Writers, if you use the site Duotrope, the time is at hand to get ready for some changes. They are switching to a paid format beginning Jan 1, which several others have written about.
What that means in practical terms is:
- Go back up your data now. On the submission tracker page, click the large “Export to Excel/CSV” button. This is a good idea, whether or not you’re planning to continue using the service.
- Unless you pay up, most features of the site won’t be available anymore. Market listings will, however, continue to be indexed by Google, so if you use the right query, you can still find all these pages (minus useful statistics).
- If you’re interested in following market news, you can still subscribe to their newsletter and/or Twitter feed. It sounds like possibly the newsletter is a grandfathered-in feature, so if you want it, best go subscribe before Jan 1 rolls around.
- They also claim the RSS feeds (all activity on markets-where-you-have-a-sub and all activity on markets-you’ve-favorited) will go behind the paywall, but this will require a security change that the vast majority of RSS reader software can’t handle–so we’ll see what happens. You might want to bookmark the link behind the text “Special RSS Feed of your Pending Submissions” on the submission tracker page.
As for how the transition ends up in the long run…we’ll see. I know of at least two competitors now in formative stages. I respect the admins’ efforts to make this something they can earn a living from. Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life. Truth be told, I’m a little jealous. In my day job, I make tools to build these kinds of data-driven apps/sites, and I’d love to be doing it 100% independently.
And a few predictions to close: Their going rate of $50/year will fall, I predict–I don’t see the market bearing that over a sustained period. The market segment they’re going for right now appears to be “anyone who might pay us $50/year” but that will get more refined and segmented over time as well. If done right, they can make it up on volume. Several free or cheaper competitors will spring up in the short term, but more than half of them will fail. Doing this kind of site–and doing it well–requires a huge amount of work that’s easy to underestimate on the back of a napkin.
P.S. Keep your eye on Submitomancy, which looks like the strongest of the new competitor sites.