The Future Is Here: Join Autostraddle Plus

Oh hello space traveler! Today’s a big day for us — the day you get to take supporting independent queer media to the next level by joining Autostraddle Plus, our new premium membership program!

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A+ is, first and foremost, a formal way for you to support the work we do here on Autostraddle.com every day. As a perk, subscribers will be able to get even closer to the writers you love and provide access to so much rad content. You’ll be investing in the general creativity and badassery of Autostraddle and helping us to create a sustainable business model eventually more tied to our community than to The Man. We still lack the revenue necessary to pay our editors and writers what they deserve or to pay our contributors at all, and we’re hoping this can close that gap.

The best part about this program is that Autostraddle.com will remain exactly the same as it’s always been. Nothing we publish on A+ would be written or published if A+ didn’t exist. We want to reach as many eyeballs and change as many lives as possible, and this is the best solution we’ve come up with to ensure Autostraddle.com grows and gets better every day.

There’s so very much to say about A+, but maybe the best part is that this version is just the beginning. We have about a billion ideas (this is a chronic problem) and we’re driving Cee batshit crazy with them! As time goes on, these ideas will make their way to reality and A+ will continue to grow and be even more amazing. But for now we’re keeping them a secret, just like your high school girlfriend.

So here’s how it’s going down in A+ Town: three tiers at three different price points — Bronze ($6/month), Silver ($12/month), and Gold ($25/month). As you probably already figured out, each tier comes with specific A+ bonus goodies that we think you’ll really love. Let’s talk about them!


Bronze — $6/month (or $5/month billed annually)

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All A+ members will get a 2014 A+ Member sticker, an A+ indicator next to your username in comments, and special discounts and deals from equally awesome merchants.

You’ll also have access to the biweekly community newspaper, The A+ Bee, co-edited by Forever Interns Grace and Chelsey. This (seriously amazing) newspaper will be all about you weirdos, so you know you’ll dig it.

You’ll also also get our monthly behind-the-scenes newsletter, The Autostraddle Insider, where we’ll tell you everything you wanted to know, and probs a few things you never knew you wanted to know, about the inner workings of this wondrous website. We’ll ask for your input on upcoming projects and generally tell you what the fuck is going on here, and we’re just so amped about the whole damn thing. In fact, the very first Autostraddle Insider is up right now, and you can read it as soon as you join the team!

Oh, and one more thing! You’ll be treated to a special members-only site layout! So fancy.


Silver — $12/month (or $10/month billed annually)

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Even more exciting! You get everything at the Bronze level, plus access to 2-3 exclusive A+ posts written specifically for your very eyeballs each month. This is a chance for us to publish some writing that otherwise would never see the light of day because it’s just too intimate for a site as large as Autostraddle or even a personal blog — which, unlike A+, is still indexed on search engines.

Neat bonus: all A+ content will be sidebar-free, meaning a seriously cleaner reading experience, which will undoubtedly enrich your entire life.

Silver members will also enjoy an alarmingly hilarious Autostraddle podcast! This is especially special and will make us all feel very close to one another. I mean, we’ll be in your earholes, talking about G-d only knows what, and to g-d only knows who, PLUS there’ll be a snappy intro song that’ll probably get stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Heck yes!


Gold $25/month (or $20/month billed annually)

1-IMG_2276Oh look at you, you’re gettin’ it all! Everything at the Bronze level, everything at the Silver level, plus the official 2014 A+ Member Shirt. A members-only shirt, you guys. It’s the kind of shirt that says “I support badass independent queer voices AND I’m incredibly smart and charming.” I’m just guessing on the charming part, but I know you’re smart as a whip because look where you are. Yep yep.

And that about sums it up!

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Although we’re certainly not the only site to introduce a membership program like this, we are one of the first queer or feminist sites to do so. We really hope that A+ can be a model for sustainable online women’s and LGBTQ media. It’s not a secret that our demographic has never been a huge priority for advertisers or investors, but we’ve always been damn good at supporting our own and have high hopes for the future.

The best best part is that nothing about Autostraddle.com will change for non-members — but A+ will ensure that Autostraddle.com itself can continue to exist for free for everybody, just as it has for the past five years.

