Preparing New Techdirt CwF+RtB Offerings, And Extending The Crystal Ball For Those Who Bought

from the cooking-in-the-kitchen dept

We haven’t talked much about our very own CwF+RtB offering in a while, but when it launched in the summer of 2009, one of the items was the Techdirt Crystal Ball, which gives you a peek into some posts on Techdirt before others have a chance to see them — and it’s become a popular feature for many. The deal was that it was a one year offering, after which we hoped people would renew. However, as we started to get close to that one-year deadline, we were working on some new ideas for new CwF+RtB offerings… and we didn’t want people to feel compelled to re-up without us offering any additional “reason to buy.” So we (quietly) extended anyone who bought a Techdirt Crystal Ball (which came with most other offerings as well) by a couple months.

Unfortunately, it’s been a busy couple of months… and one of the reasons why we still haven’t released the new offerings is that some of them actually involve some backend development on our part, which is ongoing. After realizing that we weren’t going to have everything we wanted in place by now, we’ve actually extended everyone’s 12-month Crystal Ball for an extra 12 months — and we hope that when we’re ready to release the new offerings, you’ll find them worth buying as well.

In the meantime, as we’re working on new offerings, I did want to see if anyone had other ideas of what they’d like to see as an offering. No promises, of course, but we’re already planning to incorporate some user suggestions, and it would be great to hear about what others might find compelling.

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Comments on “Preparing New Techdirt CwF+RtB Offerings, And Extending The Crystal Ball For Those Who Bought”

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112 Comments
Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Water bottles, tank tops, zippered hoodies (instead of pullover), mouse pads, and key chains. Those are the items on my wish list. Not that I would buy all of them, but one or two would be nice.

I’m all for the zippered hoodies, actually. I have one (we did a small run for employees) and I wear it all the time, and need a new one. ๐Ÿ™‚ So, yeah, hopefully that’ll make it on the final list. Long-sleeved shirts are a good idea. Last year a lot of people asked for polo shirts too. So that’s one of the possibilities too.

Water bottles, mouse pads and key chains… not sure people would really buy? But I guess if enough people say they’re interested, we’ll look into it.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

User based themes...

I’ll leave myself off the list, but how about some tshirts/items that incorporate some things the community is known for? Some basic ideas:

1. Tshirt w/a Techdirt logo on the back and a serene smiley face on the front, captioned with the words “Big Ole Grin” (Haphaestus)

2. There must be an “I trolled with Angry Dude” Tshirt….

3. A shirt that is literally COVERED in some kind of a rant, with random capitalization and devoid of any punctuation (NAMELESS.ONE)

4. A shirt with a statement that sounds profound but actually says nothing….followed by six feet worth of a signature (Ronald J. Riley)

5. A “Heh!” shirt (Mike Masnick)

6. A “Hey there little mikee” shirt (Michial Thompson)

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: User based themes...

I’ll leave myself off the list, but how about some tshirts/items that incorporate some things the community is known for? Some basic ideas:

That’s a lot of t-shirts… I wonder if maybe a single “community” t-shirt could work, with some elements from some of the “regular crowd.” Or perhaps a “community” shirt and a “trolls” shirt. That could be fun.

Brendan (profile) says:

Personal Bookmarks / Library

Personally, I have a hard time finding individual articles using the existing search functionality. It can be really hard to nail down exact terms for some of the fairly common topics here.

I’d love to see some sort of personal bookmark / library of articles built into my TechDirt account/profile. When I read an article I think I’ll want to come back to, I can click a little icon that will save it. Perhaps eventually I can add my own tags to each saved article, but that’s not required.

This is something I want not only because I think it’s neat (which I do) but because I’ve struggled many times to find certain articles.

I could use my browser bookmarks, sure… but that requires extra software to make it portable, and it gets mixed into all my other bookmarks.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Personal Bookmarks / Library

I’d love to see some sort of personal bookmark / library of articles built into my TechDirt account/profile. When I read an article I think I’ll want to come back to, I can click a little icon that will save it. Perhaps eventually I can add my own tags to each saved article, but that’s not required.

Hmm. Interesting idea. Could be a good one to add to the project list, but might take a little while as the list is long… But I like it.

Mark Murphy (profile) says:

Consider Group Buys

While stuff for individuals to buy is cool and all (my vote: long-sleeve T-shirts or baseball caps), you might consider branching into group purchases.

For example, host a Virtual Hour with TechDirt for 5 people at, say, $100 per person. Run it via a Skype conference or something, for open Q&A on TechDirt topics and such.

If you don’t want to code the infrastructure for orchestrating the group purchase, use Kickstarter or something off-the-shelf.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Consider Group Buys

While stuff for individuals to buy is cool and all (my vote: long-sleeve T-shirts or baseball caps), you might consider branching into group purchases.

