It is time for a new subscription format for 2014.

In 2003 when I started charging a fee to subscribers of the John Lothian Newsletter, I introduced the concept of voluntary pay subscriptions. Since then the John Lothian Newsletter has been offered in this unusual manner. But what exactly does “voluntary pay” mean?

The inspiration for this came from the world of software development and a desire to keep the growth of the newsletter viral. Start up software developers would offer their developing products first as “freeware” and then as “shareware” as they received feedback from early adopters and improved their product.

Users of shareware were asked to pay a fee for the software if they found it valuable after they tried it out. Eventually they charged for their software and provided support and regular updates.

When I settled on this approach in the 4th year of the newsletter, I wanted to keep the viralness of the John Lothian Newsletter and encourage people to forward it to their friends and colleagues. I wanted to maximize the utility of the newsletter for the industry, not for myself. I wanted people to pro-actively forward the newsletter without a second thought to those who would find the information useful in their professional or personal lives to grow the readership and its impact.

And that is the key to paying.

If you receive the John Lothian Newsletter and find it valuable, if it makes an impact in your personal or professional life, then you are asked to pay for it. If you have many people at your firm receiving and reading JLN, we believe you find it valuable and will send you an invoice. In 11 years of voluntary pay, more and more subscribers have paid for it each year. We thank you.

Today, 11 years later I am changing the payment structure for the newsletter for all new subscribers. From the beginning of 2014 on, new subscribers will get a 60-day free trial to the newsletter and be required to pay for it to continue their subscription beyond that date.

For current subscribers, the current payment policy will stay in effect. But guess what, if you have been receiving the newsletter for years and have not paid for it, you are going to be asked (repeatedly) to pay for it.

If you are employed in these markets, if you are a trader in these markets or offer a product or service to these markets, the John Lothian Newsletter is an invaluable resource for you. It is the daily news source, the complete record of important events, new products, new regulations, new opportunities and lots of other news. The John Lothian Newsletter also aims spur debate and sometimes tug at heartstrings for any number of great charitable causes. (What other publication does that, or invites key leaders to guest edit the whole publication?)

If you find one thing valuable in JLN in all of 2014, it will have paid for itself in multitudes of multiples.

In 2003, John Lothian was the John Lothian Newsletter. Today, the John Lothian Newsletter and John Lothian News is John Lothian, Jon Matte, Jim Kharouf, Sarah Rudolph, Jeff Bergstrom, Ryan Lothian, Doug Ashburn, Patrick Lothian, RJ Roxas and Rachel Koning-Beals. Support for this newsletter now means supporting a broader array of industry services such as:

  • MarketsWiki, a globally used knowledgebase with almost 20,000 pages of content
  • MarketsReformWiki, the most comprehensive, and free, site for financial regulation
  • Four JLN newsletters – Environmental/Energy; Options, Financials and Managed Futures
  • An expansion into video, which we believe has raised the profile of the industry and done so with quality that is fitting for this industry
  • And of course, this newsletter.

In short, we strive to be the source of your daily news and discourse. Our distribution to readers stretches worldwide today and we provide a platform by which everyone can use and participate in.

We have grown up as a publication and company and have new responsibilities to you our readers, and I to the team of talented professionals who produce the JLN newsletter and support our wikis and website. It is time for a new format for 2014.

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