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Announcing Slashdot Subscriptions 2332

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the dropping-a-few-bucks-in-the-guitar-case dept.
For some time now we have been developing a unique subscription system that we hope will make our users and advertisers happy. Please hit the link below to read an explanation about how the system works, and why it works that way. Also you will learn what a subscription will give you, and what our future plans are for it.Update: 03/01 16:38 GMT by Hemos : A lot of people are asking about the only Paypal option. In answer to everyone: Yes, we are aware of the problems with PayPal.. And, yes, we're currently working on other solutions - read the full copy below, as Rob already states that.

To understand why the system works like it does, you need to first understand that Slashdot is about to start accepting new ad formats. The large ads that you see on many other sites are coming here. We really don't have an option: these are what advertisers want, and if we don't provide them, we won't be around much longer. But we want to give you an option to see Slashdot without these ads. Second, you need to understand that Slashdot readers fall into a variety of types, and charging the same flat fee just isn't possible.

Slashdot subscriptions will essentially let you buy a thousand pages to be viewed without banner ads. And you will have some flexibility to decide what types of pages (Comments, Articles, The Homepage) you want ads removed from, and what types of pages you just want to see the ads.

The rates are currently set at $5 per 1000 pages. To put this into perspective, $20 (typical magazine subscription) will be enough pages for 82% of our readers to view Slashdot without ads for a year. Another 15% will need to spend $5 a month to accomplish the same thing. 3% of our readers would need to spend more than $5 a month- but they could choose to see ads on comments and in almost every case, still pay around $5 a month. (As an aside, it's also worth noting that more than half of all comment posters fall into this 3%)

We realize that this system is more complex, but Slashdot has a third of a million readers per day with different reading habits, and this is the best way to accomodate everyone fairly.

Currently we only accept payment via paypal. It was simply easy and fast. We intend to offer other options as time permits and readers request.

Eventually we intend to offer additional features to subscribers. Exactly what those plums are remains to be decided: Access to the rejected submissions bin? A 'Gold Star' in your comments header? Karma? (I think that would be hilarious) We really don't know. We'll decide and implement what makes sense as we have time to do it.

We are doing our best to learn from the mistakes made by other sites that have started charging for subscriptions. We won't create subscriber only features that cost more to maintain than they generate. But we do need support from you if we are to continue. So anyway, here's that link again if you forgot it ;)

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Announcing Slashdot Subscriptions

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  • by anpe (217106) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:17PM (#3090567)
    It's called junkbuster
    • by inaneboy (306740) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:26PM (#3090731)


      Consider that if we all used an effective ad blocker, that'd be the end of adverts as an effective means of funding this site. And that'd mean we all pay, or byebye slash dot.

      Or don't you realize that bandwidth doesnt grow on trees.

      • by anpe (217106) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:33PM (#3090819)
        OK, OK, I'll write a "click the banners" perl script too, so they can buy some bandwidth.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:02PM (#3091258)
        Realize where the true value lies at Slashdot. Its not with the web address, servers and storage but with the community that it has spawned. Slashdot itself is a commodity. If the community as a whole or in part decided to move itself to another site, your $20 investment would be worthless.
        • by RazzleFrog (537054) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:33PM (#3091630)
          This really is a great comment. It reminds me of back when I used to use CuSeeMe. When it was popular there were lots of people and reflectors. Then Mplayer came along and a lot of the CuSeeMe community left. CuSeeMe became a ghost town. After Mplayer went games only everybody split between Paltalk and SeeSaw. Online communities are very fickle. All it takes is for something better (cheaper, easier, faster) to come along and there will be a mass exodus.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:14PM (#3091399)
        I've been targeted right out of the market.

        I've had it. I can't take any more advertising. Television, radio, magazines, billboards, even the Internet for Christ's sake. Everywhere. Why do they keep targeting me? I never did anything to them. I don't even buy anything! They're wasting their time! Fast food makes me feel like shit, soft drinks make me dizzy, candy is disgusting, chips make my stomach hurt, I don't smoke, and any band that has ever been advertised anywhere sucks unequivocally. I eat tortillas and vegetables, I drink tap water. I ride my $40 bike for entertainment. I buy a new pair of Dickies at the army navy store every year and I get all my other clothes at Costco in 3-packs. My car works fine, I use my Internet connection for long distance, I've had the same boots for three years and re-sole them when they wear out. As far as booze goes, well, as long as it's wet.......

        So why do they keep attacking me? Why are they filling every square inch of every available space in my life? Above urinals, on concert tickets, underneath the ice at hockey games, on blimps, in video games, as props in movies, plugs in rap songs, on shitty Web Sites (No, I will not visit your motherfucking sponsor. If you're not in it for the love, and you can't figure out any better way to pay for your site than by slapping some ugly, corrupted banner across the top of your pathetic work, then fucking close up shop, kill yourself, and leave the Web to non-polluters). They'd advertise on the backs of my eyelids if they could get away with it, and I can't hack it anymore. They win. I lose. They succeeded. I failed. Like Brian Wilson, I just wasn't built for these times. I fold. Here are all my cards. Keep the pot, keep my ante, keep the goddamn jacket on the back of my chair for all I care, I can get another at Costco. I'll be out in the parking lot getting drunk and yelling at cute girls because I can no longer stand the taste of tentacles. Marketing has poisoned everything worthwhile under the sun, so I'm giving it all up. Everything.

        But the way I figure it, there's no real loss. I've seen all of the episodes of the Simpsons 200 times each. Most of the good writing was done 100 years ago. I haven't listened to FM radio in years. I could play all my records beginning to end alphabetically and I'd be 76 years old when I got to the Zeni Geva. Online culture is a fucking yawn, only good for buying stuffed goats on Ebay and getting cracked copies of $1000 software. Movies always end up at the 99 cent video store across the street eventually, and you can fast forward through those commercials. My girlie's cute and the corner bar has Pabst on tap. What else matters?

        True, by shutting myself off to everything, I'm probably limiting my future potential as a 'community building' or 'bleeding edge' cog in someone's nightmarish vision of Internet profitability, but fuck, a simple read through my writing should've cured that anyway (Note to potential employers: The bidding starts at $120,000 a year with full dental).

        So I'm out. No more.

        I just feel bad for those of you I'm leaving behind. You'll be wearing your Slave Labor Nikes, sweating under a Third World Vest, listening to Everqueer or Fratboy Slim, your hair styled stupidly with gasoline and aborted pig placentas, trying to choke down a Double Meat Fuck Splattered Cow Testicles On The Slaughterhouse Floor Pus Coagulated Lactacious Secretion Yellow Dye #2 Deluxe. Man, will you be looking dumb. It makes me want to cry. You poor, oversugared demographic you. You're filling your apartments, your bodies, and your minds with useless junk. You stagger under your own weight, throwing money in random directions until you collapse and die, buried by a bunch of people who you failed to create meaningful human bonds with, who forget about you on the way home from the funeral.

