I'm a private weather industry business leader with over 20 years of applied operations, sales and marketing experience. 

Profit in the chase community

I have written about this until my fingers became mere nubs yet new material presents itself every time I look any further past my own endeavors when it comes to making money in today’s world of storm chasing.

For this round we will take a look at the profitability potential of www.stormtrack.org; the “premier” forum for weather chasers, meteorologists and now whoever can afford to skip a fast food meal and type a legible string of words followed by punctuation. That’s right, Tim V., the guy who claims ownership of the popular forum has implemented several ways to make some money. They are:

  • Google ads: eh, Google ads are hardly a huge money maker anymore. As Google further extends itself into realms to which they should not, the people putting ads on their websites will continue to get less money so Google can afford to stay afloat. Mark my words, Google will be in trouble within 5-years. That’s another post though. I would figure ST makes around $100/month in adsense. This is a guess.

  • Banner ads: Banner ads at ST are $75 per month. There are discounts for multiple-month buys but for my loose figures, we will use $75 per month. I’ll assume there are, on average, four rotating banners on any given month. That’s $300/mo.

  • “Supporting members”: This is a $9 donation of sorts to the ST cause. If you donate you get absolutely nothing except a “supporting member” badge below your name. Woo Hoo!!! I’m not even going to fathom a guess on the amount of money being made off this. Maybe $90 per month? Not enough!

  • Entry fee: This is new and seems to have the current members in an uproar. It’s a fee to contribute to the forum I guess. I can’t seem to find any literature on it but “buying in” gets new users a ticket to the areas they can’t access without membership.

Okay, so we know that ST is not exactly a cash cow at this point but given the direction it’s going with many, many new names of late and the stuffy vets who would have a say in the management of the forum having moved on, I think it’s time for Tim to make some cash. Someone should!

To tie my thoughts together, I’ll quickly go over the model of another forum I frequent: www.JeepForum.com

This forum has 215,845 members, 17,119 of which are subscribers. A subscription? $25. A subscription provides the member an ad-free experience, access to special forum areas and a sticker. Hardly anything all that special. The subscription is yearly so the forum owner has recurring income. If you do the math, that’s $427,975.00 in income FROM A FORUM!  That’s not to mention the ad revenue from both google and banner ads.

Okay, now back to Stormtrack. ST has 1,865 active members as of this writing with the potential for many, many more. Let’s assume 10% of those members would be willing to up their membership to a “subscriber”. Tim V. would pocket $4,650 plus banner and google ads!  Now, imagine general membership numbers jumping to 10-15K where 1500 or so are paying $25k  Now we’re talking enough cash to make it worthwhile. Why not make a little money off the influx of wannabe and real chasers alike? Everyone else is.

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