The Prize Draw – Thoughts Please…


Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 59 total)
  • Author
  • #16006
    FOUNDER Member
      • Eastbourne England
      • Topics Started 10
      • Total Posts 26

      Hello All,

      Lee here, and I know I rarely post these days..  I’m afraid I’m working 7 days a week, around 10-12 hours a day trying to make a living dealing in pre-owned B&O. This doesn’t give me much time to enjoy the trials, tribulations and deliberations about the brand which true hobbyists and enthusiasts enjoy, but that’s life.  I am truly sorry I am not around to add to the conversations.

      I am posting this with regards to the Prize Draw, and I’ll explain why – and give you some background.

      Back when I took over BeoWorld around 20 years ago I had a rapidly growing business, the boundless energy and enthusiasm of a man in his early 30’s, and more importantly Bang & Olufsen as a brand was really flying high.  I had little overheads, and cash to burn – and I invested over £25,000 launching the ‘all new’ BeoWorld for everyone to enjoy.  Things were great, times were good.

      As I was getting so much B&O ‘through the door’ I thought it a great idea to share my success and love for the brand by creating a Prize Draw, every single month, giving away some quite frankly amazing prizes.  There were many people on here questioning how on earth BeoWorld could afford this, and how it made no sense.  Well… yes, it made no sense as I was contributing heavily via LifeStyle AV which was doing incredibly well.  It made me truly happy inside to donate things to the Prize Draw, via my business, and help people all over the world enjoy the wonders of Bang & Olufsen ownership.  Times were good.

      BeoWorld, because of this, had lots of Gold Members – all keen to win these amazing Prizes.  A years Gold Membership, TWENTY YEARS AGO, was £30.  Even with lots of Gold Members we still didn’t make the numbers add up – even though I was buying the Prizes, but hey.

      For many years we lost money on the Prize Draw. I just wrote it off and shrugged my shoulders. You do that when business is good and it makes your B&O ‘family’ on here happy.

      Then, as more and more stores closed LifeStyle AV had to batten down the hatches. We ended up laying staff off as profits were nose-diving, and we took the decision to make the Prize Draw once every 3 Months.  The £30 per year for Gold Membership didn’t change. It was a difficult decision and one which upset me, but I simply couldn’t afford to empty my pockets every month any more. Things had to change, and you were all very understanding. I thank you all for that.

      Of course people decided that this wasn’t the ludicrously good value it used to be and didn’t renew their Gold Memberships.  Obviously this resulted in a decline in revenue, and over time even a quarterly draw became a struggle.  I ‘donated’ many items from my own personal B&O collection on many occasions to relieve the pressure on the BeoWorld bank account, and we managed to just about break even for a while.

      Now, as more and more people drift away from the brand we have less and less Gold Members.  It makes sense I suppose. Less stores, less advertising, less brand awareness and so on. This has made even a Quarterly Prize Draw a real struggle now.  I have just purchased the prizes for the Spring Prize Draw and found the BeoWorld bank account was far short of what I’d paid for them and I’ve just put almost £500 of my own money into the ‘prize pot’. I genuinely cannot afford this right now.

      Now, being a realist, I cannot see that in the next 3 months Bang & Olufsen will have a miraculous turnaround, create a worldwide storm, get 10,000 new members on BeoWorld with 10% of them joining as Gold Members and saving the day, thus making our Prize Draw the bumper bonanza of the past.  Bang & Olufsen as a company are clearly struggling (the share price is down a massive 85% in the last 5 years), and we’re really down to a hard core of true enthusiasts on here.  We truly appreciate you all. We really do.

      So, what we have is a bit of ‘chicken and egg’ here – and this needs thinking about….  The more prize draws we had, with more prizes, the more paying members we had. The more we had to cut back on draws, the more members drifted away.

      Things slowed down for B&O as a company, people started to leave the brand, and we made the Draw quarterly. People stopped being Gold Members.

