Ask the Best and Brightest: How Can TTAC Become a Subscription Site?
It’s do or die time. Although TTAC’s site traffic continues it slow, organic growth—knocking on 1 mil uniques per month—the web-wide advertising downturn has taken its toll. Revenues have fallen by two-thirds. TTAC’s owners have looked at the books and read us the riot act. Either we replace the lost ad bucks with subscription income or that’s it: lights out. Our goal: 5000 subs at $12 per year ($1 per month) by June 1. I know: been here, didn’t do that. Before NameMedia bought TTAC, I asked our then-nascent Best and Brightest about going sub. The overwhelming response: fuhgeddaboutit [paraphrasing]. Surfers are not going to pay for something they can get for free (and don’t tell me you’re special). So what’s changed? Choice. We don’t have any. To keep the site alive, we have to make this work. How?
How can we get five thousand people to pay us $12 a year? Obviously, I’ll make the case for TTAC, in that PBS meets A Few Good Men kinda way. You WANT us on that web. You NEED us on that web. For the price of a good pair of Birkenstocks we can BE on that web. We generate literally ten times the original content of our monthly paper competition (apples to oreos I know). But is it enough?
Our newly-assigned programming guru Mark Cahill reckons we should add a forum. Members of our writing team—who have all agreed to provide material without financial compensation—suggest we develop a killer app. I think we can break on through with some TTAC-appropriate merchandise. What’s your take? What more do we need to earn our readers’ hard-earned cash? Or are we doing enough already?
One way or another, we’re going to find out. But I’d prefer to make this leap into the unknown with your help. TTAC’s readers have been a constant source of clarity and enlightenment in my times of need– especially when it comes to matters of marketing and finance. I eagerly await your feedback. Meanwhile…
TTAC is a strong brand. Some 330K readers come straight to the site each month. (Again, just under 1m total uniques per month.) Over 11K readers have signed-up for our New Content Notifications. We know who we are, and what we have to do. And we’ve been doing it day in, day out since 2002. Our industry coverage has never once wavered in its senseless pursuit of veracity. Our reviews have held no bars. Right or wrong, we have never compromised our commitment to telling the truth about cars.
So is this the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning? Either way, it’s been my honor and privilege to work with such an informed and passionate group of writers, editors and readers. Come what may, I am proud of us all. We have made our mark.
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