honestly say that his contribution had no effect on donations? Perhaps two or three people found his information useful and that tidbit was what drove them over the edge and made them get out their checkbooks. (Note: I only mention Beagle1 since he's the first user that popped into my head; he's in no way, shape, or form connected to this opinion.)

And yes, you do fund it using your own money. But on the other hand, you do derive a benefit from the site as well in free products to test, dealer arrangements with vendors, etc. Without the site, and all it's traffic, none of that would happen either. Again, it's a symbiotic relationship.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>
Whether the site has become what it is from member contribution is beside the point.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Sorry, but I don't see it that way, at all. Without the contributions of the users, there's nothing here. All the information in the Forums section is provided by the users. Ditto 95% of the articles in the other sections. Remove all of that content, that was provided free of charge, and the traffic here would drop to zero. No traffic and the server bills and connectivity charges disappear.

Neither part of this relationship can exist without the other. Without the users, this site is a blank page. Without your efforts, there is no site. Sure, we could go to egroups or something and create a mailing list, but it wouldn't be the same as what we have right now. And by the same token, without the user traffic, there would be no vendors giving away product for you to review and test, no sales of products of which you are a dealer, etc.

As for the F-D.com merchandise being sold out from under you, I agree, that's not right. But it will build traffic through here, no matter who makes the profit on the sale of the product. That benefits you via advertising revenue. At least that's how I understand most of the banner ad policies (and I may very well be wrong).

My point was not to disparage all that you've done here. Far from it. You've built an excellent site and I'm not alone in that thought, judging my the number of registered users. But by the same token, the users of this site deserve just as much credit in making the site what it is today. Without them, this thing would not exist.
 

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Jason,

Have you considered having the forums carried off your site? You would have a tremendously reduced bandwidth and I would expect expense.

I have noticed a number of free forum sites. Many have advanced features for moderated forums, multiple topics, search functions. Some appear at least as sophisticated as the software you are using.

The are free with a banner ad. An example would be www.freeforum.com
www.beseen.com is another


There are many others, hosting some high traffic forums for free.

BTW-Have to agree with the others on the two way street, the value of the members. An apartment building is worth more money fully rented, a busines storefront worth more with a high gross per sq. ft. Evidently bandwidth is cheap enough for bulletin boards to give away for free these days. I reepect your hard work, please respect the value of the people who post to this site.

[This message has been edited by Tom Pike (edited 08-16-2000).]
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Less expense, but more headache. Those free forum sites are notoriously slow and have stability problems. That's why none of the really active sites use them. I also don't wish to relinquish control over our user database and advertising. You have very few rights to your content when it resides on someone else's server.

This discussion has strayed quite far from the original topic and will now be closed. I've stated my view on the use of the Ford-Diesel.Com name. Some of you may disagree, but that's the how we do things for now.

Jason


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Ford-Diesel.Com Webmaster
2000 F-350 Crew Cab Dually Lariat 6-speed 4x4
Black/Tan 4.10LS Fully-Loaded
 
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