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Old 04-26-2015, 05:52 AM
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Join For Free

I can’t help but notice the “Join For Free” box prominently displayed when I bring up SR on my browser.
If I had seen that when I “joined”, I probably wouldn’t have joined.
I signed up. Whenever I see a site I might be interested in and there is a “join for free” carrot dangling on the page, I move on. Join for free indicates to me that there is a catch, which is usually true 99% of the time. Sure I can “join” for free, but I’m sure my credit card numbers will be required on page two. Or I have to promise my next born...

I wonder how many prospective members will be ‘scared’ away by the “Join For Free” box.
Does anyone else have an opinion on this or am I just one of those weird persons who is skeptical about anything for free?
I am sure the powers that be have a marketing consultant who paid good money for a college education telling them that the typical person can be targeted by the typical advertisement i.e. “Join For Free” and it will work.
The problem here is that we are not dealing with the typical person. Most people that come across this site are suffering in one way or another. Their mental and emotional state may not be “typical”.
They are most likely paranoid and/or hiding from something or someone. And they are also more likely to be skeptical of things attempting to lure them in. When they see the join for free box they may just move on to something else.

Do any of you brainiacs educated on the human condition have an opinion on this? Am I just one goofy MF?

Were any of you who joined recently debating over the “join for free” box?

My opinion is that the “Join For Free” box should be replaced with a “Join In The Discussion” box that links new members to the sign up page. But that’s just my opinion.

Oh, I almost forgot, It really is FREE. Don't be frightened away by the "Join For Free" box.

Last edited by LBrain; 04-26-2015 at 05:55 AM. Reason: It's really free
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Old 04-26-2015, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by LBrain View Post
Am I just one goofy MF?
yes

Originally Posted by LBrain View Post
My opinion is that the “Join For Free” box should be replaced with a “Join In The Discussion” box that links new members to the sign up page. But that’s just my opinion.
Agreed. Too many join for free sites are just as you say...carrots to something else requiring payment.
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Old 04-26-2015, 06:15 AM
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Valid point, and to some extent, I agree with you. I'm not sure if it's as huge of an issue as you believe though.

And yes, it is truly free. I even recently asked if I could give a donation, and was told I'm not allowed.
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Old 04-26-2015, 06:17 AM
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Never noticed the Join for free box - still don't see it. Regardless, I get what you mean. This is why I load very few apps on my phone - there is all kinds of jazzzzzz that comes with free or join for free conundrums!

I did notice this today which I find of interest on the SR front page - it's about peyote. I lived in SW for many years and ran across this cactus on more than on occasion. Peyote proved to not be free for me, but the informative article is!

All About Peyote
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Old 04-26-2015, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by LBrain View Post

I wonder how many prospective members will be ‘scared’ away by the “Join For Free” box.
Seems that most forums are join for free.
Scare ones away -- you are right -- maybe 1 out of 10 ?
MM
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Old 04-26-2015, 08:38 AM
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I never noticed the JFF box.

Anyway, we've become trained to mistrust anything that's offered for free on the Internet. You pay for "free" items or free offers in several different ways...Taking endless surveys at the end of which you're required to make a purchase that often supercedes the cost of the free item, or provides no obvious way to actually get the free item; signing up for "free trials" that require credit card information, and if you don't cancel your free trial when the fine print tells you, you get screwed with a whopping bill for Japanese anime, Dried Fruit of the Month, or a lifetime subscription to learning a Malayo-Polynesian language online, essentially committing to a subscription for something that no one wants in order to keep the free item that often equals or again surpasses the cost of the free item, such as looking up a person's criminal history online or finding out how much people earn who work on oil rigs in Nebraska and other states.

The kicker is that we then find our mailboxes filled with offers from the original site offering something for free, as well as from Publishers' Clearing House, low-cost life insurance, Geico, Secret Shoppers, free credit scores and everyone who offers coupons for pet-store reptiles. As you suggested in your comments, LB, we've effectively learned to avoid free offers. Typically a waste of time.

The JFF conundrum is a branch of Dissonance Theory and a tried and true marketing strategy. When the cost of buying a particular item or service is experienced as too low or too high, it triggers emotional discomfort when we debate with ourselves over whether or not to make the purchase. If something is genuinely "free," then it simply can't be worth very much and will probably be disappointing. However, if the same item costs $0.99 (or a relatively low price), then I've most certainly gotten a deal. Thus the proliferation of "Dollar Stores." This all changes when the price is too high, when our thoughts and experience tell us that we're paying too much for what we expect to get. At higher prices, the strategy is to make the consumer believe that he or she needs the product offered, over and over again, and that they'd be missing out on some vague sense of satisfaction were they to go cheaper, that there is a personal bond forged between the consumer and the product. (I love Apple products and was a registered Apple software developer for a few years around the turn of the century for specific projects, but they've certainly cashed in on this strategy, approaching a trillion dollars in valuation.)