Read All About It and Join Up Today!


Note: Some of the language regarding the Silver level has been edited to more clearly reflect our intentions w/r/t the experience offered by A+!

Before you go! It takes funding to keep this publication by and for queer women and trans people of all genders running every day. And A+ members keep the majority of our site free for everyone. Still, 99.9% of our readers are not members. A+ membership starts at just $4/month. If you're able to, will you join A+ and keep Autostraddle here and working for everyone?

auto has written 610 articles for us.

360 Comments

  1. I’m really excited about this. I can’t afford to subscribe yet, but I plan to when I can. I consume a lot of media for free – most of us do – but if payment will help improve the life of people making the content AND improve access to content by marginalized people, I am all for it. But I don’t really donate, either. I donated to the redesign because I could at the time, but that’s it. Here’s a way for me to make sure I do it regularly when I can.

    I get that people were upset about the classist language in the article. Honestly, I didn’t notice it at first because I just took it all as silly/excited. Other people took it more seriously than I did, and I completely see why. BUT that doesn’t mean AS is a terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad website. And the people producing awesome content should be paid for what they do. If donations isn’t enough to do that, then fine, paid memberships. The fact that paid memberships just going to add a little content for people who pay and isn’t going to change the free content at all (and in fact will likely improve it), is even better!

    As for the rings, I don’t have an opinion. I see both sides, and am undecided.

    Change is scary and uncomfortable. Especially when some of us saw our safe space being threatened. But our safe space isn’t going to change (at least not for the worse). There’ll just be another, smaller safe space for the writers to write things they’re unwilling to publish here.

    This doesn’t mean the criticism and concerns here aren’t valid. But Rachel addressed them really well. That quieted my concerns, personally. Yes, wouldn’t it be great if everything was 100% free? I’d freakin’ love that. But that’s not how our consumerist society works, and AS will go under if we try to pretend we’re an exception.

    Maybe it is a little classist to have a small amount of content only for people who can pay for it. And honestly, my first thought is, “so what? It’ll help keep the rest of the content free.” But that’s not fair of me, and I know it – I might as well be saying, “be happy with less than what I get.” OK, so what do we do? I don’t have a perfect solution, but A+ seems close. Pay for extra content if you can. I don’t pay for Hulu, and I don’t expect to get it for free. I don’t pay for the local gym, and I don’t expect to use it for free. I don’t pay for Amazon Prime, and I don’t expect to get the perks for free (I know these aren’t all media, but you get the point).

    In a perfect world, this would be unnecessary. But AS doesn’t exist in a perfect world, and we also have to keep AS going to learn more about this imperfect world. So for now, this solution seems good to me. Not perfect, but noticeably better than the alternative. And when I can eventually subscribe, I will.

  2. I don’t think that its reasonable to expect a website that is as big and great as Autostraddle to run for free. I have contributed to Autostraddle in the past because I think its important to have one solid queer women’s resource online. Its a bit unfortunate that not everyone will be able to see all the content – but they will be able to see most of the content. Content that would not exist unless someone is there to fund it. Frankly, it is rather childish to be so incensed at the prospect of some people getting a little extra content for money when you get so much content for free.

    HOWEVER, one thing that was promised in the last Autostraddle funds drive which was not delivered on was some sort of audience input function ie that we could suggest article topics. I think this really needs to exist, but should not be an A+ feature.

  3. I’ve been reading autostraddle almost everyday for the past 5 years. I was hooked after a feminist blog linked to it as a site for lesbian and bi women, but also”good for feminists of any orientation”. The roundtable regarding the moment y’all realized you were gay was a huge turning point in my life, and in hindsight, probably was the catalyst for finding/realizing my own queerness. I’ve learned so much from reading these intelligent and well-written articles, and I can’t even keep track of the number of times I’ve forwarded articles to my professors or shared them on in conversation or facebook.

    I’m a hardcore lurker though. This is my first comment, and while I totally feel connected to the community via the writer-reader thing, maybe it is time for me to be have a (little) voice too. I just graduated from college, so money is tight, but yes, you have my support!

