Would you pay for access to an ad free version of Free Software Magazine?

Short URL: http://fsmsh.com/2213

Fri, 2007-04-20 17:34 -- admin
22% (28 votes)
52% (66 votes)
Maybe (let us know why)
27% (34 votes)
Total votes: 128


admin's picture
Submitted by admin on

Okay so we had a false start. We asked the wrong question. Basically, what we want to is:

If we made an ad free version of FSM available that you had to pay a reasonable price to access, would you a) pay for the ad free version, or b) pay nothing and put up with the ads?

Don't be alarmed we will never take away your ability to access our content for free. The ad free version will only be optional.

Also let us know what you think a reasonable yearly rate would be (don't forget it goes to keeping this project going and paying for more great content) and why you voted the way you did.

jett's picture
Submitted by jett on

maximum amount to pay $24.00 yearly
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chrisakavern's picture

I love the idea of an online magazine, but unfortunately, my internet is sometimes limited, and I can not read everything online. If you asked me if I would pay for a subscription to a print copy of the magazine then my answer would be a resounding YES!!
Being fairly new to Open Source Software, I read as much about it as I possibly can and so far I have found a wealth of knowledge in your magazine, but unfortunately I can't bring it to my favorite reading spot....
Here is an idea, how about an eReader version to download and I could at least read it on my Palm Pilot...

themacmeister67's picture
Submitted by themacmeister67 (not verified) on

I must admit that I loved the PDF versions of the magazine, and collected the whole set. Firefox is such an abnormal animal when it comes to printing, so I say I won't pay for an ad-free version, although I would pay for a PDF version, even WITH ads!

cleardensity's picture

I completely agree, i'd pay for the PDF version easily - the HTML - eh, not a big fan, although, i do understand the reasoning...

Raghu Kodali's picture

I completely agree. I would pay for a pdf even with ads. Actually I am not even reading half the articles in the HTML version.

For a HTML Version I dont think I will pay, but I dont mind donating once in a while (with or without ads) for having such a nice magazine on FOSS.


Phil Thane's picture

We've been here before with TUX. As I see it free software doesn't appeal to advertisers.

You can't sell advertising to software companies, so that's half the potential market gone.

Many hardware companies place standard ads in loads of different magazines and on websites, they have them in html or pdf all ready to copy'n'paste, but almost all have that quaint little logo and "XYZ Ltd recommend Windows Vista". Or to put it another way, MS are paying a chunk of their advertising costs. So you can say goodbye to them too.

That leaves people selling server space, server hardware and a handful of component suppliers that might sell bits and pieces to us nerds that build our own PCs.

Obviously it's cheaper to run than TUX because you're not paying writers (I was one for a while and miss the income) but you still need to pay the bills. I think subscription is the way forward for ALL media, I'd consider paying for satellite TV if it came without adverts, but it's an uphill struggle persuading people that have come to expect things 'free' and to accept that advertising is everywhere.

Phil Thane

Danboy's picture
Submitted by Danboy on

I voted yes but it depends on price of course. I think anywhere between $10 and $15 is a good price for a subscription to the PDF so maybe $5 per year for the ads free version is good.

Thing is, you know the people who buy this service would probably rarely make you $5/year by clicking ads and the numbers you'll lose in impressions will probably not even make a dent.

I reckon even at $5/year you are really just giving incentive to donate. But I reckon that's fair enough too. You guys deserve it. I think you don't get enough praise from your audience. I've been around reading for a while and, while praise for your authors is frequent, the FSM core staff (Tony et al) deserve some props and maybe a donation or two.

I personally don't need the ads-free or the pdf but I'll probably buy them anyway just to give back.

Thanks guys

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

No, wont pay.
There are plenty of other free content sites.
Yours is pretty average/mediocre.
And you dont even have PDFs.

Tony Mobily's picture


This comment gives other people an idea of what kind of pressure we go through every single day, by email and in contents.

1) Can you give me a comprehensive list of magazines on free software that are so much better than ours? I am a very humble person. However, this kind of trolling really begs for a reaction

2) Can you tell me how many other online magazines offer PDFs? Please write a comprehensive list.

3) May I ask you why you are even on this page, if you consider us average/mediocre? May I ask you to please leave?

Thank you.


clievers's picture
Submitted by clievers on

It would probably depend on the cost to access it. But it's definitely something to look at.


let's all play nice!

Marco Marongiu's picture

I wouldn't pay because I have it already, thanks to Firefox and a personalized stylesheet that filters about 80% of the ads in all the website I visit (even yours, sorry guys :-)


WilliamR's picture
Submitted by WilliamR on

Hi I am a full time student and it is hard to come up with money as it is, so that is why I say no to paying for a ad free version of this wonderful mag.

