Making money from Ecademy BlackStars — am I missing something?

02/11/2009 at 9:51 am Leave a comment

Ecademy’s membership numbers have been a point of contention for many years.  Contradicting what comes out of head office — or at least questioning it — has cost several members their access to the site.  So it’s always exciting when new figures come out that you probably wouldn’t question because they actually make worrying reading.

And so this happened with an e-mail I got this morning about a BlackStar upgrade event:

BlackStar mailshot (PDF - click to open)

BlackStar mailshot (click to open)

It reveals that 67 new members were added to Ecademy’s top tier BlackStar level during October.  This coincides with a drop in the membership fee from £140 to £40.

On its own it doesn’t do much to settle the long running dispute on total number of profiles vs. total of active members vs. monthly pageviews. Nor does it help us work out what the total number of paying members is (estimated at about 6,000, of which 600 are BlaclStars).

But it does say that 67 NEW BlackStars is something they feel is worth making a fuss about, as these are top paying members they otherwise wouldn’t have had.

Let’s do some maths…

67 new members at £40 each monthly gives Ecademy £2,680 they arguably wouldn’t otherwise have had.  But then it only takes 27 existing BlackStars to start paying at the new rate — £100 LESS than they were paying and something I am assuming they willbe entitled do — to wipe out the additional income.

Of course, it could be that existing BlackStars don’t get access to the new fee.  In which case, only 20 of  them leaving in protest wipes out the income from the additional 67 members upgrading.

This doesn’t sound like it’s brought Ecademy any real benefit, other than being able to quote more BlackStar members.  Am I missing something?

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