You’re The Reason We Still Exist: Celebrate A+’s 2nd Anniversary By Joining A+!

A+2YearAnniversary

Two years ago, we launched our reader membership program, A+. It was our attempt to remain alive in a competitive, corporate-dominated, social-media-dependent, capital-rich online media landscape. Advertising sales were plummeting for all digital media organizations, but for a site like ours that had always struggled to attract advertisers even when overall sales were high, the forecast was beyond dire. We wouldn’t be able to maintain the site, let alone grow, without more reader support. The internet was no longer a meritocracy where scrappy bloggers could rise to the top with Google AdSense and strong writing, and the sudden acceptance of LGBTQ people and stories about them meant sites with deep pockets were luring away some of our best talent.

It just keeps getting harder and harder out there for an indie. Even corporate-owned women’s websites have been unloaded by their owners due to a lack of profitability — like when Say Media sold xoJane to Time and Viacom sold AfterEllen to Evolve. The work we do is exhausting and involves a lot of sacrifice, as evidenced by the beloved feminist site The Toast shuttering this month despite their passionate and engaged following. (Mallory Ortberg was just celebrating our birthday with an A+ AMA and now The Toast is gone forever! Things change so fast!)

Not everybody understood this when we launched A+, but times have changed. It’s now a widely-accepted fact that all online media, and indie media in particular, will need to monetize content to survive.

Reader-supported media is the wave of the future, as recently discussed by Mother Jones, the editorial director of New York Times global and the co-founder of The Verge / Vox. Websites that charge for access or offer membership/subscription programs to their readers include established papers like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, The Financial Times and The Boston Globe. Slate.com offers readers bonus content for joining Slate Plus, as does The Mary Sue for its subscribers. The Medium platform has enabled sites like Femsplain to launch their own membership programs. Subscriptions are required or encouraged by new magazines like Mask Magazine and The New Inquiry. Meanwhile big media is in a bit of a crisis and some of its most successful properties are predicting an upcoming bloodbath: slashing jobs, pivoting, “restructuring,” and focusing on video now that revenue from display ads is increasingly monopolized by Facebook. More sites are adopting intrusive ad types we will never subject you to here, like pop-ups, skins, and mid-post video-roll.

So, this week, to celebrate our two-year anniversary of A+ we’re doing something special: ’til Friday, we’re opening up all A+ content in the archives to Bronze members as well as Silver and Gold. (Previously, about half of our A+ content was only open to silver and gold members.) For this week only, every podcast and personal essay and Annotated and Secret Diary previously behind a Silver/Gold paywall will be available to Bronze subscribers. Access for our budget membership, Cobalt, which you can get for as little as $2.50 a month, will remain the same as always, limited to The Autostraddle Insider, Some Answers To Some Questions, The A+ Bee and Interviews With My Ex-Girlfriend.

If you haven’t joined A Plus yet, today would be a great day to join!

With your support we’ve been able to do so much this year — hire some kickass new staff writers, get paid Slack, put our senior editors on legit payroll with taxes deducted and unemployment insurance provided and unveil a new redesign. Although we don’t have the budget to produce the kind of reporting that takes months/years and thousands of dollars to produce, we have thrown ourselves into some very research-intensive work, including the following within the past year:

We’ve been publishing more work from trans people and people of color than ever before, including our recent roundtables about the tragedy in Orlando and the police shootings last week and personal essay series like Mama Outsider, Countdown to Baby T-Rex and Bottoms Up as well as single essays including I Feel Pretty, One American Goes to See “50 Americans,” Skydiving in Two GendersI Demand to Be SexualizedWho Tells Your Story?, On the 6: Confronting the Mortality of Girls Like Me and Grandma’s House on Memory Lane. We’ve launched a popular new series on queerness and disability by Carrie Wade and another about outfits Erin wears to the auto-body-shop. We’ve continued to manage an extensive meet-up network and organize meet-up events to strengthen your local communities.

Whereas Senior and Managing Editors at Gawker have starting salaries of $70k, our people in those same positions work for less than half that much — and without benefits, too. Our new Business & Design Director took an incredible pay cut to join our team and help us get more indie advertisers on board, enabling us pay our writers, illustrators and other support staff more than we do now. Our Subject Editors deserve to be paid better. Our Staff Writers deserve to be paid better. We want to get more diverse voices onto the site and provide more multi-media, publish more photo essays, and do more in-depth reporting and outreach.

We want to do better. We believe queer women and non-binary folks shouldn’t have to take a huge pay cut in order to do work with their own communities. We’re exhausted and we need your help!

If you haven’t joined A Plus yet, today would be a great day to join!

Plus, if you join at the Gold Level ($25/month), we have brand new perks! You can choose from either a black Gold/Silver Scissoring tote-bag or a black Gold/Silver scissoring Tee. These are only available to A+ Members.

Gold Member Perks

Gold Member Perks

We have 1,687 active paid members currently and are hoping to reach 1,800 by the end of August, and 2,000 by the end of the year. Every little bit helps!

The has written 48 articles for us.

55 Comments

  1. I want to personally thank every one of you who subscribes to A+. You are the reason I can buy groceries and pay my rent and take care of my hoard of rescued pets. It is an honor and a privilege to get to work with these women every single day, to bring light into the darkness and speak as much truth as we can into the world and also just to create things that make you laugh. I love you guys. And I am so thankful to be a part of your life. Thank you for believing in this website. Thank you for believing in us. We think of you every minute, we think of how to make this earth a better and brighter place for you.

