your £$ support needed

part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

subscriptions update (and what happens next)

My subscription drive in February was nowhere near as successful as it needed to be. Here’s where I stand now.

I need: 1000 subscribers at $4.99/month OR $49.99/year

I have: 154 (with 131 additional subscribers at small levels)

I cannot continue with so little support from readers.

In March, I’m going to be investigating some other potential areas of support. Frankly, I’m not optimistic, but I have to try.

In one last attempt to prod more readers to subscribe, I’ve dropped the free pageviews per week to three. (See here for more on that.)

I’ve also posted noticed on some pages — visible only to those who have not subscribed — that their support is necessary if I’m to continue updating those pages and posting those posts. The pages are “in cinemas” and “dvd/vod” and the U.S. VOD release schedule. The posts are trailers, Doctor Who Things, and the what-to-stream posts.

None of the information you find on those pages and posts is unique. There are plenty of other sources for what’s opening in cinemas and what’s new on DVD and what you can stream on Netflix. If it’s not useful to readers for me to make their tasks a little easier by connecting my reviews to that other information, I’m going to stop wasting my time updating those pages. You can do your own surfing to find new trailers and cool Doctor Who stuff.

Basically, I’ve been running a one-woman magazine here for years. I thought that would make the site more useful for readers. It takes an insane amount of time, but I would be happy to keep doing it if enough readers were supporting it. That doesn’t seem like it’s ever going to happen.

It’s looking to be almost certain that come April, I am going to pull back to posting only film reviews, and very little else. I may stop doing the Movie Cheat Sheets — only a quarter of them even get opened in your in-boxes — and the Daily Digests: only 10 percent of those get opened.

I wish this wasn’t the way things had to be. There’s so much more I’d like to be doing here — cutting back is exactly the opposite of what I want. But short of winning the lottery, I have no choice.

You have no idea how much this breaks my heart.

posted in:
maryann buzz
  • I’d like to see less of the extra stuff (pictures, things-of-the-day, etc) and more straight up reviews of movies and TV Shows, personally. Despite not having any inside-info on which articles are most popular, I suspect it’s those. Also I’m certain the “feminism” posts get a ton of traffic (even if it’s mostly douchebags) just judging on the comments. I love those as well.

    And as much as I’m happy to be a subscriber, I’ve never felt like a pay wall is the best solution for anyone — most non-subscribers don’t even see the paywall warning because their browsers remove all that stuff anyway. Anti-javascript and ad removing scripts, etc…

    It’s a tough nut to crack, for sure. But it might finally be time to look into the pre-fab blog sites, so you can focus solely on content, despite maybe not having the website work exactly like you want it to.

    Another suggestion: if you do want to continue with the paywal, get rid of free views entirely. Have two versions of reviews available. The free version is just, like, the intro paragraph and a rating. The pay version has all the rest including comments? It wouldn’t have to be two different versions, just a limited version and a full one. I dunno, I have never been good at making money off my own creativity.

    Either way we all wish you the best!

  • Karl Morton IV

    I like the pictures – especially when you’re exploring somewhere like Amsterdam, but London’s so pretty and Londony that I never tire of seeing bits of it. And I don’t care if I’m in the minority. :)

  • Melanie

    I generally only read the female gazing, feminist posts, and the film reviews. I think I found your page a couple of years ago by googling “Sexism and the Twilight Saga”. The release dates for DVDs etc are irrelevant to me as I am not in Europe or the US. Good luck MaryAnn, you’re the cleverest person I read on the internet and I have confidence in what you will decide. You deserve better, what you say is important, funny, insightful and damn entertaining.

  • There has to be at least one free view, or else Google and other search engines cannot access the site.

    Your two-versions idea is an interesting one, but that would double my administrative work. So it’s not really a good solution.

    So, if (supposedly), most people aren’t seeing popups asking them to subscribe, and most people wouldn’t see ads because they’re blocking them, what’s left?

    I appreciate your suggestions, but I’m at the end of my rope here, and the rope is badly frayed.

  • Guest

    You’re not.

