How to get more people involved at LingQ

We need more members at LingQ to make it better for everyone,more interaction, more content, and more revenue to keep us going :slight_smile:

The question is how to best achieve this. We will soon enable easier communication within the community. One place where we can all work to get more people involved is to approach members through the Friends Search function at LingQ. We can look for members of our own language group or members studying the same language, and encourage them to stay with the program.

Soon we will enable direct communication within our Community and this will make this easier.

Another approach is to try to persuade friends to join and get involved. This can be existing friends and new friends.

I found out that there are a number of language Meet Ups in Vancouver and I am going to try them out. I hope to meet people that might be persuaded to join LingQ. Meetup.com is a great way to meet people who share your interests. Perhaps some of you can use Meet Up to make friends with people interested in the language you are studying.

A related question is how to motivate members to introduce new members, and especially to get them to become at least Basic members, or to sign up for a course.

Is it better to motivate people with rewards, like points, or is it better to motivate people with recognition? In other words, if you are trying to do everything possible to persuade a friend to do more at the site, does the fact that you can directly benefit from him or her doing more, take away from the sincerity of your effort. This is a subtle psychological question.

We can reward people for what they do for themselves, like the Activity Index, or even a LingQer of the month award or prize. We can compensate people who contribute content since that is only fair and well understood. But what is the most effective and fair way to compensate people who bring in more members, that is more paying members?

long post alert

Well, I can only speak for myself on this one. I will e-mail existing, real life friends about this website if I know they want to learn a language, but I would never push them to become a paying member or become active. In conversations with random people, I have mentioned this website allready when they talk about learning other languages. I guess my recommendation rate would rise as soon as Dutch becomes available, because I know many foreign people in the Netherlands that are learning the language. I could not care less if my efforts were recognized on the website - I am recommending the site because I want to help my friends and not so much to help the website (sorry, that sounds harsh but it’s the truth…)
Additionaly, I have advertised the link on my facebook page and on another forum, knowing there are many people on there that learn languages all the time. Some have come here to check out what Lingq is all about, but I don’t know if they are actually participating.

As for becoming more active myself: I am not in a position to spend a monthly fixed sum of money on learning a language right now, but I am willing to contribute content and time (again: as soon as Dutch becomes available that’s what I’ll do). I personally don’t really need a reward for it, since I am able to practice writing and talking with a vast array of multinational friends, but I do think the current point reward system is good. Going public with the rewards is always a good idea, people tend to value public recognition of their efforts. Personally, I am more motivated to participate when there is a lively community on the website and I am able to engage with other people that have the same interests, while learning languages.

I am active at another website which offers services for free, but they also need money to keep the website running - with huge databases - and pay some staff. They make money by advertisements on the web site, I think some sponsoring (e.g. fees for members that buy items on amazon) and a webshop. When members contribute to the website financially or by providing services to the website, they get ‘wings’ (some small image next to their username), which shows on the forums and their profile. When you have wings, the advertisements disappear and you have access to some extra convenient non-core parts of the website. It works because people appreciate the community and the service provided by the website, and, very important, you don’t have to pay on a monthly basis but anytime you are willing and able to. The wings can be customized and are also used to collectively show support to other members going through hard times, which makes the bond between members stronger. People also buy wings for the less fortunate members - to show appreciation for their presence at the website. I must say, the community I am talking about is extremely involved, generous, sharing and kind - which is unfortunately rare on the internet.

Other things that seem to work to make members more active are statistics in a user profile, stating how active they are (how many members are referred by the user, how many content contributed, how many helpful answers on questions of fellow users, etc.). That’s how people might gather ‘status’ on a website. You should be careful about only showing ‘quality’ statistics versus ‘quantity’ statistics (e.g. how many members are your friend). Similarly, simple status declarations such as ‘tutor’ or ‘administrator’ (or any other ranking) under a user name on the forums would be something people strive for.

I hope this helps, but every user is different…

i

Thank you for the thoughtful comments and for recommending LingQ. There is lots of good advice there.

With regard to one point that you raised, the issue of asking people to pay a monthly fee, as opposed to relying on the generosity of those who are inclined to contribute money, I am not in favour of that model, for several reasons.

First of all I do not think that it is fair. We offer a range of free resources and services at LingQ, partly because it makes us feel good, but partly in the hope that this will help spread the word. It is a kind of advertizing and promotion.

However, for the most part we feel that if our service has a value, and we are working hard to make it better and more valuable, then people should pay equally to enable us to cover our costs. You cannot run a store where customers only pay if the feel like it, nor public services, like schools, hospitals or recreational facilities, where people only pay taxes if they feel like it. Some taxes rates are uneven, and those with higher incomes pay more, but there again, there is no choice, and there is means measurement. Where that is more difficult, like sales taxes, everyone pays.

