That’s right, Real World Technologies has moved to a membership business model. Why? Because it seems to make sense, for a number of reasons, and for everyone. Does this mean there will be restricted access to articles? Definitely not. In fact, for the casual visitor there will be absolutely no noticable difference. All articles and the forum will continue to be publicly available.
So why should anyone join? Quite simply, because the benefits may actually outweigh not joining for many people:
- Revenues from memberships replace advertising. This means that there are no annoying pop-ups, pop-unders and animated flash ads anywhere.
- Without advertising, there is no pressure to simply drive traffic with sensational articles or editorials. This, in turn, means authors can write what they believe is important without regard to whether it will affect revenues.
- The benefits may be worth more than the membership fee. Vendors such as Crucial Technology and Ultra-X are offering substantial discounts to members of Real World Technologies – substantial enough that the savings on your first purchase may cover the cost of your membership.
- Benefits should improve over time. As the membership increases, more vendors will see the benefits of offering discounts. In addition, membership dues will help pay for site improvements and even some additional member benefits and discounts.
- It is a direct method of voicing your support for this type of publication. All articles are submitted on a volunteer basis, and many times without compensation. Memberships provide direct evidence that these articles are appreciated and valuable, and may even provide enough to help compensate authors for any incurred expenses – and possibly even their time.
- With enough memberships, there would be no need to rely on manufacturer supplied samples for any test components or systems. This would allow RWT to completely eliminate any perception of having to succumb to ‘outside influences’.
There are three ‘levels’ of membership – basic, full and participating.
Basic members pay $7 per year, and will be able to purchase products from Crucial Technology at a special discount of 15%, and from Ultra-X with a discount of 10%. This offer is available only to members, and can only be accessed from the RWT Member page.
Full members pay $15 per year, and get the same discount for purchases. In addition, full members will receive a ‘member newsletter’ that will give some inside information on events and activities, as well as the opportunity to improve the site by responding to surveys and voting on any important issues.
Participating membership is the highest level of membership possible, and is only available to those who have either published an article or contributed substantially to the development of the publication. Participating members must either have direct industry experience in a technical field, or must be a post-graduate student doing technical studies and/or research. Publishing on Real World Technologies may not be as prestigious as some other professional publications (yet), but you can be assured that it will be seen by many in the industry, as well as by serious enthusiasts. Not only will you get the satisfaction of helping others to understand current technology, but it will look good on your resume as well.
Joining is an easy process for Basic and Full memberships. Simply click on the ‘Join RWT’ link on the left menu bar, read and respond to the membership agreement, choose a login name and password, and select a method of payment. When payment is received, your membership will be activated and you can log in to the member page to take advantage of your member benefits.
For Participating members, you will need to contact firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your ‘credentials’. If eligible, you will receive an agreement document that outlines the obligations of both yourself and Real World Technologies. After you have accepted the agreement and had an article published (or submitted any other eligible contribution) your membership will be activated.
Where Does the Money Go?
The overhead for this site runs between $1500 and $2000 per year currently, and has always come right off the top of any revenues generated. This means that about 100 full members would cover the costs of running the site for a full year. Any additional revenues will be used to compensate authors, pay for site improvements and to acquire tools and products for testing. In case anyone wonders, I am paid (when there are revenues) exactly like every other contributor – only for what I actually produce.
So there you have it. Membership benefits you, the authors and the vendors supporting this site. The rest, as the saying goes, is up to you…
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