For example, host a Virtual Hour with TechDirt for 5 people at, say, $100 per person. Run it via a Skype conference or something, for open Q&A on TechDirt topics and such.

A very interesting idea. We already had something like this (not quite the same) in the works already (hence some of the delay), but I may want to change it a bit based on your suggestion…

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Laser stickers for the car window, the ability to see the IP addresses of ACs, t-shits with dictionary-style descriptions of on the back: CwF+RtB, Streisand Effect, Free: part of a business model, DRM: software that assumes you are a crook, Copyright: a government granted monopoly, Copying: not theft, etc.

I don’t think anyone wants t-shits (sic). ๐Ÿ˜›

I do like some of the other ideas (we do give out stickers for free with a bunch of the orders already…). Definitely not revealing IP addresses, though. Sorry.

The definitions shirts are an interesting idea. Again, not entirely sure it’s stuff people would want to buy… but maybe.

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

How about drink mats with definitions? This is something that sells well in Scotland with ‘translations’ of common scots words like ‘glaikit’ or ‘eejit’. Or drinks mats with some of the t-shirt comments? Then you could get one or two, or an entire set.

How about a chess set? How would /you/ visualise Weird Harold? How would a battle between TAM and Dark Helmet go? Would RJR’s piece take up two spaces because of the overlong sig? Could anyone else be a bishop so well as ChurchHatesTucker? ๐Ÿ™‚

Craig (profile) says:

Crystal-ballers-only

What about a spot for CBers to put up or shut up once in a while? Specifically, someone might have the brass monkeys to actually write up something TechDirtish. Let them publish and have the rest of the CBers have a go at them. Let them demo their writing chops and also have a chance to feel the wrath of TAM in the process.

One step further, allowing CBers a chance to write on topics pertaining to this site and have them published as a regular article.

Just tossin’ out some ideas!

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Crystal-ballers-only

What about a spot for CBers to put up or shut up once in a while? Specifically, someone might have the brass monkeys to actually write up something TechDirtish. Let them publish and have the rest of the CBers have a go at them. Let them demo their writing chops and also have a chance to feel the wrath of TAM in the process.

One step further, allowing CBers a chance to write on topics pertaining to this site and have them published as a regular article.

Another idea that we’ve been working on something similar for (not quite what you said, but I think it gets at the same idea…). Stay tuned…

Anonymous Coward says:

This is going to be as popular as Crystal Pepsi.

It was a tremendous learning experience. I still think it’s the best idea I ever had, and the worst executed. A lot of times as a leader you think, “They don’t get it; they don’t see my vision.” People were saying we should stop and address some issues along the way, and they were right. It would have been nice if I’d made sure the product tasted good. Once you have a great idea and you blow it, you don’t get a chance to resurrect it.

-David C. Novak, Chairman of YUM Brands, and credited with introducing the Crystal Pepsi concept

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: like movies?

“So hold back unless you pay.”

We’ve had this conversation before in the site. Don’t try to start another dumb argument.

The regular users lose nothing and get the stories at the same time they would otherwise. The paying users get the stories like an hour before everyone else and get to see the queue of not yet released stories (but not the stories themselves). At least, from what I understand.

In the movies situation you have no choice in the matter: the movies are delayed, period. And you still have to pay full price for them.

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: Re: like movies?

Yes, it’s 60 minutes. And sometimes they’re edited during that time. The best part of the Crystal Ball is seeing the titles of what they’re working on. Sometimes you see a title, and then don’t see the article for days, or never. Sometimes you see cool stuff and you get excited (in a geeky, fangirl way). The rest of the time, it just helps us see what not to submit about. ๐Ÿ˜›

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Mike, what about using the CwF+RtB model to let us fund you to do some lobbying?

I don’t think you could pay me enough to have to spend more time in DC. ๐Ÿ˜›

e.g., “if X people buy this option, we’ll use Y% of the money to send Z copies of [some relevant book] to the White House”

I do like that. When we did the book club last year, we did say that people could order it for others, and I even suggested politicians. My original idea was actually to have a pull down list so you could easily order it for your Senator or Congressional rep, but we decided that was likely too much work for something no one would use. But, perhaps something that’s more along the lines of what you said could be cool… And we could send the books “courtesy of the community at Techdirt…”

testcore (profile) says:

More books!

In the last round; everyone who bought the book club got an extra bonus – Patry’s book was actually a first run mistake replete with typo’s. Got confirmation of that from him directly (and also a courtesy PDF w/ corrections). So it was an instant rarity, since his autograph confirmed its source.

A nice “extra surprise” like that would be great in this round. ๐Ÿ™‚

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: More books!

In the last round; everyone who bought the book club got an extra bonus – Patry’s book was actually a first run mistake replete with typo’s. Got confirmation of that from him directly (and also a courtesy PDF w/ corrections). So it was an instant rarity, since his autograph confirmed its source.

