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TechSpot readers, would you pay $3-5 for a subscription, remove all ads, and...

By Julio Franco ยท 114 replies
Jan 17, 2014
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  1. TechSpot readers, we want to gather your opinion about an optional subscription program, giving you a way to directly support the site while receiving some cool extras and recognition. Among the benefits: no ads anywhere, a special contributor badge, full-text...

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    cliffordcooley likes this.
  2. To have this poll makes me worry...

    Hope these is not the beginning of the end of TECHSPOT
  3. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +419

    I voted $3. This site combined with my own tinkering (which was in part encouraged by participation in the forums) is where I gained a lot of my knowledge on PCs starting back in the very late 90s and early 2000s. If I visited as frequently as I did several years ago I would probably be ok with $5, but I simply don't visit that much anymore. I may visit more in the coming months because I'm sort of in the market for a new PC (although that will come after I make an unrelated major purchase), so if I started coming around more frequently I may reconsider.

    One thing that I see a lot of around the web is recurring memberships, and I don't like that idea. Maybe make the fees a certain price and offer a discount if you buy 6 or 12 months at a time.
  4. Greg S

    Greg S TechSpot Staff Posts: 984   +422

    Here are my thoughts on the features listed. Techspot has been my home page for probably over 2 years now, and I really would hate to change it, but I would probably switch sites rather than pay for something I can get for free elsewhere.

    No ads, anywhere - ultra fast loading speeds ------ Already have that since the site is cached in my browser and I can disable javascript for faster loading.

    The TS contributor membership badge - shown in your profile, news and forum comments ---- I don't care about this

    Single page article formatting in all long-form features ---- I like the multi-page articles as is, please don't change them to single pages

    Download articles as PDF & built-in PDF to email for later reading ---- I can already do this with Acrobat or just print to PDF in Chrome/Firefox

    Full-text RSS feed ---- I don't use feeds

    Access to our editorial calendar: know about future coverage and reviews before it happens ---- This is the most valuable item here in my opinion and really the only item listed here that I can even see someone paying money for (unless they are just strictly donating to be nice).

    (Possible) Discount codes in gaming/hardware retailers ---- Hardware is more important over software any day, it's much harder to upgrade than software.

    Show us your support, and support to independent tech journalism ---- This is not a feature, it's sounds like begging and pleading to donate money.
    havok585 likes this.
  5. Greg S

    Greg S TechSpot Staff Posts: 984   +422

    To add on, there should be a poll option that says I'd be willing to pay if there were more features than just those listed. I want something that makes it worth the money, not just a donation.
  6. You guys have ads?
    Wow..thanks Ghostery!
    trgz likes this.
  7. That small percent of people that said in the poll:" yes please charge me $5 , im cool with it " is beyond me.
  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,758   +2,429

    Every time anyone posts to a forum, they automatically concede that their content is worthless, and will be forfeit, consistent with copyright claim to it, on the part of the website in question.

    Every regular an any given site likely has some sort of methodology for removing ad content, whether or not the site even permits.

    In the case of members of this site, such as @SNGX1275 , they also contribute their time in pursuit of digital babysitting,

    The only thing I could envision a sign up fee accomplishing, would be to align the number of members total, with the number that actually participate.

    And I almost be willing to bet, you'd lose a couple of those as well.
  9. I'm not sure how I found Techspot, or how it became one of my favorite websites. I've been checking this site daily for years.

    That said, I'm not down to pay a subscription fee to remove ads.

    Throw a donate button up at the top of the home page on the other hand and I'd gladly donate a similar amount to what it would cost for a yearly subscription fee. What's the difference? Nothing really except the perception that I'm doing something I want versus something I'm forced into.

    How about a humble bundle type of donation based deal? Pay more than the average and the ads disappear.
    spectrenad, m4a4, havok585 and 3 others like this.
  10. Comanche

    Comanche TS Enthusiast Posts: 37   +23

    You will never get a penny out of me with this BS, just even the question is offensive.
    havok585 likes this.
  11. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,953   +1,286

    I check TechSpot daily. That being said, I'd pay 10-25 dollars a year for nice features, but I could not justify a monthly subscription.
    spectrenad and misor like this.
  12. tehxion

    tehxion TS Rookie Posts: 19   +9

    I would be interested in a subscription model with the following points:
    - No Ads (this is the single biggest reason, because they are screen clutter and can link to malware)
    - No subscription (don't want another re-occurring payment). Make it yearly, give options like paypal and card
    - Cut back on the java script and external links, my no-script is as high as my screen with scripts on this page. I just want a more safer browsing experience with less tracking.
    - That's it, no more features, we want to keep the price low. $50 or even $36 a year is still a bit high. Need to remember that people have other bills to pay, if all sites charged this no one would commit to this model because it becomes expensive and thus prohibitive.

