What bothers me about this

The size of the site is enlarged because of the pictures, and there are many, many pictures. Pictures are a main draw to the site, and a reason people keep coming back for more. (Not us, but many wannabe rose growers)

I’d expect half the bandwidth is pictures.

I’d also expect the lineages bandwidth is a fraction of the total.

It bugs me that lineage-people will be paying for the whole shebang.

Paul, I thought it was hysterical you selected out gazing balls as an example. Of course you’re right.

Anything that can be done to stop gazing ball vendors should be implemented immediately!!! (tongue in cheek)

The adverts are only one reason I don’t choose to participate at Gardenweb, but GW is a good example of what can happen.

Nothing is, “free”.

I dont want to start a yelling match but I cant help adding some comments.

There are numerous add supported sites that are very pleasant to visit. Using Gardenweb as an example is not not overly valid. The heavy handed, in your face, pop-up laden content barfed at you there is not the rule. There are numerous sites where the adds are integrated into the content in much more easily swallowed manner.

Would I stop visiting HMF if it started looking like GW? You bet I would. I hated GW after it was sucked into the corporate machine. If I started seeing the annoying scripted flash based full page adds that you see on some of the major news sites would also push me away. Go to dpreview.com or anandtech.com for examples of add driven web sites that are not all that bad. These sites have HUGE volume, provide free content and generate a fair amount of income through advertising.

There are also other business models that could be considered as well. Right now, with the economy in the crapper, there are other business models that are doing very well. For example, all those little mom and pop garden centers that want a on-line presence but cant afford website development. Provide them with a web site service that has simple inventory management aonline catalog that integrates with some of the wonderful HMF content. With some simple skinning features it can be taylored to the client. The customers of the garden center wouldnt even necessaryly know that the content was driven from HMF. The service could also benefit HMF. Allow the garden center to add thier photos which could be viewed on the regular HMF pages. The existing link that is at the top of the images could link to thier web page instead of the user profile.

That is just an example. I am not saying it would be profitable, its just an example of the type of thing other that heavy handed advertisements.

HMF is a technology service. Quality IT is expensive. This as a big kick in the knee if you are a consumer only. On the other hand, its also a oportunity of you are a provider of IT. Use HMF as a starting point to allow companies to consolidate thier IT costs. SaaS is growing right now and is one of the ways technology providers like HMF can find opportunities.


Have you suggested any of these ideas to Steve at HMF? If not, perhaps you should.

I agree that not all add supported content sites are horror shows like GardenWeb (which I consider to be one of the very worst) but I think the idea of HMF from the outset was that it should NEVER accept ad support so that it would remain “pure” and untainted by sponsorship that the site owners deemed irrelevant to the content. Lets face it, most ads are pretty much irrelevant to the site content and contribute nothing to the site other than their advertising $$$. I tend to think advertising should be a last resort as HMF is concerned.

However, I think that if you are a nursery owner and you wish to appear on the HMF list of suppliers, you should HAVE to pay for that right. Many, many nurseries get traffic directed to them through HMF and they should all be paying for that service, if anyone should.

I did not realize that HMF even changed their policy. When they asked for donations, I gave a modest sum, and even though I am not a premium member, I find that I can still access lineage. HMF provides so much value and the format, information, and content is priceless. I say give up two lattes or expressos a week, or 1/2 tank of gas: There are so many ways we can get along with less, but when I see someone ask for funds, and they are a cause I support and believe in, I drink plain coffee (with creme) for a week or two, or carry a bag lunch-that would take care of the cost in about two days right there! And cable–don’t get me started! But I like HMF, and like contributing to other causes I believe in. I will gladly continue to do so just for knowing I am doing the right thing. I find GW and RC kinda hard to take from more than just their ad structures. And I want HMF to continue and evolve as they have, and be of value. I can’t believe how far they have come as it is, and Clara does deserve a rose, but not just any rose, named after her.

Wouldnt it be illegal to charge a preium fee for photographs posted on there? So, I am not sure if that could even actually happen.

