Should We Bother with DDM?

The other day, I went to DDM, or DuranDuranMusic.  This is not a typical action on my part but I went over to see if there was anything interesting on the boards.  While I was there, I checked the home page, which includes the news.  I found myself not only sadden by what the boards have become but annoyed by the overall site.

One does not need to be a paying member to see what is on the homepage, but, of course, you do need to in order to get all of the details on the articles/information posted, to get to the member exclusives, etc.  Once I click on the log in button, the site immediately takes me to the presale information page.  On one hand, this can be extremely helpful during presale “season” so that I don’t have to waste time getting to the presale page.  When there are not presales, why would I even go there?  Why would anyone?  It doesn’t make sense.  Wouldn’t you want to offer the latest and greatest offering by sending us back to the homepage where we started?  Maybe I’m doing it wrong.  I don’t know. 

Typically, then, I go back to the homepage myself in order to read what is new.  Here’s where my annoyance kicks into full gear.  It is hard to even see what is news or what was new to me as the news isn’t listed in chronological order.  Clearly, some “news” on DDM’s home page is deemed more important than others.  While I get that, the presale information about presales that have already taken place seems no longer then most important.  DD.com is able to give the latest information first except for in VERY rare circumstances, which I like.  Why can’t DDM?  Clearly, it isn’t that no one is updating this page at all as there is current information listed.  So, why not put the news in order by most recent?  Then, if some other bit of info needs to be at the top, put it at the top and indicate that.  Heck, this is what message boards do by having a specific symbol that shows that topic to be “stuck” to the top.  The problem here might be user error because I just can’t see what is new.  For example, I looked the other day and discovered that there was a new Katy Kafe there and had been there for over a week.  How come I didn’t see it the last time I was at the site?  Probably because the blurb about it was hidden on the third column on the news page.  Huh?  It just doesn’t make good sense to me. 

Of course, I could have found out that there was a new Katy Kafe if there was some advertising done.  Why can’t someone/anyone put a tweet out there that a new Kafe has been posted for paying members?  Why can’t a facebook status indicate that?  Yes, I realize that not every fan is a paying member but why not alert those who are?  Why not give us a reason to actually go there?  At the same time, it might encourage non-members to join.  Why wouldn’t Duran headquarters want that?  I don’t get it.  Yes, I realize that most of the members now are there simply for the presales.  If it is that, then why put an exclusives on there at all?  Why bother?  It seems to me that the site would be better as either simply a presale location OR a real fan site.  If they are going to include cool extras (which obviously can be debated), why not do it right and TELL people about what is there.  Rhonda and I post our blog topics elsewhere everyday, why can’t DDHQ do the same when something new is there? 

Now, I’m sure that many (most?  all?) of you reading this are thinking to yourself–“Why does Amanda bother?  The rest of us left or never paid for DDM to begin with.”  The response to this is simple.  Yes, I could just stop going over to the site.  Yes, I could just stop paying.  I could.  I absolutely could.  Yet, I do enjoy the Katy Kafes, including this month’s with Simon rambling about tennis, the state of the world and more.  I like seeing exclusive pictures and videos.  I think that is what a fan club should be doing.  Of course, I would like to see much more focus on the fan community aspect, but I have gotten past that.  Hence, why Rhonda and I have tried to fill in some of those gaps by starting conversation here, on twitter and on facebook.  We are all trying to bring people together in meetups and other events in the future.  Therefore, if a fan club isn’t going to try to bring the fans together, they should be offering us something for our money, in my opinion.  I think they could do this in a way that is more efficient and more effective for both them and us. 

I’m sure that 95% of comments will be about how I’m sucker to continue over there.  Logically, I’m sure that’s right.  Emotionally, I am not ready to give up on something that has such potential.  Thus, I tried to offer a couple of means to improve it.  It may not bring people back or restore people’s faith in it but it could be some steps in the right direction.  Right?  Maybe, it would just annoy me less.

-A

20 thoughts on “Should We Bother with DDM?”

  1. DDM is buried in the middle of Oblivion as far as I'm concerned. Until the band gets its act together, I don't even bother with it. Sure, I'd like to listen to the Katy Kafe but I'm not going to be paying money for it (by the way…why can't that feature be offered freely to ALL fans?). What's the point of buying membership when you're not even guaranteed meet & greets or early entry at GA shows? Pre-sales are the ONLY reason people hang on. This is really a sore point for me and it makes me feel that the band is just taking its fans for granted.

