I hope all of you in the US had a lovely holiday, and those of you outside of the US had a wonderful weekend. Mochi and I were visiting family in the midwestern US, and I had the distinct pleasure of introducing him to fireflies – something I’d completely forgotten about after my time in LA. Truly magical.
This week I’d like to talk about site revenue and subscriptions. I know I’ve written a lot about this in the past, but based on the data that came out of the survey research, I have some new ideas and wanted to get community feedback before rolling things out – hopefully by this weekend.
First and foremost: there will always be a free version of Prosebox.
That out of the way, here’s what I’m thinking.
For the longest time, I was considering going the direction of adding “gated” features that would be open to subscribers only, a pretty standard way to go about increasing subscription numbers. After going through the survey research, though, I changed my mind. What became very clear is that most of you care more about supporting your “home” than any new features I might roll out. Both are definitely important, but keeping this place alive is priority one. That’s interesting.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, the big focus of mine going forward is: how do I inspire all of you to write and comment more? I noticed that when the amazing new DE members joined PB, site usage spiked across the board as you all got to know each other. Watching that happen was incredibly rewarding on a personal level, and it showed me that that is the most important thing to focus on. More writing, more commenting, more connection.
So, if that’s my focus, and the thing you all care about most is supporting the site, I think – at least starting out – that it makes the most sense to have any new features available to all users, paid or not.
That said, this is all a big experiment. If this doesn’t work out the way I’m hoping, I may revisit my thinking. As always, though, it’ll be a conversation I have with all of you.
Okay, cool. But if that’s the case, why would anyone subscribe to PB?
To remove ads, and to support the ongoing growth and stability of this place you call home. Full stop.
Truth be told, it’s been a rocky year so far keeping everything running smoothly. I kept this mostly to myself until I had confidence in a path forward, but the developer friend of mine that stepped in last year stopped being able to work on PB early this year. Since then, every bit of ad revenue that’s come in has been spent on keeping us afloat. Every time there’s a bug, a server crash, or an issue with spammers, I’m posting a bid on a job site to hire developers to look into it. I’ve made it work, but it’s been stressful and time-consuming to ensure that PB keeps humming along.
The reason I’m bringing this up now is that I’ve hit on a solution. I’m happy to share that I’ve entered into an agreement with a former colleague to cover the need for any emergency development work (and there’s always emergency work) each month in exchange for a fixed retainer. This is a huge load off of my mind, and frees me up to focus my energy on improving the site.
The reality of this arrangement, though, is that it consumes the ad revenue, leaving little for improving the site, fixing bugs, or new feature development.
This is where subscriptions come in.
I’m tired of PB just scraping by, and I’m ready to invest in improving this wonderful place for all of you. I’m so serious about it, that in the last few weeks I took the step of forming an LLC to make sure that all of my ducks are properly in a row. Things are getting real.
I’ve spent the last six months building out subscriptions, and I’m happy to announce that they’re just around the corner. It’s my hope that, if all of this sounds good to all of you, I’ll be rolling out subscriptions in the coming week!
Let’s do this.
Last updated July 08, 2019