Each new year several media outlets take time to revisit the previous year sharing the good the bad and the ugly. During the final few months of 2012 I considered the idea of creating a year in review editorial or even a type of awards for the site. As I was tossing around ideas I decided to focus my attention to one of the greatest features of the site. What I’m going to discuss is one of the most asked about sections of the forum. Several members both old and new are curious about it’s perks and what really goes on in what we call the Officers Club.
The purpose of the Officers Club is to help offset some of the site’s yearly cost so we can remain 100% corporate advertisement free. We have always felt that accepting money from the big manufacturers or retailers would cheapen or influence some of the reporting and reviews that we do, so we decided we’d go at it alone and do things our way whether people liked it or not. It gives us the freedom to do what we want, and say what we think, and so can you! Now you might be thinking why is this a big deal? Why should we be worried about advertisements or sponsors affecting the site? If you have ever visited a forum that isn’t advertisement free and have experienced excessive moderation, biased view points, lack of opinions, flip flopping point of views and censorship, chances are those actions are influenced somewhat by advertisements and the mighty dollar.
This site is completely paid for by the staff, and from donations by our members. We run the annual membership drive every year giving our members a chance to help fund the site and doing so makes you a member of the Officers Club. The membership drive usually runs from Memorial Day through Independence Day. Instant perks you will receive by joining the club is the Officer Badge underneath your name that gives you a Star for every year of service and a color change to your screen name. You will also notice that your private message inbox increases as well as the file hosting space. One of the best perks you will receive is the access to the exclusive Officer section of the forums which is host to exclusive buy/sell/trade threads and our Contests and Giveaways. More on those perks later.
You might be thinking that you have heard of this concept before. Donate a certain amount to a forum, gain access to a private section of that forum and call it a day. Well the concept isn’t exactly a new one, did we create the idea? No we didn’t, have others copied our version of the concept? Depends on who you’re asking however in my opinion none of that matters, what really matters is the execution of the concept and nobody in the community executes it better than us. Each year on top of the perks that have already been mentioned we take a percentage of the money that was donated to the site and use it to purchase a specialized item that represents the site and give it to the Officers as a thank you gift.
We don’t want you to feel like this is a cash grab like some forums promote their versions of the concept. In 2011 Officers were rewarded with a Patch that was the logo of the site and in 2012 Officers were rewarded with Dog Tags that featured the site’s logo and doubled as a bottle opener. These items are discussed and selected by the staff and discussions have already began about the exclusive item for 2013. I would give some hints but the info is classified.