I wanted to give all our Ogle Moles, commenters, readers and haters a heads-up that we’re tightening our membership paywall restrictions across the site.
Yep, that’s right. We’re going full capitalist on you! Well, kind of.
Effective immediately, most – if not all – of our new TLO content will remain free for 24 hours after we hit the publish button. After that, give or take an hour or three, it will move behind a member’s only paywall that you can access for as little as $5 a month. It’s one of many new changes you may see over on this site over the next year as we try to keep up and evolve with the changing times in today’s dire media landscape.
In all honesty, this move is a long-time coming. We launched a voluntary Membership Club back in late March to help keep us afloat after the pandemic hit, and thanks to a few hundred generous members – and government welfare – we’ve been able to stabilize things in the short term. But… for the long-term future and sustainability of this small business, moving more content behind the paywall is the route we have to take. Simply put, The Lost Ogle – like most publications – can no longer depend on a 100% ad-supported model to make money and fund our operations.
This is because:
A) Armed with their terrifying stores of user data, Google and Facebook have monopolized and commoditized the Internet advertising trade. This makes it virtually impossible for a small niche indie operation like ours to compete with them on pricing, scale, reach, demographics, etc. In the old days, an advertiser would come to us to reach local users. Some still do, but most will now just book a micro-targeted campaign on Facebook in a few seconds, further deepening Zuckerberg’s pockets. Ironically enough, many of these businesses are the same ones that preach for people to support local businesses. Go figure.
B) These same monopolies serve as gatekeepers to virtually all Internet traffic. To survive on advertising revenue alone, a successful publication needs to generate millions of pageviews a month, and even that’s pushing it. Reaching that many views was challenging enough during the blog boom of the early 2010s, but now – thanks to Facebook, Google and Twitter algorithms that limit the reach of small niche sites like ours in favor of large corporate mainstream media outlets – that’s virtually impossible.
Although I’m sure our critics and the cheapskates who complain about paying $5 to park in Bricktown will complain about this, I think it’s a good move in the right direction. Having a base of paying members will give us more freedom and flexibility on what we cover, help connect and interact with our most loyal readers, and also give us more resources to provide more content and do new things. Hell, maybe we’ll even hire a proofreader. You never know.
Plus, it’s not like we’re moving everything behind the paywall. That day may eventually come, but you can still read an article for free up to 24 hours after it publishes. I’d guesstimate 70% – 80% of article pageviews come within that timeframe. If you miss that window and don’t want to pay 16-cents a day to read our stuff, it’s probably not worth your time or our time. I think we’ll all be okay.
Anyway, here’s a breakdown of our membership levels. If you want anytime and anywhere access to all TLO content, pick a level below and sign up. Stay with The Lost Ogle. We’ll keep you advised.
$5 Junior Ogle: Anytime / Anywhere Site Access
$9.99 Ogle Mole: Anytime / Anywhere Site Access + Collectable TLO Pin + Collectable TLO Koozie
$19.99 Oil Overlord (Best Value!): Anytime / Anywhere Site Access + Collectable TLO Pin + TLO Ink Pen + Collectable TLO Koozie + Certificate Acknowledging Ownership of Portion of TLO founder Patrick’s Soul