The paywall for the blog came about a year ago. After 10 years and with a slight stomach ache and a number of concerns. Since then, it has cost 17 cents per day with the cheapest subscription if you want to read all of the content without restriction. After around a year, it is time to take stock. Was that the right decision back then?
Unfounded stomach ache
It must be said that the media landscape is changing radically. Almost every smaller local newspaper now relies on a paywall for its digital offering. Otherwise it could not survive, because journalistic content has its value, creates work and first and foremost costs money. This is now accepted, and the blog, as a small medium, is not that different from a local news platform.
The stomach ache was unfounded. The required number of 300 subscribers was reached, not quickly, but after a few months. Since then, their numbers have grown steadily, month after month, and the project's financial survival is assured.
That's a good thing, because a stable budget gives you freedom. Projects such as various Saab cups or first-aid bags and everything that is coming soon are financed in this way. New software has been purchased, new hardware has been ordered. For the first time in more than 10 years of history, the blog is an honest project. What investments he needs, he can pay for. That was not always so.
The stomach ache had, of course, to do with the possible development of the number of readers. Would they break in? I didn't want to rule out a minus of 60 or 70%. Saab is a very special side issue, the brand hasn't been around for 10 years, so there are some concerns. After 11 months, the all-clear can also be given here.
Of course, the fabulous numbers for 2020, with almost 1.2 million readers, are far from what can currently be expected. But we will probably close just under the million in 2021. A moderate decrease compared to the previous year and much better numbers than in the years 2016 to 19.
The old ghosts
The blog costs 17 cents a day with the cheapest subscription if you want to read all of its content. There are 8 or 9 contributions per week, a video archive and a heritage archive, which is under construction. After more and more posts have been disappearing behind the paywall for a few weeks now, after a period of familiarization of almost a year, old ghosts have crept from the farthest corner.
17 cents are too much for some readers. In addition, in their opinion, the payment modalities are not correct. Purchase options on account, PayPal and credit card would not be sufficient. The chicken that would be brought to me is also missing. Or the menhir that could be exchanged. And in general, subscriptions are a nasty trap, even though they are deliberately not automatically renewed on the blog and have to be re-booked when they expire.
Sometimes you can't help
I can't help the old ghosts that are appearing in my mailbox at the moment and unloading their displeasure there. They don't want to read in the future, their keynote is sometimes borderline, and they threaten to switch to the many other (Saab) blogs.
You have to let ghosts fly if they want to. 17 cents are too much? Then that's just the way it is, and I fear that the thrifty minds who would like to see the free labor of third parties as their privilege must travel on. Wherever the journey leads.
The contributions behind the paywall are increasing. Because I owe it to those who finance the blog as subscribers. It is thanks to them that 2022 begins with a predictable budget. An almost luxurious situation that has never been seen before. It makes it easier to write the blog and focus on the writing as such. Thanks for that!
The project will continue to develop. Even if Saab no longer exists and it is (only) about old, analog cars as an affair of the heart. Standing still is not an option.
Is a Saabexit creeping in?
There was one more question that will concern some readers. After I announced that I would soon part with some Saab artifacts for a social project, the gloomy assumption arose that this was the beginning of a creeping Saab exit.
A blogger who runs off the field, as the saying goes, and who prepares his exit.
After several readers feared - here is a clear denial. I keep writing as long as there are ideas and I enjoy it. Of the Sales the artifacts are coming for the reasons I mentioned back in November. There is no secret strategy behind it.