A nice “extra surprise” like that would be great in this round. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m sort of torn on the books. They did sell well last time, but it was a *ton* of work to organize. We had to work with four different publishers, get them to ship the books to the authors, have the authors sign the books, ship them to us, then we had to pack them all together and ship them out as well.

There have been some good recent books, so I’m just debating if it’s worth going through the process again.

Another idea I had, frankly, was to do some sort of “book club” where we’d send people a new book every month or every quarter or something (and then maybe discuss it here a few weeks later). I had sorta hoped there would be some sort of service online that would make that easy, but I couldn’t find one. If anyone knows of a way to do that… that would be nice.

Chris Mikaitis (profile) says:

Ideas

1. Podcasts – I have to see the articles through igoogle at work because of stupid internet blocks.

2. Access to a persistent chat room for each article. Debates are difficult with all the lag.

3. Colored comments – maybe distracting, but it’s desirable and also advertising for the perk at the same time.

4. A feature to allow responses to your comment to be e-mailed to you so you don’t have to check the page constantly.

5. Lottery – everyone loves a lottery. All small donations enter into a pool for a chance at a larger tier.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Ideas

4. That would be full of win.

As mentioned, there’s already a checkbox for signed in people (I think that’s how it works…)

6. The ability to edit our comments, because typos makes me sadf.

Have gone back and forth on this. People ask for it all the time, but you always fear the revisionism. Perhaps we could do it, and leave a link for people to see the history…? That would involve some backend work obviously.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Ideas

1. Podcasts – I have to see the articles through igoogle at work because of stupid internet blocks.

Thought about it… but really time consuming… Maybe at some point.

2. Access to a persistent chat room for each article. Debates are difficult with all the lag.

Again, have thought about it, but not sure it would work. We had done some experiments with stuff, and have considered things like Meebo that effectively do that for you, but not sure enough people would really use it.

3. Colored comments – maybe distracting, but it’s desirable and also advertising for the perk at the same time.

We’ve considered this as well, though I’m not sure what the colors would be for. ๐Ÿ™‚

4. A feature to allow responses to your comment to be e-mailed to you so you don’t have to check the page constantly.

We already have that. When you comment, if you’re signed in, there’s a checkbox for getting an email when there are new comments.

5. Lottery – everyone loves a lottery. All small donations enter into a pool for a chance at a larger tier.

Would you believe we actually looked into that before we launched the original cwf+rtb… and our lawyers said “no, no, no, no, hell no, no.” Apparently there are legal issues with running a lottery. Who knew?

Anonymous Coward says:

Think of the children...

…how about a weekend workshop designed to teach kids how to develop, produce and market something.

In one day the people involved would produce something that they developed with the supervision of Masnick and will learn how to market that and try their hands on that and the data collected would be used for case studies.

Maybe a Techdirt market place where people from the community develop products with the Techdirt brand and post it, or a showroom or something like that.

The compass used in those suggestions is “visibility” people have a need to see things working.

And the obvious trinckets that we all love to buy just for fun like bracelets, funny cards, T-Shirts and so on.

trench0r (profile) says:

how about a shirt that says “the streisand effect” with the infamous photo of her house, do any of your offerings give to a cause people can’t refuse? a la colbert’s wrist-strong bracelet proceeds going to the yellow ribbon fund? (who hates war vets?)

how about a pay what you want for something? like this next year’s crystal ball? isn’t it just an artificial scarcity? how about an ipo for techdirt cafe inc! mmm… topless gaming cafe with vodka and red bulls plz!

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

how about a shirt that says “the streisand effect” with the infamous photo of her house

Believe it or not, with the original offerings, we came close to offering a print of that photo (signed by me). I talked to the original photographer about it. Problem was that it would have been pretty expensive, and I didn’t think people would really want it.

do any of your offerings give to a cause people can’t refuse? a la colbert’s wrist-strong bracelet proceeds going to the yellow ribbon fund? (who hates war vets?)

Yeah… something along those lines is in the works. Stay tuned….

how about a pay what you want for something?

Yup. Also in the works. Stay tuned…

(I should note, for all the stuff I keep mentioning is in the works…. things change, so we might not end up getting to all of them).

Misc Consumer says:

Extension

I just wanted to say, amazing.
Ive been reading techdirt for a while, post the occasional comment, and generally just enjoying the scenery. Theres a tight knit group of people here, and techdirt has always seemed like a place that appreciates it’s users, hell you guys even responded to a complaint I had about an annoying advert.

But to find out that you extended your service for free for people, and plan on making it better is amazing. Im sure it makes business sense to extend it, and entice when you can so as not to annoy users. But how many other companies have ever extended anything for free where competition didn’t force them to do so. (Assuming there isn’t a techmud out there selling other cool stuff).