        Maybe I'm just oversensitive, but I actually feel those fingers reaching out at me - cute little girl fingers, feeling at my face like a bind man, pulling at the loose threads all over my brain, trying to find a sensitive one, one that tweaks me. Desires to be successful, attractive to the opposite sex, spiritually satiated, or conversely, the fears of disease, dismemberment, of being outcast, of repressed homosexual desires. Herd mentality as dictated by herd mentality. A gas mask of soiled wool, worn in a steaming shower of chlorinated pond water. A lumbering culture created by profit motive, existing as window dressing to disguise the brutal cynicism of the architects, the brassy checks and balances of accountants bleating commands to the flunky tastemakers on the production line. The subversion of anything subverting. The conversion of something dangerous into something profitable. The gutting of the lion and the championing of the taxidermist. And the puffy vests, my god, the puffy vests........

        I give it one more shot.

        I hit that little "on" button, and immediately this little red dot appears on my forehead. I feel the barrel rising on the other side of the glass as some powersuited executive attempts to get me in his sights. His scope is the best money can buy, but my nausea and skittishness mark me as difficult prey. I make a sprawling leap over a pile of books, spilling a glass of wine and sending my cats scattering. The TV takes a shot at me. It misses, but after the smoke clears, there's a shimmering can of Pepsi on the coffee table, seductively held by a well manicured (but severed) hand. Then the Taco Bell dog is outside, scratching at my window, singing "That's Amore", the secret code that alerts Col. Sanders and Ronald McDonald to get their tumor inducing grease guns at the ready. "We have a resistor! Alert Cap'n Crunch and Mrs. Butterworth. Tell Hogan to pull that Subaru around!" And then, as the entire posse of 1-800-COLLECT goons attempt to joke their way through the front door, a helmeted uberyouth does a backflip on rollerblades against the window, almost crushing the Taco dog, thankfully getting tangled in the iron jungle of security bars designed for such a moment. The severed Pepsi hand launches itself across the room onto the stereo, turns it to HOTROCK 99.5 FM and starts dancing suggestively on the turntable. Warm, gooey songs ooze from the speakers, blurring the lines between commercial and product, product and art. The walls are running with honey, blood, and Gatorade. Limp Bizkit tries to sign me up for the Rap Metal MasterCard, but is outvolumed by a chorus of creepy NY Gap models, dead eyed and Children of the Damned style, singing nostalgic 80s songs with cool detachment, trying to sell me vests. Close inspection reveals UPC codes on the backs of their beautiful necks and a legion of bulimic girls behind them, mascara mixing with puke on ten thousand toilet bowls. Budweiser frogs are crawling out of the toilet bowls. A one-eyed, mutilated Asian girl holds a pair of new Levi's against the window with a thin, purple arm and starts screeching "It's a Small World After All" at the top of her lungs. Magic, The Old Navy dog, is sniffing butts with the Taco Bell dog, who had since bit the Asian girl on the leg and now yelling something about Gordidas. A waifish beauty suddenly appears on my bed, vying for my attention, trying to talk me into a new car, her hand slowly unbuttoning her blouse, batting her doe-ishly brown eyes, "C'mon Mark. It's only a test drive. No one ever has to know."

        Realizing my one escape, I yank my battered wallet out of my back pocket and pull out a twenty dollar bill. The entire scene freezes. All eyes are transfixed to the damp, smelly piece of paper. Andrew Jackson snickers and you can almost smell the cannibalized Indian on his breath. A miraculous cross breeze flows through my apartment, and I let the money go. It catches an upward draft, a hot air thermal, and is gone out the window.

        And then, something even stranger happens. The spokespeople, animals, models, body parts, and corporate whores all disappear in a anti-climactic 'puff' of yellow smoke, leaving a slight smell of perfumed intestine twisting through the air. My twenty freezes in mid flight about thirty feet above the ground. A helicopter drops out of the sky, and lowers a rope down to the cash. A man in a business suit slides down the rope, commando style, and captures the money in his mouth, gives a contemptuous snort, mumbling something like "sucker" under his breath. And then the helicopter is gone, vanishing somewhere behind the radio towers spiking the top of Queen Anne Hill. Everything is quiet again.

        I didn't just turn that TV off. I unplugged the motherfucker.
        • by pjrc (134994) <paul@pjrc.com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @04:11PM (#3093347) Homepage Journal
          If you're not in it for the love, and you can't figure out any better way to pay for your site than by slapping some ugly, corrupted banner across the top of your pathetic work, then fucking close up shop, kill yourself, and leave the Web to non-polluters

          In 1991 (just before I finished my undergrad study) I wrote a little program that I gave away for free. In 1994, another student was fiddling with hypertext and made a page out of the docs I wrote for it (with my permission). By mid-95, I was getting an email every week from people who saw it. By September '95, I got around to trying Mosiac (and then Netscape 1.1), and I decided to make a nice little web site, with a variety of other info to support people using it. I think I can pretty honestly call that "in it for the love".

          Though I was no longer a student since '92, and I moved away from the college town in '96, they kept hosting the site until '98. For many years, it was the vast majority of that department's external web traffic. Eventually, there was some liability scare (some university somewhere got sued, or was threatened, or there was at least a rumor of such) and the university informed me they had to pull the plug. Also, very uncommon for a university... they gave me a few months of advanced notice and kept it up for many months as I tracked down webmasters for hundreds of sites that had created links. Even to this day there are dozens of links pointing to the old site, and they have been gracious to leave a redirect in their server config.

          Fortunately by that time I was making a reasonable income and I decided to pay to keep the site instead of abandon it (and nearly all sites created by students end up). By this point I was certainly "in it for the love", and I was determined to work on the site again after neglecting to do updates from '96 to '98. I really needed it hosted on a box where I had some admin control, and I needed a low-latency connection to it to really accomplish anything creative in my spare time (after working full time plus unpaid overtime). Co-lo and low speed frame relay were about the same cost, so I went with frame so I could have it locally. Being "in it for the love", I began paying about $270/month (just slightly more than my car payment at the time).

          Eventually, the local ISP upstream of the frame PVC was sold, and after the original owner bowed out, it all fell apart (previously their uptime was close to 100%) The site has also had been running into bandwidth problems on the frame circuit, as it became more popular and the number of pages increased.

          All the while, I resisted banner ads and other annoyances. I've always been "in it for the love", even when I had to pay hundreds of dollars each month. Being a site about hobbist electronics, I got requests for sources for the parts, and for custom-made circuit boards there was no good answer. I guy I worked with wanted to try a little e-commerce and I agreed to send all those requests to him when he made a batch of custom boards. His prices were outrageous and the service wasn't great... but at least there was a source and it was obvious (to most people) that it was another site. After about 18 months, he finally sold all the boards and I decided to take over the e-commerce part. I immediately cut the prices in half (remember, I'm "in it for the love", money be damned). My girlfriend pitched in and together we had many little learning experiences about UPS, packaging, etc. I poured thousands of dollars of savings into buying parts, expecting that someday in half a million years I might get my money back out of it (not). Thus began the e-commerce.

          A funny thing happened. The site's traffic went up even higher, and we sold more than triple the number of boards that my co-worker had. It's funny how that works... offer a good product at a fair price and work hard to satify customers. I wouldn't go so far as to say it "paid off", as I have not yet ever received any money out it for the long hours I constantly put into the project... but after a little over a year the website paid me back all the money I "invested" into it from my personal savings.

