Strength in numbers

A Salon Premium progress report -- and answers to frequent questions.


Salon Staff
October 18, 2001 5:05AM (UTC)

Twenty thousand: That's the number of Salon readers who have now paid for a Salon Premium subscription. (Actually, by the time you read this it's several hundred more than that.)

We're proud to announce that we've passed this milestone in under six months. It's a sign that there's a critical mass of readers who understand that independent, high-quality, original reporting and commentary costs money to produce and is worthy of support. We're on track for Salon Premium to contribute a substantial portion of the revenue we need to keep Salon going in this time of recession.

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It's no secret that these are tough times for the entire Internet industry, but we're able to carry on with our unique work because of your support. To all of you who've written to tell us how valuable you've found our coverage since Sept. 11 -- and to all of you who've put your credit cards behind your words -- many thanks.

Here are some frequently asked questions about Salon Premium, and some answers:

I already pay for my Internet service. Why should I pay again for Salon?

The cable TV industry operates under cozy relationships under which portions of your monthly cable fee get kicked back to the companies that produce the programming, such as MTV and ESPN. The Web doesn't work that way -- we don't see a penny of the fees you pay for your Internet access. If you like what you read on Salon and want to keep seeing it every day, your subscription can make a big difference.

How can you charge $30 a year -- that's more than I pay for a print magazine!

Salon publishes 10 to 20 original articles each day -- that's more than any monthly and most weekly magazines, too. In frequency and volume of material, we're more like a newspaper at this point. But we don't spend money on paper or delivery. So where your newspaper charges 25 cents, 50 cents or more for Sunday editions and home delivery, Salon asks for about 8 cents a day.

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Salon is too important a news source -- why are you restricting its voice and limiting its readership in a time of crisis like this?

Times of crisis put heavy strains on news organizations: Wartime coverage is expensive, while advertising becomes scarce. If you think Salon's coverage is that essential, then surely our first responsibility is to put our business on a sound footing so we can keep providing it. Publications -- online and off -- are folding left and right in this new recession. We're determined to avoid that fate and to keep bringing you the news and information you expect from us.

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There's so much else for free on the Web -- why should I pay for Salon?

Sure, there's plenty of writing on the Web that people offer for free, and some of it is excellent, but it's rare that a Web site created out of passion or as a hobby can support sending correspondents abroad or reporting a complex story over time. Then, of course, there are plenty of free sites offered by the online arms of newspapers, magazines and TV networks -- but as media companies press their online units to pay for themselves, these sites will start charging for their coverage sooner or later, too. Salon also offers a range of viewpoints and risk-taking journalism that's hard to find anywhere else.

We still offer more than half of our site each day for free, and we'd love to keep giving all our work away, but that Internet "business model" no longer works -- as even Web giants like Yahoo are admitting. We've spent too much of this year watching our friends, colleagues and competitors at other Web sites shut down their operations.

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If you like what we do at Salon; if you visit our site every day or every week; if you think the world can still use a media outlet with a strong voice that isn't owned by a multi-billion-dollar corporation -- then please consider subscribing to Salon Premium. If you can't afford it now, consider it down the road as you're able. And if you've already bought a subscription, consider purchasing one as a gift -- we'll be offering that service soon.

Scott Rosenberg
managing editor

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