Membership? I thought Balloon HQ was free. What happened?
The Balloon HQ web site and mailing lists are free, and will
ALWAYS be free to promote new growth in the industry we love. But, since
its inception, Balloon HQ has grown immensely. As a
result, our web page visitors, mailing list subscribers, and even our
sponsors have asked us to continually provide more services. To complement
the free stuff, we've responded by offering some new paid member services
that will help strengthen the Balloon HQ community, and allow us to
continue supporting the balloon industry.
Who pays for Balloon HQ right now?
We are grateful for sponsorship funds from many industry manufacturers and
distributors. A handful of dedicated balloon professionals have also been
paid members for a while. Unfortunately, it's just not enough to allow
Balloon HQ to reach its full potential as an industry and consumer
education/communication service. If we're going to do our best to help your
business grow, we need your membership support as well.
What are the new services being offered?
We've tried to address your needs:
Want to present a great consistent image? You'll get your own
BalloonHQ.com E-mail address (like JoeBalloonist@BalloonHQ.com) that lets
your customers know you are a balloon professional (way better than
firstname.lastname@example.org). You won't have to change your E-mail software or service
provider. When a message comes in for you, Balloon HQ will immediately
forward it to your current E-mail account. If (or more likely when) you
change to a different service provider you won't have to send out any more
E-mail address updates, or worry about who you've forgotten to notify,
since all your contacts will have your Balloon HQ address... and it won't
change! You'll also get your own online portfolio with a web address to
match your email address (like http://JoeBalloonist.BalloonHQ.com) and web
site address (like http://www.balloonhq.com/artists/JoeBalloonist) that
will automatically forward customers to your current home page, no matter
where it is located. Your online calendar associated with your portfolio
is a great way to let people know where your work can be seen.
Want more job referrals? As a member, you'll have a complete listing in
the Balloon HQ Artist's directory - including your photo! When someone is
looking for a balloon artist to refer work to, they can search for your
city... and find you!
Have some unneeded equipment or products you'd like to turn into cash?
To help you take full advantage of our world-wide targeted community,
members can now post ads in the classifieds area of BalloonHQ.com at no
charge. Everyone can respond, but only members can advertise.
Want to let everyone know about an industry-related event? As a member
you can advertise freely on the BalloonHQ.com calendar of events.
Want to share photos of your work with others and comment on their
pictures too? We're hard at work adding new interactive features to make
it easier for paid members to share information, design recipes and submit
Want better technical/telephone support from us? With more paid
members, everyone using BHQ will benefit from the growing computer
resources and staff we will be able to add. We already try to help
everyone, regardless of their financial support, and we hope to continue
that. However, support costs money, and we will do everything in our power
to recognize those with paid memberships. It only makes sense to offer the
best help we can to those that help support us.
Members can submit messages to the BalloonHQ.com mailing lists through a
web interface. This is useful for people that use mail systems that are
unfriendly to the BHQ mailing lists (such as AOL 6.0).
Will it take longer for me to receive my e-mail if it has to first pass through Balloon HQ?
No. Mail forwarding will be handled automatically. The difference in time
it takes for mail to reach you should, in most cases, amount to nothing
more than a few seconds. In general it won't even be that long.
If I sign up for a BHQ address, can I cancel service from my e-mail and web service providers?
No. The purpose of this service is to work with your existing setup while
making it easier to promote yourself and your business. We know that no
online service can be all things to all people. For us to try to establish
e-mail and web services that everyone in our community would be happy with
would be both time consuming and costly. Instead, we're making it possible
for all balloon artists to chose their own service plans and have us fill
in the details that are specific to the balloon industry. For example, who
else would offer a really cool e-mail address with the name balloonhq.com?
Who should I turn to for web and e-mail services not offered by BHQ?
Recommending specific services is really out of our reach. Deciding who to
use for those services is a personal matter.
What are the advantages of being a BHQ member?
Supporting a service that you benefit from, like public TV, ensures it will
be around for the future and provides the maintainers of the service with a
means to expand. Having a URL that immediately associates you with the
Balloon HQ community lets everyone (including your customers) know that you
are a balloon professional. Having a URL and e-mail address that will
never change, no matter what service you switch to and where you move
ensures that people will always know how to find you. Lastly, we've been
hearing balloon professionals clamor for years about wanting to be part of
an organization that serves the whole industry and not an isolated group of
people or manufacturer. We're doing everything we can to be that
Who will benefit from this service?
Everyone that makes use of the Balloon HQ web site or mailing lists will
benefit from being a member, as it provides a way to keep the service
running. Anyone that doesn't have their own Internet domain but wants
an address that shows the artistic community they belong to, and anyone
that wants to have a permanent e-mail address that will never change can
benefit from membership.
If I pay, will I get better support?
Yes. As membership grows, everyone using BHQ will benefit from the growing computer resources and staff we will be able to add. We will also
make sure to recognize those with paid memberships when they need greater
telephone support to work through problems. We already try hard to help
everyone, regardless of the financial support they have given in the past,
and we hope to continue that trend. However, support costs money, and we
will do everything in our power to offer the best help we can to those that
help support us.
If I need to update the addresses my mail and web site are forwarded to, how long will it take for the changes to take effect?
These updates happen within moments of you submitting changes to the BHQ
directory of balloon artists.
Will the personal information I provide in order
to become a member be used for anything outside of Balloon HQ?
No. We respect the privacy of our members. When you sign up, you will be
given the option of making your information available in our public
directory. This directory is used by customers and fellow artists for job
referrals, etc. If you choose not to be listed, your information will be
kept completely confidential.
How can I tell if I paid my membership fee?
If you're not sure about the status of your membership, you can always look
at the directory of balloon
artists. Search for your name. If you're a paid member, it will say so
in your listing. If you are a paid member and wish to see when your
membership expires, visit the page to
renew your membership. You dont' have to
actually renew in order to get the stats on when you signed up and how much
longer your membership is active.
What other services will be offered for members,
and will there be additional fees for those services?
We have many plans for improving the existing web site and e-mail services. New services will be announced in the BHQ Monthly Column as progress is made. If you have suggestions for things you'd like to see, send them to email@example.com.