EDIT: be sure to read the comments below; much of this information has changed today.
We recently put up Steve Menendian's set review for sale on the publishing side of our site. I've gotten a few comments and questions about why we are selling it instead of giving it away, and what we can do for Insiders.
Steve's articles are worth money. I think we can all agree that he should be compensated, somehow.
Steve wanted to work with QS and we want to work with him, but we simply do not have the money to pay Steve what it would take to retain him as a full-time writer. These reviews are cool, but they don't generate the conversion rate we would need to finance it as a piece of advertising that converts people to Insider.If you want the numbers, here they are. Online advertising revolves around something called CPM; essentially, it is the rate of what you pay for one thousand people to see your ad. CPM is about $4 right now. Steve's last set review generated about 9,000 views, which is badass. Thus, if we are looking at it as a piece of advertising, it was worth about $36. Steve's set reviews, to him and to us and to you, are worth more than what we could compensate if we just treated it as advertising. Even if we considered that the highly-targeted audience is worth, say, $10 CPM, we still would be better off paying for ads instead of paying for the 65 page tome that he wrote for Mirrodin Besieged. One of the core messages of QS is to do what makes financial sense.
Thus, we're in a bind - we want to publish Steve, he wants to write for us, but the material he generates isn't related enough to premium to make fans of his stuff want to pick up Insider. It would be unfair to our Insider subscribers to make them subsidize a non-financial article, when what they are paying for is financial articles. Insider money goes to pay the Insider writers, who also generate content worth paying for. We have never represented that Steve's articles are part of Insider, but I am still sympathetic to members who want to get a little benefit for being one of our subscribers. Of the money charged for this review, QS pockets very little; I am not trying to rip you off, and neither is Steve - this is simply what this kind of content costs, on a bare a la carte level.
I am talking to Kelly about what we can do for Insiders. It may be the case that Insiders would like a meaningful portion of their subscription fee to go to paying for Steve's articles every two or three months. We did not want to assume that our subscribers would want to pay for something that was not directly finance-related, since they were not asked at the beginning to pay for that. We want to be fair to all parties involved, and I'd like to hear from you on what we can do to be fair to you, the reader.