          Luckily, the dot-com bust happened and a number of datacenters had space available on dedicated servers, and we managed to move the site to one of these at a great discount. We get a monthly quote of 50 Gbyte, and currently the site is running somewhere between 15-20. The website now pays for its own hosting, which we got at a steal for $175/month (their regular rate is $400/month, and similar services have similar prices when I've compared).

          I'm still "in it for the love".... I still spend long hours working on existing and new projects for the site.... I still try to answer every single email (eventually).... the site makes a tiny profit "on paper", but that money always goes into buying more parts or set-up costs to get new boards made.

          Slashdot was "in it for the love"... and maybe they still are, at least partially. But I can tell you from experience that my tiny site, it's bandwidth needs above $25/50/100 per month hosting, it costs real money to serve up web pages in large volume.

          Perhaps if you're already insanely rich, you could continue to host a site like slashdot, paying all the expenses out of your own pocket. Saddly, there's only a tiny number of people that rich... for everyone else, no matter how much you are "in it for the love", you're just not going to be able to sustain the expense of slashdot's bandwidth without some sort of revenue.

      • by Dr. Awktagon (233360) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:11PM (#3092090) Homepage

        That's crap. There is absolutely NO REASON, moral or otherwise, why you should force yourself to look at ads. The value of advertising is based on the statistics of how many people see them. We absolutely should NOT tailor our behavior to please their statistics. That's their problem.

        I get up from television ads or mute them all the time. I block most ads on the internet through a proxy. Even when I don't, I have learned to mentally ignore them, hasn't everyone at this point? I see the ad, but not what it's for. This isn't television or a magazine, and it's much easier to scroll the add off the screen or focus only on one part of the screen.

        Choosing to point your eyeballs toward the ad doesn't actually generate any revenue for anyone, and pointing your eyeballs elsewhere doesn't take anything from anyone. It's a little game the corps have invented that works well for TV and print, but is unproven for the internet. In fact for some people, I bet all advertising is ineffective.

        Maintain your preferred behavior and let THEM figure out how to profit from it.

        I much prefer to pay for access to sites, than to see ads, anyway, and I'm glad /. is doing this, it makes a hell of a lot of sense.

        This is just a pet peeve, people always popping up in these discussions claiming that by not looking at ads, you are somehow depriving someone of something, and it drives me nuts!

      • by DG (989) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:28PM (#3092269) Homepage Journal
        Well, gee, thanks Slashdot.

        The single thing that has kept Slashdot interesting (especially in the face of its constant editorial decline over the past couple of years) has been the quality of the user comments.

        Hello! That's me. When I moderate, I follow the rules. When I meta-mod, I also follow the rules. And most importantly, whenever I comment, I do so on-topic and in as interesting and insightful a manner as I can manage - and if my would-be comment is neither, then I keep my peace.

        In short, I'm what a proper Slashdot "citizen" should be. I'm one of the many (but it seems, increasingly few) people who keep this site from falling into the swamp of the trolls, crapflooders, and other kiddies.

        By rights, Rob should be *paying* me. I'm practically a Slashdot employee, and I (and people like me) are what brings Slashdot its value. No good citizens, no Slashdot.

        So how am I rewarded for my good behaviour? Extortion. Pay money or get exposed to more and bigger ads so I can continue to have the privilage of contributing content to someone else's site.

        Yes, I can certainly sympathise with Slashdot's bandwidth costs, but that is not my problem to solve. I'm already providing content; I'm supposed to pay for the bandwidth too?

        This smacks heavily of something Jack Valenti would come up with. How Slashdot has changed!

        So no Rob, I'm not paying your subscription fee. And furthermore, I'm going to assume that every advertiser who uses the new "large format" ads is one of the entities who held a gun to your head to force you to accept these new large ads. Not only will I NOT make use of their products/services, and not only will I advise my friends to do the same, but I will be writing these advertisers to TELL them that I am boycotting their products SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE they are forcing their way into my Slashdot experience - and I urge other people who feel similarily to do the same.

        If Slashdot was having trouble with the bandwidth bills, there's about a thousand different ways this could have been addressed without pissing off the core people who make the site work Rob. Hell, you could have done an "Ask Slashdot" on it even.

        I suppose it's too late now.

        DG
    • by ackthpt (218170) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:38PM (#3090898) Homepage Journal
      I just tossed $5 into the hat, just to keep /. going, and for now I'm still gonna look at the ads, because some are OK. I'll switch them off when they get annoying. Oh, and Moo, again.
    • by Fros1y (179059) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:02PM (#3091251)
      I'm sorry, this comment will need to be censored to comply with the DMCA. Any attempt to disable images or filter advertisements will be considered an anti-circumvention device against our advertisement content protection system.

      In addition, no one may link into any stories anymore from applets or other websites.

      -The Management
    • by Mr Jekler (520288) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:46PM (#3091781)
      Honestly, ads, no ads, subscription. It's all the same to me. I read slashdot because it's convenient, as soon as it stops being convenient, I'll move on. That's the way the internet works. I'm sure everyone remembers won.net, ten.net, heat.net for gaming sites. They were convenient at the time they were conceived. Enter, play games. Then they start making things complex, you need to download our ad-driven client first, you need to find the link to the program in the sea of ad banners, you need to subscribe to our newsletter to be a member and get spam along with our newsletter...

      And then they die. It's simple really, people follow the path of least resistance. Slashdot, for the most part, doesn't create the articles, they just collect links to them. The announcement makes it sound like you have two options "Pony up the dough or be hassled with full-page ads", there's a third hidden option not mentioned "Go elsewhere." Everyone will default to option three.

      The ad-driven internet isn't a viable model for information delivery anyway. The paltry 40 years that commercials have run TV makes it seem like selling your time and space is the best option. That's simply not true, it's channels like HBO that grew vastly beyond the other stations. It's because their model is pay-only, but you're not paying for a compilation of what's already available on every other station. You're paying for exclusive content, HBO Original Series and Movies that are box-office quality (The Jack Bull anyone? The Sopranos?) and unavailable to you if you don't fork out the cash.

      If I'm going to pay for it as if it were a magazine, I would expect the same quality of articles, reviews, and applications that I'd find in National Geographic, rather than trickled-down, patchwork, mentions of articles I could find if I subscribed to another magazine.

      Harsh? Maybe, but when you put a price tag on crap, you don't get gold, it just gets renamed as "fertilizer".
      • by Anml4ixoye (264762) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:26PM (#3092248) Homepage
        I don't think anywhere in there they said that they are going to make this complex. On the contrary, I think they are trying to make it as easy as possible. Think this is a great community worth supporting? Subscribe. Think this is a great community, but don't want to pay? Don't subscribe. Hate all this MF crap? Leave. We'll be better off without you.


        Rob and the Slashdot crew are smart. They support people running all *SORTS* of platforms, and to develop some ad-driven client, or propose that they are going to force us to accept spam just to watch this is absurd. Granted, I could be wrong about that, but I don't think so. Too many economics at work.


        I'm sure they are prepared for a downdrop in stats, but I don't think it will be that drastic. Why? Because people who don't run high-traffic sites have NO IDEA the costs involved. And those are the ones on here complaining about $5-$20 a year to help keep this community up and running. But as soon as it switches over, I bet they are still going to come back. Oh sure, some are going to say they are going to leave, and some even may. But I'm not abandoning this community, so don't call me stupid for that.