Laurie Langham's picture

Personally, I don't find the ads a sufficient issue that I'd need to consider subscribing to an ad-free edition.

The advertising selected is not visually offensive, with distracting, flashing pop-ups. These type of ads would be counter-productive, anyway, when most readers have Firefox, and would promptly block such irritations.

Most of the advertising is computer oriented and I sometimes click on an interesting ad.

If readers require a pristine, ad-free page, maybe some consideration could be given towards an approach to the Bill Gates Foundation for a handout.

Nah! On second thoughts, I like the magazine just the way it already is.

Laurie Langham's picture

By the way, only 109 readers have checked out Ciaran O'Riordan's article on IPRED2.

Laws so horribly dangerous to Free Software as IPRED2 deserve far more of our attention than that.

Please, read the article, and the links describing the extent of the danger, and, at least, sign the petition.

The vote is next week, so time is short.

mouser's picture

I visit this site all the time -- it's not quite my field but i find it interesting. My experience in soliciting microdonations and funding from users is that they will not pay to remove ads on a website. The ads don't bother people enough. I think you would have better luck running a fundraiser to solicit donations for the site if money needs to be raised. Speaking personally i would be more likely to donate than pay to remove ads.


Dave Guard's picture

Well, if such a product existed, readers could "donate" by buying the ads-free service. That way they are rewarded for their donation.

We haven't had much luck with donations so far. And we don't really want to hassle people for hand-outs. We'd rather give people something for their money...other than the info in the articles, which should be free in our opinion, because we believe all information should be free as in freedom.

Mauro Bieg's picture

We'd rather give people something for their money...
Maybe the most valuable thing you can (afford to) give your readers is the warm and fuzzy feeling of them having helped a good cause, like your truly free (as in freedom) magazine. Maybe people would rather pay for that feeling than for the removal of some cheap ads. It works for Wikipedia...

Terry Hancock's picture

The truth is that in my present situation, I would just put up with the ads. I don't find them that objectionable, especially since I understand that they are what pays for the content.

However, if I were in a better position financially, I might well decide to join, primarily because I would feel it would be promoting a socially beneficial business.

However, I would be very turned off by a project that can't decide whether it's commercial ("pay us what you think we're worth to you") or non-profit ("pay us what we need to provide a public good, because it's the 'right thing to do'"). You can't simultaneously serve the profit motive and be a charity cause. That's one reason why it matters that you "get something" in exchange for your subscription -- it establishes a healthier, non-obligatory relationship.

One major major reason to have a "pay for no ads" service is that it shuts up the nay-sayers who object to the ads. "If they don't like 'em, they can pay to remove 'em." Then they're out of your hair (or at least, nobody listens to them).

maravind's picture
Submitted by maravind on

First you take out the free PDF version.

Now you want payment?

Gosh! FSM was the most favourite mag that I used to read regularly. Now I may need to reconsider my viewpoints regarding FSM

Kudos to all the Good Work you've done. I hope the same in future....

Best Wishes!

Mahesh Aravind

BeeBee's picture
Submitted by BeeBee on

They took away something that was free to you but was costing them.

Now they are asking if people would be willing to pay to have access to the site with no ads. They are not saying they will take away the site if you don't pay.

I'm sure if you do stop reading something you are getting for free it won't bother anyone.

BeeBee's picture
Submitted by BeeBee on

I have been reading FSM for a while and I like it. And, while I appreciate that you need to host advertising to keep this project going, I do find ads annoying.

At home, I can get rid of most (not all) of the ads with Firefox but I do feel I am depriving good people of their income when I do so. And, when I read your articles at work, where I'm stuck with IE, I have to see these ads anyway.

Now, if you do implement this idea, I will have even more incentive to donate to this worthy cause (which I've been meaning to do anyway) and I'll be rewarded with not having to see ads at work or at home.

Keep up the good work guys!

ErnieDV's picture
Submitted by ErnieDV on

I really don't care about the ads. In fact I kind of like them because I learn about new stuff that is available and I might want some day.

What I do care about is the ability to print the articles. After the PDF fiasco a "print format" option was available, but now it's gone again. I just don't understand why this seems to be so hard to grasp given all the comments - people need the ability to print the articles for offline reading!

Without the ability to print there are lots of folks who will never see the ads because they just won't visit.

admin's picture
Submitted by admin on

The printer friendly version was only taken away because we upgraded to Drupal 5 and had to reimplement some of the features we had from the previous version.