Yep… would be… it has to be said though… feeling a little annoyed at the sudden change is one thing… you get over it and realise it is for the best… and posting a call to arms on the HMF forum itself asking for a boycott leaves a bad taste in my mouth… very sad…

Oh, I dont care about any drama. I was just configuring the logistics of it all. I’ll pay regardless cause theyre always nice to me when I annoy the hell out of them to fix lineages/parentages lol. I still have many more parentages to correct, after all! I think the Kardinal clans are still unfinished, but I lost steam to care due to rl – temporarily.

There is a misundurstanding. I am speaking of ethics.

The point I raise is that HMF eliminated all concurent sites free or not by being better and free.

Is becoming a pay site when concurence is eliminated fair?

In other words is a philanthropic association legitimate to be sold to someone expecting revenues for the investment.

In Europe it is definitely considered as illegal, strictly forbiden and immoral.

Here you cannot concurence and eliminate other ventures as a philanthropic association with benevolents help and a lot of concurential advantages to become a regular capitalist society when a monopole is built.

All good free things come to an end eventually, I betting won’t be long before it is sold for profit just because of the value of the history put down by contributors over time … problem is the history will go stale as the contributions dry up … of course I could be totally wrong … but doubt

As someone who hosts their own websites, believe me I understand the time, effort and cost involved. When HMP asked for donations, I was happy to do so. I like to support people who are doing valuable work. Makes me feel good somehow…


Hey guys I kinda like gazing balls ;0) I don’t have one, but one of these days…

What a mess! I can see many valid points being made.

I too, would hate to see HelpMeFind disappear from lack of funding, and I think $24 is a small price to pay for the pedigree searching capabilities of a site like HelpMeFind.

However, I certainly understand Pierre’s point that there is something that doesn’t feel right about “selling” something that has been previously built from donated time, money, and information. Lately I’ve been adding content to the site, under the premise that it would be freely shared. I’m not trying to make money from any of this. Now I have to wonder about the future of HelpMeFind. Will the contributions of countless volunteers (pictures, content, etc.) be sold to the highest bidder someday, for the income potential that it has?

I’m not sure what the solution is. I understand that this sort of thing has cost. But I don’t feel comfortable with the line being crossed [from non-profit, philanthropic, collective, labor of love to a fee-charging “business”]. If there had always been a fee, I really don’t think there’d be any issue. So I guess for now I’ll just hope that better ways will be found to fund this great site. And when my budget allows someday, I’d love to be able to donate to a free-again HelpMeFind.

Best wishes, Tom

“Now I have to wonder about the future of HelpMeFind. Will the contributions of countless volunteers (pictures, content, etc.) be sold to the highest bidder someday, for the income potential that it has?”

That falls into the realm of speculation, IMO. Steve at HMF is just trying to make it worth his time (which is usually 7 days a week, many hours a day) to administer what has become a HUGE project that is far more sophisticated than it was 11 years ago and requires constant attention. I have to ask, would YOU sit there working on such an intensive project for 11 years and not ask the community to at least cover your expenses??? Thats what is being asked here, this is not about selling the amassed content to the highest bidder for profit. Lets not let our imaginations get away with us, eh? Mons. Rutten has done a good job of seeding our imaginations with conspiracy nonsense :frowning:


I fail to see any ‘conspiracy nonsense’. Sometimes its hard to tell if someone is being serious or not.

I dont think anyone is suggesting ‘boycot HMF’ either. I do feel a little guilty about getting irritated about this. I tend to approach things from a business line of thinking. Its difficult to keep happy customers if you suddenly change the rules of the way you do business. If you need more money, get creative and build new services that have value and charge for them. IF you take something and start charing more for it without adding additional value, you will loose customers. The hard thing to determine is which will be of greater benefit.

This is a different situation though. I can appreciate the work involved in maintaing a web site of moderate complexity like HMF. I can also appreciate HMF trying to stay independant from potential business influences that could make its content less valuable to us. (For example, only keeping information current on roses that can be purchased from super-dooper advertiser x)

The whole, its only $x dollars argument will never sit well with me though. A few $ here and a few $ there adds up to a crapload of $ once its all added together. I buget x dollars for subsriptions. Either I cut one of my other subscriptions or live without the HMF features that are not being charged for.