      Now, so many people are leaving the brand the Gold Membership is very small and not even paying for the Prize Draw – even though I buy the prizes at trade price, call in favours from Dealers, and also keep ‘raiding’ my personal collection to make the numbers up. It’s just not adding up any more.

      Sadly there’s so little money in used B&O now it’s getting to the point it’d be better off getting a job, plus I have a mortgage to pay as well as ludicrous energy bills. I truly love this site and it’s part of my life (and has been for 20 years now), but I cannot afford to be subsidising it out of my own increasingly shallow pockets. 🙁

      So, I have two suggestions…

      1. Make the Prize Draw Bi-Annual. Once in Summer, and once at Christmas. I will keep the Gold Membership the same as it was in 2003. at £30. As long as people keep renewing their Gold Memberships. Hopefully we can then stay at break-even, or a very small loss.
      2. We can scrap the Prize Draw altogether. Gold Membership will disappear, and we can look at other ways to raise funds to pay for the server costs and power costs like maintaining Silver Membership for now then thinking of a different way of paying for the site.

      Now… Can I categorically say here that without Keith Saunders doing the huge amount of back end work, maintaining and hosting the server at his own home to save money, correcting code, custom writing patches and fixes, scanning and uploading manuals and making sure on a daily basis that we don’t get hacked FOR NOTHING this site would be gone. Totally gone. A distant memory.

      There’s no way I could pay for what Keith does, for free – so we all quite literally owe this site to him, not me. If Keith walked away, BeoWorld would have to close – immediately.

      So, I’d like to hear everyone’s thoughts on this if possible. You are paying members, and at the end of the day you will make or break this site as every penny you contribute goes towards keeping this site on the internet.

      Kindest Regards







      GOLD Member
        • Topics Started 0
        • Total Posts 18

        Hi Lee,

        Thank you so much for all you’ve done over the years! And many thanks also to Keith for keeping the site up and running in spite of all the crazy hackers out there!

        How about just an annual Prize Draw with an increase in membership fees to keep the site going?

        I made a donation and I would hope that many others will do the same.  We all learn and gain an immeasurable amount of useful knowledge to keep our units alive.

        Many thanks again to you and Keith!


        GOLD Member
          • Flensborg/Danmark
          • Topics Started 12
          • Total Posts 438

          Funny – I never though of becoming a Gold member just to be able to participate in the Prize Draw lottery.
          I thought that this was just a bonus for the Gold members.

          I am pretty sure that there are several reasons for less and less Gold members.
          There are overall very few members/people who constantly post on the forum nowadays.
          The interest for B&O, new or oldschool however, is there…….no doubt.
          But people have gone elsewhere – there are lots of facebooks groups, discord etc etc nowadays.
          And most people expect advice, insight for free.

          Imo this is a sad development – places where people, who are interested in B&O can connect to each other, are getting more and more diverse… is not just the one place – Beoworld – as it was before, where people meet.

          Unfortunately the fact that the forum sadly got corrupted – and that there was a time gap before the new version went online – meant that a lot of the previous members/contributors were lost.

          People simply do not seem to know how well the new forum has become – and they do not realize that the knowledge of Beoworld is searchable for anyone (unlike what excists in closed FB groups etc).

          Why not just have one yearly Prize Draw – and prizes don’t have to be expensive……you certainly should not have to pay yourself.
          It might be possible to have something sponsored.
          I am sure that those who are willing to pay for a Gold membership/have the spare money will continue to do so.

          As you also suggested above….it might be necessary to find other ways to finance Beoworld – Patreon and alike could be a way to go!
          Anyway, something needs to be done – not just for the sake of the Prize Draws, but to keep Beoworld alive.

          I will also express my huge thanks to you and to Keith for all that you have done in the past and still do.
          We should be grateful that you have explained, what it means to run a free forum…..not many of the more frequent posters/members know about this.


