Newsbud Update

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  1. Martin Homberger says:

    I just wish your valuable content wasn’t now behind a paywall – at least not all of it. Do you still get as many views? How can your fantastic content help if it is behind a paywall? I am a subscriber and find myself watching far as less Newsbud simply because i need to logon – lazy I know but it’s the truth.

  2. I pledged my support for this campaign early on after the Kickstarter campaign failed to meet its goal and I initially expressed my support for the expansion of the “pay wall” when support from to wrap up the campaign was still only trickling in but at this point I’m thinking that the continuation of this policy is doing more harm than good and ultimately I think continuing along this route is going to erode what support from the community that already exists, based on the comments I’ve seen expressed by other community members. More broadly, I feel that Sibel’s relative lack of engagement in conversations in the comment section is alienating long time supporters who appreciated being able to engage directly in this manner in the past. I used to feel that the time and thought I put into my comments accounted for more. There are lots of great new expansions since the days of BFP, but I feel that some of what made BFP feel unique, like an actual “community” has slowly been fading away and that both saddens me and causes me concern for the long term hopes for Newsbud’s success and survival.

    • victor friese says:

      To Benny, some of it is because older subscribers no longer post much. I see fewer and fewer of the old subscribers for some reason.

      Also, a lot of subscribers are dirt poor. I live off about $872 per month on SSI and food stamps. I recall seeing once that something like 20% are non payers due to similar reasons. I will not be able to donate to this fundraiser unfortunately as I have about $80 to last the rest of the month as I had to buy some things I needed. So, the subscribers who do have significant funds should probably think about this. A lot of the “choir” is part of the “choir” because they have endured the foul effects of this foul system we live under.

      I would like to know the rate of subscriber increase with paywall vs. without. Also, consider that a tactic may be good for a sbort period, but may need changing. I think keeping the full paywall up would probably be bad. Craig Muelen below has interesting ideas.

      • Victor,
        I think one reason that there’s less activity is due to the fact that there’s no longer the option to elect to follow comments and via email announcements. I mentioned this before and think it’s a very important feature that should be brought back. I had to remember that I wanted to check back to see what other members of the community had to say. Particularly, if anybody responded to me, personally and relying on my memory for matters of this nature are far less effective than an email reminder 😉

        I think your comment about the fact that donating beyond the subscription cost is something that simply isn’t feasible for many members of the community is an important one. Your comment about preaching to the “choir” is well made. I think it’s relatively safe to say the subject matter covered here is exactly of the nature that’s going to attract the interest, let alone support, from the Fortune 500 club crowd 😉 The amount I’ve pledged for these campaigns isn’t sustainable for me, but I’ve contributed what, for me, is a significant amount in hopes that this extra support will help the Newsbud team reach the goal of a sustainable subscription based model. I know this is certainly what they’d like and that the fund raising is simply something that they have to do at this point, but would much rather it to be the situation where this wasn’t the case.

        Part of my investment in Newsbud is based on the idea that the majority of the content remains open to the public. I was sympathetic to the idea of temporarily roping off content to subscribers to see if that helped meet the goal of the last Kickstarter campaign, but by all that I can tell, beyond the fact that the campaign ultimately didn’t reach its goal, as a tactic it’s unclear whether it was effective at all and I think that’s it’s possible that it was even counterproductive.

        As for me, as much as I value Newsbud, the model as it currently exists is not something I’m willing to continue to support even as a subscriber just on principal. I think it’s necessary for people to begin to realize that not everything should be expected to be free on the internet and furthermore to understand that “free” when it requires advertising or foundation money comes at a cost. At the same time I think the fact that there has been so much information out there that is free to the public is one of the reasons that alternative media has been able to strive to the extent it has over the last ten years or so to the point where it’s been able to present a noteworthy challenge to the mainstream monopoly.