  4. Question about the Gold level (though I really like the Cornflower/Violet idea better):

    I’m not sure the t-shirt would be enough to justify the cost. As a one-off? Sure. But at that rate it feels like I need a t-shirt every month. Are there plans to add to that tier?

    Mefi had a subscription drive recently (probably you’ve heard of it) and that was more because some Mefites had found the donation button and sorta organised their own before the Mefi mods made it official. One of the bigger issues was the star/recognition – like many people here, many DID NOT want to stand out as a supporter by default, and the option became to have that as a sign on your profile if you wanted but not next to your username. I think they attracted a lot more donors precisely because of this.

    I used to give a monthly amount to AS, maybe this can be a replacement. I must have missed the original writeup that led to the discussion about safer space (which I also admit would have put me off). Maybe the A+ section can also be an incubation area for trial posts? That they can be further developed before going to the public? Or they can preview certain posts a day or two before going public – and that way everyone gets to read it?

    Someone mentioned Patreon and that’s how a lot of the Patreon users I know use the thing: the Patreon-only parts being more of a backstage hash-out sandboxy area.

  5. I’m very happy to be in a place where I can buy a membership and support this site. I’ve read Autostraddle since almost the very beginning, and have contributed when I can and even went to the first A-camp, but I don’t think I’ve ever commented before, so hi! Maybe I’ll be around more now.

  6. While I agree with some of the comments about the classist wording of the original article, I feel like some of the negative comments are really harsh. Like, REALLY harsh and disrespectful to all the hard work everyone puts into this site. I can’t say how much I appreciate AS and if I could afford it, I would love to support this site. I can’t right now and I do feel a bit sad I’m going to be missing out on the additional content but I *need* Autostraddle to survive (what would I do without it?) and I trust Reise and the team enough to know that this wouldn’t be happening if there was any other way, y’know? I understand people’s concerns and I think it’s important to have a conversation about it so I’m glad this is happening, as painful as it sometimes feels for me to read because while AS is far from perfect, it’s pretty much my favourite place on the internet. I really appreciate how much less obnoxious the gold banding is now too! :p

  7. I was planning to respond directly to Rachel’s post, but I realized it would probably get buried. I want to say: Thank you so much, Rachel and Riese, for your transparency. I find it refreshingly honest and took me from writing off the program as something I couldn’t afford (but was thrilled existed!) to making room in my budget to subscribe. You all consistently impress me from a business perspective. I don’t think enough people publicly notice or acknowledge the time and energy you put into the business side of things, not just the writing side. The fact that you have those numbers, the fact that you give annual, totally transparent updates is more than I ask for from the films I help fund. Thank you.

    I completely understand the situation the site’s in. As a working queer writer/film producer myself, I’ve experienced every setback and challenge you’ve mentioned and more. I watched my first passion, the indie publishing house I worked for for four years fall apart after 20 years in business due to the economy. I watch print and media outlets disappear over night. I’ve also been offered $5 for novellas and, even with over a decade of writing and publishing and over 50 titles with a series of legit presses/publishing houses, been asked if I’d be an unpaid intern for “exposure.” I’m thrilled AS has the support of such a huge fan base. You do important work and the fact that you can institute a subscription service as opposed to folding or selling the company makes me so, so happy. You all deserve to be paid. You deserve a living wage. The more people band together to support businesses we believe in and an artist’s right to be compensated appropriately, the better things will get for everyone. Free media is awesome. I am well aware not everyone has the finances to pay for what they read. But the insistence that these types of sites always stay completely free make the entire writing market unlivable for all writers everywhere. I see my contribution not just as supportive of an amazing site that I want to see grow, but as an investment in my own future as a writer. If a big name even in queer media openly states they pay their entire staff a living wage, it will put more pressure on other branches of the media to do the same. The fact that this is a queer women’s site (queer women businesses are especially and notoriously hard to fund, guys. Seriously.) is a huge plus.