          GOLD Member
            • Topics Started 4
            • Total Posts 61

            Hey Lee –

            First of all, good to see you are still poking around! I am very appreciative for your efforts in running BeoWorld. This platform helped me discover and develop a subject I have become quite passionate about – it has literally changed my life. For that I will always be grateful. As well there’s no doubt that Keith is an absolute legend and powerhouse making it all work.

            The diehard enthusiasts will always be here, you can count on us. In my experience, the BeoCommunity used to be very centralized around BeoWorld in its 2007-2012 iteration (maybe a few more years after that). The seemingly endless number of FB groups/pages seem to have been the main undoing of the traffic we used to see at BW. BeoWorld will always be the place I go to share, though.

            I think a price increase is overdue for Gold members but I can see how that might drive membership down even further. Chicken and egg indeed.

            I also see the identity of the Prize Draw (and sir BottsWorth himself) are part of the BeoWorld brand, to lose it would be like losing part of BeoWorld. How many forums do you know do this?? Truly unique. However, I understand that we can’t live in fantasy land anymore. I agree with MM on maybe working the sponsorship angle more or attempting to find a way to subsidize somehow so you aren’t footing the bill yourself.



            Steve at Sounds Heavenly
              • Topics Started 28
              • Total Posts 218

              Hi Lee and Keith,

              As the sole remaining sponsor of the site, may I also put on record my thanks to you both for all you do and have done to keep this amazing B&O community resource alive. I greatly enjoy my regular online chats with other Beoworlders about all things B&O and it has been a true pleasure to meet some of the B&O community in real life whilst on my travels.

              I agree that the Beoworld community and membership has changed enormously in the 14 years that I have sponsored this site and I think this is largely due to the changes in B&O that Lee mentioned. I want to stay supporting this site for many years to come, so I think it is very wise to have this discussion now in the hope that Beoworld can find a way to grow going forward.

              As a past prize draw winner, I confess to being very excited about the draws and the chance to win interesting B&O goodies, but if this risks driving Beoworld out of existence then it needs a re-think. Lee has done a brilliant job finding, funding and presenting the draws for many years, but this does need to be something that the site itself can support.

              I would be happy to continue supporting the site, both as a gold member and as a sponsor, if the prize draws aren’t able to continue (or if they are reduced). However, I would welcome views from other members so that we can see the wider view.

              Thanks again to Lee, Keith and to all the Beoworlders who make this site such a great community!

              Kind regards, Steve.

              GOLD Member
                • Burgundy
                • Topics Started 3
                • Total Posts 153

                Hi Lee,

                A tough one. We were all afraid this day would eventually come. Here it is.

                I became a Gold Member mainly because I wanted to be part of the B&O community and because I needed the service manuals. I still do!

                Then, providing help to other members has been a joy too, although these days, I have too much to do to do so on a regular basis.

                Like Evan, B&O and Beoworld are part of what I am now. The now proverbial beovirus we invented here is real. There is no cure.

                The Prize Draw has of course always been a welcome bonus, which I was lucky enough to win three times over the years.

                I’ll continue to pay my fee, whatever you decide,  and two draws a year suits me just fine, if you can cover the expense with what we pay for the subscription.

                So thank you Lee and Keith (and Steve).

                Jacques aka Chartz since 2009, not going anywhere.


                BRONZE Member
                  • Topics Started 5
                  • Total Posts 131

                  I paid membership fee once just to get a service manual.  I felt prize drawing was worthless in the USA because shipping would cost more than the value of the item, and it was likely to arrive as scraps of metal and shards of glass anyway.  So I stopped paying after getting the manual and just “donated” time, giving answers to newbies that the old-guard — who had true technical knowledge — couldn’t be bothered typing for the Nth time over&over again (which seems entirely appropriate).

                  Mybe you could change Gold to paywall manuals, and make Silver paywall the Archives? See for an example of how Cooks Illustrated made “freely available” recipes that aren’t really freely available except to subscribers, yet have google hits that somehow show excerpts with the hit text un-ellided.  The archives would otherwise show up as 3-line “abstracts” with blurred-out long text. (Yikes, sorry for more work, Keith!)

