Back in the summer, DVCNews ran a survey asking readers for feedback on a number of topics. We received hundreds of responses and would like to take a few minutes to share the results and highlight some ways that we hope to address certain items.
A number of questions on the survey dealt with the usefulness of the website and timeliness of information posted to DVCNews. Our primary mission is to serve as a one-stop resource for Disney Vacation Club news, and fortunately it appears that we are meeting that goal. Over 88% of survey respondants said that they get all or most of their Disney Vacation Club news from DVCNews.com. As for the ease of accessing information on the site, more than 95% of our readers said that they can usually find what they are looking for on the site with little or no effort (remember, the search feature is your friend!)
We did receive a couple of comments that the site design is old and outdated. The site was actually refreshed less than 2 years ago, but other changes are currently in the planning stage and targeted for the first half of 2016.
DVCNews publishes a weekly newsletter and we asked readers to confirm that they are aware of the newsletter and receving it as expected. Only 8% of those who responded stated that they registered but never receive the newsletter. Those numbers suggest that the newsletter mailing process is working as expected. Individuals who are not receiving the newsletter may wish to confirm they are signed-up by logging into the DVCNews.com homepage and scrolling to the newsletter registration box near the bottom. Or check your email spam folder to see if the newsletter is being redirected there.
Some readers commented that the newsletter is "old news" by the time they receive it. In some cases, that is unavoidable. The newsletter is published every Monday and it recaps all of the stories over the last 7 days. Due to that inherent lag, there are times where an event or deadline will have passed before the next newsletter is issued. If you are worried about missing some critical date, the best advice we can offer is to vist the DVCNews.com website or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or RSS.
We also received some negative feedback regarding our links and retweets of content on the official Disney Parks Blog. We originally began linking to those items as part of our effort to deliver any / all DVC-related content to readers as quickly as possible. But we also agree that the method employed was not the most effective approach we could have taken. From this point forward, links to any DVC-related stories on the Parks Blog will appear in our weekly newsletter but we will not automatically post them to the DVCNews front page or send social media links. If a Parks Blog story is particularly relevant to Disney Vacation Club owners, we may compose our own story & commentary. But direct links to the Disney Parks Blog will be limited to the email newsletter.
Readers overwhelmingly enjoy the weekly DVCNews Debate topics, even though most choose not to participate. Commenting is certainly not required, but we hope more members will share their thoughts and opinions. All article commentary and forum discussion on DVCNews is moderated and our staff will make every effort to keep discussions civil.
One of the more controversial survey topics involved changing the site commenting system to a Facebook-driven format. Some loved the idea...others openly hated it. Facebook has become such a pervasive Internet resource that we viewed this move as potentially a way to eliminate a barrier that keeps people from participating on the site. Rather than having to register for a DVCNews account, readers could use their existing Facebook account to comment or share information on the site. However, given the mixed response no changes are planned in the immediate future.
Finally, the survey asked for feedback on adding new content to the site--feature stories, photo essays, etc. Responses were all across the board, with most respondants favoring additional feature content. We're pleased to announce that David Mumpower will begin contributing stories to DVCNews on a regular basis. David is one of five people in his immediate family who are Disney Vacation Club members and has written long form Disney articles for Theme Park Tourist. He also writes for several other sites including two that he co-founded: Box Office Prophets and How Well Do You Know. David's first contribution will be published tomorrow--December 4. We hope that you will join us in welcoming him and sharing feedback on his stories.
David joins a wonderful group of contributors to DVCNews.com which also includes Wil and Denise Lovato and our long time forum moderator Marilyn Garfinkel. The site would not be what it is today without the contributions of these individuals.
One final topic to address: several readers commented that there are too many advertisements on the site. Providing a user-friendly reading experience is certainly a priority and we have given careful consideration to the placement of every ad on the site. But please realize that operating DVCNews.com requires significant financial investment, along with even more time and energy. Advertising is the ONLY source of revenue for the site. We have gone to great lengths to avoid the most intrusive ads which many sites now employ, things like pop-up ads which completely take over the screen, audio and video streams which begin playing automatically and mandatory survey replies. DVCNews is completely open and accessible to all, with the display of a handful of banner ads being the only "cost" to view. We hope that readers will be understanding of this circumstance and--when appropriate--support our advertisers which include The Timeshare Store, Owner's Locker and David's Vacation Club Rentals.
Thank you to all of our readers, and a special thanks to those who took the time to respond to this survey. There wouldn't be a DVCNews.com if there wasn't an audience for this information. We are always working hard to update, modify and improve the site in an effort to deliver the essential Disney Vacation Club resource.
-- Tim & the entire DVCNews team