So Good work techdirt. If I was ever going to spend money on misc junk I could get cheaper at other places, Id be willing to spend it here.

darryl says:

What reason to buy again, ??

Yes, what is your “reason to buy” ??

Alot of “talk” so little action.

And what is it about your system that is different to what everyone ELSE DOES ON THE FREAKING PLANET.

You dont think people buy things without a reason to do so ?

You think you are SO SMART with your ‘master plan’, except its a NO BRAINER Mike.

Really Mike how hard is it to see that EVERYONE who sells ANYTHING does it allready.

How can they NOT

“connect with fans and give them a reason to buy”

Gee so when I see an add on TV, or google or whatever (even techdirt) are they NOT connecting with ‘fans’, and the content of the add is “the reason to buy”.

Mike what have YOU dont to apply your ‘own’ formula, what do you do to connect with fans ?

You talk AT people (and hope some will become a ‘fan’), but you do not ‘CONNECT’ with them.

If you consider your readers your ‘fans’ then what are you doing to connect with us ?

No mike you are at a disconnect, you cant even apply your own (not really your own) formula.

You think talking at us, stating misleading facts and cut and paste other people comments is ‘connecting with fans’ ???

So the first term of your equation you cannot get right, then you want to claim you need a reason to buy.

WELL DER !!!.

You do not think that EVERYONE needs a reason to buy!!

What about the desire to buy, that would make more sense, stating ‘reason’ implies a NEED, and most people dont have a NEED for a TD T-shirt.

They may have a DESIRE TO BUY a techdirt T-Shirt, but as for a REASON. What would be the reason to buy a T-Shirt, or a Crystal Ball ?

(the reason why I want a crystal ball is so that I can see the future) yea right Mike.. try again..

I am amazed that you constantly display a total lack of understanding of anything even closely related with the REAL WORLD.

Its also nice to note Mike that you would and are willing to give up your principles for cold hard cash..

So if the price is right, mike will shut down techdirt alltogether.

Nice to see where your heart is Mike, (give me enough money and ill shut my mouth).

So simply put, youre here for the CASH mike, and everything else is geared towards the sales of your ‘merchandise’.

So you are connecting with fans and giving them the reason to buy being that mike will shut his face for a year, and it will only cost you all you want.

Or you can buy a Mike escort service, have Mike as your slave for a day.

Oh my if I only had $100,000 dollars I could get Mike to review my busines plan, that would ensure my future success for sure.

What WONT you do for money Mike, but its nice to see your true colors showing through.

So how is it working for you so far ? making lots of money ? giving all these people a “reason to buy”.

What reason,

“limited edition T-Shirt” is that an “artifical scarcity” Mike ?

Ill make an offer to any Techdirt readers here, that if you want any of these products contact me first, I will make exact copies of all the products and sell that at a quarter of TD’s prices..

Is that OK mike ?

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: What reason to buy again, ??

Darryl, I think you are a douche and a troll.

Let’s just see, last year they had a number of packages on sale, but since you weren’t here you couldn’t have known that.
There was a package where for 1 million US dollars you could shut up Techdirt. So if you really want, you could spend a million to have a year of silence on this blog.

And if you can make cheap copies of the t-shirts and sell them for a quarter of the price here, and you think you have a compelling enough offer so that people would follow you, I don’t think Mike would mind. Mind you, since many here think you are a troll, I don’t think you’d get a lot of sales using that technique.
A big thing in this is, that people want to support the site/artist/writer/moviemaker, and thus are more inclined to buy the slightly more expensive t-shirts/other tangible products, to make them feel good about it.
But that’s something that you don’t understand: ‘Brand loyalty’.

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: What reason to buy again, ??

And what is it about your system that is different to what everyone ELSE DOES ON THE FREAKING PLANET.

The ‘Connecting With Fans’ part. Oh, also, the ‘Reason To Buy’ is missing from many markets.

You think you are SO SMART with your ‘master plan’, except its a NO BRAINER Mike.

Yes, everyone here as repeatedly stated that it’s a very basic and simple concept. Too bad that you don’t seem to understand it.

…Gee so when I see an add on TV, or google or whatever (even techdirt) are they NOT connecting with ‘fans’…

That’s correct. When sellers purchase air time, they are not connecting with fans. Whatever ads are on this site, on the side bar or wherever (Yay, AdBlockPlus!), are talking at potential customers, not connecting with fans.

Mike what have YOU dont to apply your ‘own’ formula, what do you do to connect with fans ?

The fact that your post addresses Mike Masnick directly shows that you understand that this blog is one of the ways that he connects with fans.

You talk AT people (and hope some will become a ‘fan’), but you do not ‘CONNECT’ with them.

That’s funny. I’ve seen Mike and several other TechDirt writers actively discussing aspects of their posts with commentors. Techdirt also offers a forum for non-Techdirt folks (Amanda Palmer, Nina Paley, and Tim Geiger, to name three right off the top of my head…) to interact with fans, and people who may become fans. Personally, I feel like Techdirt has done quite a bit of connecting with me.

