Thursday March 31, 2011

Introducing NIN Hotline Premium (April Fool's)

UPDATE: Every year, I'm one of those guys with a websites who does something dumb on April 1st. Paywalls are stupid, charging people to view content that I culled from other people on the internet is something I could never justify to myself. I'll probably keep the Facebook page around though. Anyway, the following message is, in a word, bullshit.

When the NIN Hotline began over a decade ago, there wasn't a word for what this site was. We had to make up the word blog, and for better or for worse, that word we came up with has been wildly more popular than our site.

I started this site during a brief period of unemployment between working for The York Daily Record and The York Newspaper Company. Given my experience in both the newsroom at YDR and the New Media Department at the YNC, I've always tried to keep a pseudo-journalistic approach to how we report news here, and often look to the newspaper industry to lead the charge in this rapidly reshaping digital landscape.

It's in that spirit that I'd like to announce that, following in the footsteps of the industry leader The New York Times, we will begin integrating user accounts so that you can better personalize your experience at TNINH, and so you can send me money for what we've very generously been giving away for free. You don't have to be a subscriber to read our front page news or our Twitter account, but in coming months, premium members will have exclusive access to our expansive archives, as well as high resolution, digitally watermarked full-color photos of NIN Hotline staff, past and present. NIN Hotline premium members have the ability to generate PDF versions of decades worth of articles, and any future giveaways on the site will be limited to registered, paid NIN Hotline premium accounts.

Appropriately enough for a website dedicated to the people behind the score for the social network, we're expanding our reach into, well, social networks! You've been able to friend us on MySpace forever, and we've got an amazing 12,000 followers on Twitter, but if you really want to show your friends how cool you are, you can now Like us on Facebook! And though we don't want to step on any toes, we're currently populating official ninhotline YouTube and Vimeo channels with content that we've collected from NIN fans around the internet. Premium users will be able to view these videos in one of many themed players we've created, which pull content through YouTube and Vimeo APIs into a page with a tiled background image of your favorite NIN album cover, and header in matching font. Trust me, I know it sounds kind of stupid but it's actually really amazing.

So, how do you become a premium member? Once you create an account, follow the instructions under the "Premium Services" tab. The cost is a very modest $5.75 per month, a figure I came up with after comparing other leading services. We are in the midst of developing an iPad version of the site, which will be $8/mo, but you get the first three months free with the initial purchase price of $9.99. The money will go towards our hosting costs, finally paying our volunteer staff, refreshing the codebase and styling of the site, buying a copy of that Pretty Hate Machine demo tape from Martin Atkins, and with any luck, a Dave Smith/Roger Linn Tempest drum machine for my study.

If you're a long-time viewer of the site, you know that we love to give stuff away. So in that spirit, we will be drawing five names from people who have 'liked' us on Facebook - the winners will receive a free six-month subscription to our premium services.

Keep your eyes peeled for more information about creating your NIN Hotline account and signing up for NIN Hotline Premium this weekend. If you have more questions about NIN Hotline Premium, please refer to our FAQ. Thanks!