There were, in the upgrade, issues to deal with that range from slightly more- to far more important than the printer friendly functionality. We are working through those issues and will bring back that functionality in due course.

We would appreciate your patience and understanding during this time.

ErnieDV's picture
Submitted by ErnieDV on

It's nice to know why the printer-friendly version has been unavailable. It was the disappearance of this feature without comment that was a problem.

I already pay for www.howtoforge.com so that I can get a printer-friendly edition. On that site I am required to pay to get this feature - it's not optional or voluntary. Because I find the site valuable I'm glad to pay for it, but if the printer-friendly version was not available the site itself would not really be valuable.

When the printer-friendly version of FSW is again available I will very likely donate. I'm just going to evaluate how much before committing.

ErnieDV's picture
Submitted by ErnieDV on

I've read about Karma and it looks unobtainable to me. The result is that the printer-friendly version is also unavailable and that means that FSM is basically worthless to me. Why in the world did something so complicated get created as a way to handle this? Why isn't a simple paid subscription available instead of or in addition to Karma?

BeeBee's picture
Submitted by BeeBee on

You think you should get something for nothing and then you complain when they don't give you more? Where do you get off?

You don't deserve even the HTML version for free. Have you given FSM anything? Just complaints no doubt.

Look at what these guys have achieved in the time they've been running. Why should they listen to loud mouths who jump up and down when they don't get what they want.

I say FSM should treat them like the spoiled children they are and ignore them. And, if they keep complaining, block their accounts or something. Why should we put up with people like that in the community? If they can't behave like reasonable adults, then maybe they should leave.

Darknet's picture
Submitted by Darknet on

I Agree FSM has done/is doing a lot to help people. And then people are complaining when they pose a question. Total BS. I would pay without thinking about it.

CPUFreak91's picture

I would pay for an ad free version (I pay for a LWN.net subscription and I _get_ ads ;) and would pay even more for a PDF.

pvdg's picture
Submitted by pvdg on

I would be willing to pay for a printed version (or printable, like pdf) with or without ads. I am not willing to pay to access the site without ads.

no such user's picture

No, i won't pay for an ad-free version of free software magazine. I wouldn't pay for a paper/PDF version either. On the other hand, i would LOVE a free software magazine T-shirt. To sum it up: i would be willing to advertise the magazine and PAY for it on top ! How about that? I must be CRAZY!

tbutka's picture
Submitted by tbutka on

I would pay somewhere between $10-$15 for the content, which is great, so long as saving & printing worked well. That was why I liked the PDF version so well.

yale2011's picture
Submitted by yale2011 on

I hardly notice the ads! I am too busy enjoying all of that great content!

Vote Leonard Bernstein for President

Ramesh's picture
Submitted by Ramesh on

I will definitely pay if there is a Indian Edition available or the prices are comparable to the Indian PPP.
Often good magazines from the US are sold in India, but at exorbitant rates, because of direct currency conversion.
(For instance, the cost of a Fortune magazine here is, anywhere between Rs. 300 to Rs. 500. A good non-fiction Indian book can be got for the same price).

Ramesh's picture
Submitted by Ramesh on

Oops...I misunderstood the question and thought that it is about the print magazine. Yes, I will definitely pay if there is ad-less magazine, as long as I can afford it.

waleed_saud's picture

let us know how much money needed to keep the free software magazine up an running in a year without ads and who cares about the fsm will donate.I will donate if I know what you need and how much is left to complete the expenses.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

Sorry guys - ad-free version is just not appealing enough for me to pay.

Even without the Firefox add-ons to filter away these ads, I have trained my eyes to naturally and automatically filter out such ads while I am reading on line. So paying for an ad-free version makes no sense to me.

My recommendation is that you work harder to make you ad generate more revenue for you. Perhaps attend a few seminars on AdSense ... :)

Tony Mobily's picture


I am sorry an ad-free version doesn't appeal you. Luckily, some other people will find that it's a nice way to support FSM and have some advantage in the meantime.
We are working harder to generate more revenue - thank you. I am not sure attending seminars would help, since Google got a consultant to actually work on our site to optimise revenues, and the current ads is what he came up with. Thank you for the advice though.



philthane's picture

I guess it depends how much advertising space you sell, at present there isn't much and I don't find it intrusive. I can see that for your long-term financial health you need either to sell more advertising, or sell subscriptions, but for my short-term financial health, I'll stick to the free version.

skypjack's picture
Submitted by skypjack on

I'm a student, money are still a dream.
I'd like to have what you offer, but my wallet isn't.
He says to me : "are you fool?"

Yes, I'll be rich soon, then ... It's only a matter of time! :-)

Sorry guys.