Of course, I make sense when I post…

If you consider your readers your ‘fans’ then what are you doing to connect with us ?

Besides having an open blog, Twitter feeds, and so on? What else do they need to be doing?

You think talking at us, stating misleading facts and cut and paste other people comments is ‘connecting with fans’ ???

I don’t think that sort of conduct would make a good connection, and I’m glad that the Techdirt writers don’t do any of that.

..then you want to claim you need a reason to buy.

Yes, it’s CwF+RtB, not one or the other.

They may have a DESIRE TO BUY a techdirt T-Shirt, but as for a REASON. What would be the reason to buy a T-Shirt, or a Crystal Ball ?

Logical fallacy. Reason is how you came to the conclusion that you wanted one. It has nothing to do with need vs. want.

Its also nice to note Mike that you would and are willing to give up your principles for cold hard cash.. So if the price is right, mike will shut down techdirt alltogether. Nice to see where your heart is Mike, (give me enough money and ill shut my mouth).

What’s unprincipled about that? There’s nothing inherently unprincipled in taking a year’s vacay for a million bucks.

So simply put, youre here for the CASH mike, and everything else is geared towards the sales of your ‘merchandise’.

Roflmao, it’s not as though Techdirt is a non-profit, or as if the sole purpose of Techdirt is to inform the public about the matters that are discussed here. The Techdirt blog is very openly a part of a business plan. You know, business? That thing that many people do to make money?

So how is it working for you so far ? making lots of money ? giving all these people a “reason to buy”.

Well, this blog has been around for years and years, as part of a business that’s keeping the many writers and back-end folks in food and housing all of this time, so my guess is: Pretty darn good.

“limited edition T-Shirt” is that an “artifical scarcity” Mike ?

No, a T-shirt is a scarce good, not an artificially scarce good.

Ill make an offer to any Techdirt readers here, that if you want any of these products contact me first, I will make exact copies of all the products and sell that at a quarter of TD’s prices..

The reason to buy a Techdirt T-shirt is because we’re fans of Techdirt, not because we need T-shirts. Purchasing a T-shirt from a troll wouldn’t be cool. There wouldn’t be any reason to buy. Hello?

Is that OK mike ?

The folks at Techdirt has repeatedly stated that they’re okay with the people who copy them, because the market takes care of it for them. If you made and sold T-shirts advertising Techdirt, you’d just be providing free advertising. You know that people copy Techdirt all the time, right? You’d simply be another copier.

Also, is this Technopolitical? Because your post is just as disjointed and amusing as his always were.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 What reason to buy again, ??

You did not, but that’s okay. A friend of mine gleefully reported to me that when he Googled my name, many of the returns that came back were all about how I was trying to run the world, how I was part of an overarching Jewish/Zionist conspiracy, how I was part of the Illuminati or Bilderburgers (particularly funny, given one of my books, Echelon), and how I couldn’t be trusted to pay my taxes.

You can imagine my confusion, until I figured out that they were mispelling and mispronouncing Timothy Geithner….

(My full name is Timothy Geigner, btw, you only missed the ‘n’ in my last name….)

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

please correct me if I'm wrong

I ordered both the initial package with the crystal ball and later also the music package, which also contained the crystal ball.
And it was my understanding that that would mean I’d have 2 years of the TD-CB (Techdirt Crystal Ball)

Are you suggesting that I now have 3 years of the TD-CB?
Or do the extra 12 months only apply to people who didn’t buy two packages with the TD-CB? ๐Ÿ™‚

To disclaim myself, I’m only curious, and am not expecting anything for free.

darryl says:

Mikes paywall.. oh sorry 'crystal ball'

one of the items was the Techdirt Crystal Ball, which gives you a peek into some posts on Techdirt before others have a chance to see them

Ahh, Mike, the one who hates paywalls, just calls it a different name, he calls his paywall a “crystall ball”.

Nice one Mike LOL..

What do you call it when you pay money for specific content ? its a PAYWALL..

Darryl, I think you are a douche and a troll.

Good for you, but at least im on subject, a troll is someone who is not on subject. Hey, wait, thats just what you did.. so if anyone is going to call me a troll im glad its from a real troll. Next time contribute something. So you cannot be accused of trolling.

As for a douche, I guess you just an upset Mike guard dog, good for you. If I made you think for even a second that my job is done, how did it feel ? thinking that is? I guess you did not like it, and prefer to have Mike do your thinking for you.. good for you..

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Mikes paywall.. oh sorry 'crystal ball'

Ahh, Mike, the one who hates paywalls, just calls it a different name, he calls his paywall a “crystall ball”.