        Off I go to help [slashdot.org]

    • by fmaxwell (249001) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:03PM (#3091989) Homepage Journal
      Let me preface this by saying that I am not opposed to paying for online content. I subscribe to one $30/year online newsletter and pay DSLReports for access to their line monitoring tools.

      I am bothered by this Slashdot subscription scheme for several reasons:

      1. The readers are providing the vast majority of stories, comments, links, and information. They say that our comments belong to us, but Jon Katz publishes them in for-profit books and now Slashdot wants to profit by selling access to these comments.

      2. The "editors" of Slashdot put out stories filled with grammatical, factual, and spelling errors. They want to be profitable like Time or Newsweek but they don't want to be bothered with doing the work.

      3. Those people who contribute to Slashdot's success with insighful, thought-provoking comments will be offered the same subscription rate as the "fp!" and "*BSD is dying" trolls.

      3a. In fact, rather than rewarding those who contribute the most (those with high karmas), they joke about the idea of selling karma points. Then any idiot with a few bucks could publish his comments at +2.

      If some guy is a leech that just reads the articles & comments while contributing nothing, let him pay. But don't charge someone who consistently provides valuable articles and/or comments the same subscription rate.

  • by BMonger (68213) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:19PM (#3090603)
    Whatever... all the money is going straight to the wedding pot. Don't let Taco fool you. He just wants to have a good wedding...
  • ads and such (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mrbill (4993) <mrbill@mrbill.net> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:19PM (#3090613) Homepage
    Heck, I've gotten enough enjoyment and such from reading Slashdot over the past few years, thats its worth it to me. Just paid my $20.
  • PayPal? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the phantom (107624) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:20PM (#3090620) Homepage
    I have no problem with a subscription based /. (so long as it can still be got for free). I would pay $5 to see ad-free /. I might even pay more. We'll see how long 1000 pages lasts. However, I do not like doing business with PayPal. Please, ditch PayPal and give me an alternative!
  • Rejected submissions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by melquiades (314628) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:21PM (#3090631) Homepage
    Access to the rejected submissions bin?

    Yes, please -- with the opportunity to moderate or rank them, so the most interesting rejected submissions float to the top.

    If a story gets a very positive ranking, maybe the editorial staff can give it a second thought. And if it goes the way of the troll, nobody is the worse for it.
    • by Skim123 (3322) <mitchell@NosPaM.4guysfromrolla.com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:25PM (#3090698) Homepage
      You should check out kuro5hin.org [kuro5hin.org]. It is a site where the users post the stories to a queue, and the community votes them to be shown on the site or not. Also, since the overall traffic is lower, the quality of postings/discussions is much higher than at /.

      I still like reading /., though, b/c it's more news for nerds while k5, while it has it's technology and nerd news, also has a lot of political and social discussions. Oh yeah, and k5 also has subscriptions before /. did, but "subscribing" does nothing for you, really, since even if you don't subscribe you don't see any ads. (Although when k5 showed OSDN ads in the past, subscribing hid these banners...)

      • by irix (22687) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:39PM (#3090904) Journal
        the quality of postings/discussions is much higher than at /.

        Are you on crack? See my previous rant [slashdot.org] about K5. The quality of postings over there are just horrible. For example, see the current front-page story about female curcumcision. Technology and culture from the trenches my ass.

        I have a 3-digit K5 uid, but I am done with that place. I simply don't have the time to go through the submissions bin and give a -1 to all of the crap that is constantly in there.

      • by jspaleta (136955) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:47PM (#3091032) Homepage
        Also, since the overall traffic is lower, the quality of postings/discussions is much higher than at /.

        Logic fault....
        if you tell people to ditch slashdot to go to kuro5hin...then you increase the overall traffic to kuro5hin...thus lowering the quality of postings on kuro5hin.

        By telling us to check out kuro5hin you just peed in yer own pool.

        You'd think you want to encourage people to stay on slashdot.....

        -jef
  • Karma (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cansecofan22 (62618) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:21PM (#3090634) Homepage
    I think you should reward the people that have high karma by droping the rates, say someone with above a 30 gets $1 off the $5 rate, 40+ gets $2 and if you are maxed out at 50 you should have it for $3 off. That way you can reward the people that really use your site and are not just trolls.

    Just My $.02
  • Disappointing.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sudog (101964) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:21PM (#3090636) Homepage
    The subscription model is permeating everywhere. It's sad, and disappointing to have to choose to pay a small fee for the hundreds of websites I visit (and fork out literally hundreds upon hundreds of dollars) or to have to sit here and view large obnoxious ads.

    Gee, I wonder what I'll do?

    Let's try browsing with graphics turned off. *click* Ahh.. better.
  • by 2Flower (216318) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:21PM (#3090637) Homepage

    I'm not sure about this -- not that I refuse to pay, since I understand the web won't survive on a free-for-all basis forever. What I don't like is the fact that you pay for a number of pageviews, not for a period of time or some other flat rate.

    Flat rate pricing has two advantages: simplicity, and comfort. It's simple to say 'Okay, no ads for a year for $x.' No need to count the pages you visit, or wonder if reloads count, or if changing the threshold settings to go from 500 posts to 15 is going to count as an add-free counter item.

    Comfort, because I hate nervously watching a meter deplete and trying to optimize my web viewing habits in order to make sure I don't run out. When you say 82% of folks are covered... don't forget that this site caters to the hardcore sorts that participate the most and are likely to fall into the 18% that have to worry. I've never counted my page views, so I can't even tell if I fit that 18%.

    And all things considered, I'd rather browse with javascript off and image loading off than worry about depleting my ad-free views. It's less hassle. Which means less profit for you, but that's free market in action... maybe when you add those value-added feature you're thinking about we'll be getting somewhere.

    • by tomblackwell (6196) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:33PM (#3090831) Homepage
      You can't make money selling a metered resource at a flat rate. Hence, the dot-com crash.
  • by Nos. (179609) <andrew@ t h ekerrs.ca> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:22PM (#3090644) Homepage
    While I love spending my time at work browsing slashdot, and I want to continue to do so, I highly doubt I will pay for it. This doesn't mean I won't continue to browse slashdot, just that I will use more bandwidth by viewing all of the "large ads" that will soon(?) appeard.

    Remember folks, this isn't a mandatory service, you only pay if you want to avoid the ads. At least that's what I understand from Taco's article

    • by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:18PM (#3091455) Homepage
      • I will use more bandwidth by viewing all of the "large ads"

      Or block them in your hosts file or with web washing software.

      Now I actually don't block any of the adverts that appear on Slashdot. I even (gasp) click through, and actually (double gasp) buy Thinkgeek merchandise.

      But if it gets out of hand... I'd appreciate knowing this up front:

      • Does Slashdot get paid for pages served with advert links on them, or only for those links that successfully serve adverts to my browser?

      I.e. if I start blocking Slashdot ads, am I going to hurt Slashdot?

  • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms@infa[ ]s.net ['mou' in gap]> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:22PM (#3090645) Homepage
    But we do need support from you if we are to continue.

