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Me, and some railings

The subscribers shirt
Dear Fetchies

Just over eight years ago, I sent you all an email because I had some important news to share. I'd just been approached by one of the world's biggest publishing companies, asking me if they could buy my website, and hire me to run it for them. And after much soul-searching, I'd agreed.

I remember the nervousness that we all felt about that decision, but I feel entirely vindicated by what has happened since. For the last eight years (and through one of the biggest recessions in living history), Natmag-Rodale have unblinkingly supported the site, and they've been absolutely true to their word. They've given me the freedom to take the website wherever it wants to go; and trusted me with every decision. And you have too.

So it is with the same spirit of honesty and optimism that I write to you today, with another request to make.

Over the years, I have regularly referred to Fetcheveryone as a 'free' website. I use this word in many ways. It's free to use; it's free to adapt to the demands of its community; and you are free to be Fetchies in whatever way you see fit.

Unfortunately it's not free to operate a website. Admittedly, Fetch has a fairly low budget – comprising entirely of 1) my salary; 2) the cost of a web server; and 3) my personal stock of jewel-encrusted racing underpants. As things stand, the site covers some of these costs through the advertising that you see on the site – but it's unlikely to ever get to the point where this will be enough.

Around us, there are plenty of other websites with the same problem – and perhaps the most common method of making money is the 'premium subscription' – hiding all the best features unless you're willing to fork out. This does not sit well with me. I don't want our website to be that kind of place. I think it's important to do the best we can for as many people as possible, and I think it's important that everyone feels like an equal part of the community.

For me, that means we need a solution that continues the ethos of sharing and community that has held our site together for the last 11 years. I want to show that a website with flaws and bugs and an eye-watering dress sense can be just as strong, if not stronger, than the teeth-whitened, corporate-backed big hitters.

So my answer is based on faith. I would like to invite you to take up a voluntary annual subscription. As the name implies, you don't have to; and as my boss was keen to point out, we won't get switched off either. I won't delete your stuff, or hide your graphs, or stop being pals. But if you can support the site in this way, it opens up the world to us all, and gives me the freedom to focus on making the site better every day.

I've put together three levels of subscription, and it's entirely up to you which (if any) you choose. And because it's hard enough for me to ask for your donations, I've thrown in some sweeteners too.

£10 per year
Nice one! As a thank you for your support, I'll also turn off the ads that appear on the site whenever you are logged in.

£25 per year
Wow, that's awesome, thanks! I'll turn off the ads for you, and I'll also send you a Fetch car sticker and pin badge.

£50 per year
You're epic, seriously! I'll fry the ads for you, and you'll also get an exclusive Fetch shirt, a pin badge, and a car sticker. You rock!

Don't worry, the subscription will NOT renew automatically, so you don't have to remember to cancel it. Instead I'll drop you a line in about 11 months to see if you're still up for it. Far nicer, huh?

About The Goodies

Here's the pin badge, and over on the left, you should see the shirt. The car sticker will be similar!

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