Free subscriptions. A free RSS feed. Free content for web sites with a new story every day. But for some people, it’s not enough: it pains me that some want more and more, and can’t abide by the simple rules in True’s Terms of Service in exchange for so much free stuff.
I refer to not forwarding just portions of the free issues, rather than the whole thing. I refer to posting stories on web sites without permission.
Please, people! I give a lot, please don’t take more than I offer. If you have copies of issues on your web site, please take them down. If you’re forwarding issues and are not conforming to the terms of the copyright notice included in every issue, please stop.
And if you can’t do that, then please leave the distribution. The theft of my work is hurting me, both personally and financially. A little respect for the rules is not too much to ask for what I give so freely. Thanks.
Terms of the Deal
So how can I give True away for free? The basic distribution is covered by the two outside ads in the text. These are the guys who are doing it right — coming into your mailbox legitimately, not spamming. That, I think, deserves some support.
I do get whines that some of True’s advertisers are a bit fly-by-night-looking. Rarely, I even agree with that. But at least they’re not stealing your attention; they’re trying hard to follow the rules.
I do prohibit certain types of ads, but beyond that it’s up to the advertisers as to how they come across. It’d be great if you didn’t skip the ads without looking at them; maybe glance and see if they’re offering something you can use? And if you do do business with them, make sure they know you heard about them in True. It helps support your free subscription.
But indeed ads don’t do it all. Back in 2000, they did, when there was a lot of foolish money competing for attention — the dotcom craze. Now, after the shakeout, there aren’t a lot of companies competing for that space, so prices have dropped. True‘s ad prices are less than a third of what they were.
What has taken up the slack? Why didn’t True die, like so many online publications did when ad rates hit bottom? It was thanks to my readers: those who really like the stories pay just a few bucks per year to get more — and they get the stories without those outside ads. It’s called the Premium upgrade, and those readers are keeping True going. If you like True, please pay attention to the ads. But if you love True, please consider an upgrade. It sure beats supporting spammers!