Ok, here's my problem. A magazine is a magazine, and you have to pay for them or a subscription to them. Got no problem with that. This site however seems to blur the line a bit between the forum and the magazine. If I want to read the magazine I'll pay for it, but I'm not going to pay for a forum when there are several others out there for free.
However, I have a hard time discerning what is and what is not a part of the free forum and the magazine. Especially with the recent changes, some parts of the forum are now only accessible to magazine subscribers, yet some magazine articles/trip reports are free to the public. I just think there should be a better distinction, as well as maybe a disclaimer "hey this is part of a series, future articles may not be available to the public"... Knowing that, some people(like me) wouldn't even start reading the article.
It's not that I think everything should be free. My whole family is involved in/own/started small businesses, I know you gotta make money. I'm sure your magazine is great, but I just don't see a value in it. And it seems others feel the same.
I see the article outlines on the main pages, and I have yet to see one that I just had to buy access to. Since the popularity of online forums, I just think magazine gear reviews have become obsolete. Let me explain:
Usually an article reviews gear that has been provided by the manufacturer, which means it may or may not be the latest/greatest, lightest/strongest, etc. And if it is, it is usually only a matter of weeks or months until the product is available for sale to the public, and as soon as that happens, the "free and unbiased" gear reviews will hit the forums. And, usually, reviews have already hit the web by beta testers, so the magazine gear review is simply one more persons point of view, not "the only info I can find on this product."
Also, it was brought up about advertisers pulling there dollars because of bad reviews. It would seem they would also stop giving away there gear for the same reasons. That is why I only read magazine reviews with a grain of salt. But, when I read someones opinion of a product they had to spend there hard earned money on, and they have no relations to the manufacture, that, now that is a review I take to heart, and it just happens to be free. See where I'm going with this?
In my personal opinion, what I see happening here, is a company trying to salvage an obsolete form of media, instead of embracing the future. And in an attempt to do so, is charging for things that were once free to entice more members. Unfortunately, taking away what is free elsewhere won't get people to pay for it. As long as it can be had free somewhere else, why pay for it? What you need to do is get together with all the other sites, that way we don't have any options, so we will pay for it, and just go on which company we like more, or provides better service. Most people will happily carry a free 2 lb. tent than spend $300 on a 1.5 lb. tent. See what I'm trying to say?
If you want to keep the magazine going strong, fine. It would just be nice if you wouldn't blur the line between payed for media and free media. And, regardless of what has become accepted sales practice, "teasing" without any form of disclaimer is still shady. Put out a preview, but don't play half the movie, then cut it off with "if you want to see how it ends, go to BLOCKBUSTER!" People wouldn't be running to the movie store, they'd be POed.
Like I said, business is business and I understand that. Nothing personal. However, by the backlash you've been getting, it looks like your doing it wrong. Remember Netflix? Might have been a good idea businesswize but look whats happened to there stock...
P.S. Sorry if my thoughts are a little jumbled or hard to read. I don't always have time to go back and proof read and rewrite long posts like this.