posted by David Adams on Tue 7th Dec 2004 02:50 UTC
IconDo you love to read OSNews? Do you hate banner ads? Do you have slow internet access, or use a slow computer? Do you like to win free stuff? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, you should consider becoming an OSNews member. And if you sign up in the next three weeks, you'll be eligible for several special members-only giveaways.

We instituted the OSNews membership as a way for readers to support the site directly instead of passively through viewing advertisements. Many web sites solicit donations, but we decided that supporters should receive something in return. In exchange for a $20 yearly payment, OSNews members receive:

  • Access to a simplified OSNews site with no banner ads.
  • Eligibility for occasional product giveaway drawings for site members (usually books or high-tech gadgets).
  • Special pricing on OSNews T-shirts or other merchandise, once we have it ready. (We've had it planned, but we need an Adobe Illustrator guru to help us before we'll be ready to print it up. Contact us if you think you may be able to help.)
  • And most importantly, the right to bitch and moan about OSNews content, functionality, or other gripes with just a little bit more authority.
This ad-free OSNews view has much faster load times than your average news web site (OSNews included). On average, modem users should see the ad-free OSNews load 5x faster than the regular site. Broadband users should see a 2x improvement. This is due mainly to the elimination of nested HTML table code (which dramatically speeds rendering time) and of course fewer graphics (from various servers around the Net) to load. If you'd like to see the ad-free OSNews in action, here's a sample.

Most of the members that we've heard from over the past year have expressed their enjoyment of the ad-free site and their intention to re-subscribe for the coming year.

Today we're starting our membership drive for 2005. If you sign up now, you'll have access to membership privileges until 2006.

To get started, send your $20 to OSNews, along with your name and email address. (The email address you provide will only be used to let you know of new access information for the ad-free OSNews site and to announce prize giveaways. This email address will not be used for any other purposes and will not be sold or shown to anyone else.) You may send your money through Paypal. If you don't have a Paypal account, you can get one through this link. If you already have a PayPal account, you may use this link to pay:

If you find that you can not use Paypal, you might also wish to try using Amazon.com's payment system.

If you would like to mail a check or pay with some other method (including barter) or if you have any questions about the membership program please email me to discuss it.

Since the US dollar is so depressed these days, OSNews membership is more of a bargain than ever for many non-US OSNews readers! (less than 15!) But we recognize that there may be OSNews readers for whom $20 just isn't possible, perhaps because of wage disparities in their countries, for example, but who still would like to support the site. In that case, email me and we'll see what we can work out.

The fine print:

Currently, your browser must support cookies to view the ad-free OSNews site. We've confirmed that it works on the following browsers: IE, all Gecko/Mozilla-based, all Netscapes, iCab, Omniweb, Konqueror, Safari, Opera. Unfortunately, NetPositive on BeOS and Dillo do not work at this time.

If we decide to cancel the membership program for any reason, we will either refund each member's money in its entirety or a pro-rated amount.

Currently, the OSNews Forum pages will not have the fast-loading, no-ad look, and might never have them. It all depends on how popular the membership program is, how difficult the redesign of the forum system is, and other factors.

Note to current members:

We initiated our membership program in June of 2003, so our initial members all received almost a year and a half of membership for their $20, since we decided that the calendar year would be a good time to start our newest drive. Your current access to the members-only site will end sometime within the next two weeks, unless you have been a member for less than a year.

In the comments section of this article, feel free to discuss your ideas for improving the membership program.

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