    Never forget that all of us who post intelligently are supporting you, by giving you free content. That is, after all, why people read /.

    I can get tech news anywhere. The commentary (yes, you have to filter for trolls, flamebait, and stupidity, but that applies just as much to any major newspaper's op-ed page) is what makes the site worthwhile.

  • by cullenfluffyjennings (138377) <c.jennings@ieee.org> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:22PM (#3090647) Homepage

    What is a page? Each time I load www.slashdot.com? What happens if I load it, go read a link it points too then come back to it again?

    Please provide more detail on how this scheme works
  • by erasmus_ (119185) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:22PM (#3090654)
    I can already see thousands of "free everything" advocates typing angrily away at their keyboards. Running a popular site costs money, and most sites are realizing that ads are not supported. I have come to accept subscriptions as a normal part of better sites these days, although I only actually subscribe to a few of them. As useful as Slashdot is, it'll probably be well worth the while.

    Also keep in mind that unlike many subscription sites, Slashdot is not talking about premium content for major articles (like Salon or IGN), only little bonuses for subscribers, which is fair enough. I'll wait until the ads actually start appearing to make up my mind, but let's not flame Slashdot for coming in line with the almost defacto practice that today's Internet economy demands.
  • by Prop (4645) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:22PM (#3090663) Homepage

    I can see paying X dollars to surf without ads. A simple flat rate.

    But of I have to start thinking "should I hit reload and waste a page view", it will make using Slashdot very awkward.

    Time to install junkbuster

  • PayPal only..? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by antis0c (133550) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:23PM (#3090670)
    After reading about how much PayPal sucks on Slashdot, I don't think I'll be paying for any kind of subscription until there is another option available. PayPal isn't FDIC insured, isn't a real bank, and is being investigated and sued by various states and organizations.. I think I'll wait before handing over my credit card information to a potentially untrustworthy company.

    As for the Subscriptions, well, I hope things work out, this could be really good for Slashdot, or really bad. I biggest concern is since I've read that only a small percent of Slashdot readers post and read articles, that means the majority only uses Slashdot as a proxy for news. If the banner ads start to annoy them, they'll start going straight to the new source.. Oh well, only time will tell, Good luck Slashdot team.
  • by dlek (324832) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:23PM (#3090678)
    Subscriptions are fine, I can face reality, but I have one request: please don't let subscriptions affect posting in any way. If there's anything humanity's learned in the past century, it's that having money doesn't make you smarter. So getting +1 or a gold star on your post just cos you hate ads or love Slashdot enough doesn't make your views more worthwhile, and I don't think I'd stick around in a place where ideas aren't judged purely on their content.

    I think what might come of this is a tighter ship splintering off into smaller, private Slashdot sites. For example, not to slag all the people who put thought into their posts, but a private Slashdot just including my friends and others by introduction would be great for me--less traffic, so I could actually read all the posts, and less noise, so I would bother.

    Just a few random thoughts... I appreciate what Slashdot has been and hope it doesn't lose its shine.

  • What defines a page? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Stoutlimb (143245) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:24PM (#3090682)
    Each unique web page served to me? Or each slashdot story I click on, and all threads then suddenly are included in this page? If every time I hit "refresh" the counter goes down again, I'm going to be in sent to the poorhouse!
  • A few questions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mwalker (66677) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:24PM (#3090689) Homepage
    Questions:

    Considering the number of articles posted here about PayPal fraud, will you accept any payment other than PayPal? Will you accept cash in the mail to ensure anonymity for the paranoid?

    The rates are currently set at $5 per 1000 pages.

    When we encounter the lameness filter trying to paste code into a comment, does that count as a page view?

    Eventually we intend to offer additional features to subscribers. Exactly what those plums are remains to be decided: Access to the rejected submissions bin? A 'Gold Star' in your comments header? Karma?

    May I reccommend the ability to pay to Disable Modbombing? [slashdot.org]

    Good luck guys...
  • by dots and loops (448641) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:25PM (#3090693)
    To block the goatse.cx postings?
  • by daviddennis (10926) <david@amazing.com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:26PM (#3090712) Homepage
    The people who run Slashdot are human, just like us, and need money, just like us. It does cost big bucks to put something like this together, and make sure it runs reliably. (I'm sure some long-time users are going to laugh at me for claiming that it does, but - well - it has been for some months now, and they obviously spent a lot doing it).

    And I think the subscription model is actually fair - what it looks like they are doing is, effectively, telling us to run our own personal ads on Slashdot - that is, we're buying their unsold ad inventory and using it to remove ads..

    Here's an idea: Subscribers could be allowed to create their own main page out of the accepted and rejected submissions, so they could run their own weblog within Slashdot with their own submissions always approved. Might be a nice ego boost.

    Anyway, I certainly want to see Slashdot continue; I'm surprised at all the negative comments. You want to get paid, I want to get paid, and surely Rob et al likewise want to get paid.

    It's just how the world goes 'round. It was artfully concealed for a long time ... but it's still how the world goes round.

    D
  • by thesolo (131008) <slap@fighttheriaa.org> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:26PM (#3090719) Homepage
    ...is that under this model, those who contribute to slashdot the most, and make the site what it is, are forced to pay the most.

    I think there should possibly be a "positive-discussion" discount, where if you post modded-up comments, you get more allowed page views. After all, you are helping the /. community.

    I see the need for the system, I know you guys need to stay open, and I do understand that people like myself use up a lot of bandwidth on here, but I personally would really like to see some sort of reward for positively contributing to the site.
  • by Multiple Sanchez (16336) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:26PM (#3090723)
    What kind of customer support will slashdot offer? What happens when there's a DOS attack or a slashbug and I can't access the site when I need it? With traditional publications, I have someone's ear to chew when the periodical isn't delivered as promised. What kind of assurances can slashdot give me that I'll get something for my money?
    • by Saint Aardvark (159009) on Saturday March 02, 2002 @12:43AM (#3096381) Homepage Journal
      Grow the fuck up.

      a) First of all, you're paying for ad-free page views. If you can't load a page, seems to me that...surprise!...you wouldn't be charged for one of your ad-free page views.

      b) Grow the fuck up. Do you think bandwidth is free? Do you think those really hibby rack-mount servers are free? Do you think that when one of those two fail, CmdrTaco is just gonna sit around, thumb up his ass, waiting for someone else to fix it?

      Read CT's above comments: this is like a pledge drive for PBS. Instead of a tote-bag, you get ad-free pages. And remember: if you don't like it -- or Slashdot -- you're always free to fuck the fuck off.

      Goddamn, but your comment has made me angry. I'll get modded down for sure, if anyone sees this in this field of 2000+ comments, but I don't care. I'm signing up because I like this goddamned site and I want to know it's going to stay around. I want to know that /. isn't going to sink beneath the waves because of apathy and "Where's my five-nines uptime guarantee?" clueless whining from idiots like yourself. I am honestly quite unable to understand what the fuck why your idiotic demands should seem important to you.

      (I'll probably wake up tomorrow and regret how angrily I replied. But I won't regret that $20 [slashdot.org].