        I value the different contributions and segments currently offered at Newsbud and wouldn’t want to see any of them dropped per se in favor of others. However, as Spiro said in this video and it’s been expressed elsewhere before; I’m paraphrasing here: they “don’t just want to maintain their current operating level, but expand”. As much as I appreciate that ambition, based on the fact that the previous Kickstarter campaign was unsuccessful and the current campaign has yet to reach its goal it seems to me that Newsbud hasn’t reached the point where they’re “maintaining” their current operating level and, to me, talk of expansion seems to represent a failure to approach the business side of Newsbud as an organization pragmatically.

  3. Michael Norton says:

    I couldn’t agree more with BennyB. I have long supported NewsBud in all campaigns. The high quality news you guys produce should be for all. I have no need to be exclusive. Part of what I feel I am paying for with my contributions is the free distribution of information to the whole world! Getting the word out as it were. Remember an open hand which gives can also receive but a closed hand can receive nothing. You may have expanded too fast and may have to tighten your belts a bit. But please take the paywall down. I think in the end it is counter productive to your goals and you underlying philosophy, Further it fails to ride the wave of out changing times.

    • Michael Norton says:

      Sorry about the typos. The last two sentences should read: I think in the end it is counter productive to your goals and your underlying philosophy. Further is fails to ride the wave of our changing times.

  4. Sibel and the Newsbud crew,

    Thanks so much for the work you do. I have supported the first 2 segments of the Kickstarter and put up $100 toward the third. I think that last $100, at least in a lump sum, was really beyond my means because currently my only source of regular income is my social security payment, which I know The Trumpette would love to take away and give to his B$ Buddies.

    However, I also believe it is essential that most, if not all, of Newsbud’s information needs to be outside the paywall.

    I’m not the least bit opposed to some things being special to subscribers, like being able to comment on the web site and some special article or video each month being only available behind the Wall. The quality of commentary is much higher if one has to pay for the privilege of conversing with others who are doing the same.

    Or, as a sidebar, here’s an idea, each month, one of the regular shows would be made available only to subscribers, so that people who have gotten especially hooked on a particular commentator will have it recalled to them that subscribing is what makes it happen.

    So, here’s the deal, I’m way beyond the situation where just skipping my daily half-caf decaf latte with a twist is a viable alternative to raise money for our project, but the very minute I hear that at least half of your info will be regularly outside the paywall again, I will find the money to increase my monthly subscription from $6 per month to $8 and double that monthly donation to $16. How about it?

    • Michael Norton says:

      Good one! Jimmymarciii. I will go with that. I will bump my subscription from $7 to $16 if at least half or more info comes out from behind the paywall. Come on people…let’s put together an offer that can’t be refused,

  5. Craig Meulen says:

    I agree with a couple of comments above that the free vs paywall issue is crucial. As an example, I subscribe to a specialist newsletter for translators (my profession). The free version IS useful, it contains enough interesting tidbits for me to actually open the full e-mail and read it. But of the say 7 news items, 2 are then cut short and a message indicates that the real news on this issue is only available in the paid version. In contrast, when I click on the ~Preview~ video for your China Watch (the column I follow here the most), it is really just an advert, a trailer. Once I clicked on it one month, there is really no need to click on it next month. In order for a non-subscriber to keep that feed or click again next month, the ~Preview~ needs to be a news service in its own right, but a small one. Then after a few months the reader might actually get their wallet out for the paid version.

  6. Stuart Graham says:

    Interesting sentiments and broadly I agree with the idea that, all the great Newsbud commentary and information being freely available would allow wider dissemination. A few salient points though, in my opinion; for what it’s worth.
    1. Will paying subscribers continue to do so. I would but I’m fortunate enough to be able to, at least at the present time. Cost and time considered, a survey asking paying supporters a simple YES/NO on their willingness to continue to pay if a paywall was abandoned might yield fruit.
    2. On the matter of engagement by staffers. Time is best spent on getting the issues aired and that limited resource should be considered with regards to time for engagement.
    Martin Homberger please logon you’re here because you’re on the edge of the bell curve let the ‘not yet awake’ wear the ear defenders and take the Soma. For my part I will logon more regularly as I too need to stop being lazy. Thanks for the spot light.
    I’d be interested in what you think.

  7. I will, indeed, continue to subscribe to Newsbud, paywall or no. The quality of the discussion is worth the price of admission, let alone the content of the site.

