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Changes

There are numerous site issues currently due to the dev work underway.  There have been some new signups in the last week or so and we appreciate it.  As mentioned as a possibility in a previous post, we are going to limit functionality (e.g. number of Blips) for unpaid users.  Painful, but necessary.

We will do our best to give advanced notice of shutting Blip down.

TEOTWAWKI

Ready?  OK, now panic.

You would think that 250%+ growth in active users this year would be cause for celebration.  If servers were free, that would be the case.  As you are all aware, we have made an effort to convert a fraction of our users into the paid/premium category.  While we appreciate everyone who opted in, and who reached out to others to do the same, at a macro scale we have failed miserably.  Despite the growth in traffic, due to changes in how our ad partners allocate ads/revs, and the lack of paid signups, our beloved Blip is approaching the precipice.  Since at this time we cannot predict being around anywhere near 12 months, we have withdrawn the annual membership option.

If we can scrape together funds, we may try a few painful, ugly changes, like constricting some or all features for unpaid users, raising prices on existing plans, and whatever other mischief we can conjure.  What can our paid users expect for their hard earned dollars?  Uh…not much.  Only this: hopefully we don’t shut the thing down, but it ain’t lookin’ good.  As if on cue, Blip is super glitchy today and we will try to fix it.It would be a huge gamble, traffic may tank, etc., and we may not be able to do it at all, but such may be the last cards we have to play.

For all of you paid users, past crowdfunding contributors, and unpaid advocates for keeping Blip alive, thank you!  And for everyone who has been a part of Blip at any time these many years, thanks for making it a fun ride.

It’s the Blip apocalypse, and I feel fine.

Oops something broke…

Something obviously is not working.  We don’t like the feeling of Blip not being there, so we will do all we can get it running and keep it running.  Thanks for your support and patience!

Q and A

Rather than respond to individual emails, we decided to put answers to questions that apply to all of us here.  Additional questions and answers may be added over time.

Question 1. How many paid subscribers do we need?

A.  If we can reconfigure our servers to substantially cut backend costs, about 500*.

B.   If not, about 1,000.

*For those who are curious, and without being too specific, this is less than 1% of our ‘active users’ over the last 28 days.

Question 2.  Where does the money go?  From largest to smallest expense category:

A.  Servers.

B.  State franchise/corporate taxes.

C.  Fees for tax return preparation and bank account fees.

D.  Misc. expenses like domain name fees.

Question 3.  What happens if you don’t get enough subscribers?

We shut Blip down, probably with at least a couple weeks notice.  Absent unforeseen circumstances, annual paid members would get a partial refund.

Question 4.  Are the owners of Blip making money off of it?

No.  Make no mistake, the owners Blip would love to make money off of it and will do so when and if the opportunity presents itself.

Question 5.  Are the pricing/plans going to remain the same as they are now?

Probably not.  The monthly plan will probably remain the same but unless there is a surge of hundreds of members, we will probably discontinue the annual plan (its a hassle to do accounting for).

Question 6.  Is there a way to subscribe via credit card without PayPal?

Not yet.  We are looking at it but can’t promise we’ll find a way.

Question 7.  Can we get a badge for subscribing?

If we get a 1000 subscribers, we might be able to afford that.  Otherwise, sorry.

Question 8.  Are users who do not subscribe going to loose functionality or all access to Blip?

We are not planning to do this, but if we really hit a brick wall maybe we’d try it (not happily though).

Question 9.  How long do we have if you don’t hit your target number of subscribers?

Hard to say, but will do our best to give at least a couple weeks warning.

Question 10.  If I am a paid user, does that mean I can act like a jackass on Blip without having my account deleted.

No.  Same rules apply.

Question 11.  If I become a paid user, will you re-activate my account that was deleted because I acted like a jackass on Blip?

No, we just can’t bring ourselves to let people pay to get back in.  Morally if we let people pay (retroactively) for the ‘privilege’ of insulting someone on Blip, shouldn’t we split the revenue with the person they insulted?  Just a random thought.

However, we are contemplating an ‘amnesty’ of sorts where we give folks another chance to act like decent humans; if this happens current thought is (A) you won’t be required to pay to get back your account and (B) you will be on a very short leash in terms of getting re-deleted.  No decision on this has been made yet.

Question 12.  Are the people running this thing a bunch of idiots, because they can’t figure out how to make Blip work economically, or because they keep funding it out of their own pockets?

Possibly yes, on both accounts.

Question 13.  Why can’t we just keep going as we are, with the people running it paying out of their pockets to keep it alive if Blip is short cash?

See Question 12.  Also, because we love our spouses and would like them not to divorce us.

Finding our way

‘Unfortunately’ is not a word we like to begin a post with, but it is the best word to describe a situation we have to deal with, namely declining ad revenues.  Unfortunately, these revs have dropped due to changes in allocation algorithms, etc. at our ad partners, all of which are outside our control.  So, our options are to find alternative revenue or bid Blip a fond farewell.

The shortest path to alternative revenue  (and the only one we can currently afford) is to give users an option to have substantially less ads and some extra credits every month in exchange for $3.99 a month or $29.99 a year.  We agree this is asking a lot of you, but the real reason to become a paid user is to keep Blip around - it is that simple.

So you will find a link atop your settings/account screen.  It is so small if you blink you will miss it.  Sorry to have to ask this of you, but if you want Blip around, you will have to vote with your dollars.

Thanks for making Blip a great ride!