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My name is Michael Bieler. My family owns and runs Astronomics.com, the company that owns Cloudy Nights. Astronomics has been in the astronomy business for over 30 years. We have had the honor of owning Cloudy Nights – which Allister St. Claire started around a decade ago – for almost 4 years.
The goal of Cloudy Nights is simple. Keep the atmosphere family friendly; don’t load the site down with advertising (including our own); and keep the site free to the community.
The mods and admins do a great job of keeping the site friendly. They are volunteers who dedicate their time to the hobby by freely taking on the often-thankless job of monitoring a large internet community. For that I thank them.
We don’t inundate you with ads for our retail business. Heck, I am sure some of you had no idea that Astronomics even owned Cloudy Nights.
We don’t charge any fee for you to use the forums or sign up for the site. We don’t charge the advertisers on the front of the review side a single penny. They are there because most of them are individuals and small manufacturers who love astronomy, but who aren’t yet big enough to afford the high ad costs in the astronomical magazines. They need a high traffic place to advertise while they grow their business and we didn’t want to take their hard-earned money out of their pocket while they did it.
I believe we have done a pretty good job staying the friendly and free course that Allister originally laid out.
I would first like to start off with a heartfelt Thank You to all the members of the Cloudy Nights family. Without your input and knowledge Cloudy Nights would not be the destination on the internet for reviews and forum conversation. Our membership continues to grow steadily every month and our forums average ten times as many posts as the next astro-related forum on the internet. So again, I thank you for your contribution.
Secondly, astronomics is going to offer a Cloudy Nights Friends and Family Discount on most every brand of equipment we carry to Cloudy Nights members as an additional thank you. I am sure you have some questions about the discount so I will go over them as best as I can.
1. What is the discount?
The discount rates can’t be published for various reasons, such as manufacturers’ minimum advertised pricing policies. However, the discounts fall in line with some of the more popular pay-for-a-discount clubs offered by various vendors.
2. What is the cost?
Zero, zip, nada. Unlike other discount programs, your Cloudy Nights discount is totally free. As you are already a member of Cloudy Nights, the world’s largest astronomy club (at least in our minds), you are good to go. Why should we charge a fee to give you a discount?
3. How do I sign up?
As a registered member of Cloudy Nights you are signed up already. All you need to do is supply your Cloudy Nights username name for verification when you place an order at Astronomics and that is it. If you have friends and family that want the discount, all they need to do is sign up for Cloudy Nights as well.
4. How do the discounts work?
They work over the phone, internet, or mail. Once you mention your Cloudy Nights username over the phone to the Astronomics sales staff you are in the system. When you place an internet order on the Astronomics website and enter the Cloudy Nights username at the appropriate point in the order process, you are in the system. When you send an order though the mail and include your Cloudy Nights username, you are in the system. It is really that easy.
5. Where do the discounts show up?
The discounts will not show up at the checkout if you place an order with Astronomics over the internet. The discount will show up on your printed receipt you receive with your package. Your credit card will be charged with the proper discounted amount. If you place an order over the phone, the salesperson will have your proper discount for you when you place the order. If you pay for an Astronomics order via PayPal over the internet the discount will be refunded to you in the proper amount to your PayPal account.
So, there you have it. A thank from your friend in the business, astronomics. We have been here promoting the hobby for almost 30 years with no end in sight. So keep reading the reviews, talking in the forums, and keep helping make this hobby a lasting one for generations to come.
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