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Access to Blue Board records and jobs using browniz points and cash to be discontinued as of Nov. 15
Thread poster: Jared Tabor

Jared Tabor
Local time: 18:21
SITE STAFF
Nov 4, 2016

Hello all,

New choices for ProZ.com members were announced this year at the virtual conference celebrating International Translation Day. Henry Dotterer's explanation of the new service package options, "Standard" and "Plus", can be seen here: http://www.proz.com/virtual-conferences/697/program/11672

The two packages are also described in this page highlighting the ongoing membership campaign: http://www.proz.com/professional-membership

As mentioned in the video, in connection with the service package update, there will be changes related to the way that job postings and Blue Board records may be accessed. Up to now, it has been possible for non-members to purchase one-off access to job postings and Blue Board records using either browniz points or cash held in profile wallets (50 cents for full access to one Blue Board record, one dollar to quote on a job where the quoting system was being used). This made a lot of sense in ProZ.com's early days, when making membership payments from certain areas was difficult. Nowadays, the site team believes that adequate payment solutions exist in virtually all areas. So in the interest of both simplifying operations and encouraging more site users to become members, as of November 15:

  • it will no longer be possible to use browniz points or cash to purchase access to Blue Board records.
  • it will no longer be possible to use cash to quote on jobs

    In other words, full access to Blue Board records, and the ability to submit a quote for jobs where quoting has been chosen as the option, will be members-only services.

    If you are an active site user who is not yet a ProZ.com member, I invite you to consider joining now. If ProZ.com has been useful to you to date, the site team believes that you will find it even more valuable as a member. In connection with the upcoming changes, the "Standard" membership package has been discounted significantly, in part to entice more people to join, and the Plus package-- also discounted until November 15-- will contain a number of valuable new services. There are also prize giveaways involved in the current campaign, meant to be an added incentive to join now: http://www.proz.com/professional-membership

    Note that it is possible to apply any remaining wallet balance you have toward the membership fee, and there is an additional discount in checkout applied if you have 4,000 or more browniz points and you purchase before November 15.

    Thank you for using ProZ.com and for considering full paying membership.

    Regards,

    Jared

    PS. If you happen to live in an area where payment system limitations restrict you from paying a membership fee, please contact the site team via the support system. We will see what can be done!

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  • Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
    Netherlands
    Local time: 22:21
    Member (2006)
    English to Afrikaans
    + ...
    So, BrowniZ are discontinued? Nov 4, 2016

    Jared Tabor wrote:
    Note that it is possible to apply any remaining wallet balance you have toward the membership fee, and there is an additional discount in checkout applied if you have 4,000 or more browniz points.


    Do I understand correctly then that BrowniZ will be discontinued? When will that happen? I have 72 627 just sitting there... (-:


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    Jared Tabor
    Local time: 18:21
    SITE STAFF
    TOPIC STARTER
    Not necessarily Nov 4, 2016

    Hi Samuel,

    The use of browniz points to gain access to Blue Board records is being discontinued, and you can get a discount on membership using browniz points before November 15th, but it is probable that browniz points discounts will not continue after that.

    A decision on what to do with browniz points in general has not been made. I think that as an indicator of site activity and contributions they may still be useful in other ways, yet to be explored.

    Update, 2017: Browniz continue to affect directory position, and will affect directory position in the new Pools. There will continue to be periodic discounts on membership packages for those with Browniz.


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    Amel Abdullah  Identity Verified
    Jordan
    Arabic to English
    + ...
    Disappointed Nov 4, 2016

    I find it unfortunate that we will no longer be able to use Browniz and "wallet" cash to access the Blue Board and other features.

    The sensible thing (in my opinion) would be to let those of us with balances continue using them until they run out.

    Hope you will reconsider this decision.