As has been explained time and time again, it’s nothing like a paywall. The stories are still posted at the same time, all it means is that these users get to see it in process a bit before others do. A paywall doesn’t go away either — the content is always locked up. Finally, the content is available: if you were able to figure out the links, you could still see it. There’s nothing blocking people from seeing those stories. It’s just that we make it much easier for crystal ball users to find it for a little while…

Hephaestus (profile) says:

hmmm ....

Techdirt wish list ….

1) The ability to get e-mail notifications on specific threads of an article. (ie I would like to be notified if someone responds to this comment, or a response to this comment) Getting every response to an article is annoying.
2) The ability to e-mail other users of techdirt.
3) The ability to create drafts of comments.
4) the ability to edit your own comments for a certain amount of time with a revision history.
5) The ability to upload a file(s) in the submit a story section.

The first one would be the most helpful.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: hmmm ....

Actually, I think the 2nd one has the most potential. Probably best not to use our everyday emails, but how much backend work, development, and/or infrastructure upgrades would be required to give us mini-Facebook style profile pages where people can send messages and/or leave comments?

Better yet, an abbreviated “Techdirt Marketplace” might be kind of cool too….

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: hmmm ....

I was actually thinking e-mail through techdirt so its anon.

To : Dark_Helmut@user.techdirt.com ๐Ÿ™‚
From : Hephaestus@user.techdirt.com

Whats with the red cape on your Image. You got this red riding hood thing going on. Its really hot!!!! Big ole perverted GRIN …

Actually the face book style pages would require a single POS 2 yr old server. There is open source social networking software available.

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: hmmm ....

I was thisclose to suggesting @techdirt.com e-mail forwarding for a fee, but then I thought of all of the havoc people could wreak by being assholes. @user.techdirt.com would probably work, though, since it specifies that we’re users…

Hey, Mike! I would pay $10 a year for an e-mail forward and the Crystal Ball. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: hmmm ....

“Profile pages seem like a lot of effort, but at least some form of private messages would be nice.”

If you go to sourceforge or google you can find all sorts of open source packages to do both the profile pages, email, social networking, etc. Their isnt much work to do, install, configure, run Fortify over it, fix the bugs, done.

ComputerAddict (profile) says:

For the CWF+RtB i’ll throw in Pint glasses w/ techdirt logo, they are my collector’s item of choice.

Maybe have a line level line near the top that says “Connect with fans” as a full pint is a nice/generous way to connect with people, and a line near the bottom that says “Reason to buy” as an empty glass is always a good reason for another round ๐Ÿ™‚

darryl says:

its still a PAYWALL, or lipstick on a pig.. pay for content is a paywall..

Ahh, Mike, the one who hates paywalls, just calls it a different name, he calls his paywall a “crystall ball”.

As has been explained time and time again, it’s nothing like a paywall. The stories are still posted at the same time, all it means is that these users get to see it in process a bit before others do. A paywall doesn’t go away either — the content is always locked up. Finally, the content is available: if you were able to figure out the links, you could still see it. There’s nothing blocking people from seeing those stories. It’s just that we make it much easier for crystal ball users to find it for a little while…

Yes, but Mike we both know that is not true, you have managed to put that lipstick on that pig, it’s been said here that many of the articles you are working on do not EVER get on techdirt, but they do or are available for your paywall clients.

Lets face it Mike, its a paywall, trying to dress it up as something else is a JOKE.. And you are (sorry to say) stupid if you believe or have convinced yourself its anything but a common daggy old paywall. .

Oh but no its not because its not called a paywall, its called a crystal ball, same difference.

If you charge money for specific content, or content that will not ever be posted here, in free world.

Then you are the proud owner of a PAYWALL

So whenever I see you complaining about how bad paywalls are, I will just tell them that all you have to do is call it a ‘crystal ball’ and then its no longer a paywall.. !!!

What a joke… Mike whatever is left of your credability is fading away to nothing !!!!..

But hey you’re got at least 10 different people here that are convinced you are “the leader” all hale the leader.

Thank goodness for you Mike, without you, one of these people would have a single thought between them. But they can parrot you all day.. chanting your mantra. and blinded by your shinning light.

They even believe you are somehow better or more ethical than everyone else.

That you would NEVER run a paywall, or promote a paywall.

But I find you do run a paywall, and I have to guess you want to stop other companies running paywalls as well, as that would mean less money for your paywall.

The fact is, you’ll do anything for a dollar, if the price is right you will sell out your ethics everytime.

And if you think a blog, twitter “and so on” is connecting with fans, then you do not understand what connecting means.

And again, its NO different than what EVERYONE ELSE DOES, they connect with fans, and create a reason to buy.

You’re brainwave, is hardly original, or innovative or creative or anything else.

Ofcourse you have to connect with customers (fans), and you have to give a reason to buy. What companies can you name that DO NOT do that ?

