Message From Internet Brands

Encino, CA(Zone 9a)

Hello everyone,

There has obviously been a voracious amount of discussions going on over the weekend and I thought it'd be useful to start a new thread so that this post doesn't get lost (please feel free to read through the "Let's Talk More.." threads for the conversation).

With any change of this magnitude (us purchasing DG) and with any community that is so tight-knit and responsive as this one, there is undoubtedly going to be speculation, skepticism and perhaps even fear and anger of the unknown. It is natural and there probably isn't a lot I can type/say that will alleviate it.

Instead, what I've learned in managing situations like this is that I (we / Internet Brands) have to perform. We have to listen to what people are saying, we have to set bars high and we have to continue to prove ourselves so that we can build your respect. It's not something that happens over night, instead it is a constant challenge.

That's what we hope to do.

I want to start by explaining that all of the features that you've come to love and that you've built over the years will not change. We clearly understand that this is the best gardening site on the internet for 2 very important reasons - 1) you and 2) the information you provide. We have absolutely no intention of messing with that. In fact, our goal is to invest in such a way that we improve your ability to communicate with one another and your ability to continue to share and educate with new members of the community whether that be on the forums (private and public), through plant files or what ever.

We are taking a slightly different tack than what NM did with the site primarily because we have a team of resources who have become experts in what they do. This means that we have a technical team that concentrates on the coding and operations of a site like this. It also means that we have a team of sales and marketing people that understand how to pair relevant marketers with communities like this.

But we are also well aware of our deficiencies. We are not experts in gardening and we do not have years of experience with all of you. Luckily, Terry and Melody are experts in this and have agreed to stay on and be the key points of contact between you and us. We have also offered Dave the option of staying on as a community Admin and sounding board to us if he so pleases but we've agreed that we should take things one step at a time. His role will change and he will have some new found free time to pursue other activities, but I am sincere in saying that Dave's voice still matters and will be highly influential with us.

Acquisitions are never without some degree of change. I hope that you will keep us honest in making these changes positive towards the long-term success of Dave's. But I am also hopeful that you'll give us the chance to prove ourselves.

Thanks

ps - many thanks to those of you that sent me a dmail. I am always appreciative of direct contact and feedback.

Naples, FL(Zone 10a)

I'm really biting my tongue here and waiting a bit before I say what I think.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Thanks for popping in.

As you have seen... this really is the best site out there and obviously - we all love it.

I have been very optimistic and plan to be here for a long time.

Terese

Rocky Mount, VA(Zone 7a)

miguelthai, Thank you for taking time to write this. Many of the points made in your post ring very true - There will be a "wait and see (what happens)" period for me. I have come to enjoy this site after searching for information on a plant and having "plant files" come up in the search results. I suspect the same is true for many subscribers. It may be noted that this is the only site that I have ever paid to be subscribed to, although I work in the Electronics industry. Good luck to all.

You made a mistake about one thing.. #1 reason for success of this site is Dave, the rest follows


Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

Michael, thank you for becoming part of the discussion! I think open communication with the membership will serve you and IB well. That is one of the reasons that DG is so great... Dave and his staff have always communicated very effectively with the membership. Please, continue to share with us. This may not be what IB is accustomed to, but you and IB may just find that this kind of communication with membership will elevate your other websites as well.

Brenda

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

Thank you for taking the time to communicate your goals with us.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Michel, thanks for posting today -- I was hoping you would! I think continuing to post as you've done (touching base, letting us know what IB is thinking, just letting us know you're listening) will actually go a long way toward alleviating the concerns of this community.

I'm hoping it will turn out to be a great thing for Dave to be out of the daily grind of operational, advertising, and programming details here, and I hope you & he will work out a way to keep his role as community admin/leader/liason an active and significant one.

I'm looking forward to seeing what IB's developers & programmers can do, as I know there are a number of improvements (such as an enhanced and stable search engine) that Dave has been wishing he had time to do.

I've got my fingers crossed that IB's acquisition of DG will be the proverbial "beginning of a beautiful friendship."

:-)

Triad(for a few more, NC(Zone 7a)

ya know I am not one to bite my tongue, so.......

A lot was written but I have a feeling there was some more between the lines.
Translation = Things are changing. I worked in the corporate world long enough to know how to read between lines. Sorry, I am a cynic.




Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Thank you for talking to us. We are more truly a family than many families. Please keep it the happy, peaceful family it is.

Sandy

Phoenix, AZ

Miguelthai (is it Michael or Miguel, please), thanks for the message. I'm sure you realize that people are resistant to change. I'm not one of those. I enjoy change; I actively seek to enact change when I see the need. I just like for it to improve my life rather than detract from my enjoyment of it. My main concerns?

1) I'm interested in seeing how the advertising/marketing affects the site most of all. Sites cluttered with ads don't appeal to me and I usually don't revisit those.

