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since 1997 | by maryann johanson

the paywall is gone

You may have noticed: no more pageview counters, no more signing in.

I had been unhappy with TinyPass (newly rechristened Piano), the company that had been running the paywall, for quite a while: the experience for both users and publishers (like me) left a lot to be desired. And then when they notified me recently that they were raising their fees quite significantly, well, that was the proverbial straw. I wasn’t going to give them an even bigger chunk of your subscription payments for such annoying service.

So the paywall is gone. I believe I have contacted everyone who had a current, active subscription through TinyPass/Piano to let you all know that I had cancelled your subs, and to offer a refund to anyone who wanted it. (I’m very gratified to say that so far, everyone who has responded has not requested that refund. Thank you all very much!) I may have missed some subscribers: part of problem with TinyPass/Piano is that their reporting is confusing and incomplete; it’s impossible to get a simple list of all current, active subscriptions. So if you think you do have a current, active subscription and you did not receive an email from me, please get in touch.

I have not contacted the many readers whose subscriptions predate the paywall, subs that are paid for directly via PayPal. I hope I am correct in assuming that since your support was never contingent on getting through the paywall, you will want to continue your subscriptions. Of course, if this is not the case, you are free to cancel at any time. Or, if you would like me to take care of that, feel free to ask.

I won’t call the paywall experiment — which lasted for four years — a failure. Though I did not garner as many subscribers as I had hoped for, I don’t think there is any critic writing anywhere who can say that s/he had hundreds of readers paying directly for her/his work. That’s definitely something I’m very proud of, and I think it’s safe to say that as this site approaches its 20th anniversary in September, I can still call myself a pioneer of film criticism online.

Flick Filosopher is not going anywhere. I remain committed to continuing to write film criticism that isn’t like that which you can get anywhere else online or in print. (I have some new ideas up my sleeve that I will be introducing soon. As always, I welcome your suggestions for how I can make this site better, or for any different sort of coverage you’d like to see. I cannot promise that I will be able to fulfill your requests — this is all already an enormous job for one person to be doing — but I absolutely will consider them.) But I really, really do need the financial support of those who read this site regularly. So I hope that those readers who had been subscribing through TinyPass will renew their support through a one-time donation or subscription payment via PayPal — you’ll see requests to do so around the site now, including below. And I hope that readers who have never supported my work before will consider doing so.

Thank you for your readership and your moolah through the years. It is very much appreciated. I’d love to make it another 20 years. Please help me do so.

one-time donation

(PayPal account not required)

(even $1 is a big help)

recurring subscription

(PayPal account required)

please choose

(please ask if you’d like an option you don’t see here)


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  • RogerBW

    Sorry to hear it wasn’t worth the effort, but I continue to be a happy subscriber.

    I admit I’m really looking forward to your thoughts on Life, since I thought it looked promising… but you red-lit it, several of the reviewers I read didn’t even bother to cover it, and it’s now vanished from general conversation at least in the bits of the net I read.

  • Danielm80

    For the past several years, TinyPass has been charging me twice, due to a strange glitch that made them think I had two separate subscriptions. I decided to keep paying double, because the amount of work you put into the site is so evident, and because we really need a site like this, especially in the current political climate. So I won’t miss TinyPass, but I’ll keep donating as much as I can. Some days, you deserve extra funding just for putting up with my loopy comments.

  • PJK

    Their solution was also easily bypassed, so their service wasn’t worth the money you paid for it anyway.

  • I’ll try to get to *Life* soon…

  • For the past several years, TinyPass has been charging me twice

    This is bullshit, and I’ve emailed you to ask more about this.

    I hope anyone else who had issues like this with Tinypass will let me know about them.

  • But not everyone knows how to bypass paywalls, or wants to do so. Some people *will* pay for stuff if you give them a way to do so.

  • Danielm80

    I let you know the first time it happened, and TinyPass corrected the problem, eventually.

    When it happened again a year later, I just thought: I probably would have increased my annual donation, anyway, so I’m going to let it go.

  • LaSargenta

    I’m an old subscriber, I’ll keep subscribing. I hope my latest payments got through. I had to update some bits of my PayPal account.

  • LA Julian

    Have you looked at Patreon? That seems to be the most popular content creator subscription model for serial producers and webcomic artists.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Heh. I couldn’t help but think of this when I first saw this post.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qu20M-fa2sE

    P.S. Good luck with the site.

  • Bluejay
  • Tinypass should never have let you start two subscriptions to the same content in the first place!

    One big problem with Tinypass is that it doesn’t notify publishers when someone renews a sub: if they did, I would have caught those double payments. (They also don’t notify when someone DON’T renew, which would also be helpful to know.)

    Paypal, on the other hand, sends an email when someone renews, when someone cancels, and for every single monthly or annual payment. That is very useful.

  • I’ve had several people ask about Patreon, and yes, I have thought about it. But I am not producing web comics or art or other material that seems more suitable to Patreon. I don’t have exclusive content to offer Patreon supporters. I also think people do not appreciate the amount of administrative work that goes into dealing with a service like Patreon’s. (I have tried Patreon before, and it was a lot of work for almost no financial reward.)

    But as I’ve told everyone else, I’ll look into it again. I do have an idea for a film-related side project that might be more suitable to Patreon. I’ll see if it makes sense to try again for my written criticism, too.

  • Your payments seem to be coming through just fine. Thanks for asking!

  • Thanks.

  • Some superpowers would be nice…

  • Bluejay
  • PJK

    I wasn’t advocating against you being paid for your work. I was stating that the service that they provided was easy to circumvent so wasn’t worth the money they were taking from you.

    The only thing you needed to do was to open a link in a private window then the entire paywall failed because it wouldn’t track your access. This in turn meant that the number of accesses would stay at three thus in fact giving you unlimited access to your articles.

    This was the exact thing that their solution was supposed to prevent. And it was easy to bypass thus making you pay for a service that in fact didn’t do what it was supposed to do.

  • I will definitely keep my monthly sub, but with paypal now. I’ve been supporting your wonderful work for a long time now, and am happy to continue to do so.

  • bronxbee

    persistence in the face of so many obstacles is the greatest super power of them all.

  • Bluejay

    True. :-)

  • Travis Nellor

    I’m a longtime subscriber and will definitely stay one until the sun swallows the earth. Your reviews are a joy to read, from Battlefield Earth to Suicide Squad and Spider-Man 2 to Arival. You’re one of the best critics out there.

  • It really does, though. :-(

  • Thank you!

  • Wow! Thanks!

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