  2. I agree with most of that. I am still a member. I was a member before I even owned a computer of my own, just in CASE they made an announcement about tour dates. (Back then, info was HARD to get sometimes if you had no computer.) Anyway, I used to spend HOURS there every day, like I now do with FB. Things were going fairly well until the moment they decided to get rid of OL. (That is short for Offenderland, which is what we all called the Fan Fic – Mature section.) All of a sudden, people started bashing each other in Random about everything. It was like Fan Fic lovers vs the uptight judgmental fans who just couldn't handle the idea. It got UGLY. A lot of fans left then. More followed later as the board got quieter and quieter and it was just dying. I stayed, but it is not the same. There IS some new blood in there. Some younger fans, too. It is nice to see them. THEY give me a glimmer of hope. Honestly, yes, the presales are the ONE reason I did decide to renew this year. And as it was, I was supposed to renew in December, but didn't until January. Oh, and by the way, there is no longer a minimum number of months of membership required to get access to presales. Frankly, that is a sore spot as well. Long term paying members should have priority over those who joined YESTERDAY! @ least one hour early, I say. And the Katy Cafes are one of the ONLY perks left as exclusive, though I do see them pop up sometimes elsewhere. #annoying A lot of things need to be fixed and improved. There is a distinct lack of advantages now. There used to be contests. There used to be birthday threads to the guys that included a giveaway for those who posted and all replies would be shared with the guys. Now, we make our own and sometimes there are no more than like 20 replies IF THAT! SAD state of affairs over there. I once claimed I would go down with the ship over there. Well she is taking on water and my feet feel wet.

  3. I absolutely agree with you Amanda and Madame Duran. I also get turned off at the fact that they have two levels of memberships. I feel they are totally taking advantage of their fans. I don't like the fact that you have to pay to be a member of the fan club just to PAY AGAIN (at a high price I must add) to get decent seats at their concerts. And, having to pay to listen to Katy's Kafe is another insult. That kind of thing should be free for all fans through the website. I just find the whole concept a total turn off. It's a shame this is what it's come to.

    I never really go on their official site unless it's to look at tour dates. I think the Daily Duranie is a much better place for info and definitely better for interacting with other fans. Hopefully some of the band members read this blog and will get a clue as to what the fans want and need.

    -Sallygirl

  4. I have to agree that presales are probably the only reason to stay a member over there at this point, which is why Amanda and I decided that the only way to improve the situation is to stop complaining about it and start DOING something. It's only frustrating for me now at this point because we can't do as much as we'd like. (contrary to popular belief I don't have 24/7 to just plan functions…or money to just travel where ever I'd like) Rather than being able to plan and attend meetups everywhere, we've organized events where we are going to be traveling, and we've tried to go places on this tour that we hadn't been prior.

    If this were my full time job and I were able to justify spending the time… and of course if I had a budget to work with, then of course we could do more. Isn't that always the case? Regardless, we try to be transparent with what we're planning or doing so that other people can follow our lead. Amanda and I obviously can't charge for “membership” to a fan community because A – we're not official and we aren't trying to be anything but Daily Duranie; and B- it totally goes against what we're trying to do. We want to be INclusive of all fans, not EXclusive for just the fans willing to pay.

    With all due to respect to Amanda because I know she's on exactly the same page I am – and all she's doing is pointing out how things could start to be corrected; it's true, DDM should have been conceptualized far differently. The implementation should have had far more follow through from day one. We can sit down and poke holes through nearly everything they've done…but what good is that really doing? I don't want to be known purely as a blog that complains about what is wrong with the community but rather as one that celebrates our fandom, and perhaps one something that has helped to fill the holes that DDM has sort of created or allowed to tear without repair. We simply want to bring the community together however possible. Amanda and I are committed to doing that, and hopefully every little bit we can do is helping.

    -R

  5. **Oh and by “tour” I mean the tour the band has planned. Amanda and I picked one section of their tour schedule in this country (US) to focus on. I wouldn't want anyone to think we're actually touring with the band…we're traveling on our own! 😀 -R

  6. I stopped being a member of DDM about 2 years ago when I realized that having access to presales didn't matter. If I was savvy enough, I could get just as good (or better) seats through other means. Long story short, if you know where to go, DDM presales are a farse. Yes, you are able to buy tickets BEFORE anyone else, but that in no way means they are BETTER seats.

  7. Can't stand DDM. Poorly run and very US-centric/divisive (eg the contests, announcements etc). The board is very 'cliquey'.
    I firmly believe that place has done more harm than good to the fan community.

    Yep, you can say I am not a fan of it.

    Thank goodness we have places like this.

  8. I agree that most people are there just for the presales. Heck, I am. Plus, I do like to know what is happening in all areas of Duranland.

    Do you think a fan club should be something to charge money for ever or just depending on the features it offers?

    -A

  9. You definitely bring up other areas where DDM could improve like having birthday threads and membership requirements for presales.

    There are contest still, though, right? Didn't they just do one for ADITM?

    It is interesting to me that when DDM gets mentioned people immediately talk presales and message boards. The two areas I did not focus on with this specific block.