    I also want to point out that I understand a lot of the concerns people are having and I think it’s wonderful you have a space to express those concerns. Personally, I totally understand what was meant by “safe space” (because really, any space totally open to the internet will always have genuine trolls, people who steal information for other sites, and groups that can use these resources to out people. I personally know a handful of users that were outed or had their work stolen and posted on hate sites because they posted in queer sites. This goes for the writers as well.) I also didn’t mind indicators on the front page or on people’s posts that shows they’re A+ members. It’s the best form of free advertising for the service without a constant string of “Remember A+ Exists!!!!” posts. I get not being able to pay. I don’t even make enough right now to comfortably cover all my bills, let alone have room for extra, but I can let go of a few things for this because I work in queer media and feel I have a responsibility to make it better for everyone else. I want more diversity in my content. I want more voices to have the chance to be heard. And, selfishly, I want to write in a world more open to my requirement to be paid for my time.

    Finally, I want to point out: money is so emotionally charged. Add that to a space that many feel is either “home” or important to their lives in some way and things will get heated. This is the internet. It’s all text-based. It’s so, so easy to misread intention when everything is purely in writing. Internet accents and local turn of phrase is a real thing. Some people are better at conveying their intentions than others. We all read people’s comments filtered through our own voices and experiences, which leads to misunderstandings. I’m constantly discovering people I know and respect in real life on this site and they’re often having heated exchanges with each other. Because I know them both and know the way they talk/think it upsets me because I know neither are intending to be read the way they are. I think it would be best if everyone read people’s concerns and responses with an open mind and heart, expecting the best, not the worst. I don’t think anyone here is intending to destroy AS. Everyone is trying to make things better. By all means, voice concerns! I just feel it’s counter-productive and divisive to assume anyone on either side of a discussion is horrible/bullying/meanspirited unless it’s blatantly obvious.

    TL:DR: Yay AS! Yay writers getting paid! Yay more diversity! Yay discussions! Yay people having strong feelings about a queer women media outlet! Let’s all be kinder to each other.

  8. Ok, first of all I’m here enjoying the weekend right..and then all of sudden I see this post and it’s full of FEELINGS!!! Only we would have so many feelings about a premium membership program guys.

    That being said, I first give 5x the thumbs up to @internrachel ‘s post. Most liked award??? Best explanation of shit that is going down on AS award?

    Also, I pretty much agree with what she said. I mean everyone says we care about this place right? I think it’s only fair we should also care about the contributors and their well being. Their salary isn’t the first thing that comes to mind but the reality is they are giving their time and a lot of effort to this place. Not just here, A CAMP. Netflix doesn’t do that and I pay more for netflix than this place..and I care about AS more. IDK any other places that take their members and offer a camp..I actually think it’s concerning that this thing has a chance to shut down. I don’t ever want this place to go away. WTH am I going to do with my time?? Where am I going to post weird shit about the cat and my Metal Earth things!?

    I also want to say that I don’t think that the yellow band thing or the posts exclusive to A+ are something to try to pull other people into paying. Ok, maybe it’s a bit of advertising but knowing this website and the amazing people behind it..I honestly don’t think they are shitty people who only care about $ and want to pull aka force people to pay for 2% of content that would only show to members. I really really believe that Autostraddle is a community that was built on the staff’s love for their readers that’s why I think in turn we’re so loyal to this site. A FIERCE LOYALTY.

    PS
    This is not a post to try to get people to sign up and pay. It’s just my thoughts. Ok, sorry for being late to the party. I know…it was an important discussion!!!! ok Love you guys!!

    • I have to totally agree with everything you said. I missed Rachel’s comment (I stop reading comments after a few hundred :P), but when I did read it, I was pretty freaked out by the thought that this place could shut down. AS (and the amazing members on here) have gotten me through a lot and I can’t imagine what it would be like without a place on the internet that is actually concerned with my community’s well being. And where else would we read about each other’s cats?

  9. OMG why am I so poor. Stupid car crash bills. (And habit of buying hot girls drinks.) Adding this to my list of “stuff I’m buying as soon as my medical bills go away” so like hopefully this program is still kicking 10 years from now ;)

    Maybe I can list not being able to afford the podcast in my insurance claim… I bet Geico would be down for that.

    And finally, I hope you Canadians and other not USA queers appreciate your free healthcare right about now :P

    But really, go Autostraddle! You’re so cute, and funny and smart and you just make me wanna spoon you while we watch Orphan Black and eat chocolate. Basically.

