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About That Subscribe Button …

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Beginning this week a new button appears on each and every one of our posts inviting readers to “subscribe” to FITSNews.  Wait … does this mean readers will have to pay for our website now?

Not yet … but soon.

Starting next month, FITSNews will be transitioning to a subscription model – a process I wanted to explain while extending an invitation to subscribe.

Hold up … didn’t this website mock the mainstream media years ago when they erected “pay walls?”  Yes.  Repeatedly.  And harshly.

But the hard truth is those media outlets recognized the marketplace was evolving – thanks in no small part to the arrival of websites like this one on the scene.  They knew if they didn’t change with the marketplace – and generate the resources necessary to enhance their competitive position –  they would be finished.

This website now finds itself in the same situation.

The bottom line is the bottom line.  And FITSNews’ bottom line is simple: If I want to keep this news outlet going … keep it breaking news and providing commentary from a pro-freedom, pro-free market, pro-taxpayer perspective … keep it holding leaders in the Palmetto State accountable to the people they are supposed to be serving … keep its authentic, irreverent, and uncompromising perspectives flowing through the state’s marketplace of ideas … this is the only way forward.

Whether you always agree with everything this website publishes, the truth is it has made a difference in South Carolina … and I want it to be able to continue making that difference.

Online and beyond.

When I started FITSNews over a decade ago, it was a part-time “hobby blog” read by only a few dozen insiders at the S.C. State House.  Today the website has grown beyond anything I ever imagined, evolving into a legitimate news outlet with hundreds of thousands of readers.

Running the site now takes up nearly every waking moment of my life.  Not only that, it now requires substantial resources to maintain (hosting, technical support, etc.).

Moreover, when I started this website over a decade ago I was a single man with no obligations beyond myself.  Today I’m a husband and father with a family of five kids to feed (and another new addition coming in January).

(Click to view)

(Via: Will Folks)

So … how will this work?

My goal is for our “pay wall” to be far more generous in terms of providing free articles than the pay walls erected by mainstream media outlets in our state.  In fact we are planning to provide twenty free articles per month once we “flip the switch” on September 1.

My goal is also to make our subscriptions less expensive than those sold by other media outlets – including other new media websites.  In fact, our pay wall will be cheaper than the one recently set up by our friend Ron Aiken at Quorom Columbia, a regional blog that updates its localized content far less frequently than we do.

Individual subscriptions will be $8.00 per month – or $7.00 per month if you purchase them on an annual basis (i.e. $84.00 annually).  We’re also offering small business and corporate subscriptions for those who wish to show their support at higher levels.

The reason for offering these small business and corporate subscriptions is two-fold: Not only do we wish to provide greater value for customers wishing to sign up multiple email addresses, but these small business and corporate subscriptions will afford us greater flexibility in providing free access to people who might not otherwise be able to afford it.

Speaking of emails, all subscriptions to our website will be based on email addresses – meaning you don’t have to give us your real name if you don’t want to.  As long as you’ve got a functioning email address (i.e. one that can send and receive messages) and a credit card that works – that’s all we need.

You can stay anonymous.

And speaking of credit cards, all of those transactions will be processed by Stripe, a trusted third party provider.  We won’t ever see your credit card information.

As for subscriber emails (even the anonymous ones), it goes without saying we will be treating those the same way we treat our sources … religiously protecting their confidentiality.

A few final thoughts …

The ultimate goal of this transition isn’t to simply “maintain” and provide for myself, my family and those I’ve partnered with on this project.  That’s certainly part of it, but the ultimate objective here is to raise the resources necessary to undertake a dramatic upgrade, expansion and diversification of our product – thus enabling FITSNews to compete more directly with the state’s legacy media outlets.

I have big plans for this website, and this transition is the first step in realizing them.

Stay tuned for more details, but in the meantime I sincerely appreciate everyone who has supported FITSNews in the past and who is willing to support this website in this next chapter of its evolution.

Thank you!  And please subscribe today!

Will Folks is the founding editor of the website you are currently reading.

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