Another variation of dissonance theory is getting paid to do a particular task. If I'm offered ten bucks to make a simple delivery, I'm more likely to do it than were I offered a hundred bucks. Believe it or not, being overpaid for providing services also triggers emotional discomfort in terms of people's values (despite the fact that many people would accept the "extra" payment). Think about the contradictory thoughts and feelings that accompany being offered a reward for doing what is "right"...returning a lost wallet. Though I may believe that I should be rewarded for my work, being overpaid for what I do can be unsettling, often accompanied by a sense that I will be indebted to the person who pays me or that there will be an expectation that I have to do things that I may not want to do in order to get paid in the future. Or, simply, that I wouldn't overpay someone else to do the same task, since doing so would breach my value system, and it therefore causes discomfort for me.

There's lots more, and I'm not explaining this as well as I might, but how and why we spend our money, and how and why we accept it from others, is rife with internal debate. In the original example, if recovery sites offered a lifetime memberships at an average cost of say, $4.99, I might be put off by SR were it offered for a $0.99 or for free, whereas $3.99 might be worth it to me to give it a try.

In the end, it's much better to offer membership for sites that offer support without any cost, freeing the user to feel that whatever they get out of the experience was given freely.
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Old 04-26-2015, 08:45 AM
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Ive never seen the box either L ?
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Old 04-26-2015, 09:26 AM
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Not sure where that box is, there is a "join our community" box on the home page though!!
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Old 04-26-2015, 11:39 AM
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That reminds me of a time when I was trying to sell my car. I asked for $6,000.00 but no one was interested. So I dropped it to $5,***.00 and it sold quickly.

When I saved my post, it changed the dollar amount to asterisks!!! it was supposed to be five thousand-nine hundred-ninety-five dollars.

Why did it do this?
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Old 04-26-2015, 12:46 PM
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I don't see it.
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Old 04-26-2015, 12:52 PM
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I haven't seen the box and don't plan to look for it.

Frankly, I would LOVE to read some positive comments about SR after the last few days we've gone through. I have read enough negative comments to last me for a very, very long time.
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Old 04-26-2015, 12:55 PM
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My box said Join for 5lbs of wild boar bacon?
Yours didn't?!?
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Old 04-26-2015, 06:27 PM
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When I stumbled onto SR, I wasn't looking at any ads, join for free, or who was running the site. I was looking for HELP! .

A lot of us come here having lost friends and family due to our alcoholic behavior or plain isolation. I can never repay the kindness, compassion and acceptance I received from Administration, Mod's, Greeters and remarkable members.

SR was and will always be my beacon of light, the community that helped save my life. I was carried until I could walk on my own. How can anyone repay that kind of gift?

I'm forever grateful and could really give a flip about WHATEVER needs to be done to keep SR up and running. I think of the next person that "stumbles" here and needs a friend to carry them a while. This is the community that will do just that!

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Old 04-26-2015, 06:29 PM
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I wholeheartedly agree with every word, Opi.
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Old 04-26-2015, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by EndGameNYC View Post
I never noticed the JFF box.


Another variation of dissonance theory is getting paid to do a particular task. If I'm offered ten bucks to make a simple delivery, I'm more likely to do it than were I offered a hundred bucks. Believe it or not, being overpaid for providing services also triggers emotional discomfort in terms of people's values (despite the fact that many people would accept the "extra" payment).
I think I can say in all honesty that I have no problem whatsoever in charging the higher price, at least from people that can afford it.
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Old 04-26-2015, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by EndGameNYC View Post
Another variation of dissonance theory is getting paid to do a particular task. If I'm offered ten bucks to make a simple delivery, I'm more likely to do it than were I offered a hundred bucks. Believe it or not, being overpaid for providing services also triggers emotional discomfort in terms of people's values (despite the fact that many people would accept the "extra" payment).
Here's something you may find interesting on the subject, or at least I did, even though I hate those whiteboard videos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc
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Old 04-26-2015, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by TroyW View Post
Here's something you may find interesting on the subject, or at least I did, even though I hate those whiteboard videos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc
Autonomy, mastery and purpose. Sounds a lot like the kind of therapy I do...existential psychotherapy.

