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posted by NCommander on Tuesday June 17 2014, @02:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the not-expecting-pitchforks dept.
Alright, as it stands, I'm optimistic, given change of incorporation plans, that we will be incorporated within 1-2 weeks time. As such, I wanted to start laying down the ideas we had for subscriptions for the site. My biggest issue with subscriptions on most sites like Reddit is that it frankly is just not worth the money. I'd like to change that, and in line that, we're hoping to offer subscription tiers, with the following proposed list of benefits. Now obviously, some stuff is subject to change, but we are willing to add anything that can be reasonably done without undue burden. We'd like your feedback on how to add value to these packages so that they become worth your hard-earned money.

So with no further fanfare, let's get to it.Basically, there are four tiers of subscription, as outlined below: Prices below listed in United States Dollars (USD)

Lite - special (see below)

  • Granted by staff or gold subscriber to anyone
  • Possibly also granted for high-karma
  • No ads
  • Preview of new features before public access (edge access)
  • Bypass formkeys (no limiting at all)

Bronze - $5 dollars a month

  • Subscriber badge
  • Shell account
  • Small amount of disk space
  • Image hosting (transfer limit to be determined)
  • Access to hosted services (i.e., USENET feeds)
  • Full range of various clients (i.e., alpine, tin, etc. Will install anything on request as long as the overhead is low)

Silver - $10 dollars a month

  • All benefits of bronze plus
  • Additional storage (250 MiB) (higher transfer limit but still TBD)
  • mySQL/pgSQL database (250 MiB)
  • hosted mail accounts
    • soylentnews.org, or allow hosting of custom domains
    • procmail server-side support
    • IMAP4/POP3, what else we can support reasonably
  • Hosted domains (vhosts)
  • Scripting language support
  • UUCP mail support

Gold - $20 dollars a month

  • All benefits of silver
  • Can grant Lite status to 3 number of users
  • Can host services/servers (required staff signoff beforehand)
  • Increased storage
  • Early access to articles (1 hour)

The intent here is to make becoming a subscriber worthwhile. I'm aware that you can get things like VPSes or shell accounts (i.e. SDF) for less than we are offering, but consider this as a throwin for helping support the site. Image hosting will be useful for instance for user-created content in journals (which is slated site upgrade).

This brings us to a point I don't really want to bring up (but is necessary). Obviously, we're going to need to accept payment in some method. We're already planning to accept PayPal since that support is already baked into slashcode, and most people are at least familiar with it. However, I do know our community is almost certainly going to have issues if PayPal is the only accepted merchant. As such, I'm willing to look at basically any company recommend by the community to process payments (as well as some of the larger "generic" ones like Google Wallet). With luck, we will be able to accept payment from 3-4 various payment processors so the community has their pick of who they are willing to use.

Unfortunately, at this time, we are not accepting cryptocurrencies such as BitCoin. This isn't because of technical reasons; we could likely hook into Coinbase or other services relatively easy. The problem is BitCoin, as defined by the IRS, is not currency; it is considered property and investments, and thus is subject to capital gains taxes. It is not clear if we would be liable for it, or if it would be handled via the processor. This is a question we need to forward to a CPA, but I do not expect an answer quickly, as ink on the regulations is still wet. We hope to be able to accept cryptocurrencies in the near future, although we may have to charge a premium to offset any additional tax burdens this places on us. We will be investigating as one of our first priorities when dealing with setting up the finances side of SoylentNews.

 
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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Marneus68 on Tuesday June 17 2014, @02:30PM

    by Marneus68 (3572) on Tuesday June 17 2014, @02:30PM (#56397) Homepage

    While this is, in theory, a good idea, I don't think the site has attracted enough attention to justify all those different tiers and perks.

    I see that trying to provide services in exchange for supporting the site is a nice idea, but creating different "levels" of users doesn't seem to be a good idea to me. There's the risk of fragmenting the community and I don't think we need that right now.

    You may want to look at the way 4chan handles their "pass" system, which is a yearly fee that allows the user to bypass the capcha on the site. 4chan never wanted to accept donations and didn't want to provide unfair "advantages" that "subscribers" would have the regular users.

    As I see it, an alternative I'd love to have a system:
    - that allows for yearly donations/subscriptions
    - that doesn't disable ads (hiding ads with a regular account would be met with a little message like "Unblocking the ads are a way to support the site", having a subscription would hide that message if the ads are blocked)
    - that allows image hosting for subscribers

    Really, the "Early access to articles" perk is, in my opinion, fundamentally wrong.

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  • (Score: 1) by Hell_Rok on Wednesday June 18 2014, @12:13AM

    by Hell_Rok (2527) on Wednesday June 18 2014, @12:13AM (#56700) Homepage

    I have to agree with a lot of what you said.

    I'm also really curious how they're going to stop us just looking at the submission list [soylentnews.org].