2) The site is relatively easy to navigate but I suspect improvements could be made.

3) Search engine (as Dave pointed out) really needs help. It gets frustrating at times. All times, actually.

4) Forums: There are dozens of them and surely some could be combined. Example: Cooking and Recipes. There are others.

I may be pilloried for saying this, but here goes anyway. Dave started this and has been key to DG's success over the years. With our without him, this incredible resource is his legacy. Anyone who's ever been a 'founding father/mother' of an organization knows that the true mark of success is that it can go on without you. I hope that IB and Dave can figure out a role that works for both of you. If not, then we'll be watching carefully to see what the 'Dave-less' DG becomes.

Good luck to you and your team. I seriously doubt that mine will be the only suggestions you receive. ^_^

Baytown, TX(Zone 9a)

LOL... Michael, you and your company may have got more than you bargained for when you acquired a community where folks look out for one another. To you and your company, this is understandably a business deal. To the members here, it is far, far more than that. So many have poured countless hours of work into developing DG into what it has become and we are protective of it and of the individual whose dream conceived it. Mess with Dave and you're messing with all of us. I've only been a member here a short time and have already come to love the people here.

Thanks for your ear,
Don

Ennis, MT(Zone 4a)

What would be Dave's responsibilities as a community admin? Would he still be banning people, for example?

waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

I don't know why lively discussions would be described as "voracious", which means greedy or grasping. We are paying members and are simply interested in what is going to happen with a site that we have all become devoted to. Looking forward to further open discussions from the new owner.

Ennis, MT(Zone 4a)

Voluminous might have been a better word choice.

Triad(for a few more, NC(Zone 7a)

Mulch,

I completely understand if you nominate me to be banned by Dave. LOL

Sorry for my bluntness, I only like change that I can control. :)

I sincerely hope this will all work out to benefit everyone who loves and appreciates DG.

Thank you,
Susan

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

Quoting:
We clearly understand that this is the best gardening site on the internet for 2 very important reasons - 1) you and 2) the information you provide.

Wrong. 1) Dave
Quoting:
We have absolutely no intention of messing with that.

You already have.

Don't you get it? Dave is the heart of this site. We are the body. We need each other. You can't replace the heart with some nuts and bolts.

(Zone 1)

Miguel/Michael, it is a relief to Finally see someone from IB commenting here. We had not heard a thing since your first post and everyone had been wondering and worrying about what is happening behind the scenes at our beloved DG.

I will be ecstatic if everything stays as is, with maybe a few changes/improvements, i.e. the search engine. I will be very sad if we begin to be bombarded with advertisements, icons or things flashing at us all over the site. I think the majority dislike that.

That said, I wish nothing but the best for this garden and everyone who has had a hand in cultivating it. May DG continue to grow and prosper for the enjoyment of all. It is a fantastic place of learning, sharing and friendship that so many enjoy.

Lin

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

For the record, Mr. Thai, the gnashing of teeth on the other threads probably does not represent the core of the DG audience that is going about its business despite recent apocalyptic events that seem to rival the earthquake in Haiti. I would surmise that we're not all conspiracy-minded, hysterical broads who never took an economics class & think that the relative anonymity of the Internet affords us the right to lodge shrill accusations against strangers in the name of sticking up for each other.

I sure appreciate Dave & sure wish he hadn't sold the Web site in the first place. But IB is the new owner? Well, then, congratulations & good luck.

Ennis, MT(Zone 4a)

Susandon, well, everything in physical form always is changing, no matter what we might prefer. But I assure you I have no desire to nominate you or anyone else for banning! ;-)

And I do agree with Miguel's statement, "We clearly understand that this is the best gardening site on the internet for 2 very important reasons - 1) you and 2) the information you provide."

Ennis, MT(Zone 4a)

Summerkid, we crossposted, and I love your descriptive prose...

Phoenix, AZ

Right on, summerkid! Criminey, doesn't *anybody* realize that NO one is indispensable??

Triad(for a few more, NC(Zone 7a)

I think I will not make any more comments since it just dawned on me based on something that someone posted elsewhere, I do nto know the complete history fo DG. If Dave founded it hwo did it end up in someone else's hands? I am not asking this question I am just thinking out loud. So, if Dave sold it in the first place then I guess the current situation was always a possibility maybe even a probability. So seems to me many people are getting worked up over something that Dave himself was fully aware could happen?

Ok it is time to think quietly now (slinking off to a chair in the back of the room)

Susan

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

Indispensable, no. But highly valued, definitely.

Phoenix, AZ

Highly valued to DG members. It remains to be seen if that feeling is shared by IB. You'd think so.

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

Susan, Dave sold the website long ago.

Crossville, TN

I'm so glad to see a represenative of IB come forth an d"try to calm our fears"...
I'm too old to change...but I can try...