So I am philosophically against this model, but that would not matter if I thought that this model would enable us to cover our costs. Unlike Wikipedia we do not have any where near the traffic to make this work, and never will. Nor do we have the traffic to allow us to rely on advertizing. So we are left with asking people to pay a small amount per month to use certain “elite” resources, which we will be adding as we go.

I should point out as well, that learners who engage with a tutor, and especially take a course, do better and study more. It is in the nature of humans, that when they make a commitment, and especially pay something, more happens. So it really is in the interest of most people t o make this commitment.

I have become much keener on improving the accuracy of my Russian since I have been getting encouraging “criticism” from my tutors.

But I recognize that there are different opinions out there, different ways that people are motivated, and we welcome all of these styles and opinions at LingQ, but we have to decide what is most likely to ensure our success, and the ability to continue to develop and improve our site.

We do rely on volunteers for much at LingQ, and we appreciate the spirit of these contributions. Even when people are compensated for content, in most cases, the amount of the compensation is minor compared to the work they put in.

However, we have employees and costs that cannot be supported by volunteerism.

By that model I meant the model of relying on people to contribute as the please.

We do need an editor here, and it is coming.

At LingQ you offer a service and I find it’s natural that we have to pay for it.

Free member should be a provisional status, lasting for the period necessary to check how LingQ works and if it suits you.
300 LingQ is a too high level to stop newbies from staying without paying.
Besides, I can remember that before becoming a Basic member, I could not have more than 5 lessons in LingQ database. That amount was bothering, but quite sufficient to see how the method works. Therefore, if one is interested, he’ll upgrade.

Before I upgraded, I preferred to try 2 speaking sessions and I bought 1000 points at the whole rate (20 $) . I can say it was almost discouraging me from doing. What I suggest is to offer to newbies the chance to buy their first 500 points as if they were paying members, just to try how the speaking with the teacher works.

Best wishes for more paying members.
Monica

hi,

I’m brand new here and I think this is a GREAT idea. I wish I had discovered it sooner.

Word-of-mouth is your best advertisement, and I don’t think that incentives are needed for that. If people are happy with the service and community here, they’ll spread the word.

I also don’t have a problem with paying for services, and I do think your prices are very fair (with the caveat that I haven’t tried them yet!). However, the thing that concerns me is that the points expire. If I am paying for points, I should be able to keep them as long as I like. Sometimes life gets busy and I might not use them for awhile; the points that I have paid for should be there when I am ready to use them. Knowing that I might end up losing points makes me less inclined to buy them. Maybe you could make it so that given/earned points expire but paid ones do not.

3 months is a long time to use one’s points.

The confiscated points are used to reward the content creators, so they are just recycled in the community. I think it is fair.

In most schools you cannot pay for a program and then get your money back because you were too busy to show up. In a way we do not have enough “coercion” in our
system and it is too easy to procrastinate.

I’m not asking for my money back… I’m asking to be able to use what I pay for.

Like I said, I think this site is a great idea, but judging from what I have seen so far, you’ve had a hard time getting it off the ground… and as a potential paying user, I’m giving you the feedback that you asked for. :wink: If you take down the barriers that may be keeping people from joining and/or paying, you will get more activity. And for me, potentially losing money and having to pay again is a huge barrier. Maybe I’m the only one, but I doubt it. It’s worth thinking about, anyway.

When you have points, that will be expired in a week or so, you can sign up for the course.

For example, Sasha is a Plus member since Dec., 4. At December she took one conversation, and then was too busy at work, then there were holidays, in January Sasha was ill, and at February she had a business-trip. So, she has:
Dec., 4: +3000 remain: 3000
Dec., 7: -500 remain: 2500
Jan., 4: +3000 remain: 5500
Feb., 4: +3000 remain: 8500
If Sasha doesn’t spend 2500 points till Mar.,4, these points will be expired. What can she do, when she returned from business trip on Mar., 1st? First of all she downgrades the plan to Basic. Then she buys a course (it costs at least 3000 points).
BTW, if she was so busy, she can downgrade her plan in January.

For me the main problem is that the cost of LingQ is higher now, then when I started. I pay $39 per month from October. But in October it was 975 roubles and now it is 1365 roubles… The cost increased on 40%… But my salary was not increased… It is not fault of LingQ, of course :slight_smile: But if the rouble-to-dollar rate achieves 40.00/1.00 I will downgrade my plan…

klewlis

You expressed your concern about the expiry of points. I explained how it worked and why we do it that way. I appreciate the feedback but we are staying with our system. We believe it to be fair.

Also, keep in mind that you can be a Basic member and buy points more or less as you need them in 1000 point increments. You only have to buy a larger amount of points if you think you are going to be able to use them up.

Cakypa

Thanks for the additional explanations. Sorry about the devaluation of the ruble. Once oil prices rise the ruble will rise. Meanwhile we are working to promote the site so that you will have more Russian learners and be able to cover your costs better. I appreciate you as a tutor and the content you are putting in the store.