    Keep up the great work and congrats on 15 years.
    spectrenad likes this.
  13. Prosercunus

    Prosercunus TS Booster Posts: 145   +21

    I enjoy TechSpot, but it's not vital enough or exclusive enough in its information for me to actually pay for it. It's a tough one and I would maybe consider paying $3 if the benefits were pretty stellar.
  14. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 2,831   +551

    I like the content. I do not mind plain advertising (advertising delivered at the same level as the editorial content). The advertising model can work if the management is careful about what they sell. I cannot stand loud, buzzy, invasive pop-up things and will AD BLOCK without hesitation.
  15. Dustyn

    Dustyn TS Enthusiast Posts: 53   +12

    Advertisements were never a problem as I block all of them. Nothing else I find enticing.
  16. TheBigFatClown

    TheBigFatClown TS Guru Posts: 679   +251

    Basically, what tehxion said.

    @tehxion, I guess the people running TechSpot aren't familiar with the power of the Google Chrome browser. At least 2 of the benefits they are wanting people to pay for have already been taken care of by my browser.

    No, I am fine with the adds. Google Chrome has click-to-play feature that blocks most content. So I rarely ever see any ads. If I do, my mind is so accustomed to them that they don't even bother me. It's like Dan Akroyd says in the "Blues Brothers" when asked how often the train goes by. "So often you don't even notice it". The only ads that have ever "realllly" bothered me on websites are the ones with video and/or sound. The other ones my brain can pretty much ignore without much problem. So Google Chrome has me taken care of.

    There are lots of other technology oriented websites I can get my news from if this one ever goes down. The market place has always been about supply and demand, has it not?
    I frequent this website for one reason. To keep up-to-date on the latest happenings in the computer and technology realm of life. I don't care about badges or any of the other things mentioned as benefits of a paid subscription.

    And of course you can already save almost any webpage in .PDF format using Google Chrome browser. Nobody on techspot staff uses Chrome browser I am guessing??

    So the bottom line for me is....no....no thank you.
  17. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 7,582   +963

    In light of some of your reactions, here are two relevant updates (added at the end of the post)...

    Update #1: Some of you are expressing concern about having a subscription at all, which has not been defined, hence the poll. As outlined above, we won't change or charge for content ever. This is not a paywall.

    Update #2: There's also the concern about recurring payments. We didn't want to overcomplicate for a poll, but we had thought about a yearly discounted option (e.g. $30 or $50 a year) -- if you are in this boat, just vote for the $3 or $5 option. Paypal would be the most obvious form of payment.
    Burty117, Ranger12 and cliffordcooley like this.
  18. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +419

    Thanks for the update @Julio Franco

    I didn't (and still don't) like the idea of recurring payments, but I realize this does make business sense, although at the expense of user laziness. However discounted option for block purchases is good. I know Fark.com does (or did when I paid for totalfark) have the option of the block purchases being non-recurring. I think that is essential if you were to go that way, missing a cancel date on a 1 year purchase is a big deal and would anger anyone.

    @ikesmasher had a really good point I had not thought of. The optional donate button. I kicked $3 to wikipedia a couple months ago because they had a reminder that the site isn't free (although they don't run ads either..), I don't suggest having a popdown-type menu from the top nagging like wikipedia did, but maybe a totally unobtrusive yet visible (slightly different shade of blue? instead of highlight yellow) with a donate to this site button or short message.. I don't know, shooting from the hip on this, hadn't really thought about it until seeing ike's comment.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  19. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 7,582   +963

    @SNGX1275 @ikesmasher Absolutely. But first we are trying to figure out if this is worth pursuing based on your feedback. The option to subscribe would be muted but visible along other standard menu options on top.

    Also, I have further clarified on update #2 that we'd offer yearly non-recurrent.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  20. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,953   +1,286

    Wasent me xD
  21. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,366   +67

    Instead of charging to use the site, why don't you reduce your payroll. I come across many articles that I would like to see on Techspot; why not let me post them? Also, it's a bad precident to make us pay to work for you. Kim Komando used to do that and I left her message boards. My advice often comes after years of experience and reading articles, and what about the people fixing peoples computers? You should waive the fee for people making many intelligent posts per month, intelligent maybe being at your judgement, or maybe at user upvote rating system.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  22. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,410   +3,424

    Julio, from my perspective, I don't see why you wouldn't give the option for someone to buy their way out of the ads. In the end it would potentially help both you and them. As far as setting the value of the non-reoccurring subscription, that would depend on the numbers that are paying. Basically you wouldn't know the answer to your own question until after you have implemented the subscription.
  23. Why are you removing valid comments from this thread?

    You asked for feedback....then you remove posts you don't like.
  24. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +419

    I'm not so sure. I would think there has to be some research published (if not formally (journals), at least informally (websites)) out there about how subscription vs donation sites and a comparison to sites just running standard ads.

    Edit - I haven't read this yet - but a quick google scholar search returns a lot of NYT papers. This one does mention it, but the title seemed more relevant to this site, but again I didn't read it yet so don't take my word for it:
    A Mixed Bundling Pricing Model for News Websites

    Extra Edit: I used the wrong search terms in the first edit - Here is a better, although not free (unless you are at a university with a partnership) addressing paying to remove ads: Information Economics and Policy
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  25. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +419

    You said it was a paywall, it isn't a paywall, you didn't read everything. That part was addressed by Julio.

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