MacStories launches new paid membership programs/Discord server/exclusive content

Well, the market will sort that out. No one is forcing someone to pay, therefore everyone there is paying willingly. Which means there is no exploitation because people will be getting the value they desire from the subscription.

I upgraded myself because I like supporting Federico and the team. But if I don’t get the value I expect, I will downgrade my membership. That’s the beauty of it for me…I can move my subscription money around to maximize my enjoyment while still supporting creators in a variety of ways.


The word “exploitative” is very strong.

Maybe you meant to write, “I wish this stuff was cheaper, because I can’t justify paying for it, because I don’t think it’s worth it to me.”

As a side note: it’s interesting a number of entities in this area have their own platforms. Maybe there OnlyFans equivalent platform for Apple-related sites…


People periodically paying for content?
That’s like shudder a magazine or something.
Where will it end?


“The extra content is just gravy”

The way Federico thinks is “I am happy with current the MacStories Membership prices. Anything above that (Plus and Premium) is gravy to me”

Perhaps he thinks … if I don’t do this, I’ll go out of business, and all the work I’ve done so far, will be for nought?

1 Like

Monetizing your fan base is fine. And charging for content is fine.

To me, though, there’s a distinction between charging for content the publishers create themselves (or their employees / freelancers create) and charging for content the members create. Charging me for the posts I and other members write on a Discord server or forum seems very different to me than charging me for posts and articles the outlet produces.

Either way, of course, I might conclude it’s worth paying for. But it does strike me as a distinction worth noting.


That’s a possibility too.

I agree, and that’s why I subscribed to Club MacStories+ because the content is good and I want it to continue. That said, my plan is to reconsider next year to see if the value is still there (as happens with all my subscriptions).

Initial impressions are that the custom-built web app is really polished and I like being able to search and create custom feeds. I’m really looking forward to the new columns Automation Academy and Macintosh Desktop Experience. Unfortunately, I find the Discord community overwhelming with too much noise so it’s not for me. I also won’t get much out of AppStories+. What sold me was the additional content, Calliope app, and exclusive discounts on apps.

But I completely get that this isn’t for everyone, especially if you weren’t sold on the original Club MacStories. The team there still post great content for free that anyone can access and that’s good enough for a lot of people.


Interesting angle!

Compare with, say, a conventional club. Most people don’t actually pay to go because of the venue—they want to be there with whoever else is there.

These digital social spaces are not far off from that.

And, in fact, the cost is probably cheaper. Think about how much people pay for food at restaurants just to spend time with one another…

The Discord isn’t just charging members for their own chats. The benefits page says that MacStories staff are involved in chats and they also do a weekly “town hall” live audio event.

That said, I don’t have a problem with paid access to forums per se.

1 Like

That’s a good point. There’s definitely value in a smart community. Of course, most clubs are nonprofits or similar, not profit-making enterprises.

Again, I don’t think there’s something inherently wrong with charging members to get access to fellow members’ contributions. A lot depends on the context, and as with any payment for services, the quality of what you’re getting (which is very subjective). There are definitely communities I would or do pay to access, quite willingly. And there are communities that don’t charge, but monetize their members’ output other ways — which has certainly come under criticism at times. But I do see it as different than charging for enterprise-generated content.

1 Like

Trying not to be That Guy, but it’s probably best that we don’t assign thoughts to other people that we don’t know. Unless he’s stated it publicly, nobody here knows what Federico thinks. :slight_smile:

I think it’s more of a “gating” thing. If you join forums like the ones at MacStories the paywall effectively weeds out trolls and some of the most low-value content.

People aren’t paying to spend time with one another in that case, though. They’re paying for the convenience of not cooking.

That’s generally true unless you’re talking about ticketed events, in which case charging for the food is typically a thinly-veiled strategy for the organizers to get a free room by getting all the attendees to buy overpriced dinners. :smiley:

1 Like

I missed that. That’s maybe more like charging for access to an app’s developer — kind of higher tier of support.