    • I should be thanking you for literally saving my life. I was so incredibly happy when you joined Autostraddle. I had followed you since Pll days on After Ellen and it made perfect sense that you would find your home here.
      I respect your words so much. Your words have helped me through depression, religion, coming out, and finding hope in the world. You are a constant beacon of light and love.
      I wish you could understand just how much you have changed , inspired and uplifted my life.

      The entire staff of autosraddle continues to be like hogwarts. The castle that withstands the onslaught of the death eaters.
      Happiness can be found in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on theach light.
      Thank you for always being that light.

      • Also I might as well take this moment to say, I recognize (even if I can’t fully comprehend the impact of) the utter BS that one must wade through to be a Writer on the Internet today, and while you should always do what you need to do to protect yourself and your health in the writing choices you make, I just hope you understand that for every troll who writes dumb stuff about your Assasin’s Creed article or whatever (when did you even write about that), there are like five people whose lives you changed almost as much as the Bobbis’, just with your words, and that is actual magic.

    • The feeling is mutual. As a trans gal, it’s really nice to have a site that is inclusive to a point that I don’t have to worry about whether or not I belong here. It’s comforting and definitely worth it to me to pitch in every month.

    • Thank you right back Heather! Your writing has given me so much happiness over the years and I’m so grateful for all the hard work you do. You have made so many people’s lives so much better with your kindness, compassion, and integrity. ♥♥♥♥♥♥

  2. I love all of you, A+ subscribers! I’m so thankful to be a staff writer and be compensated for my words. I’m even more grateful, as an always-growing writer, for the opportunity to work with the most talented, compassionate, nurturing, and skilled editors in the business. Without you, they wouldn’t be here. Thanks for investing in them, in me, and in our community! <3

  3. Love AS and visit it every day, even if I rarely comment! Happy to support this community and everybody behind it: did some quick maths and realised, while updating my card info, that I can afford to upgrade my membership plan now! Thank you all, so much.

  4. I joined A+ about 2 weeks ago and I absolutely LOVE the content! When I pay off my final student loan I plan to upgrade to the Gold membership. There are few times when I feel like my money is going to a very important place and since I don’t consume alot of social media or Internet content this site is so important to me. Thank you guys so much for having roundly diverse writers, editors and content! I love this site and all of the writers in every single way!

  5. Thank you for all your hard work, A team! This is my online happy place and I’m so grateful to everyone who keeps it going. Thank you! Thank you! You are so appreciated!

  6. My biggest complaint at the moment about AS and A-camp is that there is no way I can explain it to other people in a way they’ll understand! “I went to a summer camp that’s kind of a fundraiser for a website I read” is like calling Santa “some guy who drives around just one night a year giving out gifts,” it just can’t capture it.

  7. When Cobalt memberships become available for gifting I will create the Carmen SanDiego Fund for Foreign Readers and gift a couple of those to Straddlers abroad. Those exchange rates can make it hard to be an A+ member

  8. Just signed up to A+ and wanted to say thanks to all the writers and editors for a great site and content (and for posting this article to remind me to sign-up – I’ve been meaning to for ages!) So: thank you all!

  9. Thank you so, so much to all of the A+ members of all levels — I can’t tell you how much your support, both financial and otherwise, has meant to me personally over the past two years. With every person that joins I have more faith and joy that I’m able to do this work, my dream job for my most beloved community, and also scrape by with bills; so many people can’t say that! I am so lucky and so grateful. And grateful to to the people who can’t afford a membership right now but who share content with friends, comment, and come to camp. You all have made so much possible for us! Thank you!

  10. For a lot of people like me who work in heavily hetero/non-inclusive spaces this online community is a refuge. Without it, I fear for my mental health/ability to survive. Thanks for what you’ve created here & for only getting better with time. xoxo

  11. yall! your senior staff at autostraddle work so hard to make this place an engaging, thriving queer community – i see it everyday and feel so lucky to be working under them. plus they’re gracious and patient enough to deal with my ideas, so if nothing else, subscribe for that.

  12. Thank you for letting us read the gold and silver articles on here for a bit! Like having free admission week at my most favorite museum in the world. SUCH WONDERMENTS! <3

  13. As always, I want to thank the staff for their tireless work and dedication to this community. You’ve truly created somethings special here. I appreciate everything you do ❤️???????????

  14. Queridxs, thank YOU for cultivating this wonderful space. Autostraddle has been so, so important to me these past few years. I’ve typed and re-typed at least five different sentences to express how, but clearly words fail me. I upgraded just now because I can – because I’m no longer intimidated by the idea of someone seeing me on this website (let alone commenting), because I have enough money for it and want Autostraddle to be around for everybody, because you are awesome and your work changes lives for the better…

    Abrazos

  15. The only question there were at E3 2010 around the Dell Alienware M11x was how you
    can sneak one into our pants and through security.
    You could also apply some heating device to speed inside the
    vaporization. Best gaming notebook Setting up might be considered a inconvenience as well as multiple two of hands.

    It is possible the laptop might basically clogged with dust and
    wish compressed air to wash it out. Larger 19 inch laptop screens are merely starting to become talked about with
    consumers expecting to determine 19 inch and even large models about the
    market inside near future.

  16. LYSE XL assists inside the body to absorb food and expend energy, therefore causing safe
    and effective fat loss, therefore you will shed weight while
    eating the identical food you love. Other off-label uses include treating narcolepsy (a complaint that involves dropping off to sleep uncontrollably at unusual times), treating depression and helping with weight-loss.
    Slimming tablets that work fast Dozens of weight loss pill commercials promise incredible
    results in the short level of time, so it.

    This natural weight reduction has fashionable fewer
    number of unwanted side effects. It is crucial that you note that Xenical alone cannot make
    you use your weight-loss goal.

Contribute to the conversation...

You must be logged in to post a comment.