I have been a Premium member at OLS for two years. I pay to use both the sweepstakes listings and the forums. When Brent, the owner, started charging membership fees, he created a business. And when he created a business, he created customers with expectations. One of my expectations was to be able post in the 'moderated' forums, free from verbal abuse and personal attacks. I also had an expectation that the moderators would fairly and evenly apply the rules of the forums. This has not been the case.
Many members over the years, myself included, have had to leave the forums, and before our paid memberships have expired. A group, which includes some of the original and/or long-time members, gang up to bully, cajole, intimidate and verbally abuse new members who oppose or question their ideologies. At the moment, this is going on the political forum, but it spills over into just about every area of the forum. Members are targeted for attack, sworn at, ridiculed, and eventually driven off the site. The discourse is hateful and malicious. Members who leave are sometimes stalked online. This has happened in cycles over the past few years.
The moderators and owner not only allow this to happen, but sometimes even encourage the behavior with an uneven and seemingly arbitrary application of the rules. Abusive verbal attacks are allowed to stand. When a new member tries to explain or defend, they are often ignored, suspended or banned. Members are not allowed to question the decisions of the moderators. When a member tries to contact the owner, Brent Riley, to complain or receive clarification, calls and emails go unanswered. He is, in fact, absent for weeks at a time.
When one pays for membership in a business, it is reasonable to expect customer service. It is reasonable to expect that the moderators will adhere to the clearly posted rules without bias or prejudice. It is reasonable to expect the forums will to be a positive, rather than traumatic, experience. It is reasonable to expect to be shielded from personal attacks and animosity. However, this is not the case at OLS.
Do not assume that if you pay for a membership that you will be afforded any courtesy or be treated fairly, when it comes to the forums. The sweepstakes are very well-organized. They are also available for free at other sweeping sites, should you not want to pay to be personally attacked and bullied.