Would making that change reduce the exposure and thus what you can charge for banner ads ?
Can you make "Ad Free" or "Donating Member" valid for a tome period, say 12 months ?
Last time I checked it was only a small portion of site activity that was "signed in users" and a smaller portion of traffic is "signed in donating members" so no that wouldn't be a big deal.
The web-stats I look at tell me that member activity on the site is really the tip of the iceberg, a majority of traffic is actually casual or non-signed in users.
The only issue with the donating members set up is that I've never had a good system for managing updating a user and downgrading again after a time period. There is a plugin or 2 I can use for this software that will do it though. So will look into it when I get a chance.
Gav just as a thought, why not set up a section where members can sell parts etc & the proceeds or a percentage of the proceeds are donated to the site
I'm pretty sure a lot of members would be in favor of it , I have tried this & the members that were involved with buying the parts were quite happy to donate to the site.
I've thought about this also, charging a small fee for classifieds but when you have Gumtree offering free ads I think I'd like to encourage people to list items here so members can take advantage of that.
However I'm a bit reluctant to dramatically change the classifieds for a couple of reasons:
1. It's the most popular section of the forum.
2. I think charging would reduce the listings and therefore make parts less available to members.
A smarter option would be a priority listing of some sort that gives greater visibility for certain listings. You could charge a small Premium for those.