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Subscription – the norm for the internet?

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You get nothing for free

Are we living in a world of subscription? There are a lot of free services out there for any new content creator to engage with. As I continue to try to develop my online presence I am developing skills with a range of services. However, I have found that these ‘services’ have a nasty sting in their tails for us ‘small’ people.

I remember when I just used to buy a product. Indeed I actually have, somewhere, a whole load of CD in boxes for the programs. These include many of the games I play. I also have books which I read to support my learning. However, I realise that things have changed now and we are living in a world of subscriptions.

There are advantages

I see the advantages of subscription services. It really helps companies since they can ensure that the products they are supporting are always up to date. It always provides them with a better-dedicated income. I have subscribed to Adobe, for my creative suite, and also to Microsoft for their package of Word etc. I really like how these are never out of date. Often my computer just updates them without me even knowing.

But then we come to the other services. I don’t mean things like Twitch. I am referring to services such as my productivity apps (Asana), Email Marketing (MailChimp) and my notes collector (Evernote). There are others too, for example, ReStream and WordPress plugins. Many of these services advertise themselves as a ‘free’ service. With many saying – ‘Sign up for FREE”.

A false sense of FREE

Hand holding a subscription sign
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

I integrate these services well into my workflow and then suddenly I get the sting. Why? I get stung because they are just subscription services with a free option. Also, the first level of subscription is really what people want. I take my hat off to the people who designed them. Well designed to market their product well.

Let me take an example – Mailchimp. This is a great service. I don’t have many subscribers on my website but want to increase creating campaigns and engaging with my audience. I thought it would be great to add a list for my Twitch subscribers and Patreons. This would allow improved communication with this audience. However, my current free level only allows me to have one audience list. Therefore, I can’t actually create another mailing list without paying per month.

Thinking about small creators

Growing a community and a possible business is always difficult. You need to dedicate time to it, above and beyond your usual full-time job, and try to support it financially. I keep looking at the subscription charges and wondering whether they would be beneficial. Would I see the growth and increase in engagement which would balance the cost? I also need to think, can I afford it? Often the initial costing seems ‘cheap’ but all these ‘services’ can soon build up. I found this with my radio station.

I am a small content creator, but I also have to ensure that the content pays for itself. Yes, I could probably plough money into it but this needs to be paid back. The content needs to pay for itself if it is going to be a valid business. Maybe I am wrong in seeing my content as a business and should see it more as a hobby. If this is the case, then I do have to justify the amount I spend on my hobby. And, if I do subscribe to these products, can I justify it.

Outro

This is a rabble, I know. Everyone starts somewhere. I am learning how to format my blog posts as well as trying to get a high readability score. Definitely, more work needed but practice makes perfect!

Categories: Magazine