Discussion about Collective2 fees

Dear Collective2 Members:

I’m writing this letter in order to begin a public discussion about how Collective2 does business.

Let me begin by telling you that running Collective2 takes a tremendous amount of resources. I am not talking about the time it requires (although I should point out that it does occupy a large amount of my time). I am talking instead about computing resources and money. Currently, the site uses four different servers, spread across multiple geographical locations. These include a Web server, a database server, a quote feed server, and a SPAN margin calculation server (don’t ask).

Despite all the hardware, the site runs too slowly for my liking. I have investigated what it would take to speed up Collective2 significantly. According to my research, the most conservative upgrade would raise my monthly operating costs by 40%. Currently the site is costing me several thousand dollars per year, out of pocket, to run.

Now, I am not looking for your sympathy. I merely cite these facts as a way to introduce the topic about which I want to write. I am considering changing the way Collective2 makes money. I would like, at a minimum, to have the site generate enough income to cover its operating costs. Further, since I would like to upgrade the site to run faster, these costs are about to increase.

So here is my proposal. I would like to charge an annual “listing fee” to have your trading system appear on the site. I have not determined an exact amount, but I am thinking it will be approximately $75 per year.

I would allow current trading systems to be “grandfathered” in for some limited period of time (that is, current system owners would not be immediately charged for a few months).

Let me stress that this plan is not final. I am seeking public comment. If I find that most people will stop using the site if I charge for system creation, I will need to reconsider how to proceed (i.e. delay upgrading the system hardware? Limit the number of systems available?) Or perhaps I can continue to stumble along, volunteering my own trading profits to keeping the site running. Believe me, I love Collective2 and I will not let it vanish!

So what is your reaction to the idea of an annual listing fee?

Before you comment, I want to add a few thoughts for you to consider.

First, although I would like to charge a monthly fee rather than an annual fee, there is a problem with this. My experience is that new system developers require the most hand-holding, and take up most of my personal time and most of the CPU resources (because they trade most frequently), when they first start trading with their systems. About half of all system developers wind up losing money, and then stop using the site after a few months. So if I charged a monthly fee rather than an annual fee, a perverse thing would happen: I would spend the most time on – and most of the computing resources would be taken up by – systems that do not contribute their “fair share” of the cost of running the site. That is the reason I am leaning toward charging an annual fee.

Second, a related point. By charging an annual fee up front, we would encourage only real traders to create trading systems. We would eliminate the clutter that occurs when traders try a trading system, then lose money, and then create a new trading system. This kind of musical-chairs trading systems – and, also, the listing of lots of crappy systems by people that are not serious traders – reflects badly on all of us, including, especially, those traders that are talented and have created very good trading systems. So, this is another reason to charge an entry fee – to keep away the people that are not serious, and to prevent people from listing too many systems on mere whim.

So could you kindly think about this issue and then discuss it publicly here on this forum? Is $75 per year a fair amount? Is it perhaps too low? I know it is not a typical practice for a business to ask its customers whether it should charge them money, and – if so – how much, but this is the Internet, after all, and we supposedly live in a New World Order, so let’s see how it goes.


Matthew Klein



$75/year is ok with me, however, semi-annual, 6 months, charge would most likely be better, since one year is a long period of time and someone may decide to sign off from collective2.com long before one year is over. Therefore, say, $37.50 charge is more likely to be in the range that most people would be willing to pay. I was also thinking that some of us could donate some money to run this site, however, a fee would be as appropriate, more consistent.

I think an annual fee is O.K.


Janice McLure


Hi Matthew think about this this way 75$ can pay only those who can make more money. How many systems right now are profitable and making good money and how many of them having a subscribers. I can guarantee by charging 75$ you would lose 90% of your customers.

Here are yous web site stats

Reach per million users:

Today 1 wk. Avg. 3 mos. Avg. 3 mos. Change

7 6.5 2.1 282%

Its still not enought traffic. I would suggest you to do marketing of the website.

So far there are not a lot systems that has more then 100 trades and have confident results. I was up 30k after the first month then I bought futures and in the evening and was waiting for for the news. News hit the market i wanted to close possition and enter short and my order filled after 20 minutes when market went 80 points and i had los of 45k instead of 30k profit.

Right now I already regained those 30k but as you understand if stuff like this happens the results of the systems arent accurate.

Instead of 70k profit right now i have almost 0$ profit made.


“I can guarantee by charging 75$ you would lose 90% of your customers
” – indeed, that is likely to happen, so that is another consideration in this discussion. I also agree that if you were to charge a fee, collective2 would have to be a reliable system. On several occasions, I couldn’t get a fill when buying even at the ask price, or when closing opened position for the bid price. Those sorts of situations limit performance scores, it’d have to be eliminated.

I don’t have a problem with a modest fee (I actually have been wondering how your business been doing), but make it as it was advised, a 6 monthly instead of annually. I would pay 30-40$ per half year for the service, but as it was advised, it has to be more reliable. For free, we can’t really bitch, but when we have to pay for it, it better be good! :slight_smile:

Your main problem Matt is, marketing. You haven’t marketed the website and it shows. Right now I am not aware of other similar service (maybe there is), specially not for free, but neither are others!!! I saw 2 posts asking for practicing papertrades on the newsgroups in the last week and they didn’t get many answers.

Advertising doesn’t have to be expensive, occasionally posting to newsgroups is free. That was how I ran into your website back 10 months ago.

You might also consider to hold a trading competition (1 month,3 months,etc.) and you could advertise that, letting people enter for free and maybe giving away free membership for the winners or something. That would generate traffic and talk about the site.

I think the other main problem of yours beside lack of marketing is trying to grow too fast and putting in too many features.I think users care more about good executions than having a gold/silver future tradable. If I were you I would make sure the 3 basic (stocks, options, futures) securities execute fast and reliably and I have a few winning traders drawing subscribers, then I would think about putting in more extra features.

The website was working fine 6 months or so ago (execution-wise), and if you have advertised a bit instead of working on more details, maybe you wouldn’t have this problem today.

Even if you charge eventually for the website, I think you should let beginners try their hands on papertrading somehow, because as I said, there is no similar service on the web, that I am aware of.

That is also possible that the website could only be economical by charging the traders and not the taking of a small % of the subscription fee. As I did a quick math, you need about 200 subscribers to systems charging 30$ a month right now to break even.

How about this? Try to advertise for a month or 2 and see if traffic grows enough to make you selfsustaining. If not, than there is nothing left than charging us.

To anyone who has a viable trading system, I don’t see how $75 a year should really be an issue. That being said, my system seems to be very different from many of your responders. It only makes several trades per year and many of the speed and accuracy issues folks brought up don’t apply in the realm I work in.

I agree you should market the site as much as possible including submitting the url as widely as possible, and including all the buzz words for search engines somewhere on the site. Also why not ally yourself with vendors who may pay for hits who have relevant content. But please no popups.

regards, Steve Norris, mvp signal system

I dont mind $75 ($100) no matter how its collected (annually or semi-annually).

However, I think the system should be fixed first before you start charging us!

Also, one way to reduce the hardware limitation problem is to limit each person to one trading system! I have two myself but i could just keep my better system and kill the other.

And making gold/silver tradable (24 hrs) was great ! Those are what I mainly trade, and without them I would not use this website!