  10. Really glad that AS is going to get more funding but also a little worried that the quality of content is going to decline since the ‘good stuff’ will become ‘A+ content’ and also that people like me who can’t afford membership will miss out/feel excluded.

    • This has been pretty thoroughly discussed. The plan seems to be to have articles that wouldn’t otherwise be published become A+ content – not the good stuff that’s already here, but the stuff writers are unable/unwilling to publish for such a wide audience. That means that it would NOT be published here otherwise, and is being published at all solely because A+ exists as a smaller, more intimate place for things the writers do not want to have flung all over the internet.

      Additionally, the extra money coming in is going to go towards paying writers. Right now, they can really only publish writers who are in a position not to be paid. By offering compensation, they’ll be able to publish a wider variety of voices, especially from people who really need monetary compensation for their work and can’t afford to work for free. This will IMPROVE the quality of the content.

      As for feeling excluded, that 100% sucks and will probably happen. All I can say to that is that in our capitalist society, this is the only alternative right now, and if it doesn’t happen, AS is going to go under. Having a very small amount of paying-members-only content seems like a small price to pay for keeping it going. I talked about this earlier, but saying that feels like I’m telling people they should be grateful for getting less than others because it could be worse, and that’s not cool. But I don’t have a solution, honestly.

      Overall, I really think this is a good thing. The staff has done an excellent job responding to concerns above, even when being attacked and basically told they should work for free. They do a ridiculous amount of work, and should be compensated for it because we live in a money-based world and if we don’t compensate people for their time and work, they can’t get by and that work will end up stopping.

  11. Just want to say I think the gold rings currently on A+ members profile pictures are perfect. I understand that other users thought the bigger ribbon to be a bit over the top, but I’m glad it hasn’t entirely been abandoned. It is quite nice to receive some measure of ‘credit’ and I think the rings are subtle enough to not be disrespectful to non-members.

  12. AS, you and I have been together for a long time. Of course sweetheart, I’ll take you out for dinner, buy you nice things, introduce you to the family and loan you my money – but that’s not going to happen until you honestly talk to me about the things I’ve raised.

    – btw, the majority of this comment is f*cking gross and sounds exactly how every POS misogynist smarmy entitled d-bag sounds when they’re talking to a woman that they think they’re smarter/better than, just fyi. please don’t ever talk to a human like this ever again, either online or IRL. thanks.k.stop.

    • I was honestly ashamed beyond measure after I posted this Gabrielle, even more so after Intern Rachel’s post – but I can’t remove it. If I could, I’d do it immediately. I can only deeply apologise to The Team/Readers/Members and ask that we move on.

  13. I don’t write as much as I should for Autostraddle. Yes, it’s because I’m working on personal projects or helping other QPOC make their artistic projects come to fruition also FOR FREE.

    But just FYI, here are some things that the small but SO NECESSARY checks from AS have helped me pay:

    – June Con Edison Bill

    – A doctor’s bill in February when my heart was beating irregularly

    – Groceries from the good grocery store, the one that has actual fruits and vegetables

    – A card & a portion of a shared gift for my parent’s 35th wedding anniversary

    This is from one check. ONE CHECK. One check that was less than $200. I’m unemployed in real life. I do this shit because I love it and it’s so so fucking helpful when some cash comes my way TO HELP ME LIVE.

    if you can’t give, nothing changes.
    if you can give, then damn please do so.

    you know we love you forever.

    • Gabrielle, I love your content on here so much, and I’m grateful that you choose to use your time for this.

      You shouldn’t have to justify the money that you earn from your writing. I feel like this is such a constant expectation of anyone who works at “doing what they love.” It happens all the time in the arts; it happens in nonprofits. I often feel like I have to justify my own meager nonprofit salary by dropping the fact that I’m paying student loans, etc. Would I do it did free if I could? Probably (but with a more creative spin for sure). But heart doesn’t put food on the table, and we don’t expect people in other jobs to justify why they should be paid by listing the necessities of life. We pay them for the work they do, and how they spend it is up to them. It should be the same for writers, artists, etc. — and if they make enough for a nest egg, or to treat themselves, that shouldn’t matter any more than it would for someone who is doing a job they don’t love.

