Duotrope Goes Paid-Only

December 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

Duotrope announces that, as of January 1, 2013, their site will be accessible via paid subscription only.

For over seven years, Duotrope has tried to make ends meet by asking those who use the website or subscribe to our newsletter to contribute a small amount. Unfortunately, only about 10% of those who have used our services have ever contributed, and we haven’t met any of our monthly goals since 2007. Quite simply, we can no longer afford to run Duotrope this way.

None of this comes as much surprise, as the donation reports continually warned us that the site was in the red.

What is unfortunate, however, is that it appears only one pricing plan will be available: $60 for one year or $5 per month. (They are also offering gift certificates.) There is no bare-bones option (with just the submissions tracker, for example), nor do I think it is possible to pay in installments the way you can when you pledge to NPR. Perhaps that will change as the model adjusts.

A bigger question is how this will affect the statistics on the site. A paid-only model would seem likely to reduce the number of site users, and ideally the statistics are more accurate when the sample is larger. If the new model reduces the number of users who share their data, then the accuracy of the statistics is more likely to be compromised, and isn’t that part of the product we are being asked to pay for?

The administrators attempted to address this question in a Facebook post:

A note on our statistics: We at Duotrope are aware of how important our statistical data is to a large number of our users. We plan on carefully tracking the impact our new pay model has on this data, and we will continue to work at keeping the statistics relevant and useful. Based on our internal numbers and analysis of individual user statistics, we believe the accuracy of our data will actually improve in the long run. This was a significant factor when making the decision to go paid.

It will be interesting to see where this goes. As I have admitted before, I am a bit of a Duotrope addict (which has not helped my writing any, by the way). In the past I have contributed about $20 per year, on average, and I certainly will find a way to pay more if that’s what it takes.

Meanwhile, the admins are recommending that users who do not plan on subscribing by January 1 should back up their data by exporting it to Excel.

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