Over the last 22-plus years, you’ve helped us build a community around TidBITS, and that has enabled us to survive the ups and downs of the technology industry to become the oldest continuously operating Internet-only publication. (Really! The good folks behind the previous record holder — the Irish Emigrant News — retired in February 2012.) While TidBITS held on through all those years, it wasn’t on a path that we could sustain indefinitely, so last year we created the TidBITS membership program to make it possible for you, the members of the TidBITS community, to support our work directly (see “Support TidBITS by Becoming a TidBITS Member,” 12 December 2011).
To be bluntly appreciative, the TidBITS membership program was a huge help throughout 2012 in keeping new articles appearing on our Web site and in your email inbox each week. Unlike many technology publications, we don’t have a corporate behemoth backing us up, so every dollar contributed via our membership program made a difference in keeping our Web site online, paying our staff writers, bringing in outside voices, creating an issue for you every week, and spending large amounts of time helping individual readers.
But I don’t want to sound too self-congratulatory. Although the revenue from memberships kept us going in the last year, let us expand writing and site development, and enabled new efforts like TidBITS Presents, what matters now is ongoing funding so we can continue on this path. Early supporters who joined in December last year have started receiving email from me about renewing, along with email from eSellerate with reminders for those who chose a manual renewal and confirmations for those who preferred an automatic renewal. To all of you who are coming up for membership renewal soon, thank you so much for your continued support! (If you joined later in 2012, thank you too, and just sit tight, since our systems will let you know when your year is coming up.)
For those of you who never got around to joining the TidBITS membership program last year, we need your help. Right now, as useful as the membership program has been, fewer than 10 percent of the people who receive TidBITS in email from us each week have joined, and that’s not counting the hundreds of thousands of people who read articles via our Web site each month. We don’t expect 100-percent participation, but I’d like to think that more than 10 percent of our regular readers find our work useful enough to chip in. As a member you’ll also receive 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 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, VirusBarrier, CloudPull, Default Folder X, MarsEdit, Voila, Dejal Simon, Password Wallet, Fetch, and more. (If you’d like to offer a discount on your company’s products to our members, drop me a note.)
You can choose among five different levels of support: $20, $50, $100, $250, and $1000. The first four levels default to a manual renewal, but if you prefer, an automatic renewal option is available. The $1000 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 kicked this tradition off with a great dinner last year with one of our lifetime members.
Assuming you so wish, we’ll acknowledge your membership on the site in the TidBITS Members list and with a cool apple icon next to your comments. You can control your acknowledgement status, name, and URL in the Account Info page.
So, 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.
TidBITS Index 2012 -- I’d like to leave you with a sense of what the TidBITS membership program has enabled us to do since inception, along with some select stats on the benefits it has provided for members (via a snapshot taken just before membership renewals started). Here’s the TidBITS Index for 2012!
Articles, including TidBITS Watchlist items, published in 2012: 671
Feature articles commissioned and paid for with membership funds: 14
TidBITS articles read on the Web in 2012: 2.1 million
Estimated number of TidBITS issues sent in email in 2012: 1.15 million
Comments left on TidBITS articles published in 2012: 4611
Number of minutes of TidBITS Presents events: 346
Total minutes of TidBITS Presents events watched on YouTube: 70,000
Peak number of TidBITS members in 2012: 2179
Percentage of TidBITS members who wished to be listed on the public members page: 60
Chance that someone who reads more about TidBITS member benefits becomes a member: 1 in 5
Total amount a TidBITS member could save on member-discounted Mac software: $331
Amount saved on Take Control ebook orders by TidBITS members in 2012: $1408.30