  • page views (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BryceH (263331) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:26PM (#3090726) Homepage
    you must know how many pages users view. why not put that number in the _Your Info_ section on the _User Info_ page so that people can make informed decisions.
  • by ArticulateArne (139558) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:26PM (#3090732)
    My question is, if people start subscribing, would this potentially make ad space on the pages less desirable for the advertisers? Those who subscribe will be those who care enough to spend the money, who have the money to spend (not that $5 is going to kill anybody), and who bother to spend it. If a lot of people subscribe, will the advertisers be left showing ads to people who can't / don't want to spend money? Or are the advertisers going for raw product-recognition building? It would be interesting to see the click-through and purchasing statistics before and after subscriptions, and see what impact it has on the actual effectiveness of the ads.
  • Okay guys. If you're really the libertarian, open source, _fair_use_ folks you claim to be, then make Slashdot the most wildly successful, profitable, FOR FEE site on the net.

    You can't tell me you life hasn't been changed (for better or worse) by these guys. $5 a month is a _pittance_. You can't buy LUNCH for $5.

    _MY_ 'checks in the mail'
  • Killing the goose? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:30PM (#3090783) Homepage
    As an aside, it's also worth noting that more than half of all comment posters fall into this 3%

    So you're saying that the very people who make slashdot worth reading are the ones who will have to pay most? Isn't this...backwards?
  • by FortKnox (169099) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:33PM (#3090826) Homepage Journal
    What about the people from here [slashdot.org], you know, the ones that help Slashdot the most by submitting the stories you publish. We get any bonus for that?

    What about the people that put in a lot of comments, to make the stories have more depth or meaning? Do we get something besides an insult by a slashdot author [slashdot.org] to the people that indirectly line his wallet??

    I've put a lot of time and effort into slashdot, is that gonna matter at all?? I try to help the site become more than a "regurgitated stories" site, but I have to pay to avoid ads?
  • Ethical Question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kallahar (227430) <kallahar@quickwired.com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:34PM (#3090836) Homepage
    Now, I am faced with an ethical question. For over a year I have been using WebWasher to filter out all the ads from the internet (it catches over 99% of them, including popups and cnet style big-ass-in-your-face ads).

    Now, slashdot offers a way for me to support their site, but at the same time tells me that their ads are shifting to annoy-ware. So, do I just continue to block the ads, or try a free site or whatever, or do I pay slashdot?

    While people think the internet is free, it isn't. SOMEONE pays. In this case, it's the company that controls slashdot. I value having this site up on the net, and I value all the time and effort that has gone into keeping everything running and happy.

    I've decided, I'll keep blocking with webwasher but I'll also donate my $5. Think about it, $5 for something you check twice a day is worth the cost of a single lunch.

    P.S. I'd love to see some recognition to people who donate though, a little star would be cool and discourage AC's :)
  • by RembrandtX (240864) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:34PM (#3090837) Homepage Journal
    Why does eveyone whine about having to acutally PAY for something ? How many people here are professionals, and how many are starving college kids ? [And why are some of the professionals ACTING like starving college kids?]

    sieriously though .. $5 isnt a lot of money. Hell. thats going without my daily Star-Crack(tm) coffee addiction once a month. Hell ! its only 1/2 a pinball and i replace like 1 of those a month!

    For something that adds value .. cool. I mean .. i read /. almost daily ..so ..

    My big fear is what its going to do to the 'constructive' user.

    Its not going to scare away trolls .. they don't spend a lot of time on /. It not gonna scare the casual reader .. the only people i *do* see it bothering are the people 40+ karma ... who post alot, and are actually providing content for free.

    I mean .. people come here just as much for the commentary as the articles (and in the case of John Katz or the current report on the newest star wars trailer that is 2 seconds longer than the last one .. maybe MORE for the comments than the articles.)

    If a large number of 'interesting' posters stop posting as much .. is /. gonna get 'dumb-ed down' ?
  • by Micah (278) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:35PM (#3090857) Homepage Journal
    mod_gzip works wonders on Slash based sites, so I have no idea why they don't use it here.

    The typical Slash home page is about 50K or more. mod_gzip literally gets it down to less than 6K!

    It would literally cut their bandwidth costs by more than half!

    Of course, they may need another server or two, but it would pay for itself quickly.
  • by Rupert (28001) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:41PM (#3090939) Homepage Journal
    "Comments are owned by the Poster."

    And the comments are what make /. worth reading.

    Something feels wrong here. I know it costs a lot of money to run /.. I know we don't have a right to the forum that Taco et al are providing for us. We post our thoughts here freely, and get back more ideas than we give, also for free. And if ads, subscriptions or whatever are needed to cover the costs, so be it.

    I think three main things are behind my unease. One is that my cheese is being moved. Secondly, VA/OSDN are for-profit. If subscriptions are successful, and they get more than they need, will the subscriptions be extended? Or will Taco, Hemos, ESR & Larry Augustin pocket the money? Thirdly, the posters are being asked to pay more than the lurkers. Hello? The people that make the site what it is have to pay more than those who merely use it? That seems wrong. If I could trade in 25 of my 50 karma for a hundred page views I think I would. Then I could keep posting witty and insightful comments, and /. would remain a great site.
  • by SanLouBlues (245548) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:45PM (#3090988) Journal
    If screen-names can now be tied to genuine paid-for products (page views), maybe the login's should be a bit more secure than plain-text. This means no more "You can automatically login by clicking This Link and Bookmarking the resulting page. This is totally insecure, but very convenient." I wouldn't pay anything until some sort of login encryption gets put into use.
  • by MikeCamel (6264) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:51PM (#3091092) Homepage
    I'd like to suggest that moderation and meta-moderation pages are free. If not, you immediately remove a significant reason for bothering to moderate or meta-moderation. I tend to spend a few minutes a day moderation each day - say 250 days a year. Use up 1/4 of my pages? I don't think so!

    If you keep these two functions free, then we can maintain the value added by the community, and people will continue to contribute, because they fill feel that they are benefiting. We currently avoid the tragedy of the commons, because we can all contribute, and all benefit - let's not lose that.

    If we want to be even more sophisticated, how about allowing people to trade in a certain amount of karma for a certain number of pages? Maybe 10 karma points = $5? That would encourage people to contribute more intelligently, and add more value.
  • And so it goes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:56PM (#3091158) Homepage

    Does this sound familiar?

    • Welcome to our free site! We have a zillion readers, and we'll figure out a way to make money soon!
    • Sorry, we had to put adverts on, but the site is still free. We're now on two zillion readers, we must be able to make money soon!
    • Please click on our adverts to help support this free site! With three zillion readers, if only 1% of you do this, we'll be rich!
    • Damn, none of you bastards clicked through. We're going to have to put on huge adverts, because for some bizarre reason, really annoying adverts pay more. But we've got four zillion readers now, so if only 1% of you agree to pay just a tiny amount in lieu of adverts, we'll be insanely rich!
    • Hello? Is anyone out there? (tumbleweed)

    I love Slashdot, I really do, and I know this was inevitable. But it's sad, because it indicates that Slashdot has burned the last of the venture capital and has now slipped into the realms of desparate self delusion.

    Please understand that this isn't a troll. I truly want Slashdot to survive, but I can't help but think that the people who will pay up tomorrow are the same people who are already clicking through today. There's no new revenue stream here, there's just a deparate gamble that the ads can get bigger faster than the readership goes elsewhere. There's no evidence to show that this happens. We're fickle bastards, us net users.

