APUG Subscriptions, re: student/financial hardship subscriptions - at a crossroads..
For several months now I have debated what to do regarding our student/financial hardship subscription options. With the global recession we have had an influx of subscribers take that option. It has finally reached a point where so many subscribers are taking that option it has simply become unsustainable. I will not say it's become abused because I am fully aware of the economic climate most of us are facing. That being said I have reluctantly had to disable this subscription option as a last resort. It was always intended to be available for a small percentage of subscribers 5-15% and for many years this was the case, but in recent months this has reached almost over 50% taking the student/financial hardship option. After crunching the numbers, the site is definitely not sustainable this way. Our subscriber base has been the same number for the last 3-4 years (roughly under 3.5% of total registered members). I suspect the numbers remain the same because a combination of subscribers leave but new subscribers arrive. I am investigating other options such as setting up a gift subscription forum, where a number of subscriptions are available and can be applied for confidentially behind the scenes. I'm sorry it's come to this, I held out as long as possible. I am unsure the effect this change will have, it could cause a crash in overall subscriptions. Hopefully members can find a way to support us at the standard $2 a month rate. We offer 3-6-12 month options. We've also been relying heavily on those taking the higher dollar options to offset the student/financial hardship subscribers, and those higher dollar subscribers have faded as well due to this recession. My ultimate goal is for other Photocentric Ltd. sites to become the revenue generators, and APUG can then essentially be free -but this could take a couple of years.