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    Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
    Czech Republic
    Local time: 22:21
    English to Russian
    + ...
    A non-paying member's view Nov 4, 2016

    The reason I never became a paying member was a fairly limited set of paid features useful to me. I don't quote on one-off jobs and don't see much benefit in a high rank in the member directory. However, I did regularly use brownies to buy access to individual Blue Board records to screen potential clients, so ProZ is about to become still less useful. I don't perceive it as a big loss, yet I can't help seeing this move as a pure greed and a kick downhill for an erstwhile professional community being progressively watered down by semi-professionals. Will I stay? Maybe, but I won't be as willing to contribute my time and experience to the well-being of the site as I used to be.

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    Artem Vakhitov  Identity Verified
    Estonia
    English to Russian
    + ...
    Agree with Amel Nov 4, 2016

    Amel Abdullah wrote:

    I find it unfortunate that we will no longer be able to use Browniz and "wallet" cash to access the Blue Board and other features.

    The sensible thing (in my opinion) would be to let those of us with balances continue using them until they run out.

    Hope you will reconsider this decision.


    Yes, this I think would be the most sensible thing to do.


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    Tom in London
    United Kingdom
    Local time: 21:21
    Member (2008)
    Italian to English
    I also agree Nov 4, 2016

    Artem Vakhitov wrote:

    Amel Abdullah wrote:

    I find it unfortunate that we will no longer be able to use Browniz and "wallet" cash to access the Blue Board and other features.

    The sensible thing (in my opinion) would be to let those of us with balances continue using them until they run out.

    Hope you will reconsider this decision.


    Yes, this I think would be the most sensible thing to do.


    AFAIK my current membership doesn't expire until Feb 2017. Why can't I cash in my Brownies then? I'm not in a position to renew my membership right now (Christmas is coming, you know....)


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    Henry Dotterer
    Local time: 16:21
    SITE FOUNDER
    We are using a third party to process subscription payments Nov 4, 2016

    Thanks for the feedback, folks. If we had a convenient way to do it, we would probably continue to offer the Browniz discount on membership. But we are switching from processing payments ourselves, each time a person wants to renew, to having that handled on an ongoing basis by a third-party system. As you can imagine, that third party is not set up to accept browniz or anything of that sort, so it would take some development work, and of course, ongoing overhead. So while not ruling out a return to browniz discounts in the future, we have decided to focus our attention, at least at this time, on the new services we will be releasing in connection with the Plus package.

    To those who have used the site, in some cases for many years, but have never been members: As you might have gathered from Jared's posting, we value the contributions of all site users, paying and non-paying, and we hope to lose no one in this update. That is why we are inviting you to join as paying members, and apart from discounting the Standard package significantly, we are offering a "guaranteed return on investment" for those who take the chance and pre-order the Plus package. You should read the details of that on the campaign page (and in the FAQ) if it is something that might be interesting to you, but basically, we are doing everything we can to entice you to become a member, with a minimum of risk, and in fact at no loss to you if you discover that membership offers no value for you.

    Again, I hope this is appealing to you, because we are conscious of the value of your contributions to others, and we understand that each participant in our network brings something to everyone else. But at the end of the day we on the site team work hard for you, and we are confident that we deliver a lot of value for a relatively low fee. It is gratifying to see, in the strong response to the current campaign, that so many people are supportive. It makes us renew our resolve to deliver on our mission to you. So please: give it a try!

    Henry


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    The Misha
    Local time: 16:21
    Russian to English
    + ...
    I can do without your Blue Board. Can you do without me? Nov 5, 2016

    Anton Konashenok wrote:

    ... professional community being progressively watered down by semi-professionals. Will I stay? Maybe, but I won't be as willing to contribute my time and experience to the well-being of the site as I used to be.


    Over the years, I have also watched people with real expertise leave this place, one after another. What is now happening in my main pair looks more and more like an, ahem, memorial property, and what DOES indeed happen had better not be happening at all. Little by little, I have come to view this place as a form of entertainment, but even in this capacity its appeal is rapidly approaching that of Desperate Housewives. Now you want me to join the ranks - and pay for the privilege? Really?

    As a business person, I have no problem relating to your need to generate revenue and address whatever technical issues you say you are facing, but for a change, why don't you look at this from a slightly different perspective: what will happen if I and others like me stop coming here to share our valuable expertise, in the process creating free content that generates clicks your business is based on?

