Wow! I say again: Wow! And I thought my Change in Tone post brought in a lot of response. I’ve never stirred the pot up so much as I did with my post about Slope’s business model. I appreciate – truly, truly appreciate – everyone voting, commenting, and emailing me. It was invigorating, thought-provoking, and helpful.
So here’s my big announcement. After careful consideration, here’s what I’m going to change about Slope:
That’s right. It’s going to stay just like it is: the blog is going to remain free, and those who pay for Slope+ will get all the goodies (no ads, exclusive access to my video libraries, members-only posts, my undying affection) that they’ve always received.
That is not to say that I didn’t get some good ideas and direction from the cascade of emails and comments. So here’s what I’ve got to say:
+ The most emphatic point was to focus on Slope+ (this came from both subscribers and non-subscribers). So that’s precisely what I’m going to do. I’ve already been paying more attention to Plus, and I am going to increase my efforts there. I will not do “posts for the sake of posts” – – during market doldrums, I’m not going to send out ideas just to fill the time – – but I will definitely put more effort into a steady stream of what I consider my best ideas, such as this post I just created a few minutes ago.
+ For those of you who are thinking about joining Plus (or those who said they feel that they should pay something to support my efforts), now’s your big chance! I’ve created a very short-lived coupon which expires on Monday. The coupon code is junebug, and it’ll take $29.95 off a new subscription (which means you can try the first month for nothing). Here’s the subscription link. (I’ll mention as an aside more than a few people wrote to tell me I am still undercharging for Slope+, but I think I’ll leave my next fee increase for a different market environment).
+ Instead of charging some small fee, like I said, I’m going to continue charging $0.00 like I’ve done for over nine years now. From time to time, however, I’m going to toss out a Donate button, sort of like how NPR has their occasional pledge drives. I can tell you right now I’ll probably do these during those rare instances when the market is swooning, since that’s when you’ll probably feel most inclined to kick in a few bucks. For those who just can’t wait…….just click here! It’s your golden opportunity to buy me a cup of coffee (or glass of wine).
What I read again and again and again was how Slope is like a “social club”. At first, I thought that was some kind of insult, but after reading all the comments, I realized that it was not only not an insult, it was actually a positive. What’s wrong with having a gathering place that people enjoy hanging out? That’s why I created my own comments system in the first place!
Long-time readers may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned about clicking on ads for a long time (years, it seems). I used to do it virtually constantly, but I figured it was kind of obnoxious after a while. I will say, though, remember the ads keep the “free” site in business, so please click ’em from time to time. (At SlopeFest, nf6 told me that he used to click ads dozens of times, God bless him).
But this whole topic got me thinking about my own behavior in life and on the web. I’ll share a few little anecdotes to help flesh this point out:
I read ZeroHedge every day. It is, as Slope is for many of you, a daily habit. If they started charging, say, a few bucks a month to read it, I’d probably stop. Why? I’m not quite sure. I guess I could kind of live without it, even though I really enjoy it (I’ll hasten to add that its community, far from being a social club I’d love to hang out at, is repellant to me). As an aside, I have clicked the Donate button from time to time, since I appreciate what the Tylers are doing.
How about NPR? I listen to NPR every single time I get into the car. Am I a supporting member? Nope. Haven’t I heard all their pledge drives? Yeah. And I’m not quite sure why I don’t bother. Maybe I figure someone will do it for me.
So am I really that cheap? Well, no. For instance, last month I sent Best Friends Animal Sanctuary $1,000. It’s not because I visit their web site, like I do ZeroHedge. It’s not because I listen to them every day, like NPR. And it’s not because I’m going to get a little plaque or my name in lights for a day. I did it because I wanted to do it. I wanted to help. Something told me to part with $1,000 (which, for me, is a meaningful amount of cash) because I wanted to help out.
So I truly understand where people are coming from. Sometimes it makes sense to pay. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s for selfish reasons. Sometimes it’s because you want to just be supportive and helpful. But for whatever your reasons to do what you do, we are all, more or less, economically rational creatures, and I really want to thank you all again for your guidance, your earnestness, your support, and your ideas. Oh, and most of all – – thanks for making Slope a habit. We’ll continue growing it together, you and me.