Just got an email from dA alerting me to the Free Premium Membership Day
event that's happening right now. As it turns out, it's actually 24 hours of Premium Membership (minus a few things like the ability to change your username) for non-Premium dA users, rather than Premium Membership being free to purchase today.
OK, I get why dA is doing this - show off to users all the extra perks they can have if they go Premium
. Which brings me to the subject of this journal.
At the moment, 12 months of Premium Membership will set you back $29.95 - about $2.50 a month. If you go for 24 months of Premium Membership, that will be $47.95 - about $2.00 a month.
That last figure seems to contract what is stated underneath the 'Upgrade to Premium Membership' banner - 'as low as $2.40'.
However, that's not what grabbed my attention. What did
grab my attention was that there's now a new subscription option - for the princely sum of $200 you can not only have seven
years of Premium Membership, but get to have 'till Hell freezes over'
displayed on your profile page. For those of you without calculators handy, that works out at about $2.38 a month.
Now, I'll state up-front that I have no philosophical problem with dA asking for money in exchange for additional features - and the additional features on offer are fairly compelling if you're using dA a lot. They're not alone in offering such a deal, and I've taken advantage both here and on other sites such as LinkedIn.
However, the current Premium Membership offering doesn't really make sense to me. For starters, they highlight the 12 month Membership as 'you save 50%'
, the 24 month Membership as 'you save 60%'
, and the seven year special as 'you save 52%'
. But nowhere on that page does it save what those savings claims are based on.
In years gone by, dA offered a more straightforward subscription system, with choices of one month, three months or one year. I'm guessing that the savings figures are based on what would be the cost of one months Membership bought multiple times - but since they don't state what that is, I've no way of knowing for sure.
Then there's the business of giving people the chance to have 'till Hell freezes over'
on their profile page in exchange for agreeing to subscribe for seven years. It used to be that 'till Hell freezes over' was a subscription status reserved for former Staff and Community Volunteers, as a mark of appreciation for their service to dA, and the name was literal - they got to stay subscribed for as long as dA continues to exist. Except apparently that is no longer the case? (Can any of my former CV friends confirm this?) And now, instead, it's being offered merely as a status symbol for those with sufficient love for dA and wallet size?Who the frakk came up with that idea??!
I've just done some quick maths, and you could combine the first two Premium Membership options to get the same seven years for $173.80 - meaning those choosing the third option are paying an extra $26.20 just to have 'till Hell freezes over'
displayed on their profile page.
And at this point, I would be remiss in not reminding you that this is just Premium Membership for your dA profile. If you want a Prints account (and you're not one of the lucky folks who got grandfathered into the old-style permanent Prints accounts), or you want to have a Super Group, that will be extra. This is one aspect where dA is definitely out on a limb compared to other sites, in my experience.
Look, I don't begrudge dA needing to pay the bills for all the servers and connectivity they need to keep this site going. But as it's currently structured, they are offering a lot less for a lot more money in terms of what you're likely to have to pay up in order to use all of the facilities. It seems I got lucky when I got my current 2-year Membership back in 2013 - if anything, I think the prices have crept up a little since then. By the time it expires next year, I'm seriously wondering if I'll still be using dA enough to justify paying up again.