When Grant and I first set out to make Hell For Leather a little more than three years ago, we had one goal in mind: to give you, the motorcycle-loving public, the bike magazine you always deserved. We’re pushing intelligent, entertaining content that puts you, not the motorcycle makers, first. Now, we’re putting a premium on real journalism, in-depth feature content and timely news and analysis all wrapped up in a package that fits into the way you consume media in this century. From here on out, you’ll be able to subscribe to Hell For Leather for $1.99 a month.
Gasp! You mean, you’re going to charge for content on the Internet? But that’s unpossible! That’s exactly what we’re going to do, and it’s entirely possible because we’re going to be doing it in an entirely new way.
Having said that, this isn’t an entirely new idea. The Wall Street Journal already asks subscribers to pay to read its website, and The New York Times will be joining it in charging for online content early next year when it initiates a new system rumored to cost about the same as a paper subscription. Current publishing industry wisdom suggests that subscriptions are the future of online content.
What we’re doing isn’t just new because it’s an easier pill to swallow — $1.99 a month — or because we’re applying it to a niche publication. It’s new because we think we’ve found a way to remain open to the Internet while offering you significant value as a subscriber.
How this is going to work is everyone will always be able to read the front page and search for content. When we publish a new story, it’ll remain open to non-subscribers for a short period of time. Initially, we’re setting that time at 24 hours to give all of you time to sign up; we’ll be decreasing that open time over the coming weeks. Additional content like photo galleries and comments (both participating in discussions and reading them) will be available to subscribers only.
Does that change the way Hell For Leather works for you? Not really. Subscribe, log in and use HFL the same way you always have. You’ll still be able to share stories on Facebook, you’ll still be able to drop a link to a neat new bike or a controversial story into your favorite forum. You’ll still be able to email your mom a link to photos of your winning Scar Off entry or argue in the comments with that guy that doesn’t realize pre-unit Triumphs were the pinnacle of motorcycle design. The nerve of it!
What will be changing is the quality, frequency and amount of content. We won’t just be spending your subscription money on fur coats and ivory canes, we’ll be using it to help us reach our goal of making you the best motorcycle publication in the world. That means more writers, more stories, more adventures, more journalism. Watch out for a surprise new writer later today.
Everything you’ve read on Hell For Leather to-date has been created on essentially zero budget. Grant and I have devoted ourselves to the cause of making you a better bike magazine with no financial reward and have funded things like Expedition: Labrador or getting the exclusive on the MotoCzysz E1pc out of our own, shallow, pockets. Not only will your subscription allow us to devote ourselves full time to Hell For Leather, but it will give us the budget to give you bigger, better, more exciting, more in-depth content. You’ll be investing in growing a full-funded motorcycle magazine that has serving you as its primary motivation. You’ll be making Hell For Leather yours.