    Before you mod me or retort, please understand one thing: I'm not talking about you. You are one of the good guys, as evidenced by your finger hovering over the "Moderate" or the "Submit" button. You care about Slashdot. You're one of the ones contributing, one of the ones who will stay after the ads (or the missing images from blocked hosts) take up half the screen. But you're not the problem. The problem are the quarter of a million casual viewers who turn up, get served a small banner or two, then wander off to Tom's Hardware or The Register. And I'm not saying bigger ads will drive them away overnight, just that the announcement of bigger ads mean that Slashdot needs to make more money... and they simply won't make it from the vast majority of casual users. They need to make it from a small hardcore minority, from the posters and the responders and the modders, from you and me.

    And much as I love Slashdot, I don't want to end paying for (guesstimate) 0.02% of it. Do you? :(

  • by seldolivaw (179178) <[moc.odles] [ta] [em]> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:57PM (#3091183) Homepage
    I'm a big fan of Slashdot, and read it all the time. Given my reading habits (and that I post fairly frequently) I'm positive I fall in at least the top 15% ($5 a month) and pretty sure I'm in the top 3% who would be charged more than $3 a month. I'd love to support Slashdot, but not on these terms.

    1. Your heaviest/highest rated posters should get *discounts*, not have to pay extra. Remember, your most interesting content comes from those 3% of your audience -- the ones who actually post.

    2. Page views are a *terrible* way of measuring site use. Changing settings (like viewing thresholds), double-checking stories before posting, refreshing a page to see a continuing discussion -- do these count? Can you tell? I don't want to live in fear of wasting my page-views, *especially* if I'm wasting page views by *contributing* content to your site.

    3. I'm sorry, but the cost is too high. You have a circulation of 300,000+, and employ fewer than 10 people. You have hardware and bandwidth costs too, but 300,000x$20 = $6 million a year, not counting the 15% who are paying more than that. You can't advocate open source and free software and then overcharge for your website.

    So, my suggestions:
    1. Flat monthly fee with discounts for annual subscriptions.
    2. Karma-based discounts, too, so people have an incentive to post meaningful content, which would boost your signal-to-noise enormously.
    3. Lower prices.
  • by Bullschmidt (69408) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:06PM (#3091302)
    I see the necessity for this, but at the same time, the most positive contributers will end up payong the most. This seems counter productive. Why not do something like reward positive moderation. So, for example, at the end of the month, add up all the moderation points on my comments. If I have a positive balance, credit me with banner-less page views. You'd have to figure out a good "pricing" system, but I think this would be beneficial in (at least) two ways:

    1. Positive contributers get rewarded.
    2. Everyday users may work towards more positive contribution for reward, resulting in even better content!

    Seems like there is no reason not to try this!

  • Caveats (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ChaoticCoyote (195677) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:06PM (#3091312) Homepage

    Real magazines pay their contributors -- but somehow, I don't expect to see a check from VA Systems if one of my comments is highly rated by the moderators. ;)

    You might consider some sort of karma-based subscription service, where you lower prices for those who provide "good" content (as moderated). That way, people have an incentive to post quality material, and they don't feel cheated by paying Taco's web bills. ;) Everybody wins (except the trolls, of course).

    I also expect professional journalistic standards from a site I'm paying for. If I'm giving away content, I'm not that concerned about spelling and punctuation -- but if I'm charging people to read what I write, I have editors and such who make sure the content is clean and readable. If Slashdot wants to move beyond amateur status, it needs to act professional.

    I have no problem with Slashdot trying to recoup its costs -- but I (and lots of other people) expect value for thier money. Getting rid of ads isn't enough incentive to make me pay for Slashdot.

    Good luck guys.

  • by nellardo (68657) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:17PM (#3091436) Homepage Journal
    In the interest of not selling us a "pig in a poke," why not let users see their own usage statistics? Before they risk their money with PayPal? Even a simple "You view X pages a month/week/day" would be helpful for people to know how much they're going to have to dish out.
  • by bokmann (323771) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:20PM (#3091474) Homepage
    In the article you say
    "As an aside, it's also worth noting that more than half of all comment posters fall into this 3% (that will have to pay more than $5 a month)"

    Lets look at what this means...

    The people that produce comments worth reading ARE your content... So, you will be charging those people that PRODUCE for you... This seems backwards to me, and if the people that normally comment are turned off, the quality of slashdot will suffer.

    I fear that you will just become "another example of how websites can't make money". Noone will ever anlize the fact that you turned away the people that actually made your website worth reading... I certainly am not going to PAY you for the privledge of posting to your website so you can make money off of it.

    Turn the concept around the way it SHOULD be. Do something like, "the top 20% highest moderated posters get free access" or something like this. This will, in effect, almost become like a payment to your authors.

    But it is probably too late for anyone to read this... There are hundreds of posts already by upset people, and this will just get lost in the noise.

    -db

  • Text Ads (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gnovos (447128) <gnovosNO@SPAMchipped.net> on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:22PM (#3091511) Homepage Journal
    To understand why the system works like it does, you need to first understand that Slashdot is about to start accepting new ad formats. The large ads that you see on many other sites are coming here. We really don't have an option: these are what advertisers want, and if we don't provide them, we won't be around much longer. But we want to give you an option to see Slashdot without these ads. Second, you need to understand that Slashdot readers fall into a variety of types, and charging the same flat fee just isn't possible.

    If advertisers would prefer that you post stories about thier products because "that's what the want" would you do it? I should hope not! Give the advertisers a smack across the head and tell them: "We will put text ads, you know, the kind that annoy no one and actually provide enough information for people to click on. The kind that Google uses to stay in business AND keep it's integrity."

    NOTE TO SLASHDOT: BIG ADS DO NOT WORK! In fact, they actually do the opposite, which will make your advetisers even MORE desperate, and foolishly request even bigger ads! Use small, text based ads. They work!

  • by prototype (242023) <bsimser@shaw.ca> on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:26PM (#3091557) Homepage
    This is typical of having a large site, offering it for free, yada, yada, yada. Always happens and we've been seeing it happen for a few months now. Seeing it happen on Slashdot is just something that was going to happen as it will everywhere.

    However there are two problems to the subscription gig. First there's a huge issue with page views vs page count vs whatever. I can configure my threshold and viewing preferences so that any story I want to read, and complete comments, shows in one pass saving me a page hit but we all know that by the time you get to the bottom of the page and reload it, they'll be 10-100 new comments added and this can go on for several hours (depending on how popular the subject is). Also pages like this one where I'm entering my comment and will preview it and then it gets added, do all those count? I think you guys clearly need to define what is and what isn't counted.