                  Or maybe you could blast-mail B&O dealerships, who are theoretically independent, asking each for a modest donation as a public service?  Renew annually, asking again.  The value of keeping even a few customers out of their hair is a couple hundred or so per dealer, without even thinking about it.

                  Free ideas, worth every penny.  Not free to make happen, alas.  But some management consultant would say you should capitalize on your existing relationships:  You already know a great many people, and making that pay off is easier (in theory) than striking new deals.  Another idea is harder to implement but I’ll throw it out just in case it triggers something: “Form a partnership with youth.”  How that applies here I have no idea, but it’s axiomatic in some circles.

                  GOLD Member
                    • Topics Started 0
                    • Total Posts 1

                    Hello all,

                    What ever you decide to do, I will stay with you.

                    And thank you for all of you when are writing to this forum.



                    GOLD Member
                      • Topics Started 1
                      • Total Posts 50

                      Firstly, I would like to add my voice to all those above in thanking Lee and Keith for the running of Beoworld, and to Steve for sponsoring it. The site is an invaluable resource for B&O nuts like me but I have also been well aware that traffic has been reducing over the years, which is very sad news. I’m active on many hi-fi forums and, predictably get asked lots of questions about B&O which I’m more than happy to answer, but I always try and point people in the direction of the site.

                      As to Gold membership, it’s something I consider essential for access to the magnificent repository of service and user manuals. The prize draw is a lovely bonus and I have been lucky enough to win on several occasions, but if this were to drop to once a year or even vanish altogether, then it wouldn’t affect my membership decision – I’d still stay Gold. Like chartz – I’m not going anywhere!

                      I would also personally be more then happy with an increase in the cost of membership but I do appreciate that this may well have the effect of putting people off – you can’t win in this one!

                      In my own small way, I’d like to help by making a donation to the coffers and Lee – if you do decide to continue with the draw, please drop me a line as I have some items in the Smith Beocollection that i would be more than happy to donate for the next one.

                      GOLD Member
                        • Topics Started 1
                        • Total Posts 6

                        Hello everyone,

                        First of all a big thank you to Lee and Keith of course.

                        I didn’t become a Gold member because of the prize draw but it was a very nice bonus. Winning the B&O Vintage Matchbox Delivery Van was a very happy day for me!

                        I would prefer if the prize draws continue. Annually or if possible bi-annually. I also wouldn’t mind to pay more for the Gold membership.

                        Miki (Gold member since 2010)


                        GOLD Member
                          • Topics Started 0
                          • Total Posts 3

                          Hi all,

                          Similiar to Miki, I joind the community to get ideas, chat and access to manuals etc, not for the prize draw, which I found out later and saw as an exiting bonus!

                          As long as I have an interest in old B&O equipment (wich unfortunaltely is a new and small niche of my interest for other older electronics) I will support and hang on as long as possible by being a Gold Member (with or without the draws).

                          Thanks for all your hard work behind the curtains of BeoWorld!

                          Best wishes and regards,
                          Thomas (just a newborn kid with regards to all oldtimers here ;))

                          GOLD Member
                            • Topics Started 1
                            • Total Posts 7

                            The economics have to balance. If the books cannot be made to balance, we’ll be looking at site closure – maybe not tomorrow, but soon. If subscriptions don’t cover the cost of the draws, then we need to increase income, or reduce the cost of the draws.

                            On increasing income: I became a gold member because I wanted to support the good work that Lee and the team were doing. To me, the small difference between the cost of Silver and Gold made the latter the obvious choice. Whether the cost is £30 or £35 would not make any difference. However a move to £40 might have caused me (if I’d just arrived at the site for the first time) to pause, and ask whether I really needed to pay that much. My guess is that those members who currently pay £30 are unlikely to baulk at £35.

