It's extremely frustrating how many steps it takes to subscribe.
There are so many places to drop out of the signup process (especially when you don't already have an account).
The first time I meant to subscribe, I got distracted by something halfway through and ended up not subscribing for 3 months.
After clicking the call to action , it should basically immediately present a "sign up and subscribe" form, complete with credit card collection.
It would be a massive shame to be at the limit of sustainability because of something like this
Even the link in the header to subscribe leads to a wall of text where you have to hunt for the right link. The first link several paragraphs in is for group subscriptions?? Why?
My bet is that the people landing on have mostly decided to subscribe, or are interested in more details about the cost. Yet 90% of the page is still about convincing me about the merits. I was already convinced by the single paragraph header on the article!
The page presented is useful for those coming from an FAQ or something, but not well suited for the person coming from that header.
It might sound super nitpicky but there's huge amounts of behavioral science about the benefits of simplifying these kinds of flows. Saying it doesn't matter is going against a lot of documented evidence to the contrary.
This makes me feel like LWN really respects their customers.
> The "subscriber link" mechanism, suggested by our readers, has become one of our most powerful marketing tools. All told, it is not a model that has made any of us rich, but working for LWN is not an exercise in poverty anymore either.
IIRC, they later commented that this had almost no impact on their subscriber count. They are serving almost everyone who has a major interest in their subject, and the market turned out to be much less price-sensitive than they expected. They could have avoided many years of shoestring budgets just by raising their prices earlier.
60% of this market is in the US; 40% or so is elsewhere. (That is not true of the prospective users of this, but it will be broadly true of the payers.) Half of "elsewhere" is in an elsewhere with compares-directly-to-US living standards.
$1 rounds to $7 for US and parity-with-us technologists; both require more bandwidth to make the decision, as a percentage of all available bandwidth, than they occupy a portion of the budget. $7 does not round to $1 for some technologists elsewhere.
You won't get their business at $7; you probably don't have it at $1, either, because they might find it difficult to physically get you a dollar. Subsidize their price down to zero by charging US technologists an appropriate amount.
Many people want to operate tech-facing businesses like charities for ideological reasons or because they have an exaggerated view of the size of the audience that won't/can't pay. That's suboptimal but survivable, if you at least operate like a competent charity. A charity which doesn't have a $250+ a year option cleanly presented to its donors who are in the top 2% of the US income distribution is not a competent charity.
Just saying so if someone here wants to get their company to subscribe, then it's win-win for LWN and your employees.