A Letter to Our Readers About The Stranger’s Exciting New Digital Pricing Initiative
Or: How You Learned to Quit Worrying and Love Our Paywall
The next two weeks mark an exciting transition for The Stranger and our readers as we introduce a new value-added content system. It’s an important step that we hope you will see as an investment in The Stranger, one that will strengthen our staff’s ability to procure high-quality alcohol in drinking establishments around the city. The change will primarily punish those who read the site most often, both on our website and on mobile devices.
This change comes in two stages. Yesterday, we rolled out a paywall to our readers in Canada, which we like to refer to as “Guineapigistan.” That handful of brave Canadian consumers, who for some reason are strangely interested in tunnel-related news in a medium-sized city that is not even located in their own country, will enable us to fine-tune the customer experience before our global launch. On April 15th, we will begin offering digital subscriptions in the United States and the rest of the world.
If you are a paid Stranger print-edition subscriber, you will continue to have full and free access to our news, dumb-baby jokes, bicycle-related opinions, and photographs of interesting restroom fixtures on your computer, smartphone, tablet, and pager. O: The Oprah Magazine subscribers will also receive free access to thestranger.com for some reason.
If you are not a home delivery subscriber, you will have free access up to a clearly defined reading limit. If you exceed that limit, you will be asked to become a digital subscriber.
This is how it will work, and what it means for you:
• On thestranger.com, you can view 14 articles each month at no charge (including videos, Marxist tracts, and other features, but not including articles wherein the letter “e” appears more than 50 times). After 14 articles, we will ask you to become a digital subscriber, with full access to our site.
• On our new smartphone, pager, and tablet apps, the book section will remain free of charge, because nobody reads it anyway. For access to all other sections within the apps, we will ask you to become a digital subscriber.
• The Stranger is offering three digital subscription packages that allow you to choose from a variety of devices (computer, smartphone, tablet, pager). More information about these plans will be available behind the paywall, starting on April 15th.
• Again, all Stranger home-delivery subscribers will receive free access to thestranger.com and to all content on our apps, except after three o’clock pm (Central/Mountain Time) on Thursdays, through 11 am (Eastern Time) on Fridays. If you are a home delivery subscriber, please write “RETURN TO SENDER” in blue ink on the front of the first copy of the print edition that you receive after the next full moon and ship that copy back to us to be signed up for free access.
• Readers who come to Stranger articles through links from search, blogs, and social media like MySpace (hereafter referred to as “My________”) will be able to read the first half of those articles, even if they have reached their monthly reading limit. For some search engines like Askjeeves.com, users will have no daily limit of free links to Stranger articles. Other search engines will not be able to locate The Stranger at all starting April 16th. We are unsure which search engines will be Stranger-compliant, though it’s a fair bet that Duck Duck Go will probably be one of those websites.
• Until two minutes ago, The Stranger was not even aware there was a search engine named Duck Duck Go. Weird, right?
• The home page at thestranger.com and all section fronts will remain free to browse for all members of the Quileute Indian tribe, due to legally binding repercussions from the Great Savage-Appeasing Treaty of 1899.
For more information, go to http://www.thestranger.com/paywall.
Thank you for reading The Stranger, in all its forms. Now give us money.
PAUL OCHS CONSTANT
Digital Media Supervisor and Junior Chief Twitterologist, The Stranger