    You know, I am an educated consumer. I have no problem voting with my feet.


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    Amel Abdullah  Identity Verified
    Jordan
    Arabic to English
    + ...
    Still Disappointed Nov 5, 2016

    Like Anton, I would like to continue using the balances I have accumulated to access the Blue Board even though there are also LinkedIn groups that provide reliable and in-depth discussions about agencies for no charge.

    Besides this, I filled up my "wallet" recently to quote on a job I was interested in. While the quote only cost a dollar, I had to pay $20 (plus a processing fee), because that was the minimum required. Now I have a $19 balance that I assumed I would get some value from. I understand that Proz membership is, indeed, valuable to many people, but that's not where I intended to spend the $19...and I feel that I am being forced to join so that I don't waste the money I spent.

    I regularly contribute to the site and think that the current system of allowing us to access individual features with Browniz and wallet cash is a fair compromise for those who don't need or want full membership for whatever reason.

    Maybe there are some issues with your third party payment processor (as described in your post), but this does not address the issue of the Blue Board and job quotes. Why are you taking access to these features away without providing anything as a substitute when people have spent years accumulating Browniz? You can still make money with wallet cash and entice non-members by allowing them to test out the features of the site as they spend their Browniz. At the very minimum, you should, I believe, allow us to continue using our balances until they run out.


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    Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
    United States
    Local time: 16:21
    Spanish to English
    + ...
    Commitments Nov 5, 2016

    Sometimes it is not to our advantage to keep a commitment. The way we handle such situations is an indicator of our integrity.
    I would like to be a member of a site that I can trust to keep its promises, with no excuses.


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    Siegchen
    Romania
    Local time: 23:21
    German to Romanian
    + ...
    Disappointed Nov 5, 2016

    As a non-paying member I was contacted a few times by new clients/agencies due to proz and I have always used my brownies to check the client's Blue Board records. I'm sorry to hear that this feature won't be of use any more. It was my second best thing when it comes to proz. I guess I'll use proz less in the future.

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    Artem Vakhitov  Identity Verified
    Estonia
    English to Russian
    + ...
    Blue Board is not directly connected to payments, so I don't see how it's relevant Nov 5, 2016

    Henry Dotterer wrote:

    Thanks for the feedback, folks. If we had a convenient way to do it, we would probably continue to offer the Browniz discount on membership. But we are switching from processing payments ourselves, each time a person wants to renew, to having that handled on an ongoing basis by a third-party system. As you can imagine, that third party is not set up to accept browniz or anything of that sort, so it would take some development work, and of course, ongoing overhead. So while not ruling out a return to browniz discounts in the future, we have decided to focus our attention, at least at this time, on the new services we will be releasing in connection with the Plus package.

    ...
    Henry


    Henry, you haven't said a single word about Blue Board in this post - in spite of the fact that it, as you can see from the feedback, is an important site feature that could be accessed for BrowniZ. Unless you're also going to introduce micropayments for BB access, I don't see how the payments issue is relevant here.


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    Tom in London
    United Kingdom
    Local time: 21:21
    Member (2008)
    Italian to English
    Henry said... Nov 5, 2016

    Henry Dotterer wrote:

    ...... while not ruling out a return to browniz discounts in the future....


    So will my 2487 brownie points be memorised somewhere, for possible future use?

    [Edited at 2016-11-05 17:37 GMT]


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    Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
    Czech Republic
    Local time: 22:21
    English to Russian
    + ...
    Sometimes it's best to say nothing Nov 5, 2016

    Henry Dotterer wrote:

    To those who have used the site, in some cases for many years, but have never been members: As you might have gathered from Jared's posting, we value the contributions of all site users, paying and non-paying, and we hope to lose no one in this update. That is why we are inviting you to join as paying members, and apart from discounting the Standard package significantly, we are offering a "guaranteed return on investment" for those who take the chance and pre-order the Plus package.


    What an example of marketing doublespeak. Henry, you are championing the worst practices of Apple, Sony, Microsoft and the like.


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