As I said, its a NO BRAINER.. but being so simple and basic I tend to still be amazed at your lack of ability to ‘connect with fans’, and I have yet to see what could possibly be a ‘reason to buy’.

As I stated before, you talk at people, you dictate to them, and you clearly do not follow your own advice, or ethics, but you expect people to just listen and believe you.

NO Mike you do not enter into debates or discussions, you make short posts and say things like “No, you are wrong”, and “stop lying”.

Great Mike, way to display how you ‘connect with fans’, if someone wants to connect with Techdirt, they sure can, but THEY HAVE TO PAY MONEY FIRST..

Sure Mike will pay you attention and connect with you IF YOU PAY HIM ENOUGH otherwise bad luck charley.

Until you can show me, (or anyone else who thinks) why your paywall, or system of selling anything if the price is right any different than any of the groups or companies that also apply the same business techniques as you do.

You know the ones, the ones you always write about, saying how stupid they are and how bad it is for them to do what you are allready doing and have done for some time!!!

Hypocritical, to say the least,

Again, your reputation is in tatters Mike, you just have not worked it out yet. (most others have, except your fanbois).

So it’s after all not about independent news and information, its about pulling in that mighty DOLLAR, if the price is right you will happily give up all your idealogy so you can make a few bucks, flogging T-Shirts and “crystal balls”.

I have to say this for you Mike, you certainly have some balls, pulling off this rightious scam for fun and profit…

Good one,

Why not a Mike for sale T-Shirt, for the right price Mike will do anything you ask..

So amusing, but way to easy..

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: its still a PAYWALL, or lipstick on a pig.. pay for content is a paywall..

Ok, first of all, tldr, but I get the gist of it.

Let me provide a simple guide for you and anyone else that might be confused.

**The international guide to tell the difference between a wall and a ball made of glass — Version 0.2**

Wall:

A wall is a solid object, often used as the main component of buildings. It’s main features are it’s solidity, and the fact that it keeps what is inside of it, well, inside and what is outside of it (surprise) outside. If a wall is in your way, you can’t go through it (without cheating or busting it down). A wall that is particular good at doing it’s job is often referred to as “solid”.

A paywall is a (mythical) subset of the wall family that only grants you access to it’s interior if you provide it with money. Other than that interesting fact, it performs exactly as a wall (keeps stuff inside/outside).

Cristal ball:

A legendary trinket made out of glass (crystal) and shaped like a sphere (ball) that is said to allow the wielder to see into the future. However, since the future is, uh, “unpredictable”, it’s accuracy is sometimes affected.

So, how to tell the difference?

– A paywall is a wall. You can’t get through it no matter how hard you try. If you have doubts, try running at full clip into the wall. Don’t forget to classify it as “solid” once you are done bleeding.

– A crystal ball is a ball made of glass that allows you to see the future. The accuracy of the crystal ball is, however, low, due to many factors (butterflies flapping their wings for example). Notice the interesting fact that, no matter what, the future will happen. You just get to see it happening first (with varying degrees of accuracy).

****

I hope that helps! Tune in next time for more obvious stuff explained to dummies in terms that I can understand.

ComputerAddict (profile) says:

Re: Re: its still a PAYWALL, or lipstick on a pig.. pay for content is a paywall..

In addition to the beating your taking above, I thought I might just add that its not about the idea of a paywall… its about how people are implementing it. They are trying to take an infinite good like national and global news from the AP that’s syndicated over and over and over again and lock it up like its some kind of secret that will never get out (or that you can easily find via a google search. Alternatively if you had a scarce good like hometown local sports results from Nowheresville, Iowa its news that would be something Scare you couldn’t find anywhere else, thats something you should could and get someone to pay for, although there are other ways you could monetize news other than a paywall.

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: its still a PAYWALL, or lipstick on a pig.. pay for content is a paywall..

…it’s been said here that many of the articles you are working on do not EVER get on techdirt, but they do or are available for your paywall clients.

That’s not true, and it’s not what was said. Sometimes they start articles, and the titles are available to view (to anyone, but more easily to for paying customers) but, for whatever reason, the article is never completed and never posted. Any article that appears for Crystal Ball folks show up for everyone. Only the title ever appears. And, again, even the early articles are available to everyone. They’re just easier for us to access.

Lets face it Mike, its a paywall, trying to dress it up as something else is a JOKE.. And you are (sorry to say) stupid if you believe or have convinced yourself its anything but a common daggy old paywall. . Oh but no its not because its not called a paywall, its called a crystal ball, same difference.

Paywall. You keep using that word. I do not think this word means what you think it means.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paywall

If you charge money for specific content, or content that will not ever be posted here, in free world. Then you are the proud owner of a PAYWALL

And Techdirt has never done that, so it’s obviously not a paywall.

