There’s nothing more certain that a favourite web site you go to and use often, sooner or later starts charging a subscription ‘fee’.
I remember when the NANOWRIMO site had been updated, and the changes look good. At that moment the site was free, but you do get a lot of emails and requests to purchase products, which I think is a reasonable way to raise money for keeping the site free.
But, how long is this going to last before a ‘fee’ is introduced, and then a ‘fee’ to enter your book?
It’s the airline principle, once it was a flat charge for the ticket, now you pay for this tax, that tax, fuel tax, baggage tax, tax on the tax, and then if that’s not enough, a charge for the food and water. Soon it will be a charge for toilets, and then the air you breathe.
It’s inevitable, and once these charges start they don’t stop and only get higher with each passing year.
A lot of the sites I use are free. Some have since started to charge and have put up a firewall to stop you getting any free information.
I’m not a rich author, so sadly I have to discontinue using these sites.
Perhaps the problem is that the owner of the site has come up with a good idea, thousands of people sign up, and suddenly a small web site becomes a big one, and hosting costs suddenly go through the roof.
Like airlines, it’s the user that pays.
Often I see or get an email from, various people with what looks to be a useful site. Some start out by giving you a month free to have a look and use the facilities. In some cases they are quite good, in other, well, there’s a dozen others like it that are still free.
But, after a month, you have to pay. What gets me with some of them, they are asking somewhere between 50 and 100 US dollars a month, you heard that right, a month, which you can basically double that for me after the exchange rate and a dozen bank fees.
Sometimes there are different levels, but basically, if you look at the fine print, the lowest level set, which gives you very little, is set low deliberately. Say it’s 10 dollars a month. It’s no different to the free version except they probably don’t have annoying ads and advertise, what for many, is non-existent 24/7 help (via an email, no guarantee they look at it more than once a week, if at all). Money for jam for the site owner, as the saying goes.
Why can’t there be a more reasonable option?
But I get it. Everyone wants to get rich quick, it’s an objective that’s built into all of us, but it seems I missed the inoculation given the day after you’re born.
I also get it that these people worked hard on coming up with the web sites and facilities, and they deserve a reward for that hard work, but to me it would make more sense if they sold the service for 10 dollars or even 20 dollars a month if the systems were available and they worked. And flowing from that wouldn’t 20,000 sales at 20 dollars, be better than 2000 at a 100 dollars?
The same seems to go for the so-called decent web site hosts, like WordPress, Wix and GoDaddy. The free option is good but just for show and tell, but I’m sure they deliberately nobble it so it’s slow and kludgy just the sort of attributes that turn potential visitors off.
I thought if I paid a monthly charge for Wix, and reading the inclusions for what my site could do over the free one was very persuasive, so I signed up. The site was no better than it was before and half the options that were on the list weren’t available, and still aren’t. But I suspect if I paid them 100 plus dollars a month or more for their premium package I’d get it.
But, to pay for it I would have to be selling a million books a month, and I doubt, no matter how good my web site is, it wouldn’t attract that kind of business.
Not one of the basic packages, read affordable for me, has the ability to allow downloads after sales. You can’t even have a sales page where you can actually sell books to people like you were a bookshop. That’s in all of the premium packages, so they say, and that costs far too much.
GoDaddy were by far the worst, telling me if I signed up to the 60 dollars a month package I could have sales and downloads. I tried to add it to the web page, which I might add was as difficult to create as all hell, and when it didn’t work, rang up to ask why I couldn’t have downloading after sales and was met with silence.
No, that’s not available at the moment, I was told, and not likely in the future. What am I paying all this money for? I don’t have a GoDaddy site any more. I had a Wix site that I paid for, and I don’t have that any more. They don’t offer anything useful, and they too, make it virtually impossible to create a useful site, so it sits out there in the ether with disappointment written all over it.
Perhaps others have had better luck, or things have changed in the last few years but I won’t be going back.
Maybe one day someone might understand the needs of the majority who can afford to pay exorbitant monthly charges but just not as much as we are expected to, for very little in return.
What’s that saying, hope springs eternal.
PS Sorry about the rant!