I Regret To Inform You That My Blog Fees Will Be Going Up

Many of you have been reading this blog for the 2+ years of its existence for no charge. Well, my little freeloading friends, this is the end of that party.  Beginning December 1, I will be instituting the following fees for reading this blog:

  1. Blog reading fee. Lifetime free readership will no longer be available. Per the terms of our agreement — that the end of anybody’s lifetime allows us to revoke the offer — free readership of this blog will no longer be offered. Starting December 1, you will be charged a $.25 fee for each blog post you read, whether you link directly to the site, view it in a reader, or are simply subscribed to it at the time it was posted.
  2. Subscription reversal fee. Requests to unsubscribe from this blog will be assessed with a $25 premature disconnect service charge. At this time, subscription reversal requests cannot be taken online, as my eCommerce site is currently down for scheduled maintenance. Please mail your requests to the home office address, which can be found on my eCommerce site.
  3. Inactive reader fee. For every week that goes by in which you do NOT read a blog post, you will be assessed a $.50 fee. For any month in which you do not read a single post, a $5 charge will be levied.

In an effort to be transparent, however, I think it’s important that I explain why I’m forced to institute these fees:

1. Higher debit card fees. Starting October 1, new debit card interchange fee regulations took effect. Even though these changes only impact banks with assets greater than $10 billion in assets, I figure that if this excuse works for Redbox, then it should work for me.

2. The Barbara Lee effect. Ms. Lee, a member of the House of Representatives, recently commented that she doesn’t use the self-checkout lanes at supermarkets because  “that’s a job or two or three that’s gone.” If there are more people like her out there — who stop using self-checkout lanes, ATMs (because they take away bank teller jobs), self-service gas stations (because they take away gas pumper jobs), or E-Z pass on the highway (because you know we can’t afford to lose any more toll taker jobs) — then the result will be higher prices for lots of things. In anticipation of this mass lunacy, I’m afraid I have to raise my prices.

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In a little more seriousness, there is a message here for marketers.

While I fully support the right of any business in this country to raise its prices, and shoot itself in its foot (or head) by doing so, firms that feel the need to raise prices WITHOUT committing PR suicide must do so with caution, transparency, honesty, and proactive communication.

Redbox’s announcement is shameful. They might have well as blamed foreign currency fluctuations in Uganda. There’s a large financial institution (who shall remain nameless lest they find out I’m blogging about them) that should’ve been a bit more sensitive about how it announced its recent price hikes. I would mention Netflix, but I have a professor/ad agency friend in the LA area who would jump all over any comment I might make about them.

Price changes are lightening rods. You might be able to mute the thunder, but people still see the sky light up. And then like to point at it and talk about it.

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15 thoughts on “I Regret To Inform You That My Blog Fees Will Be Going Up

  1. You might consider instituting separate fees for those who access your blog via email and those who check in via Twitter or Facebook. And give them different names. It seemed like a genius idea for Netflix. For about 15 minutes.

  2. Dude:

    Don’t let those liberal elitist secular hedonists in L.A. get to ya. Fight the power(hungry)!

    Anyway, I love this post – wish I had thought of that!

    One mistake that too many companies make (and this was the point of my Netflix post http://atomictango.com/2011/09/20/netflix/ ) is underpricing at launch. If companies want to practice predatory pricing to drive their competitors out of business, or if they seriously think being a “low price leader” is a desirable position in the world’s wealthiest market, then they need to learn to love that position. It’s extremely difficult to ask for more respect once you’ve taught the world that you’ll put out for pennies. Walmart learned that when they tried to go fashionable (they just gave up on their fashion research office in Manhattan this week). Dell learned that when they tried to launch the premium Adamo line. And Amazon’s going to learn this when they start incorporating various state sales taxes and increased operational costs into their prices.

    I’m all for raising prices to cover costs — business is about profits, not charity — but companies have to earn that higher priced position, either by becoming a monopoly, or by creating a strong brand that commands higher prices (think Apple, Audi, Armani, Amherst). As your post indicates, what constitutes “fair pricing” is usually a matter of carefully managed perception.

    Freddy

    P.S. Your killer book “Snarketing” is underpriced!

  3. I love the subscription reversal fee! Your next post should be a wonderfully long Terms of Service with “agree” or “forget it” buttons at the bottom.

  4. I’m a very rational person, and so I’m willing to pay the fees because I feel that I’m receiving something of value in return…industry insights, humor and great sarcasm. In addition, I’m a person who is willing to alter his behavior and engage in other “sticky” activities, e.g. Facebook friend, LinkedIn, Google +, if this will decrease or eliminate the fees you mentioned above.

    Great post!
    Lee

  5. Becoming Cliche, Freddy, Sakita, WIM2S, and Lee:

    Thank you so much for your kind comments.They make be somewhat embarrassed that I forgot to mention that also starting December 1, there will be a fee for leaving comments to blog posts.

    Well, not on all comments. There will be a CCC — a Contradictory Comment Charge — for comments that disagree with what I wrote in a particular blog post.

    Please don’t think that this is some gratuitous charge.

    Contradictory comments make me MAD (mentally anguished and dismayed). Somebody’s got to pay the price for that. .

  6. In the face of razor thin customer loyalty and many banking options, I think they shot themselves in the head (as you stated). It will be interesting to see if a profitable enterprise lives or dies by it’s customer loyalty.

    Banks, however, may be an exception to this principle. They have become quasi-governmental entities that are guaranteed to stay in business by the Federal government. So rational marketing decisions and customer loyalty mean very little to most banks. Why bother if they really don’t need satisfied customers to survive?

  7. I’ve had enough! I am leaving the “Big Blogs” and moving my readership to the Community Blogs and Credit Blogs.

  8. I may have to protest such charges. What street do you live on so I can Occupy it? Hope it’s not Wall or Sesame, because those two seem to be a little overcrowded at the moment.

Comments are closed.