    However I don't believe that charging by the page is reasonable for a site like this. You get 300,000+ users so asking for even 10% of them to pay means a return of about $600,000 a year. You've been spinning along for quite some time now without having anyone foot the bill so why is now any different? The gravy train has run out. OSDN execs are saying "We want to make some ROI on this Slashdot thing". And 600K a year can't pay for the hardware? I'm no expert and I don't have the numbers for this site, but I seriously doubt 600K a year wouldn't cover the hardware, bandwidth and staff costs.

    liB
  • by cheinonen (318646) <cheinonen.hotmail@com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:12PM (#3092102)
    Well, we all know the answer to that one now, don't we? It seems everyone seems to be forgetting that Slashdot has ads right now. They're just going to get a little bigger, but content and the free nature of Slashdot isn't changing. However, if you REALLY hate ads, you can pay $5 and get rid of 1,000 of them. Everyone that keeps suggesting $5 for a year seems to forget that they would probably be losing money on that (I'm guessing $5 is the going rate for 1,000 ads on Slashdot, so you guys break even on the deal), which doesn't help anyone out.

    I'm not going to pay the money for removing the ads, since after growing up reading newspapers, magazines, watching TV, and seeing billboards everywhere, I'm used to them, and don't pay attention to them anymore. If they start to run popup or pop-under ads, however, then I stop visiting. Don't complain about them giving you the option (not forcing it like Salon) to pay to get rid of ads, though, it's a nice option to have.

    Can someone answer me a simple question, though: If ads are blackholed thru my OpenBSD NAT, do those still count as hits for Slashdot? I'm pretty sure they do, but I've never gotten a real answer from someone.
  • Garbage Bin? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KarmaBitch (562896) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:23PM (#3092222)
    Access to the rejected submissions bin? Yes, please -- with the opportunity to moderate or rank them, so the most interesting rejected submissions float to the top. If a story gets a very positive ranking, maybe the editorial staff can give it a second thought. And if it goes the way of the troll, nobody is the worse for it
  • by Animats (122034) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:37PM (#3092387) Homepage
    To: Slashdot management
    From: J. Nagle

    Over the last few years, I have posted 1700 comments to Slashdot. (Current karma: 162)

    I do not authorize the unpaid use of my copyrighted materials on the pay sites of others. Please remove all my previous comments before your site becomes a pay site. Failure to do so will be considered a copyright violation.

    John Nagle
    Menlo Park, CA

  • So the people who made the site worth reading (the people who comment lots), are now going to be charged more than the people who don't give anything of value to the site?



    If half of that 1.5% who will have to pay over $60 a year to access /. without reading huge ads stop posting to the site as much, then the amount of content (and thus the sites value to the more passive readers) will fall dramatically. As the number of passive readers falls, the money /. will receive from the adverts will fall, and the charges will have to go up to make up the shortfall, making the "expensive" users use the site less, making the site less popular with the passive readers, reducing the income from the adverts...



    Sorry but I just don't see how charging people who are content producers as well as the heavy content consumers is going to help the site? Perhaps people should now be paid for each submission posted to the site, after all a good story will increase the views, and thus the revenues incoming to ./

  • by sunset (182117) on Friday March 01, 2002 @04:04PM (#3093277) Homepage
    Seems to me that /. is missing the boat here. There is such a thing as advertising that readers want to see.

    I remember when PC Magazine first came out (in the 80's), it was mostly advertising and that was its primary value. Everyone wanted to know all about the latest hardware and software that you could add on to your PC, and the respective vendors were best qualified to talk about them.

    I think the main reason most people despise today's web advertising is that it sucks. It's all about making an impression, and contains little interesting content. These "in your face" ads are also created with the assumption that you really don't want to see them, so they have to force you to look.

    This, and Slashdot's new approach, are all horribly misguided. What /. needs to do is play a major role in the production, appearance and categorization of the ads. Make them a resource, not a nuisance. Make them informative, browseable and searchable. Reject products with no real value.

    Slashdot should raise the bar for web advertising, not wallow in the mud of its current state.

  • Distributed /.? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pongo000 (97357) on Friday March 01, 2002 @04:30PM (#3093539)
    This will probably get lost in the noise, but something I've been thinking about is a "distributed /." Think of it as /. over Freenet. Hell, even use Freenet as a way to distribute bandwidth costs across an entire spectrum of users. This would help the Freenet folks, as well as keep /. alive.

    Of course, this would have to be an independent movement, because I'm sure VA Linux (or whatever the hell they're named now) wouldn't want to lose out on a cash cow like /.
  • What The Ads Will Be (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hemos (2) on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:31PM (#3094125) Homepage Journal
    There's a lot of questions about the ads.

    NO pop-ups, pop-unders, pop whatever.

    NO Flash playing, Java Applet, MID playing ads.

    What it will be is the messaging unit ads (the big square ad in center of page) and sometimes, a bigger banner ad where the current banner is. That's it. Still GIF/JPG ads. That's all. And yes, one ad per page.

  • by ewen (218843) on Friday March 01, 2002 @06:19PM (#3094521) Homepage

    This change will change the whole site dynamics. For the worse, I think, in its current form.

    Slashdot offers two main things:

    1. A clipping service (the front page, etc)
    2. A reasonably workable discussion forum for comments on the each article, that allows "good" comments to be seen fairly easily

    Both of these things rely heavily on "community involvement". Most of the links for the clipping service come from contributions; all the discussion, and all the filtering of the discussion (moderation) comes from the community.

    People got rewarded for sending in link suggestions with their name in lights; people got rewarded for good posts with karma; people got rewarded for moderation/meta-moderation with (some) karma. The efforts/rewards were reasonably well balanced to produce the current Slashdot.

    Now there's a new factor. Annoying adverts. (I'm assuming they'll be annoying because of the way this is approached, the "we know you won't like this, so here's a way you can buy your way out of it" approach.)

    Which changes the whole dynamics of the site. Suddenly people get "charged" for seeing their name in lights (with annoying adverts, or actual money). Suddenly people get "charged" for reading the comments so they can post. Suddenly people get "charged" for reading the comments so they can moderate them. And perhaps people even get "charged" for reading moderations so they can do meta-moderation. Incentives not to do these things. These things which make Slashdot what it is now.

    If Slashdot wants to make a major change like this, and not dramatically change the "feel" of Slashdot, then it needs to be made balancing these contributions/rewards. Sending in article links needs to be rewarded; posting good comments needs to be rewarded; doing moderation and meta-moderation needs to be rewarded. In the context of the new change.

    Some things Slashdot should consider:

    1. Having an article link posted to the front page/a section should be rewarded by some number of "advertising free" pages. 250/500/1000 page views, perhaps based on interest generated in it. (Click through counting may be required; I'm surprised click-through counting isn't done already.)
    2. Posting a really good comment, say one that is moderated to 5 AND all the moderations are supported by "that's right" meta-moderations should be rewarded. 100/200/300 page views, say.
    3. Moderation done well (supported by meta-moderators) should be rewarded. 25/50/75 page views, say, for the whole set of (5) moderations.
    4. Meta-moderation done well (same opinion as other meta-moderators) should be rewarded; say 5 page views for the whole set of (10) meta-moderations if they're all supported.

    Without these sorts of balancing rewards all the things that make Slashdot good will be discouraged by annoying adverts (persuading people to go elsewhere), or by the knowledge that if you load the comments to contribute/moderate it's going to cost you, so why bother.

    I've no problem with contributing to Slashdot, even money if the framework for the contribution is right (the current scheme is not). But all the contributions which make Slashdot what it is need to be recognised in the new framework.

    Ewen

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