Also fits in nicely with dissonance theory. When I'm paid to do something I like to do, I'm less motivated by money and much more motivated by my own sense of purpose. Therefore, and in general, there is an inverse relationship between financial rewards and productivity. Being paid for what I like to do creates emotional discomfort. I'm more likely to be productive, more creative and more efficient by being given an opportunity to do what I like to do, free of charge, than I am when offered financial incentives to do the same thing.

Thanks for the link, TS.
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Old 04-26-2015, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Anna View Post
I haven't seen the box and don't plan to look for it.

Frankly, I would LOVE to read some positive comments about SR after the last few days we've gone through. I have read enough negative comments to last me for a very, very long time.
I haven't seen it either. I don't see how a free button would keep someone from joining especially if they can read the site already without joining. They already know what the site is like.

Okay maybe some of the format has changed, but it is not the format, colours, or having or not having the ads that make this site what it is.

It is all the posters, the admins, greeters, moderators, etc that make this site what it is. There is something special about the way people interact here and I don't see it on too many other forums.
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Old 04-27-2015, 02:56 AM
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I've never had anything but good experiences here. SR saved my life and I am grateful. I have nothing but good to say about it.
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Old 04-27-2015, 06:08 AM
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Hi Brain.

I have not seen the box previously either because I never log off on the devices that I use for SR (so no need to convince me to join). It's displayed when we are logged off and open the SR page, and is no longer shown when signed in.

I work on the mechanisms of motivation and decision making in the context of addiction and other neuropsychiatric disorders, as well as in healthy individuals. How we respond to different kinds of options when we make choices, how we assess and deal with risk vs benefit. The nowadays very trendy field that studies these questions is behavioral economics and neuroeconomics, you can read tons online. The kinds of experiments we do, for example, is to have the study subjects make decisions and perform tasks that are either rewarded (in various ways) or punished (again, in various ways). With humans, in many of these experiments the reward is money (or loss / lack of) since we are so accustomed to monetary gain or loss in our society. There is also a factor of experience, i.e. whether someone is going to try something for the first time or have already seen/done it before. Like it was mentioned, SR does not require signing up to be read, and I think most people start out as lurkers. No risk whatsoever. Then decide based on experience (albeit limited) about joining or not. It's also just a website and completely anonymous, which further minimizes any perceived risk.

The questions you are raising are interesting, and people definitely respond to no cost vs pay options, but it's more complex than just either or, for example the context in which the choices are made (i.e. what is the application used for and what is someone's original motivation to look for it/use it) are also very important. And our initial state of mind when we start. For example in the context of this discussion, someone who is heavily addicted to drugs or other behaviors evaluates and responds to options differently than a non-addicted individual (and other conditions such as depression or anxiety can further confound this), so your point of people looking for help here being "atypical" is certainly a valid point. To answer your question, I believe it's not possible to do it in a black & white way, it depends on many other factors about the context in which the choices are made. Also, many of the studies in behavioral economics have shown that we tend to be more sensitive to loss than gain, so indicating that there is no potential loss associated with using SR may actually be a positive for many.

You and others are correct though about "free options" often raising suspicion, but I don't think it's universally true for everything and for every person. Two examples I often deal with and come to mind is open source (free) computer softwares vs ones that require purchase (often quite expensive), or professional journals that are free to access to anyone via the web vs journals that need expensive subscription. Clearly these choices depend on many factors, including presentation and public perception (so those things about how the website is designed and looks do matter as that generates the first impression).

If you are interested in personal experience, I think I would never be turned down or made to question my choice based on a "join for free" button, even if it just meant an initial free trial and it had a cost for extended use. But I am generally a very problem/solution and utility-oriented person, also one who prefers to have my own experience and evaluation, so sales and marketing maneuvers work less on me than average, I think (well, I know for fact, I pissed off a few sales people in my life).

In this case, what matters a lot is that SR is free. So in this context, I feel that it may actually be beneficial to have that said explicitly, so that potential users won't be scared away by a perhaps unconscious perception that addiction treatment is necessarily costs money. Many of us come here struggling with finances. My intuitive sense is that it probably does not make a difference to have a "join for free" button in this particular case, or if it does, perhaps it encourages more individuals to try it than the number of people who are scared by this particular feature of the site (sounds like you might be one of these though). I think all this would be quite different without the anonymity and if SR were not purely an online community.

As for other features of the website, I actually really liked that the makers/owners asked for public opinion on the design because I think the overall organization and look probably have much more influence than the having a single "join for free" box, or not having it.

All-in-all, personally I tend to not care very much about these details if the information context and usefulness satisfies me. I always feel the same about the color theme etc. But we clearly are diverse in this thinking.
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