No More Patreon–Hello, GRM+

Tom
By Tom Suddard
Apr 8, 2021 | GRM+

Almost exactly one year ago, we published one of the bleakest updates on our industry we’ve ever written. A few weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic, the motorsports world was frozen, and institutions we’d always known seemed to be circling the drain.

That included our own company.

As a small, family-owned business, we’ve been able to avoid some of the debt-laden pitfalls of our corporate competition. But that independence also means there’s no mothership to watch over us, and no Scrooge McDuck money pile to fall back on when the entire industry is threatened at once. A budget forecast with “nothing” in every single month tapers to zero remarkably quickly.

So we reached out, asking our community to #SupportMotorsport and to support us, too, via our online store and print subscription sales. Within a few days of posting, we received so many requests that we eventually set up a Patreon page, too, where readers could pledge recurring monthly support for the content they loved.

Put simply, the response was overwhelming. April 2020 was our busiest month ever for both merchandise and subscription sales, and that support continued in the form of the user-requested Patreon page. To this day, a loyal part of our community has continued to pledge a few dollars per month to support us.

The economic realities of niche publishing are still painfully true: All this support still hasn’t been enough to offset the advertising revenue we lost when the pandemic hit. But it has been enough to retain every one of our employees on staff with their full salary and benefits, to ensure that every issue of the magazines leaves the printer on time, and to keep our website full of new content every day.

It’s also been enough to show our advertisers the passion (and value) of our audience, and we’ve seen that side of our business slowly trend toward normal as the world reopens. And every time a vaccine goes into a staff member’s arm, we feel closer to the end of the wildest time in our company’s history.  

We’d be lying if we said we didn’t feel guilty about all this. COVID-19 has killed nearly 3 million people, with nearly 20% of those deaths occurring right here in the United States. People we used to share the grid with have lost jobs, loved ones, and their own lives.

We’ve managed to avoid most of those misfortunes, and that wouldn’t have happened without our community’s support. From every staff member, many of whom are also family: Thank you. You’ve changed our lives, and we’ll never forget that.

There is one thing we are ready to forget, though: The Grassroots Motorsports Patreon page will be shut down today, and none of our supporters will be charged again. COVID-19 isn’t over yet, but we feel confident that we’ll survive it without asking for any more of your donations.

However, all that support did help us to realize something: We might not need to base our website on the world of banner advertising and all its associated pitfalls. Members of our community seem more than willing to support the things they love, including our digital content and the forum they visit daily. And thanks to the free time we’ve had while the tracks were closed, we’re now ready to embrace that energy to help these things grow.

Today we’re launching GRM+, our new digital subscription product designed for everybody who loves what we do but doesn’t necessarily want to express that love by ordering a tree be cut down, made into a magazine, and mailed to their house every few weeks.

And this isn’t just us asking for a donation: Every GRM+ member will receive unlimited access to read every past and present issue of the digital edition of the magazine online. They’ll also see drastically fewer ads on every page of the website, creating a browsing experience that’s a huge upgrade from what’s currently available.

We know that forum titles are almost as important as dyno numbers for our community, so every GRM+ member will also receive a special designation on each forum post they make. We plan to add more benefits in the coming months as we become more familiar with the GRM+ audience. And if you’ve been a Patreon supporter in the past, check your email for a coupon code that will ensure you get to experience GRM+.

We’re not sure what GRM+ will look like in 10 years or even 10 months, but for 37 years–through one crisis after another–we’ve shown that a passionate community is enough to beat bigger companies with deeper pockets every single time. We’re excited to be back on track–in several different ways. Thanks for being here with us, everybody.

GRM+ costs $3 per month or $30 per year, and you can click here to start your subscription.

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Comments
ultraclyde (Forum Supporter)
ultraclyde (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
4/6/21 5:42 a.m.

I normally hate the idea of website subscriptions, but there's no question in my mind that GRM is worth supporting financially. Even if you ignore the fantastic dead trees you guys send me monthly, the community and knowledge base you've created online is well worth the price of a large coffee every month. 
I'm looking forward to being a part of whatever coolness this becomes. 

gumby
gumby GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/6/21 6:25 a.m.

Done

Thanks GRM!

Done. I look forward to what this becomes. Thanks for everything you guys do!

Sk1dmark (Forum Supporter)
Sk1dmark (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand New Reader
4/6/21 6:41 a.m.

Loving that I can still have ample opportunity to support. Just went to get the subscription to GRM+ however and my webpage returned an error:

 

{"error": "get() returned more than one User -- it returned 2! It is possible you share an email with more than one account, which is not supported"}

 

Not sure how to recitfy, but once it is I'll be right back in line!

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/6/21 7:17 a.m.

I'll add the + later today, but are you ending the Patreon thing?  So that will stop all by itself?

BTW, the ads here are not bad at all, so will there be a way to keep more ads so that you guys can get a few more pennies from my looking around?  Whatever ad system you use, it has a fraction of the effect of other pages, so it's not bad.  

Done

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
4/6/21 7:34 a.m.

In reply to Sk1dmark (Forum Supporter) :

This should be fixed. You might have to log out and then log in again for the fix to take effect.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
4/6/21 7:44 a.m.

In reply to alfadriver (Forum Supporter) :

Yes, Patreon is on its way out. We'll be shutting it off later today. There doesn't appear to be a way to retain our ability to message Patreon people without also charging them, so this way they'll have a day to read our post announcing GRM+.

At this point, we're more focused on launching the program, squishing bugs, and thinking of other cool stuff we could add, and less focused on more precise control over showing more ads to GRM+ members. We want you all to have the best experience possible.

WonkoTheSane (FS)
WonkoTheSane (FS) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
4/6/21 7:47 a.m.

In.

Done, love the idea.

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