                            On reducing the cost of the draws: We need to consider why the draws exist. I see this as two-fold: they are an exciting point in the year to look forward to, and they bring the Beoworld family together. They are good for the former, but not really so good for the latter. I think that the move from monthly to quarterly was a big change. A change from quarterly to annually (a Christmas draw) would have much less impact. A quarterly draw I often miss, but a once-per-year Christmas one would be special.

                            So as a minimum, I suggest £35 and an annual draw.

                            However it’s also worth looking at the issue from the other end – why someone might want to be a Gold member. Perhaps Silver could offer a limited number of downloads, whereas Gold is unlimited. Perhaps Gold could be marketed as the “true enthusiast” membership – same as Silver, but with a donation of £5, £10 or £15 (minimum £5) towards the work of Beoworld.

                            Similarly, if we look at the draw from the other end – it’s unlikely that someone would join Gold *just* to participate in the draw. It’s more the icing on the cake. Would it be possible to replace this icing with something else? I seem to remember in the dim and distant past that there was a meeting at the Kensington Roof Gardens. I have no idea how successful (or otherwise) that was, but it was thinking outside the box. How about an annual Gold meeting, funded by attendees, not by the membership fee. In addition to simply meet & chat, we could run a handful of tutorials – I’d be happy to run one on basic electronics, basic electronic fault finding, or even how to solder. I’m not necessarily recommending an annual meet as the right way forward, but more about not constraining ourselves to an undue focus on the draw.


                              • Warwickshire, UK
                              • Topics Started 12
                              • Total Posts 720

                              I’ll keep this short and focused because there’s lots to read above, and some great ideas and thoughts!

                              I support Option 1: a Bi-Annual Draw with the current Membership rates.

                              Other comments:

                              • Main effort should be towards keeping the forum going, maintaining and building on current level of interest, tempting back old members and encouraging new.
                              • For me, content, format and usability of the Forum are much bigger factors that the Prize Draw, which I too see as a ‘bonus’ (and I have been lucky enough to win great prizes four times since joining in 2007).
                              • Whatever is decided, I do think that both current members and new visitors need a more obvious indication of the levels of Membership and the benefits of each of these levels – perhaps a clickable banner that encourages site visitors to explore these membership options further.

                              I would also like to echo the thanks of other Users for the unflinching support of both Lee and Keith – I know that some great work goes on behind the scenes to keep the site running smoothly and I am eternally grateful!

                              EDIT:  And big thanks also to Steve for continuing to sponsor and support my favourite forum! 😀

                              • This reply was modified 1 month ago by Guy.
                              GOLD Member
                                • Topics Started 1
                                • Total Posts 4

                                Hi Lee,

                                First off, Thanks for all you and Keith for all you continue to do. Like most, the Gold membership was worth more to me than the Prize draw, which I never paid attention to due to formerly been based in the US. The knowledge base, advice, manuals, connections and conversations have always paid for my investment in membership. I have often saved so much money from paying for consultation time to troubleshoot challenges B&O equipment that even some new dealer employees had no clue how to resolve.

                                I personally would continue to support the annual fee but as suggested it may be worth revisiting the membership types fee structures with possibly lower membership with lower fees and gold for those like myself who value the Gold benefits. I would also consider allowing members to donate above and beyond the gold fee of £30 if they wish. I personally would do so within my budget.



                                GOLD Member
                                  • Topics Started 2
                                  • Total Posts 17

                                  Hi Lee,
                                  Difficult. I suspect that many who buy new high end B&O don’t come here these days.

                                  The site is useful for repair or compatibility issues for older products.

                                  The old humour – camaraderie has gone from the site, due to members who haven’t renewed, but also from a period when any off-topic humour seemed not to be tolerated….. which was overcome by the old Wednesday evening Wedthred. Present day ‘Wokeness’ probably now makes much comment even less tolerable.

                                  Keep the forum going. Seek out dealer sponsorship, or small commission fees for dealer links. Make the draw only once a year around Christmas.

