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Thread: Stock and ownership of the site.

  1. #1

    Stock and ownership of the site.

    This is a continuation of a discussion that started in the Announcement forum.

    In response to a message from NoDeCafPlz who asked "Should we own stock or something", I had responded that "that is not such a bad idea..." and that "If we offer stock starting at $10 per share, I think that people would buy. The stock will give community ownership of the site."

    Bigbob then posted
    posted 12-21-03 09:06 AM
    Sounds interesting. How would the site produce revenue? Would you consider advertisers, otherwise, the fee would be a membership or registration fee.
    My answer to Bigbob:

    Bob, good question. The site itself has value. That value can be counted both in terms of membership, information, and impact. Advertising is of course a possibility but I have been resistant to commercializing the site for money. I guess it all depends on what is the basis for the valuation of the stock. I am intrigued by this idea because it will mean that the community can "own" the site. That ownership has value even though the site may not have a lot of income.

    Wise.

  2. #2
    Senior Member ~Patrick~'s Avatar
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    Would this be considered a "Not for profit"? What would CC tax liability be?

  3. #3
    Just a suggestionSo I don't get beat up for being blunt )If there were any funds available could they be used for tools to lobby for the cure? To make presentations, etc.?

  4. #4
    If there was a fee for members, I think it would change your community metrics. Perhaps an occasional popup featuring companies like sportaid or quickie might work, and keep the site free. They might even have a link on their site to CC which would also help with views and membership here.

  5. #5
    I'd be in.

    How do we put it in motion?

    Joe

  6. #6
    Senior Member Rick1's Avatar
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    Currently, every registered member is essentially an equal stakeholder in CareCure - at least to the extent that they can offer new ideas and information, or freely challenge what others post. The value of this web-site lies in it's ability to independently discuss and disseminate a broad range of information. In order to maintain that independence, I think any commercial endeavor relative to this site should be set up as a separate entity with a clear line of separation.

    Food for thought:

    · What is the CareCure mission? Would commercialization help or hinder that mission?

    · What would be the incentive to own stock? What would be the perceived ROI?

    · For there to be defineable value, wouldn't ownership would have to be limited?

    · Since the larger share holders would necessarily wield more influence, what about the potential for abuse?

    The fight among men is not of good and evil; but, opposing ideas of good.

    [This message was edited by Rick on 12-21-03 at 06:37 PM.]

    [This message was edited by Rick on 12-21-03 at 06:41 PM.]

  7. #7
    I believe this site owes its beginnings to Dr. Young. In my opinion I think it is his decision as to which route to take. The value of this site is a meeting place for people to share their experience, and knowledge, and to vent their frustrations. Lately it seems like the site is taking on another challenge, and that being a voice to lobby for the cure, and to try to direct funds to the most plausible research. To accomplish this it would help if the site had some financial resources. It would be a tremendous catalyst to see a group of people getting together with a common interest and goal to conquer SCI. This could only happen on a site like this with a leader like Dr. Wise.

  8. #8
    Agreed, the real value is in its committment
    to pooling research and the altruistic way it communicates it. Equally important to mention is that without those intangibles that Wise, the nurses, and the veterans create, well...

    The caring + the information + the outreach and coordination the site provides... Certainly SCI-Step and Project Walk would see this as a very good investment.

    The value is there, with the right guidance and the right pitch to advertisers...it could be a very good, helpful project- if it remains true to its cause and mission statement.

    Joe

  9. #9
    Would selling stock in this site give someone a chance to assume control over it if they wanted too.. I don't know the percentages of stock that may allow an individual or company to gain control or not. Say Nike bought 10,000 shares and was 51% of the ownership. Would they have the right to do whatever they wanted with this site. Like put it in a box on their own web site. I don't know if this would be a good idea. The non-profit idea sounds like it would be more solid and we could take donations and have fundraisers. I think a few trusted members should keep the power of this site's goals that are qualified. Plus income could also be generated as previously mentioned.


    David

  10. #10
    Pat, It is possible to have carecure set up as a non-profit corporation. It would of course require a mission statement, a board of directors, and a lot of paperwork. The difference between a profit-making and a non-profit corporation is how the company spends its "profit". A non-profit company can have "shareholders" but it would not compensate its sharesholders with dividends or the like. I don't know whether shares of non-profit companies can be traded. However, the shareholders would control the corporation. For obvious reasons, I think that if we do create a corporation for carecure, it should be a non-profit corporation. There is a discussion about non-profit and profit-making corporations in another topic. The paperwork for setting up a non-profit is not trivial. It would require a lot of work. As somebody pointed out in the above topic, the question is why one would do it because the carecure site is already running as a non-proft entity under the umbrella of an educational institution (Rutgers). One reason is that it could raise money as shares than it could from the viewpoint of donations.

    Bigbob, a lot of thought would have to be put into the organization of the non-profit corporation. I agree with you that a membership fee will significantly reduce the number of people who will join the site. Perhaps a lot of the current "lurkers" would no longer come to the site if they have to pay for it.

    Rick, thanks for your thoughtful remarks. Having been burned once, I am quite reluctant to expose the carecure community to commercial ownership again. When this site began life as spinewire, we were a for-profit corporation. The drive for profit altered the mission of the site and eventually killed the site. Regarding the incentive to invest, I imagine that people would invest for charitable reasons. After all, they would be able to get a tax deducation. Of course, buying shares would not entitle people to a "return on the investment" but rather would give them a voice in the running of the site and "ownership" of the site. Finally, you are right... what if somebody were to plop down a million dollars and take control of the site? Well, there are a lot of ways of preventing that by structuring the corporation is such a way that no shareholder could ever obtain majority control of the corporation.

    What would be the advantages of incorporating as a non-profit organization?

    1. It would ensure that the site remains for longer period of time. At the present, its survival depends on my ability to raise funds and the volunteer work of all the nurses and moderators, and of course members.

    2. It would force the community to think clearly about the service that the site provides and how they would like it to be continued, in the form of a mission statement and how its funds would be spent.

    3. It would allow Carecure to raise more money than it is currently doing. Many people have suggested ideas for how to harness the economic or political power of the membership.

    But, all of the above require much thought and careful consideration. We have enough money to run for another 3-4 years even without additional fundraising.

    Wise.

    [This message was edited by Wise Young on 12-22-03 at 07:10 PM.]

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