P.S Tomatofreak...the reason (I think) we have two cooking forums is because one is for subscribers only...started way back....and one is so the unpaid members have an outlet to post their recipes. Jo

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Actually, the cooking forum was a member suggestion, to have a place just for cooking tips and techniques, separate from recipes ;o)

Montgomery, TX(Zone 9a)

Susan, I'm very new to this site and love it. Not knowing any of the background I've been trying to figure out what's going on, too.

I don't know how to attach links like most of the members do, but found interesting information on how DG got started. You'll find it under Daves Garden FAQ. Its the first post and its written by Dave.

On the original thread about what's going on now a lady posted the link to his original sale to NewsMedia. I can't find the link now and I can't even find the thread everyone hass been posting on. Somehow I lost it when I started reading this thread.

Maybe someone can lead you to the info on the first sale to NewsMedia. It also was written by Dave and explained a lot of things.

Sorry I can't give you the links. Maybe someone else can.

Jan

Crossville, TN

Terry...is it open to members?...Jo

Corning, NY(Zone 5a)

Hi Michael,
Thank you for the clarification

Quoting:
I want to start by explaining that all of the features that you've come to love and that you've built over the years will not change. We clearly understand that this is the best gardening site on the internet for 2 very important reasons - 1) you and 2) the information you provide. We have absolutely no intention of messing with that. In fact, our goal is to invest in such a way that we improve your ability to communicate with one another and your ability to continue to share and educate with new members of the community whether that be on the forums (private and public), through plant files or what ever.


I too would like to know what changes we CAN expect, as I see it JMO the only thing around here that needs help is the search engine, Thanks for taking the time to talk to us:)Anita



This message was edited Feb 1, 2010 4:24 PM

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

Jan - If you want to keep reading a thread, you need to click on "watch thread" at the bottom or top of the thread (it is in both places). If you post on that thread, it automatically watches it for you, and notifies you on your home page when someone has posted to it.

Lower Hudson Valley, NY(Zone 6b)

I happen to like conspiracy-minded, hysterical broads who never took an economics class.

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

And we all love you, Victor!

Triad(for a few more, NC(Zone 7a)

well I know you are not referring to me since I took lots of economics classes, marketing and accounting.

(Ronnie), PA(Zone 6b)

LOL!!

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Hi Gang,

No one has mentioned that when you sign on to Dave's or are cavorting around, the far left button on top says,

"HOME".

Edit: Or on my thingy at the top of my page with other sites, it says, Welcome Home, Happy_1. WOW

Hap

This message was edited Feb 1, 2010 4:41 PM

Kennewick, WA

Attn: MiguelThai
Dear Internet Brands,

Here are my concerns outlined as succinctly as possible:
-pop-ups
-selling of member's personal information (I get enough junk mail, email, phonecalls as is)
-advertising that slows loading (moving advertisements, video advertisements, etc)
-cluttered messageboards, the current format of black text on gray or white background makes it easy for me to read and I have poor vision
-ease of access of forums to non-members leading to increased spam postings or use of forum by those looking solely for 'freebies' (could potentially be solved by having trades/classifieds/coop forums open only to those with x-number of posts if paid membership is to be abolished)
-loss of KISS (keep it simple stupid) format of site which, I believe, has allowed those who are not as technically savvy and those encountering internet in their 'golden years' to enjoy using the site without undue frustration
-over-commercialization: compared to other sites DavesGarden has a knowledgeable community that has a real stake in the use of the resources (ie paid membership). It also has a unique SENSE of community which could be easily lost.

I hope you keep these, and other, concerns in mind when planning future changes to the site. Obviously there is some commercial gain foreseen in the acquisition of DG, which is not always a negative thing, however in marketing DG you will see that one of the unique attributes is how sheltered this gardening site is from ads, pop-ups, spam, and disruptive members.

Sincerely,
Jennifer

Southern, United States

any news on the continuation of articles Michael?

Florence, SC

M/M from IB,
Thank you for checking in with us. Please use this to keep us informed about your ideas, preferably after you run them by Dave. Change happens. Sometimes we can control it and sometimes we can't. My life, with a husband on home hemodialysis for 24 years, was always changing - day to day even. I cannot imagine what it would be to have things always go your way. I am also at the age where change intimidates a lot of people. I just want to do my little thing (play my little piano and sing my little songs..) and enjoy the rest of my life. Gardening is one thing I do and I have been on here looking for info since I re-subscribed several days ago. I cannot imagine that you would even think of removing the knowledge on these pages. If you keep Dave in the loop, most of the animosity will go away. He designed this site and has been the heart of it. Also, keep up the contact with the members like he has. That makes you one of us - an actual human being instead of a big corporation out to stomp on others. Think about it, please. Thanks. M

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