      But — though you don’t owe it to us — I think your post (and Laneia’s and Rachel’s) does make the situation more real for many readers. And that clarity and connection can be helpful.

  14. Guys if I wanna go up a level, is it all already set up and ready to go and will only bill me the difference?

    I got a million shifts at work this week and also fuck it, I might be saving for a car and/to move out but you’re saving/spending the dollars you have to survive. Also some of this thread is making me angry and I wanna turn that anger into something positive- more dollars for you!

  15. I’m a big time lurker, but I love this website and as a journalism student and freelance writer I know the struggle. I’m a student so AS+ might be touch and go for me, but I signed up for bronze because I really admire the team for taking a risk and recognizing their worth.

    Best of luck!

  16. Like some other commenters, I was sad to see that I couldn’t get to the rest of the site – especially as it’s really obvious but I guess I already kind of felt like that anyway. And I know you guys have to make money, so I can’t really complain.

    Not sure if I can justify paying just yet, but maybe in the future. I’m also disappointed to see that the 2-3 posts are on silver, but I guess you need some way to get people paying (and this is mostly irrational because I already thought it would cost about 10). I don’t know. I just wouldn’t have any use for a podcast.

    I’d only just got over the new layout, lol.

  17. I love you. I don’t pay for Netflix, cable, Vogue, the NYT, Spotify, or any of that junk. Just Sephora and Autostraddle. Just the Brazilian make-up store and Autostraddle. Just Savers and Autostraddle. Zat’s it.

  18. I don’t have a credit card right now, but I hope I could join some time in the future. I want to be “in” in all you’re offering of course, but mostly I feel like I owe you, for all the stuff you gave us (and you’re going to give us) all these years FOR FREE. Supporting you is the least we can do. <3
    And thanks to everyone who could and did join A+, you're keeping AS alive for all of us!

  19. Thank you, Autostraddle.

    I feel a little ridiculous saying that to a website but… thank you, to the humans behind all the comments, and above all to the humans behind all the articles (both the serious and silly ones)!

    I’ve been coming to this site for the past year and it has meant a lot to me. I stumbled on it at an important moment in my life and have checked it daily ever since then. Seeing your membership drive, and being lucky enough to have the means, I finally signed up for an account.

  20. I have been lurking here for years and can’t even begin to describe how grateful I am for this website. I’m glad to have the chance to be able to help support this site, I don’t even know what I would do without autostraddle. Like how was I even surviving before I discovered it?

  21. I sincerely hope that the gold A+ t-shirt literally does say: “I support badass independent queer voices AND I’m incredibly smart and charming.”

    (And I hope you’re all being showered in dollars, right about now!) xx

  22. So, we’ve established that things need to change for Autostraddle to survive. I’d like to reiterate that I love this website and I don’t want it to fold because capitalism wins and it’s not profitable enough.

    If membership is the best way to do this, so be it. Compromising your morals is probably inevitable if you want an endeavour to survive in a capitalist system. But there is surely a way to do it which doesn’t mark the difference between those-able-to-pay and those-unable-to-pay so clearly. Like taking on board the ickiness people feel about having certain commenters ranked higher than others. Don’t tell me that’s not a weird vibe to have on a website like this?! You’ve differentiated by giving something extra to people who can afford it, not ideal but it helps you survive, flipping fantastic – they get something extra. Pointing out in the community section, ie. comments, who’s getting extra, is yeah odd to me. We’re a community. Supporting some of the community who can’t afford to support AS with anything but love.

    I’m really sorry that the writers of this website are getting upset by this criticism. I’d like to make very very clear that I appreciate this website so much and this drive has made me realise I need to donate more often. Thank you for reminding me, and for allowing me space in this community.

    Please don’t drown out the voices in this community who aren’t so privileged. I understand that is not the intention but as so so many articles on this website point out, intention is one thing and socioeconomic position and reality is another. [Thank you for pointing out that the money you get from drives like this allow you to pay writers, an essential factor in keeping marginalised voices on the website. It’s a point well made.]

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