Our Vision

Over the past ten years thousands of OUT members have suggested ways that we might take our unique organisation into the future. Enthusiastic and talented members have provided us with valuable insights into how we can become an even more dynamic and responsive organisation that reaches out to all gay people. We're so grateful to all of you for this continuing input. And we've listened carefully to what you've told us.

We've pored over your ideas over many months and then engaged the best advice before deciding on a way forward. I'm now delighted to let you know that today OUT launches an exciting future vision. It's a vision that we've been moving toward for some time, but until now we haven't been able to bring all the elements together in one place.

Date of last release: September 2006

OUT's strategic vision is launched

The vision is powerful, but simple. We intend making OUT the most exciting, supportive, creative and dynamic online gay membership organisation in the world. We'll continue to introduce features and benefits that lead the field in even more ways than we currently do. We intend making OUT affordable and accessible to every gay person who wants and needs it. And we'll strive to make OUT an even stronger force for good both inside and outside the gay community.

This vision is only natural for an organisation that over the years has made loyal friends and supporters throughout the world and which has enabled countless networks and relationships among its users. But of course the vision is nothing without a strategy and goals, and that's what I want to tell you about now.

The goals

First, we intend slashing the membership fee over time. OUT has always been praised for offering great value, but we understand that many people have difficulty finding the money to pay for membership. We want OUT to be accessible to everyone, regardless of their personal situation. We'll be making a start on this plan from today by indefinitely capping any future rises in the membership fee. As the vision comes together we'll work in stages toward reducing it and extending the memberships of those who have paid at existing rates.

Second, we'll immediately respond to the growing demand for a greater partnership between OUT and commercial organisations such as pubs, restaurants, travel companies and bookshops. OUT's thousands of members can be a real force in the commercial world, and we intend driving exceptional deals that will bring substantial discounts and benefits for members.

Third, we'll be progressively introducing a wide range of new elements and features on OUT. We start today, for example, with the launch of OUT's new Privacy Policy. We already offer some of the most advanced features of any online organisation, including forums tracking, event tagging, bulk messaging to entire guestlists, photo searching, video profiles and so on. In the weeks to come we intend launching a range of other exciting and important initiatives. Stay tuned!

The strategy

The only way we can continue to provide great services and build great new membership benefits while reducing the membership fee is to introduce advertising and commercial sponsorship of OUTeverywhere member website and services. We'll do this from September 2006 on a six-month trial basis. Paying members will be able to opt-out of receiving advertising or exclusive discounts through the member website and our weekly update emails. We'll also trial ads on our public 'pre-login' pages but, as I think you'll understand, we can't offer an opt-out for ads on those pages because we don't know who you are until you log in and, in any case, that website is directed at the general public rather than our members.

Some years ago I proudly announced that OUT would not take advertising as a matter of principle. Now I've listened to members who have convinced me that, if adopted the right way, advertising and sponsorship can allow our users to exploit commercial organisations, creating opportunities to save money and negotiate real money-saving deals. I have to admit I prefer the idea that our members could have such power.

I've also been reminded that times have changed since my original position and that OUT now operates in a world with a large number of competing services. More importantly, technology now enables all sorts of ways to make advertising more useful and less intrusive. It provides the means of opting out of stuff you don't want and choosing the sort of messages you find useful.

As we develop our vision and our technology we hope to pioneer techniques such as permission-based advertising that can be almost entirely controlled by our members. We only want to display advertising and promotions that we genuinely believe are beneficial and relevant to our members, and want to give you control over what you see.

Over the past few weeks we've been looking carefully at a range of potential advertisers who we felt could also be excellent commercial partners when we start negotiating discounts and special deals for members. At the moment we have standard affiliate agreements but with all the firms that we have selected we can see great scope for deeper relationships in the future.

So we've hand-picked a range of well-known companies who have each approved an advertising arrangement with OUTeverywhere: companies connecting people on short breaks or abroad, including Eurostar, Opodo, Late Rooms, Hilton and Novotel; brands for home and garden entertainment such as Waitrose, Just Eat, Majestic and LOVEFiLM; companies that offer products and services relating to camping, hostelling and other outdoor adventure pursuits that our members enjoy, including Field and Trek and Hostelbookers. We're also looking at beginning relationships with brands that our members use or shop with, such as Apple, and those which have direct relevance to our events, such as breweries, tea and coffee shops.

The possibilities here are almost endless. There are potentially great benefits we can deliver to our 5,000 events each year. In future, event organisers planning OUT holidays, for example, could take advantage of exclusive deals. Members organising private OUT parties could exploit a discount arrangements with party and entertainment providers.

In recent times we've been offered the opportunity for direct sponsorship of OUT events. Bars, clubs and breweries, for example, have always wanted to work with event organisers to build sponsorship arrangements for drinks deals, free entry to venues or special promotions. Until now, neither OUT nor the event organisers have been clear about how, or whether, to pursue such offers. Now we intend making those opportunities available to event organisers without reservation. Each can choose whether to negotiate and to accept such sponsorship.

You may know that for some time OUT has run an Event Affiliates Scheme in which not-for-profit groups can form a relationship with us. This has been a very successful idea, and organisations as varied as Gay Essex Dining, Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus, Age Concern and The House of Homosexual Culture have joined the programme. Now we can extend this initiative to include companies and other organisations that we feel would be of benefit to members.

PLEASE NOTE: Events are listed on this website on behalf of organisers in accordance with the Terms of Membership of OUTeverywhere and only if they have chosen broad publicity when adding their event to the Member Events calendar. As such, events are not necessarily affiliated to or endorsed by OUTeverywhere and may not be organised by the person who has listed the event: the person listing this event may simply be attending an event organised by another person or organisation and may wish to meet other people sharing their interest in the event. The mention or appearance of any person or organisation featured on these pages is not to be taken as any indication of sexual, social or political orientation of such persons or organisations. We cannot guarantee that the information is accurate and recommend that you always seek to contact the organiser directly to confirm full details of any event. Under no circumstances will we be responsible for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on, use or misuse of, the information on this website.

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