Why we require subscriptions, and how to subscribe

Why subscriptions? Everything on the net should be free!

Let’s put it this way. When we began this little experiment, we hoped to answer two questions:

(1) Will the SDMB draw a smart, lively crowd who will dedicate themselves to the struggle against ignorance and be a credit to The Master? ANSWER: With one or two exceptions, yes.

(2) Can we make any money at this, or at least cover our expenses? ANSWER: For years 1 through 5, no. Since we went to subscriptions in year 6, yes. ‘Nuff said.

How much?

A one-year subscription costs US $14.95.

How do I subscribe?

Click on “subscribe” in the menu bar at the top of any SDMB page. You’ll be shown a screen listing your subscription status and payment options. Just follow the directions. We accept payment by major credit card or PayPal. You can subscribe for up to two years ahead, although this will take two transactions.

I don’t see a “subscribe” option in the menu bar.

If you’re already registered, you need to log in. If you’re not registered, do so by clicking on the “register” option in the menu bar and following the prompts. Once registered, log in, click on “subscribe,” and follow the directions.

What does a subscription get me?

[li]Posting privileges for one year.[/li][li]Post count (i.e., number of messages you’ve posted to date appears with your username)[/li][li]Ability to search the massive SDMB message database[/li][li]Ability to view member profiles[/li][li]Biographical info included with each post (optional)[/ul][/li]What if I don’t subscribe?

You can register as a guest. Guests get:
[li]Posting privileges for 30 days.[/li][li]The title “guest” under their usernames.[/li][li]No post count, and for that matter pretty much no anything.[/li][li]A nag screen every time they post asking them to subscribe.[/ul][/li]What happens when the 30 days are up?

The next time you try to log on or post, you’ll get a notice saying your guest membership has expired and that if you want to continue posting you need to become a paid subscriber. You’ll still be able to read the boards, though.

Do subscriptions mean the board will run faster?

Subscriptions mean the board will continue to exist. In the fullness of time maybe we’ll get it to run faster, too. We consider this gravy. Be aware that some of the problems are inherent in the message board software, the most salient being the search function, which locks up the database while searches are underway. We urgently suggest that users conduct searches during slow periods.

Will I be getting anything else for my money?

Well, you don’t get a tote bag, if that’s what you were hoping for. On the other hand, you’ll be helping to put the SDMB on a sound financial footing, thereby keeping everything going and making this a better world.

What happens to my posts when my guest membership expires?

Nothing. The posts you made stay on the board under your name as “guest”; however, you can’t post anymore until you become a subscriber.

Why do you have to charge? How much can it cost to run a message board?

Plenty. Jerry and his fellow tech geniuses get paid. Little Ed gets paid, believe it or not. Periodic server upgrades, the monthly data line fees, 3-in-1 oil for the hamster wheel - it all adds up.

I can’t afford $14.95!

Come now - it’s comparable to what you’d pay for a magazine subscription. An annual payment of $14.95 works out to about four cents per day. You can raise that kind of money checking behind the couch cushions.

Wouldn’t it be better to solicit donations, get more advertising, or [insert your moneymaking suggestion here]?

We’ve considered and in many cases tried the obvious ideas. We have unobtrusive Google ads at the bottom of threads. These help us keep the membership fee low, but they don’t replace it.

If I subscribe, does that mean I can’t get banned?

No. All rules remain in effect. If you misbehave so badly that you get banned, you forfeit your subscription money. We like that part.

In the event of a board outage, will my subscription be extended?

Yes. If the board goes down for an appreciable length of time, we’ll extend everyone’s subscription by a corresponding amount.

That’s it. Thanks in advance for subscribing and we look forward to your participation on the SDMB.

Originally posted by TubaDiva:

To subscribe for yourself, do this:

  1. Sign in to the board as always.
  2. Click on the “Subscribe” hyperlink in the blue band at the top of the page (between “Rules” and “FAQ”).
  3. Follow the prompts. We accept most major credit cards and Paypal.

You can subscribe for up to two years; however, it may take two separate transactions to do so.

If you do not see the “Subscribe” hyperlink you are either not signed in to the board and/or you do not yet have a screen name. Go to the front page of the site, click on the “Registration” hyperlink, and follow those prompts and THEN come back, sign in, and subscribe.

To pay a subscription for someone else, here’s the procedure:

(Thanks to QED, I lifted this from an earlier post)

You don’t need a password to pay up a subscription fee for another user. All you need is their UserID number, which you can get by clicking on their username and mousing over View Public Profile in the dropdown menu, among other methods. The userid will appear at the end of the URL in the Status Bar. To pay the subscription, click Subscribe, then click the Order button on the next page, then click Pay Using Credit Card on the page after that. In the address bar of the next page, you will see a URL which looks like this:

https://securesite.chireader.com/cgi-bin/sdmb/subscribe.bat?subscriptionid= 1&userid=xxxxx&amount=14.95&currency_code=USD

You will now have to change the xxxxx (which will be YOUR userid) to the userid number of the person you wish to pay for, then hit Enter or click the Go button. The page should now display their username and account information, and you can continue the payment as normal, using your CC data.

**To pay with PayPal, you have to do it a bit differently. **

When you get to Subscriptions, you’ll see a link to PayPal like this one. You need to copy and paste the URL for this link (right click it and select the appropriate option for your browser) into the address bar. Then you will need to change some information. The rather large URL looks like this:


You will need to change the information in bold. The XXXXX will be their UserID number, UserName is their SDMB username and the price should be the price of their subscription: $7.48 for Charter Members and $14.95 for everyone else. Once you’ve made the necessary changes, hit <Enter> and you will be taken to a PayPal payment screen. You’ll continue the payment process here as normal.

If you use PayPal eCheck to pay for a subscription there will be a lag of 5-10 business days before it takes effect. This is on the PayPal side and we have no control over the situation.

(This post deliberately blank to arrange the stickies in best order)