But hey you’re got at least 10 different people here that are convinced you are “the leader” all hale the leader. Thank goodness for you Mike, without you, one of these people would have a single thought between them. But they can parrot you all day.. chanting your mantra. and blinded by your shinning light.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Mike is one of many writers here. It seems like you’re the only one here with a fixation on Mike Masnick.

They even believe you are somehow better or more ethical than everyone else.

Better and more ethical than you maybe, but not any more than anyone else, in general, so far as I know.

But I find you do run a paywall, and I have to guess you want to stop other companies running paywalls as well, as that would mean less money for your paywall.

That doesn’t even make sense. Paywalls aren’t a zero sum situation, so the existence of other paywalls wouldn’t automatically hurt any single paywall. It’s irrelevant anyway, because by your own definition, there’s no Techdirt paywall.

The fact is, you’ll do anything for a dollar, if the price is right you will sell out your ethics everytime.

This blog is part of a business. Do you think that it’s somehow unethical for a business to include money? For that matter, what’s going on here that unethical? You keep using that word, without any explanation…

And if you think a blog, twitter “and so on” is connecting with fans, then you do not understand what connecting means.

Connecting. Again, I do not think this word means what you think it means…

And again, its NO different than what EVERYONE ELSE DOES, they connect with fans, and create a reason to buy.

Really? Britney Spears has a blog, a Twitter account, and so on? If you @ her, she’ll reply? If you comment on her blog, she’ll reply and discuss the post with you? Really? Yeah, you’re an idiot.

Ofcourse you have to connect with customers (fans), and you have to give a reason to buy.

So you’re saying that you agree with Mike Masnick?

What companies can you name that DO NOT do that ?

I just named one, but I can think of dozens of others. PG&E, the quarterback of the OU football team, the dealership I purchased my last two vehicles from, Tom Hanks, the CEO of Sandisk and Sharpie… The list is huge.

As I said, its a NO BRAINER..

It is absolutely a ‘no brainer’, but plenty of companies and people can’t manage to do it.

…but being so simple and basic I tend to still be amazed at your lack of ability to ‘connect with fans’, and I have yet to see what could possibly be a ‘reason to buy’.

Plenty of fans have written about their connections, and have purchased. Therefore, Techirt has successfully managed the CwF+RtB model.

As I stated before, you talk at people, you dictate to them, and you clearly do not follow your own advice, or ethics, but you expect people to just listen and believe you.

Examples?

NO Mike you do not enter into debates or discussions, you make short posts and say things like “No, you are wrong”, and “stop lying”.

You’re absolutely wrong. But have fun with that.

Great Mike, way to display how you ‘connect with fans’, if someone wants to connect with Techdirt, they sure can, but THEY HAVE TO PAY MONEY FIRST..

The Techdirt writers were connecting with fans, including myself, long before the Crystal Ball, which previous purchasers got for free after it expired.

Until you can show me, (or anyone else who thinks) why your paywall, or system of selling anything if the price is right any different than any of the groups or companies that also apply the same business techniques as you do.

No one has claimed that Techdirt is the only blog to leverage this model. In fact, Techdirt makes a habit of writing posts about other companies and people who do the same thing.

Again, your reputation is in tatters Mike, you just have not worked it out yet. (most others have, except your fanbois).

With who? Fans? Tech writers? Congress? You know, all of those people who do value the input of the people here…

So it’s after all not about independent news and information, its about pulling in that mighty DOLLAR, if the price is right you will happily give up all your idealogy so you can make a few bucks, flogging T-Shirts and “crystal balls”.

What ideology? You keep ignoring the fact that this blog, which has repeatedly stated that it is not news or journalism, is a part of a business.

Why not a Mike for sale T-Shirt, for the right price Mike will do anything you ask..

Except post letters threatening lawsuits, even though his fans have been begging him to do so for years. ๐Ÿ™‚

So amusing, but way to easy..

An accurate statement, as long as it’s referring to debunking your posts.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: its still a PAYWALL, or lipstick on a pig.. pay for content is a paywall..

Dear Darryl,

let me tell you about the time that the people here on Techdirt contacted me directly (connecting with fans).
A few weeks ago, I got put on a moderation-needed list, because apparently my company had changed ISPs, and that ISP was notorious for having trolls and such on their network.

So I sent an email describing the problem and asking them what I did wrong.

It turned out that I hadn’t done anything wrong and that Mike had seen my posts being stuck in the moderation queue already and the people at TD told me so, and they put me on an exceptions list.
Now, they didn’t need to answer my emails, and in that case eventually I’d have grown tired of the moderation queue, and have gone away in search of some other site to talk about copyright issues, where they did want my input. But since they connected with me, they kept me as a fan of the site.

Also, recently I asked Mike a question right here on the blog, and he answered me in a response to that question.
THAT is connecting with fans.

tl;dr:
I had a problem on the site, Mike and co responded to me directly, and made me an even bigger fan of their work than before, more inclined to spend money here.

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