Over the next few weeks we will be moving to a new subscription (membership) system.
Let’s look at why we are doing this.
Aligns To Our Business Model
Our business model has evolved to be much closer to that of a magazine, rather than a membership site. The new system is specifically designed for the former.
Easier To Use
The new system will be a lot easier for subscribers to use. For example, the login and forgotten password systems are way better, and paying for a new subscription or renewing are hugely improved.
Better Account Management
In the same vein, it will be much easier for you, our subscribers, to see and manage everything relevant to your account in one place.
More Flexible Paywall
One of our biggest business challenges has always been how to convince potential subscribers of the value of our content without actually showing it to them. The new system gives us a lot more ways to show some content, but still maintain the paywall, and makes it easy for us to experiment to find the most effective mix.
We Get Help
Currently, Phyllis and I do all AAC administration—site maintenance, support, bookkeeping, compliance, accounting. As part of this change, the new system’s developers will be taking over site maintenance, which should give us more time for content creation—gotta be good.
Don’t worry, Phyllis and I will continue to be the point-of-contact for subscribers with a problem.
No Login Change
One very cool part of this is that, even though we can’t see your passwords (encrypted), we have figured out how to do this without requiring you to change your login credentials.
That said, the way you login will change a couple of times during the process, with the first version being a bit inelegant—sorry, it won’t be like that for long.
An AAC App
I saved the best for last. The new system works with a custom and branded AAC app that will run on Apple and Android. Some of the cool features are:
- A single login for both app and web access.
- Full content (including Online Books) synchronization between the app and the web site.
- Comments made on either the app or the web site will show on both.
This is something we have long known we needed to do, since over 60% of you now read the site on phones and tablets, and that percentage goes up every year.
There is one fly in that ointment: we will not have said app up and running until the winter (northern hemisphere of 2019/20. Getting ready for this upgrade is a huge task for Phyllis and me and the summer is for sailing!
The Bad News
I would love to tell you that we have the whole cut-over process all figured out and that it will go without a hitch, but that would be a foul lie.
The reality is that, even though we have been working on this for over a year—selecting the new system was a hugely complex decision, and we have also done a ton of preliminary work on the cut-over—I can pretty much guarantee that there will be some truly spectacular screw-ups over the next couple of months.
(In a previous life I founded and ran a computer company where we did a bunch of system cut-overs, so this is hard-earned experience speaking.)
The good news is that we are working with some very smart developers and Phyllis and I are committed to checking everything over six ways from Sunday, so I’m confident that when something does go wrong, we will be able to fix it reasonably quickly.
That said, we need your help:
If you see any problems at all on the site over the next couple of months, even something that’s confusing, please:
- Report it to us via email or as a comment to this post. The latter would be better (as long as there are no privacy issues) since then others can chime in with their experience.
- Be patient while we fix problems. Frankly, this is going to be a hugely stressful time for Phyllis and me and getting yelled at is only going to make that worse. (By and large you AAC subscribers are both polite and patient, but every so often someone goes off the deep end, which is really hard to take when we are struggling to fix a problem that is often not of our making…yea, I’m looking at you PayPal.)