Anyway, there’s no question that “content producers” (aka publishers in simpler times) have to get creative about finding ways to generate revenue.

1 Like

@webwalrus It was not a statement. It was just for humor. Take it with a grain of salt. :grinning:

If a little bit of wit , humor is not allowed then mods can delete it.

I think there’s a slight difference. As an example, a one year subscription to the digital edition of Time magazine (and access to online content, etc.) is around $35 (I only got the see the prices in euro). And that is Time magazine. With an editoral staff and true journalists, not people rewriting press releases and installing new apps on their iPad. Compare that to “Club Whatever Premium Plus”.

Same goes for all the podcast subscriptions. Paying $60 (an imaginary amount) a year for some weekly 30 minute bonus chit chat (oops, sorry… that should of course be “bonus content”) seems way too much to me.

However, it’s a free world. And apparently enough people are (still) willing to pay for this. Like I mentioned before: it shows I’m not the target audience. But at the same time I think it’s a strange sign of the times that online journalism is struggling, whilst people are willing to pay for this type of content.


I’m also not seeing the value in the Club subscriptions. Maybe I’ll sub for a month when I’m bored and want to skim through backlogs.

I used to subscribe but there’s not much exciting stuff for me. I often feel that the discussion is often shallow and I can get better information just by googling for 15 min.

One major issue is the lack of perspectives. They’re writing and talking from the perspective of Apple reviewers, not users anymore.

Another issue is simply that there’s just not much exciting apps to talk about. I feel the app development on iOS and Mac is rather stale, largely due to Apple’s draconian rules. Who’s going to try new app ideas when Apple could simply deny it in the App Store, remove it when Apple feels like to, while taking large cuts even when it’s allowed.

I stopped subscribing when Federico started his “journey” on Hi-Fi, which has a lot of common misinformation and snake oil beliefs. He really needs to do better research on objective measurements, rather than completely falling to the cult of subjective experience from Head-Fi. It’s such a shame when he started to recommend hardware that costs more than an iPhone but performs objectively worse than iPhone in the audio department.

But I guess some people would just defend by saying “no one is forcing you to buy it”, which is totally off the point. The point of discussion here is to say what we feel about these memberships, not about whether it’s pointless to even talk about it.


At the same time, a lot of magazines include advertising in the issues you’re buying.

It always discombobulated me to pay for a subscription that sounded interesting, only to find that half of the pages shipped to me were ads.

1 Like

it’s just a response people can give when there’s no desire to debate the quality or merit with you. People widely in how much money they have to spend on media information and entertainment (or whether they’re spending their own money or someone else’s.) So it’s hard to generalize subscribers and non-subscribers because spending money on media at all means more to some than others on top of what subgenre/topic/medium/geographical/social-signal preferences they have and a polite refusal to engage is an easy way to avoid saying the wrong thing.

For me, personally, it would never occur to me to put my MPU subscription, or MacStories subscription if I had one, in the same bucket as my Time/Economist/Bloomberg etc. subscriptions and weigh them against each other. But I totally understand if someone only has a $60 budget for all media and so chooses Time over a podcast subscription I like. Or if they have a $1,000 media budget and still don’t subscribe to a podcast I like because they differ from me in one or more preference categories.

If we do have the same preferences and budgets and you think something I subscribe to is worthless, well, then we could debate a bit because I would want to convince you that I see something you don’t see. :slight_smile:

Of course we all have different perception of values. Someone with unlimited budget might see everything money can buy as worthy expenditure, because money is an unlimited resource for them.

What I’m saying is that, if you don’t want to argue, then just don’t say anything. It’s off the point to join a conversion to just say the conversion itself is meaningless.

I know the club is a good value for many people. I’m not here to deny any of that. I could also imagine myself keeping the subscription if I’m new to the platform, or not such a nerd already. :smile:

1 Like