The turn of the year is actually completely overrated. The date changes, the state traditionally increases the tax burden, otherwise everything stays as it was. This year everything will be completely different. At least as far as the Saabblog project is concerned. It's at a turning point.
Sometimes it is imperative to draw conclusions. Even when it is difficult. The blog project is almost 10 years old and has an eventful history. Saab as an active car brand has been in the past for a long time, but 2020 was the third best in the history of the blog. Exactly 1.192.906 visitors came to the blog, only in 2012 and 2014 there were more.
The large numbers of visitors are now a thing of the past, the project will shrink, just like the Saab population on the streets. The switch to a subscription model will start this week, the step was anything but an easy decision. To be fair you have to state that everything has been tried in the past to secure funding and to keep the blog open to all readers at the same time.
All possibilities of integrating workshops, spare parts distributors and readers were tried out. Everything was based on voluntariness and appeals, but none of the models were sustainable. The remaining tool is the payment model, which I always wanted to avoid. It has a certain finality and is a bit uncomfortable for the reader, because who likes to pay for content?
But the system is fair and simple. It clarifies the situation and uses numbers to show whether the project has a future. Who pays, reads. Those who do not take out a subscription will stay outside in the future.
Of course, I'm not going to close the blog 100% immediately, and there will always be free content in the future. Like the posts that Guest authors publish. But the majority of the editorial content will now disappear behind the payment barrier, at a fair price.
It is clear to me that this change of direction will generate little enthusiasm. Also that the number of visitors will decrease rapidly. One can argue that the decision is bad for the Saab brand. It will lose even more visibility as a result. That is certainly true, but all those who still made their living with the brand had a decade of opportunity to sort things out on their behalf.
But, and objectively this is the good news for everyone who may see a problem for themselves here: This project is not essential. Nobody has to read it, there is no content to be found here without which one could not live. Everyday life without a blog and without Saab stories is quite feasible.
But maybe not that entertaining ...
A very good friend asked me a few days ago how much longer I would like to do this. At some point it would be enough, and the whole project would be lost against the zeitgeist and electrification. My answer was simple. As long as I can think of something about Saab, and it does that constantly, I'll keep writing.
In the future for fewer readers, but without open questions, with a fair regulation for both sides. And changes are above all opportunities. The possibility of a better, more predictable budget could lead to a more interesting blog with even more exciting content. We will see.
The subscription tariffs will go online in the next few hours, more on the blog tomorrow.