This year, I will have to live without the HMF features because I spent money on buying roses from Vintage and Ashdowns to help support them. They are a more important resource to me right now.

“If you need more money, get creative and build new services that have value and charge for them.”

I think thats exactly what HMF is doing, its just that we have had this part of the service for free for a while and now the “free trial” is over and its now a pay-to-access feature. I believe that is the intention behind the change.

I am guessing these things factor in:

a-those that look at the lineage trees probably use the most amount of traffic ratios.

b-the lineage trees are probably the most difficult thing to keep proper. ie. they may be the most time consuming to manage.

c-probably the only group of people willing to pay predominantly lie in those that look at the lineage trees.

If A,B and C are true then it would seem to make sense why the decision to make the lineage trees pay only happened. Are any of these untrue?

“In Europe it is definitely considered as illegal, strictly forbiden and immoral.” This isnt Europe, or the US, specifically. It is the internet (although laws can apply sometimes). So, this is an appeal to faulty logic even if you are trying to make a moral justification/point. Each individual online decides the fate of this within time. In as far as this will pan out depends on how much users are willing to part with some money for the service. It didnt work for Martin and Rix, but it may work out for HMF. Who knows, but we will find out.

Granted, I have a huge chunk of lineages memorized, but there is always room for more, so I will pay soon :stuck_out_tongue: If anything, for all the grief I give them LOL.

HMF is an unparalleled resource for rose hybridizers. Nothing of its kind exists for breeders of other species, so I feel very fortunate to have had open access to it until now.

The rollout of the new premium content model could have been handled better than it has, and it does raise questions about who owns the data submitted by the user base. A terms of service statement by HMF would help to clarify these questions.

While I do not yet have the money to subscribe I have made it a priority in my budget. I also plan to continue to contribute content to HMF as well. I encourage people who have been offended by the transition to consider that the benefits are worth more than the cost, and that a failure of this new model would increase the risks that HMF will disappear altogether.

The benefits of aggregating data for roses in a single source extend beyond the obvious convenience of accessibility. For instance, Steve has graciously provided data which I have used as the basis of my next article, for the spring RHA Newsletter, in which I present some revealing information about the dependencies of modern roses. Such an analysis would have been impossible without HMF.

I note with interest that the reaction of European correspondents of this message board seem polarized with those of people here in the US and Canada. This is due in no small part to the deep philosophical differences that exist between us despite the fact that we are united by a common language of commerce. People on this side of the pond need to understand that media access in Europe is deemed to be a right in many countries, and media (including internet) enjoys considerable governmental subsidies in exchange for free access to content. Our European friends must consider that here in the USA media is a ruthless business where survival depends entirely on profitability. Perhaps the light of understanding will minimize further schisms, and help to heal some wounds that have already occurred.

I hope for the continued success of HelpMeFind.com, and express my appreciation to Steve and to the volunteers that have built such an outstanding resource.

Don Holeman

I have been reading all the comments, both pro and con, regarding this subject and believe that all have had their say. I can see the issues on both sides, and I know that many of our members use this service and feel very adamant to be on one side or the other, but I don

"but I don

I hope that some of you did not interpret what I posted above that I closed the thread. It was not my intent at all. If you did, I apologize. I could have expressed myself a tad better. There seemed, at least to me at the time, that one pro was responded to by a no, and it appeared that if this type of discussion continued someone would get angry and post something they would regret later. Good discussion is always helpful, but it appeared to me that it was getting nowhere. My intention was to ask that folks think about what they post and make it meaningful, and not just berate someone for not supporting or agreeing with their point of view! If you want to participate in this thread, please do so in a meaningful way. As I mentioned before - those that want to support Steve and HMF will do so, those that don’t won’t! It is strictly a personal decision.

The forum is open! I always enjoy reading the threads even though I am not a frequent poster. As I said, it is a good deal for the RHA. At several meetings I have asked how many use or read the Forum. The response was almost 100%. Keep up the good work!

Thank you,

John Moe

General Director, RHA