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Tue Aug 21, 2012, 02:40 PM

Pay what you want. Pay how you want. Becoming a DU Star Member is now much easier. [View all]

Late last year when we moved into our new software, we also changed the way people could become paid subscribers. For the first ten years of this website's existence we called it a donation and you could pay whatever you wanted. Starting in December of last year we stopped taking "donations" and instead asked members to purchase a subscription at a fixed price. We had a number of reasons for making that change, but to us the most important was that Democratic Underground was not (and had never been) a non-profit charitable organization, and the "donations" we received were not tax deductible. The "donations" received did not go to any charitable purpose other than to pay our expenses and our own salaries. So over time we had come to feel that using the word "donation" was perhaps not completely appropriate.

So, for the last nine months, we have been giving members the opportunity to purchase Star Memberships at a fixed price. And it has worked more-or-less how we expected it to work. We knew fewer people would purchase these memberships because (for some) a fixed price represented a greater expense. In terms of Democratic Underground's bottom line, it was basically a wash: Our income from member subscriptions went down, while our income from advertising went up. But there has been one enormous problem with the new approach: There are many people in this community who clearly want to become Star Members but who feel they cannot afford it. The DU Administrators have spent months discussing this issue, and have considered dozens of possible ideas to make memberships more affordable including tiered subscriptions or subsidized subscriptions or special senior rates or whatever. But every time we had a new idea, we kept coming back to the idea of just letting everyone pay whatever you want to pay.

So, the new price to become a Democratic Underground Star Member is: Whatever you want to pay.

The DU Administrators have read all of your concerns and complaints about our fixed-price subscriptions, and this new "pay-what-you-want" approach should address those concerns. Ability to pay should no longer be an obstacle to becoming a DU Star Member. You can sign up for a recurring monthly subscription, a recurring annual subscription, or a one-time online payment. Or you can even print out a form and send us a few bucks through the U.S. Postal Service. You pay whatever and however you want to pay.

The DU Administrators feel very positive about this change, but we are admittedly a little bit concerned about what it may mean for our bottom line. If this new pay-what-you-want subscription system leads to a significant drop in our overall revenue, then we will be looking for ways to cover the deficit. The most likely thing would be to bring back the quarterly fund drives like we used to do. Hopefully it will not come to that.

So, if you are not currently a DU Star Member, we hope that you will take this opportunity to become one. We want every DU member who wants to become a Star Member to have the opportunity to become one. Just click this link to get started:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/star

If you do become a Star Member, your status as a member will last for one full year from the day you pay for the subscription. So whether you are paying monthly or yearly or by check, you will always know that your member status lasts for one year after your most recent payment. (This is how member status worked back under our old donation system.)


SPECIAL MESSAGE FOR EXISTING STAR MEMBERS

There are obviously many of you who purchased Star Memberships over the last eight months for the fixed-price. If so, thank you! You may be wondering what will happen to your subscription... You will continue as a Star Member at the rate you already signed up for, recurring at the time period you agreed to. Payments will continue to be charged. In addition, your status as a member will last for (at least) one year after your most recent payment. If you would like to cancel your recurring payment, you can log into PayPal and cancel it. If you would like to change your recurring payment, the easiest thing to do would be to long into PayPal and cancel it, and then sign up for a new subscription on Democratic Underground. If you would like a full or partial refund of payments you have already made to DU, please send an email with the details of your request -- we will do our best to honor any/all such requests, provided we have the funds to do so.

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Reply Pay what you want. Pay how you want. Becoming a DU Star Member is now much easier. [View all]
Skinner Aug 2012 OP
mike_c Aug 2012 #1
Control-Z Aug 2012 #22
kentuck Aug 2012 #74
Control-Z Aug 2012 #81
Stinky The Clown Aug 2012 #2
FSogol Aug 2012 #3
freshwest Aug 2012 #4
XemaSab Aug 2012 #5
Control-Z Aug 2012 #27
NYC_SKP Aug 2012 #52
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RedEarth Aug 2012 #179
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fadedrose Aug 2013 #199
Name removed Sep 2013 #200