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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
    •, 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: 3, Interesting) by martyb on Tuesday June 17 2014, @09:13PM

    by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 17 2014, @09:13PM (#56651) Journal

    Background: IIRC, the Humble Bundle has an approach where you donate what you think it's worth to you.

    I suggest we try something similar. Have annual (or whatever) donation periods. Just for jollies (and a little rivalry), we could break down donations by OS: Microsoft, Apple, Google, and the *nixes (Unix, Linux, *BSD, etc.) Unlike Public Radio/TV fundraisers, though, once you've donated, we could provide access to a check-box that would suppress the donation invitation.

    Separately, I like swag (especially coffee mugs). Make it limited edition by including the year or something in/on it. Maybe combine the two ideas? Pick your choice of swag and offer whatever donation you think it's worth.

    Even better, offer a swag item that is unique to SN: a DVD or USB-stick which would boot up with a copy of the site as it now stands. For an extra 20%, it could even be autographed by the NCommander, himself. Soon to be a collector's item!

    NOTE: Some jurisdictions may require a [written?] acknowledgement of a donation over some $USD amount.

    Wit is intellect, dancing.
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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday June 18 2014, @01:36AM

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Wednesday June 18 2014, @01:36AM (#56716) Journal

    I echo this. Back in the day, before Slashdot went wrong (when exactly that was is a matter of opinion) I bought /. swag. I loved the community and was proud to be part of it. I was proud to wear a /. t-shirt. I even went to /. meetups here in NYC.

    I would buy Soylent swag. I would be especially keen to have something with my userid and user # on it. Back in the day I lost my original Slashdot 4-digit userid and was annoyed by that for about a decade. Now I have a 3-digit ID and want to flaunt it. Maybe a t-shirt with a Soylent logo, userid/user #, something about my excellent karma, and a QR code to take people to my personal Soylent journal.

    A Soylent Pipboy that lets me put a call out to the community when I have a specific question or need (eg., "I have a project that's under close deadline and need a postgres guy NOW!" or what-have-you) would be amazing, too. But I guess a mobile app for Android that does the same thing would be OK too :-). Put that on the store for $10 with a small monthly fee would be a steady revenue stream.

    And for what it's worth, I never did mind ads on Slashdot, because they were almost always tech-related. Even if they weren't what I was specifically interested in that moment, I was never irritated by their total irrelevancy the way I am (or was, since I gave up cable about 7 years ago) by car or pharmaceutical commercials on TV. I even did click on some. I can't say I ever did that on any other site, ever. So, make the ads tech-related and I won't mind a bit.

    Washington DC delenda est.