                                  And why not invite all old members back to a formal site relaunch with a discount offer for gold or silver subscriptions (direct debit or continuing credit card renewing automatically after one year at the full rate?)


                                  GOLD Member
                                    • Topics Started 1
                                    • Total Posts 4

                                    Hi Lee

                                    The draw is of no importance to me as the value in having access to such a rich resource of information is worth the annual £30 fee.

                                    Thank you for the work you have put in this invaluable forum over the years.


                                    FOUNDER Member
                                      • Topics Started 1
                                      • Total Posts 46

                                      Hello Beoworlders

                                      I will also take this as an occasion to thank Lee, Keith and all others on the Beoworld Team for all the heart, energy and effort they invest to keep this site up running. As someone who is a bit of a numpty with IT-stuff, I have no idea with of all that comes with running a site like Beoworld, but it surely it a lot and also costly.

                                      Yes, I do always hope to win at a draw (who wouldn’t?) an I won’t deny that I was very happy when I won something and I do enjoy my prizes…. but like many others the prize draw and the chance of winning was always a nice extra to the main motivation of supporting the site with the membership fee and would continue my support even if there was no prize draw.

                                      I would go for the Bi-annual draw option and personally I would also have no problem with an slight raise of the membership prize (like 35 or 40 GBP).

                                      Regarding doubleola’s suggestion of allowing to donate more tha the gold fee: This possibility already exits via the “Donation to Beoworld” item in the sites Gift Shop, but this option is a bit hidden. Maybe a “make a donation” button that links to this item might make this a bit more visible for members who want to use this option…. just a thought.

                                      Whatever descision is made I will keep up my support and I hope that Beoworld community will last.


                                      FOUNDER Member
                                        • Topics Started 0
                                        • Total Posts 2

                                        Hi Lee,

                                        On the Prize Draw, I confess I stopped following this regularly when it went from monthly to quarterly. It’s gob-smackingly nice to win something but really it’s just the icing on the cake. I’d say do it just for Christmas. As for the prizes themselves, maybe go a little cheaper?

                                        On Keith Saunders, I have run mail and web services on a rack of ThinkPads in the corner of my living room so I know how much work it entails – way more than anyone understands. On top of that is the pressure of something that runs in public, not to mention the electric bills. There also comes a point when techie enthusiasm gets ground down by the sheer weight of bad actors on the Internet. I gave up in the end and put it all on Google Workspace, got my life back, and never regretted it for a second.

                                        On membership in general and Gold in particular, I joined up when I was building my collection and needed the advice and manuals. These days, not so much but I figure it’s like an insurance policy – if something breaks down I’m not left high and dry. I won’t be leaving the site and I might even weather a small price increase.


                                        GOLD Member
                                          • Topics Started 1
                                          • Total Posts 7

                                          Just a thought, but how about encouraging donations by adding a “Buy Lee and Keith a coffee” button at the top of every page?


                                          GOLD Member
                                            • Kent, UK
                                            • Topics Started 14
                                            • Total Posts 94

                                            Hello Lee,

                                            I love being part of this forum. The support and discussions are worth a fee alone.

                                            I would be happy to pay £35 per year – a bi-annual prize draw would be nice. Or a Christmas one. I’m easy on that.

                                            Someone earlier on in the thread mentioned a ‘club night’ somewhere to meet face to face and chat B&O.
                                            This sounds fun!

                                            It’s tricky to suggest ways to generate revenue. Do we know how many members we have who would buy full membership? And do we know how much additional non-member traffic we have?

                                            The donation button is a good idea.

                                            The beauty of this forum is in the technical knowledge we all share (to varying levels).

                                            Is there any benefit to starting to keep ‘chat’ to general posts but maybe add a fee to access the workbench or a dedicated solutions area?


                                            • This reply was modified 1 month ago by pepps.
                                          Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 59 total)
                                          • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.