Subscription and the localsecrets spirit
'localsecrets is an easy way for me to keep in touch with what's happening locally - I don't have to seek out information, or remember to seek out information, as it is sent to me.'
'The weeks fly by, and localsecrets.com helps me to focus on, and enjoy, the present'
'I enjoy the deals and competitions run on the website'
'localsecrets is one of the most useful local sites that I have ever used.'
'It's a succinct and informative mailing that keeps me abreast of what's happening locally... I'm very grateful for it :)'
(anonymous survey responses)
localsecrets special announcement
From mid-November 2016 localsecrets entered a new chapter in its drive to give you, our users, more and better content. To achieve this localsecrets is adding a paid subscription element to help us put you more at the heart of what we do.
What this means for you
There will be the normal access to content, but when you view more than a few articles or events’ details a day or access vouchers, it will be mainly subscribers only.
Subscription costs just £19.99 a year, or just £1.67 a month, much less than the amount that can be more than recouped by using just one of our voucher deals -- like a free birthday meal or up 20% off in local shops – and is offset in value by our easy-to-use events lists, what’s on recommendations and articles with fresh perspectives.
Why do we have to charge?
Despite our best efforts, fully free access has come to an end because, as news media everywhere has found, the traditional source of our sustenance – advertising – is a drying well. But there is an upside – with your support we will deliver more and better content, building on the unique organization we have created over 15 years.
localsecrets offers you a real alternative to the traditional local news media, and we want that to grow. What is different? We call it: grassroots, outside-the-box journalism.
Traditional local media is newsroom driven, top-down journalism.
By contrast, we have been building a new kind of collaborative media, which is local, regional and curated by local editors.
The key aim is to maintain professionalism of delivery – insightful reporting, clear thinking and memorable storytelling – through editing and training, while opening up to contributors from all walks of life, some part-time journalists and writers and many people who just feel that they have important things to say.
We are developing a new brand of curated, people-driven journalism that focuses on what is important and interesting combined with a comprehensive localized events lists organized to give our users the full range of choice and boosted by deals posted for free by local business, especially independents.
Our advanced digital technology allows us to selectively share content relevant to each city, town, village and neighbourhood and in parallel to send customized e-newsletters to communities in new ways.
And we have in the pipeline a new system to foster local journalism in small communities, giving people there a greater chance to get more involved and to gain a voice.
We fail sometimes. We have had lapses of proofreading, missed important developments or faced technical faults, but we've won a faithful following in the tens of thousands because what we do is different.
With your backing we will do even more. We promise:
You, our readers, are key to making these services advance, and your subscription will give you more than access to editorial and deals; more than a way to enhance your wellbeing with better information, entertainment and local deals. You are taking part in the innovative, mould-breaking community building project that is localsecrets.
Subscribe to localsecrets to get full, unfettered access to all events, articles and great voucher deals
Choose from these plans:
-- FREE TRIAL then £2.99 a month
-- Gift subscription, as above but taken out in another person’s name.
QUESTIONS FROM READERS -- AND RESPONSES
QUESTION: I am a loyal fan of Local Secrets as a customer - it gives me insights, tips and hints as to what’s going on within in my realm. I believe in your business model of B2C marketing and advertising being your source of income, and the newsletters and their content of news, vouchers, offers, etc being free to the populace. This is the proven business model of The Metro - a mass and captive audience who pay nothing for their paper, but in aggregate will respond to (for example) in considerable numbers, "20% off dinner at Charlie Chan’s”. I don’t know upon what research or consultation with the ‘customer' or ‘the business client' you’ve based your newly proposed business model, other than I have not been asked for my opinion. Before going ahead, would you please kindly set up a public forum to gauge opinion?
ANSWER: Thanks very much for your comment and for your expression of appreciation for localsecrets. Bear in mind that much of localsecrets remains free. You can still get the emails and listings and read a limited number of articles. The requirement for subscription is after that. Even so, we realize that not everyone will be happy with our decision. We do wish we could support localsecrets by traditional advertising, and have been making extensive efforts to achieve that in recent years – but with declining success. We have come to the conclusion that we simply have no option other than subscription if we are to survive. The trend to subscription is growing throughout the media for reasons similar to ours – and we know of examples of publications like ours (in Holland for example) that have grown on the basis of subscription. Our market research indicates that we can too – and it all depends on winning the support of our readers. Our view is based in part on the expectation that readers will make a calculation about offers, such as the one you mentioned, and realize that £1.67 is not much to pay for 20% off – and the option to us an unlimited number of vouchers for those kinds of exclusive opportunities. Again, we appreciate your feedback and hope that you will find it possible to become a subscriber.
Have you got an opinion on this matter? Email it and we'll post it here.