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    #1

    [Tdol's Blog] Free ESL sites

    Free ESL sites



    Alex Case asks whether the free ESL site has a future as a business model after some gloomy conversations with site owners. I know I was one of those doom mongers as I had a drink with him a few weeks ago, but it appears that there are others who are gloomier and things aren't looking good in some areas.

    Click here to read the full article

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    #2

    Re: [Tdol's Blog] Free ESL sites

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Free ESL sites



    Alex Case asks whether the free ESL site has a future as a business model after some gloomy conversations with site owners. I know I was one of those doom mongers as I had a drink with him a few weeks ago, but it appears that there are others who are gloomier and things aren't looking good in some areas.

    Click here to read the full article

    Thank you for the two interesting links.


    I had not known about ESL forums until I accidently

    discovered one more than a year ago while surfing the Net.

    Having never run a business, I had no idea that it took a lot of

    money to run an ESL site. As one visitor, here are my views:

    (1) Is there some way to advertise this website so that more

    people throughout the world know about it?

    (2) I agree with the person in one of the links who said that

    an ESL site should be "friendly." Visitors should feel that they are

    genuinely welcomed and cherished.

    (3) Personally, I have no problem with website ads. In fact,

    some people might welcome them. For example, you could start a

    classified ads section. Listings could include language schools,

    grammar books, tutors, job opportunities, etc.

    (4) The freemium idea sounds good. I understand that it works

    for some newspapers, such as The Financial Times. The New York

    Times is introducing it in 2011. If I really, really, really wanted a

    reliable answer to some particular question, I might be willing to

    pay a reasonable fee. (Of course, you would be deluged with

    people needing answers to their homework!!!)

    (5) Of course -- as someone said in the link -- the most important

    thing is the website's reputation. (I think that a popular word

    being used in the United States nowadays for reputation is

    "brand.") The goal: Whenever anyone in the world wants

    an informed answer (that is, an accurate answer), s/he will

    automatically think: I shall go to usingenglish.com because

    I know that it has a reputation for supplying informed answers.

    (Of course, this may mean that only teachers accepted by

    you will be allowed to answer visitors' questions.)

    THANK YOU

    • Member Info
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    #3

    Re: [Tdol's Blog] Free ESL sites

    The FT has a niche so its subscription system is going to work- it sells information that many people will need for their jobs, but the results for The Times and The Sunday Times, both of which went behind a paywall this year, are less clear, and people can get much the same information elsewhere for free. In the UK, the situation for the print media looks bleak if these figures are right, and many are worried about the future of the newspapers on- and offline.

    ESL materials sites, which there are hundreds of, are an area where I think there could be trouble. When small, they can go for free hosting, but as they grow, there will inevitably be overheads as thousands start downloading bulky files, and the people running them may then ave a problem as it gets hard to pay for this out of a teacher's salary and starts to turn from a hobby into a drain. The problem I see is that with so many free materials available, the market for freemium services will be very squeezed and many simply won't be able to generate much, and despite the optimism expressed by some, sites really are closing already.


    By the way, I am not referring to this site as advertising does cover expenses, so I am not worried there. Specialist materials may well find a market for their stuff and there willl be successes, but I really don't see that much mileage in freemium materials that can be got elsewhere for free. I think that model is flawed and there will be a lot of disappointment when the excitement has worn off.

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