    However, our job as evangelists is made much more difficult if we cannot put our friends and acquaintances in direct connection with real news from Newsbud, because it is behind a paywall.

    I understand that it’s a difficult situation for the organization to be in, indeed a catch-22. I can tell how hard, in particular, Sibel must be working to get this thing off the ground. It is obvious because, as noted above, she clearly has less time to interact directly with subscribers and has not been able to do as much content creating as in the past. For someone who was brought to this project by the force of her personality and inspiration of her stand against the powers that be, this is a sharp blow.

    On the other hand, I appreciate the new contributors greatly. I have been astonished by them and their expertise in quite unexpected and wonderful areas of interest.

    It’s essential to keep the demand pulling the organization’s growth. If we look at the history of Newsbud fundraising, we see the first Kickstarter failing because of overreach. The second was properly placed. In fact it wound up being over-subscribed and the most successful journalism Kickstarter so far. The third was well-calibrated, but came closer to the limits of demand. The fourth over-estimated the demand, so we find ourselves involved in this in-house fundraiser.

    This tells me something. Does anybody else see it? Now is a time for consolidating, not overrunning, resources. The quality of the new presenters will expand the demand for Newsbud before long. Be patient! Neither the Roman nor the American Empire was built in a day! Nor will the Newsbud blossom overnight! Give people a chance to meet the new presenters and us to evangelize new viewers on the strength of these new shooting stars. Meanwhile, the paywall is not going to help expose these new talents to the world. Unless it’s used judiciously…

  8. Clifton N Wayne says:

    I must agree with most comments above concerning the paywall. I regularly post the previews on a public & a private forum. The majority of members are cash strapped, most are living on social security. I get very little response from them as they haven’t the money to get behind the paywall.
    Remember, Boiling Frogs and Newsbud started as free news sites and they grew. It did occur to me that Newsbud may have been trying to grow too fast, maybe it should consider cutting back a little or allowing public access to more Newsbud articles and videos. I think it will create a larger following.
    I do contribute and will continue to do so. I am very appreciative of the quality of the reporting and analysis by the entire Newsbud staff, I would hate to see it fail from lack of viewers, who could very well become contributors. Please keep up the good work & give consideration to the comments by donors.

  9. victor friese says:

    Also, Newsbud is spending a lot on videos. I actually prefer to read my news. It is just easier for me to process.

  10. I generally agree with most comments above. I also have encouraged friends to check out Newsbud and have endorsed its value. But I don’t think I’ve had a lot of success gaining new subscribers to it. I did pledge in our last Kickstarter round and can and will make that contribution. I admit I am to uninformed as to the costs and finances of Newsbud to have a strong opinion on the Paywall, but of course I would prefer that it was/is not necessary. Thanks to all those working and contributing to this effort.

  11. DarwinianDad says:

    I was able to catch up on the paywall content in an evening. I’m canceling my subscription. I hope Whitehead and Nimmo move onto their own platforms.

  12. Robert Barth says:

    I subscribe to Newsbud and have contributed to the Kickstarter campaigns (donating my last contribution because of that campaign’s failure). I agree with most comments above, and especially with the ideas about lifting the paywall. I discovered Boiling Frogs Post years ago because of a (free) link from another site and have been a regular viewer since then. If there were a paywall then, I most likely would never have become interested enough in Sibel’s mission to have learned anything more about it. I think what I’m saying here is that open, free public access is the best form of advertising and that, in the long run, free access will gain the most permanent subscribing members. I also think that at this point in Newsbud’s development conservation of resources, rather than further expansion, is a key to long term success.
    Thank you to everyone at Newsbud for the invaluable work that you continue to do. I intend to subscribe and contribute as long as you are around.

  13. Karen Keener says:

    I find myself wanting to share Newsbud on social media. Now that everything is behind the paywall, it’s much, much harder for me to recommend people to subscribe to you virtually site unseen. Too bad. Best news source out there. Worth subscribing but not allowing your subscribers to share articles is cutting off your nose despite your face.

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