    -A

  10. We are glad to hear that we provide just as much news as official sites! More importantly, we are thrilled to hear that we have created an environment which allows fans to interact!

    -A

  11. You must share your knowledge on how to get good seats without using DDM!!!! We lucked out in the UK with using eBay and seat wave (like stub hub). Normally, I am too nervous to wait for tickets like that to appear. I need to know that we have good tickets before planning!

    -A

  12. I can't comment for others but in my case I always dismiss the contests. Why? I guess it's because I figure they aren't THAT big of a deal. A nice extra maybe – but not anything that one should have to pay to be in a community to take advantage of. How do I know this? Well, because you and I have talked about doing contests ourselves. Nobody pays to see Daily Duranie! (although I would still really love to have an app made…SIGH.) Besides, I've never won a single thing from DDM. The *one* giveaway thing I've “won” over the years was the All You Need is Now T-shirt that they were giving away on Twitter. I took that and ran with it, and yes – it really did make my day when I won. Those things do make it fun, but like I said, for me it wouldn't be the reason I joined somewhere, you know? -R

  13. I'm glad you're happy here Seven, even if we don't always agree. You should feel comfortable to say whatever you'd like here and know that even if we're not coming from the same direction on a topic, we try to find somewhere that is common ground. It's not always easy, and we're certainly not perfect, but we try to see the points of view from everyone. I think Amanda and I both feel that's important, and if you think we're missing something, it's good that you tell us! We want that “world” point of view that we often times miss by living here in the US.

    -R

  14. I really enjoy reading your perspectives too. There's always balance and and fun reading someone else's experience. Amanda's recent Live Aid blog was a very cool read – it took me right back.

  15. The key to scoring good tickets is persistence. There are several ways to do this:

    1) If tickets are normally sold through Ticket Master, I make it a point to be at my computer the minute they go on sale to the general public. I choose the Best Available seats option, and if I don't like the seats they give me, I try again….I do this for a good 1/2 hour, and if I still don't get good seats, I wait it out. Going back to Ticket Master every few days to check, since they will release prime seats closer to the event date.

    2) eBay is a good place to go, and I've secured front row seats at the last minute (at a good price) from a reputable seller that suddenly couldn't make the show and had to unload their tickets.

    3) Craigslist.com is another great way to good tickets. As with eBay, you just have to filter through all of the ticket brokers and buy from a real seller whose plans have changed and they can no longer make the concert.

    I would MUCH rather do my own legwork than to pay the ridiculous fees that DDM charges for presales and packages. Hope this helps!

  16. There ARE still contests, but the only ones they seem to do any more involve having to have the ability to DO something, like create a design or make a video. They USED to just have giveaways that ALL members were entered in and they would get things like the new CD or a promo poster or something cool like that. Or maybe some of the left over swag from unsold VIP packages would be given away or sold for a low price to members. That was how I got the frame and towel. And like I mentioned before, the birthday threads would always include a giveaway of some sort. That is all history now.

  17. Been thinking…

    The problem with DDM is that it doesn't make a clear cut distinction between being an official fan community and a VIP club. It contains features/offers that should be accessible to the general fan base (for example, I shouldn't have to pay extra to hear Katy Kafe or listen to rare DD tracks at a live concert). DDM also fails to secure privileges for dedicated, PAYING fans over “industry”/sponsor types that are usually just there to be seen.

    To me, a fan club should be inclusive and membership available to everyone at little to no cost. VIP members would pay for certain exclusives such as pre-sales (with GUARANTEED prime seating or early entrance at GA shows), instant discounts on merchandise and access to selected meet & greets. Not all the goodies should be reserved for VIPs alone, however–there could be the occasional open contest to win a chance to meet the band, group travel discounts to DD Fan Conventions or some merch discounts depending on how long they've been a registered member.

    Fan clubs serve to promote the band and make its members feel they're connected to the artist and each other. Having first dibs at hearing interviews, demo tracks and general news is precisely the sort of thing that would keep fan interest alive. I think the Internet pretty much takes care of the community sharing aspect of fan clubs. There's no need for DD.com to have an “official” message board when there's Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other means by which communication between fans and the band is achieved directly. What else do fans expect from fan clubs?

    It seems to me there are only two things that fans are willing to pay top dollar for. They are 1) premium concert seating and 2) meeting the guys in person. If that's the case, then that's what VIP membership should be covering. Everything else should be geared to benefit all fans. The current “cliquey” attitude of DDM is not bringing fans together but dividing them into “Have” and “HaveNot” camps.

We (Amanda and Rhonda) appreciate discussion and differences of opinion. We respectfully ask that you fully read the blog before bitching us out. If you're only here to take us down a notch, note that we moderate replies (meaning we're not printing rude comments). Thanks a bunch!

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