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A new membership model for the Front Matter blog

The Front Matter blog is launching a new membership model today. In August 2021 this blog started offering optional paid membership via the Buy Me a Coffee service. Unfortunately. two things happened: a) Paypal dropped supporting Buy Me a Coffee for membership payments at the end of last year, and b) there wasn't really any uptake of this support model, even if only charging $3 (or a cup of coffee) per month.

We are therefore doing two changes today:

  • drop support for paid membership,
  • drop integration with Buy Me a Coffee and instead integrate with the built-in membership model of the Ghost blogging platform.

Integrating with the built in membership of the Ghost blogging platform is not easy, as membership integration via official Ghost API calls is incomplete and this blog uses the popular JAMstack setup where backend (Ghost) and frontend (a custom open source solution built around Next.js) are separated into two separate services. We therefore need feedback by our users to iron out any glitches. The membership signup form is at the bottom of all category pages and the home page, and filling out the form triggers an email to confirm the membership. Users will then receive every blog post as email, as well as occasional emails from Front Matter staff.

For this convenience members allow Front Matter to track how many emails have been opened, helping Front Matter to collect feedback for the blog. Please report any issues you encounter to info@front-matter.io.

We updated our privacy policy to reflect these changes. Most importantly, we are not tracking any personalized information without explicit user opt-in (for membership and/or authorship of blog posts). The usage stats of the Front Matter blog are collected by the Plausible Analytics service and don't include any personal information such as IP addresses or detailed geographic information – in contrast to services such as the widely used Google Analytics which collects this and other personalized information (more background).

We will continue to investigate other options to financially support this blogging platform. We are not interested in exclusive content only available to paying members, as this wouldn't align with Open Science principles. We are open to sponsorship and other suggestions.

Copyright © 2022 Martin Fenner. Distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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