It should come as little surprise to most of you that the engineering team here has been working on a paid membership product for Whiskey Media over the last couple of weeks. While I'm gonna wait for each of the sites to make formal announcements about what it includes I figured we're far enough along at this point to start talking roughly about our plan and get some feedback from everyone. I'll be releasing more details over the next couple weeks as we adjust with your feedback.
First, why are we doing this?
It's easier for us to build towards what our users want, than what random visitors off Google require. We can either build a better product than our competitors and rely on our small, hardcore userbase to partially support us (that's right, you're now a pie slice!), or we can go for quantity as a content farm and build everybody-eats-it-but-nobody-likes-it web sites like our competitors. We like being able to be proud of our work, so door number one it is!
What am I going to lose if I don't buy any of this?
Sorry, you must be thinking about someone else. We're in the not pissing off the Internet business. The site as you see it right now will remain largely unchanged.
What's this about unified Whiskey Media accounts?
First off, we're going to create a unified Whiskey Media account system tied to your email that will work on any of our sites. You don't need to pay for that, everyone will just get it for free on day one after jumping through a couple account-linking hoops. Yes, you'll be able to retain different usernames across sites, but you'll only be able to link one account per site to your umbrella email account. If you end up deciding to upgrade to a paid account you'll earn the benefits across the entire network so no worries about us trying to make you pay more than once.
Dude, just give me some details already.
OK, so it wasn't hard to figure out the nuts and bolts stuff you guys wanted... HD Video, mobile / iPad support and no ads. Fine. Done. So without further ado lets list out the first 3 confirmed features...
- Stream and Download HD Video at 720p (we shoot and receive most source material in 720, 1080 would just be upscale). Here are a couple tests, let me know how they look (Wargames, Portal 2). We plan on doing this for our entire back catalog, but obviously the newer stuff will look better.
- A completely redesigned mobile site built in HTML 5 with video-watching, commenting and profiles built into it from the start. It will work on any smartphone with a web browser (iphone, android...etc). The site will continue to work as is for everyone else. Our iPhone app from last year is still free.
- No ads (if you go for yearly billing). Sorry but we need to be able to make reasonable guesses against our ad inventory, and we can't do that unless we know for sure what portion of our audience is in it for the long haul.
Dude, that's it?
Nope, not even the start. That's just the stuff you could have guessed. I'll talk about the rest in the next couple weeks and I'm sure the various editorial teams will start talking about this stuff pretty soon. For now I just wanted to say... yes, this is a thing, it's happening in September and don't worry, we're trying to be smart about all this.
What definitely won't be in the plan?
- Paid message boards. I just don't like segregating audiences.
- Anything that involves the wiki. Sorry, that's something we all built together and I couldn't ask anyone to pay for premium access or features there. We'll be rebuilding/redesigning all our wiki and API tools quite soon, but that has nothing to do with this. As far as the wiki goes, everyone is equal.
- Calendars of anime chicks?
- Free games from five years ago?
- Any sort of in-your-face hard sell. I've got the feeling most of you just want to support us and could care less about the features. That's great, we'll respect you back in the same way with not trying to do anything stupid when it comes to convincing you to make that decision.
What will this cost?
We're still figuring that out. If I mentioned anything that wasn't concrete I think our BizDev guy might have a heart attack. I can say there will be a monthly and yearly option. Along with no ads we're considering giving T-Shirts to anyone who signs up for the yearly plan. Does that sound like a good idea, what would you want to see on the T-Shirt? We'd likely have to add $10 to anyone outside the US to pay for shipping if we end up going that route.
Will you support paypal?
Right now we're thinking about going only with credit / debit card processing. If there is wild outrage that paypal isn't an option I'd like to hear it.
Duder, I've got an idea!
I'd love to hear it. Let us know what you think below.