Two years ago, we took a deep breath and leapt off a cliff. TidBITS wasn’t operating on a sustainable basis, and we needed help to pay our staff to produce articles and to cover the costs of developing and maintaining our Web site and mailing lists. Our plan was to throw ourselves at the mercy of you, our readers, the people for whom we spend our days testing, troubleshooting, researching, writing, and editing.
Happily, through the TidBITS membership program unveiled in “Support TidBITS by Becoming a TidBITS Member” (12 December 2011), you caught us. With contributions from nearly 2,200 TidBITS readers in 2012, we were able to put the publication on stable financial footing (for last year’s recap, see “TidBITS Needs Your Support in 2013: Join Our Membership Program,” 17 December 2012). In 2013, more of you joined, pushing our membership over 2,500. Since we don’t have funding from deep-pocketed venture capitalists or a corporate behemoth like many Apple news sites, your direct support was essential in helping us keep bringing you fresh and useful content.
We’ve done just that, as you can read in the TidBITS Index below. Compared to the same portion of 2012, we published almost 200 more articles, and commissioned 26 more feature articles from outside authors than last year. That was possible in large part because your financial support enabled us to lure Josh Centers away from his corporate cubicle and two-hour commute to become our new managing editor.
That’s all great, but it merely underscores our need for ongoing funding. Our 23-year record shows that we’re in this for the long haul, and if we’re going to keep working for you in the future, we need your continued support.
Early supporters who joined the TidBITS membership program when it launched in December 2011 have started receiving email from me about renewing, along with a subsequent message from eSellerate with reminders and links for those who chose a manual renewal and confirmations for those who prefer to renew automatically. But not everyone reading this is a TidBITS member.
So, if you find reading TidBITS regularly useful and enjoyable, can you help? Between the 21,000 people who receive TidBITS via email and the 15,000 who subscribe via RSS, only about 7 percent have joined the TidBITS membership program. And that doesn’t even count the 123,000 people who visit our Web site in an average month. I don’t expect much from the one-off visitors who come for a key article like Joe Kissell’s “Mail in Mavericks Changes the Gmail Equation” (22 October 2013), which garnered 169,000 page views and smashed our record for number of comments, at 446. But if you benefit from our writing on a regular basis, such as with Alicia Katz-Pollock’s “Making the Most of Contacts in Mavericks” (15 November 2013), Josh Centers’s “All about Tagging in the Mavericks Finder” (14 November 2013) or my “Using Tabs in the Mavericks Finder” (31 October 2013), please consider joining.
Along with content like those articles, we also thank all TidBITS members with a number of perks, including:
A version of the TidBITS Web site free of graphical banner ads.
A full-text RSS feed (non-members get a summary-only feed).
The option to receive articles in email as soon as they are posted.
The ability to post longer article comments, with live URLs.
Recognition of your membership (with colorful apple icons) when commenting.
A 30 percent discount on all Take Control ebooks.
Discounts on an ever-increasing number of Mac-related products, including 1Password, LaunchBar, DEVONthink Pro, TextExpander, Airfoil, PDFpen, SpamSieve, Keyboard Maestro, Audio Hijack Pro, PopChar, CloudPull, Default Folder X, MarsEdit, Voila, Dejal Simon, Password Wallet, Fetch, and even the stunning SizzlPix high-definition photographic prints. (If you’d like us look into a discount on a particular app or want to include your company’s products in our list, drop me a note.)
In 2013 we added more Mac apps to our member-discount list and released chapter-by-chapter streamed versions of two Take Control ebooks — Jeff Carlson’s “Take Control of Your Digital Photos on a Mac” and Josh’s in-progress “Take Control of Apple TV” — so TidBITS members could read and comment on them before publication.
You can choose among five different levels of annual support: $20, $50, $100, $250, and $1,000. They default to a manual renewal, but if you don’t want to fuss with the cart each year, an automatic renewal option is available. The membership perks are the same at each level, with one exception: the $1,000 level is a lifetime membership that includes a fine dinner with the staff at Macworld/iWorld in San Francisco or with me and Tonya any time you’re in Ithaca. Seriously — we enjoyed dinner with a pair of our lifetime members last year during the show.
Assuming you so wish, we’ll acknowledge your membership on the site in the TidBITS Members list and with an apple icon next to your comments. You can control your acknowledgement status, name, and URL in the Account Info page. That page also lists your membership status and expiration date, and if our system ever stops email delivery due to too many bounces, you can restart delivery with a single click there.
Again, if you have found TidBITS valuable, or if you’ve received personal help from one of our staff members simply because you asked, please become a TidBITS member to help us continue publishing the kind of articles you’ve become accustomed to reading each week. You’ll have our undying gratitude, and more importantly, you can rest assured that every article you read was made possible in some small part by your generosity. Thank you!
TidBITS Index 2013 — I’d like to leave you with a sense of what the TidBITS membership program has enabled us to do in the past year, along with some select stats on the benefits it has provided for members this year compared to last (via a snapshot taken just before membership renewals started). Without further ado, the TidBITS Index 2013!
Articles, including TidBITS Watchlist items, published in 2012: 671. In 2013: 867.
Articles commissioned and paid for with membership funds in 2012: 14. In 2013: 40.
TidBITS articles read on the Web in 2013: 1.9 million.
Estimated number of TidBITS issues sent in email in 2013: 1.06 million.
Comments left on TidBITS articles published in 2013: 4490.
Number of TidBITS members in 2012: 2179. In 2013: 2534.
Percentage of TidBITS members who wish to be listed on our public members page: 44.
Total amount a TidBITS member could save on member-discounted Mac products in 2012: $331. In 2013: $448.
Amount actually saved on Take Control ebook orders by TidBITS members in 2012: $1408. In 2013: $2400.