I’m not trying to argue; I’m just pointing out that your current system is not working. So if you want to be successful, you need to change the current system.

I once worked in a place that had a lot of problems and the managers were attempting to problem-solve. They decided to implement free staff daycare in order to improve staff retention. What they failed to recognize was that the staff did not want or need free daycare (most of us didn’t even have kids) and that the real problems stemmed from other issues. They were attempting a solution for a problem that didn’t exist, rather then addressing the problems that did.

Likewise, you want to motivate members to introduce friends to the site, but I don’t think that’s the problem; that happens naturally. You need to look at why people aren’t staying. You have to look at it from the customer’s point of view. If you insist on keeping your payment system the same, then maybe you need to convince people more of the value of staying, participating, and paying.

If you really want to get things going, you might consider offering everything for free, for the next X number of people who sign up, for X number of months. Then advertise it. That would bring people in, and once the communities are more active, people will be more drawn to stay, turning later into paying customers. You have to get a buzz going, and some momentum, and then the rest takes care of itself.

We appreciate the input klewlis. There are any number of things we could do to improve the success of LingQ and we will be attempting quite a number over the next few months. You probably don’t realize this but when we first launched LingQ, points did not expire. We saw that a lot of people simply sat on their points. That is why we implemented a limit. As far as we are concerned, the limit works well and serves its purpose. However, we are open to other suggestions.

Cakura,

I plan to sign up for one of your courses when I get my next lot of points so that should pay for some more of your English LingQ activities :slight_smile:

Steve,
I was unclear and a bit nervous about what I would get for my money when I joined LingQ. I read all the explanations, but I never really understand a system until I have actually used it! I got some free points from content creation or something and used them for my first conversation. That showed me how the system works and encouraged me to buy points regularly. I’m not suggesting making LingQ cheaper, because I think the prices are keen as they are…but it would be good to think of ways for students to get the first 500 points for a “trial” conversation free, at a discount or in exchange for some useful activity.

Now I’m going back to bed with a mug of Lemsip :frowning:

I discovered LingQ searching on the Internet myself. I don’t know why but my first impression was that this is one of these foreign language correspondent courses. By further reading I quickly got the learning methods are quite new (for me at least).

But I didn’t join LingQ then. It was only when A.J. (Director of Effortless English) recommended LingQ to me.

Then I was surprising how much you can get by LingQ for free, compared to the other hosts. No restrict in forum or time limit, no real limit of assignments and so on.

Some of very active members are free members; it means they are making the most of your services bringing nothing to cover your costs. And it could be more of them. In my understanding, activity score system doesn’t show real activity either.

Perhaps more favour to the paying members would move more existing members to upgrade their membership?

We will be bringing in new features that will improve the experience of both the free and paying members. We will also making a bigger distinction between the benefits available to a free user and to a paying user.

We need free users and we also need paying users. Both kinds of users help us to make the site better and both kinds of users help to spread the word.

We are also going to improve communication in the Community so that our most enthusiastic users can encourage and support other less active members and help inspire them to become more active.

We have a few other ideas as well which you will be seeing over the next few weeks.

Thanks for all the input.

Right now I am one of the free users, but I have plans to up grade in the future. I am listening and reading at this time. I do not feel the need to upgrade yet, but when I learn enough that I feel comfirtable to speak or write I will. I ran across this website looking for good content. I am here to stay as long as I can and while I am here I plan to used all that I can. my goal is to get more people to come to the site and get something started right here were I live to ge more people invalved in language learnig. there are at least five different languages in the this area that I know of. I know that there are people that what to learn but they do not have much material to choose from that is where this site comes in. again thanks for the free material I hope to upgrade in the future thank james.

A couple of thoughts about involvement.
These are for Mark I think. Or maybe for Steve :slight_smile:

I want to tell what I am doing with my salsa dancing site www.salsasokiai.lt (you see - I already put link to my site :wink:

My most important keywords are salsa, sokiai, salsa pamokos, sokiu pamokos etc. So, I do google search: salsa forumas, salsa blogas, sokiai forumas, sokiai blogas etc. And I find a lot of resources where people are talking about target topic.

Then I register in these forums and I’m talking a little bit with these people. I’m looking for questions and if answers to these questions are in my site, I can put link to my site. Sometimes I can put direct link to the appropriate page but in most cases I put link to the main page, because this page is most important for google.

You can do the same. It takes time but finally you will get a huge amount of links to your sites and your google position will be better. On the other hand you can find a lot of learners, you can answer their questions about language learning.

Examples:
learn english forum
learn english blog
learn spanish forum
can’t learn english forum
can’t speak english forum
english problem forum
new method english forum

I understand. There is a lot of work. Huge amount. But you can find a lot of people, who have problems in language learning :slight_smile:
These links will be very good also, because they will be from sites, which are relevant and which have a good positions in search results