A Change for Slope?

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I need your opinion to help me make an important decision, please.

Slope of Hope is 9 1/4 years old. It is as close a thing I have to a “job” in my life, and unlike most jobs, it’s a 365 days/year gig. It’s my choice, of course, to be that obsessed with the blog, and I think my obsession is a big part of what’s kept it thriving over this ridiculous span of time.

Back during the financial crisis (remember that?) I was up to my neck in advertising revenue. It was awesome enough I was virtually printing money via short-selling; the tons of cash from ads was just icing on the cake.

Well, both of those circumstances have clearly changed. The one relevant to you as readers – the 0627-subad dollars – has collapsed since the amount companies are willing to spend for “eyeballs” has plunged. Thus, Slope+ members are becoming the heroes of the blog, since the success of that service has kept my effort on Slope worthwhile.

I was thinking about this situation, and I hit upon an idea: why not get rid of advertisements completely and charge a small monthly fee for access to the blog? My tentative name for it is Slope Basic (Slope Minus doesn’t have quite the right ring), and it would provide all the services (the blog posts, the comments system, SlopeCharts, SocialTrade, etc.) for a small monthly fee. Slope Plus would remain as it presently is.

Those without a Slope Basic or a Slope Plus subscription would be able to see the home page, as well as the first paragraph or two of each post – – but if they want to see any comments – – or participate in comments – – or even read the entirety of a post – – they have to be a member.

What I’m trying to ascertain to help me make this business decision is how much people would be willing to spend each month. Let me be emphatic – it is very important that you vote and be honest. By “honest”, I mean choose a price level that you’d actually be willing to spend. If Slope were suddenly “off limits’, and you were willing to spend $9.95/month, don’t choose $5.95/month just because you think that’ll save money. I’m honestly trying to get a price elasticity curve, so to speak, figured out here. So if the most you’d ever spend is $5.95, great, choose that. If you’d cheerfully spend $100, great, then choose $9.95/month, since that’s the highest price I am proposing.

I haven’t made any decision at all yet, but the results of this poll will help me make a decision. One other item – please don’t consider this a referendum on whether there should be a charge for Slope or not. In other words, don’t vote for $0.00, even if you’re willing to spend a little money. Because even if the majority of folks say they’re unwilling to spend anything, I may well make the choice that it makes more economic sense to make Slope subscription-only.

And of course, constructive comments and suggestions are welcome in the comments section of this post. Thank you very much! Now please take a moment to vote!