  • Katie

    Longtime reader and subscriber jumping in here to lend my support. My husband and I have been enjoying your site for about five years now – you’re pretty much the only reviewer we trust and you haven’t steered us wrong yet. I subscribe because I would sorely miss your feminist perspective and I’m sure lots of other women (and men) would agree. I know it must be discouraging because of all the trolls, but there are us quiet and non-commenting folks out there who do appreciate all the hard work you do. Plus your female gazing post are pretty much the raddist thing on the Internet. I’ve been gazing at men in entertainment since I was a little girl and it was a huge relief when I discovered someone who has the exact same taste in smart, sexy, interesting guys. It’s like my lady hormones have been validated!

  • I do enjoy the female gazing posts as well. As a manly, heterosexual male, I can still appreciate the strong lines of a chiseled jaw as much as anyone.

  • Hmm… well there has gotta be a way to do two versions without doubling the workload. Perhaps, if you write the reviews with this in mind, you can keep it to a single article, preload the first paragraph with an encapsulated review, and then find a way to automatically only display that bit to unsubscribed viewers (and search engines), with the more in-depth stuff and comments further down. It should be as simple as doing an “If viewer is subscriber, display rest of article, if not display subscribe message” (admittedly that’s super simplistic).

    Though I think I’ve probably suggested this before, as it sounds familiar to my brain. Perhaps when I was talking about making comments subscriber only? I forget.

    And, now that I think about it, you already do kind of do this with the descriptions under the film image. It maybe as easy as beefing that up a tiny bit and disabling access to the full text?

    Sorry, it’s hard to brainstorm when I am not familiar with the inner code-workings of the site :(

  • I get what you’re saying. But it would require programming that is beyond me.

  • Katie

    Yep – there’s beauty in both men and women!

  • PJK

    Maybe you should have a look at this site: http://www.patreon.com/

    I’ve seen other Artists and creators use this site to get financial support for their efforts and in my opinion its a far better way of getting support than the paywall you are currently using.

  • That site has been recommended to me before.

    Here’s the problem with it. If I can’t get people who are already coming to this site to support what they are looking at right at that moment, it’s another step — and a tough one — to get them to go to *that* site to support me.

    I’ve looked around that site. I don’t see anyone doing anything like what I’m doing here.

    Why do you think it’s better than the paywall?

  • Thank you for the kind words.

    Modesty aside, I hear similar things a lot, from people online and off. So why am I struggling so badly? (Rhetorical question.)

  • Katie

    Well, I used to think that movie reviewers, being part of the “Hollywood” system, were all independently wealthy and/or paid well for their reviews. It wasn’t until I read this site that I began to look at the movie review business differently. I think it’s similar to the frustration many charitable organizations must have in getting people to donate to a worthy cause. Most people think, “someone else will donate,” or “they’ll get their money elsewhere.” They don’t understand how important, individually, their money is.

    Plus, people are hopelessly cheap about paying for quality. Why pay $50 for an amazing, memorable, delicious dinner at a fancy restaurant when you can get junk at McDonald’s for $5? Why pay for an honest, intellectual, thoughtful movie review when CollegeGuy19 will tell you it blows for free on IMDB? Those of us who choose the former will always be in the minority.

  • Liz

    Katie put it well. This is the best review site, and I’m also saying this as a long time reader and subscriber. I have held off asking whether you were going to review Sherlock, because of the decisions you were making about the future of the site. I’ll continue to subscribe even if you only do movies. I’ll surely miss the posts about feminism and other not-movie topics but your writing will be great whatever you decide to write about. I’m very sorry that the blog is not working out as a profession, because you are such a capable and professional reviewer, with a great combination of a unique insight and a good feel for what others will enjoy.

  • Oh, I will definitely review *Sherlock.* And even if/when I pull back to posting only reviews, I will still write about some TV shows.

    In the case of *Sherlock,* it was his bad luck that his recent episodes coincided with the holidays and with my BFF visiting London, which meant I wasn’t doing any work. But maybe next week I’ll get to them finally. I hope.

  • bronxbee

    OH SURE, blame *me*!

  • LaSargenta

    That’s what BFFs are for.

  • Nope, it’s Sherlock’s fault for his lousy timing.

    On the other hand, it did mean we got to watch together…

  • Katie

    Late reply here, but I am also dying to read your Sherlock reviews! I was so disappointed with this last series, but at the same time I let so much go because it’s *Sherlock* and you always forgive the ones you love. So many conflicting emotions and feels, as the Tumblr crowd would say.

  • Well, now that I’ve finally gotten all my US tax-time shit out of the way, maybe I can *finally* get to Sherlock!

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