On Pricing

by Charles Broskoski

Last year, on our 10th birthday, we published an essay (called “On Motivation”) about what keeps us going and the manner in which we want to continue to build Are.na — which is slower, more personal, more intuitive, and above all, in cooperation with you. 

This year, around the same time, amid so many distractions in the world of technology (which are not worth enumerating here), we had the distinct feeling that our approach is working. 

This is the most successful year we've ever had. We're going to hit $500K in revenue (you can track this on our Roadmap), with over 11K Premium members. We've been able to ship multiple extremely large projects (table view, advanced search) and still found time to ship everyday improvements and continually upgrade our infrastructure. All this with a very small team. And entirely thanks to your support. 

As a company, our relationship is with you. We (the company that builds Are.na) don't have outside investors (other than you); we aren't motivated to serve any other outside organizations or businesses.

Our sole task is to build and maintain Are.na, and ultimately to provide an experience and set of tools that provides value (in the most spiritual, non-monetary sense of the word) to all of us. In our world view, Are.na is like a community-owned library. As stewards, we are responsible for making sure that the “library” has the resources needed to help you learn and work the best that you can. Our job is to help all of us (members of the Are.na community) share and build upon our capacity for curiosity.

In other words, this beautiful community and platform you and I participate in together is the result of (at least in part) our business model.

During our 11 year period, our costs have gone up, and our subscription prices have remained the same. Naturally, in our minds for a long time was the question “Should we raise our prices?” So a few months ago, we did a survey with you. More than 800 people generously responded, communicated their feelings, and helped us understand what the range of expectations were for this kind of change.

We learned two things:

  • Our community members (Premium members especially) are extremely generous. We did not expect to see the kind of supportive messages we received from you, especially within this context. Thank you, truly.

  • Far and away, the most requested improvement was related to performance, speed, or reliability. This was also great news to us (the company that builds Are.na), because it’s exactly what we want as well.

We think that the best way to serve all of us is to work towards bringing on more engineering resources to optimize Are.na. We think the best direction to optimize is in the direction of speed and resilience – we want Are.na to be as performant and strong as it possibly can be. 

In short, after this year we are feeling momentum and we want to build on it.  And in order to build on it, especially after all your feedback and support, we feel comfortable asking you for a little extra help.

Here are the details:

  • Monthly plans are raising from $5 to $7 ($3.50 for students/educators)

  • Yearly plans are raising from $45 to $70 ($35 for students/educators)

These plans will go into effect on January 15th, 2023. Which means, if you're on a monthly plan, if you upgrade to yearly Premium now, you'll lock in the current subscription price for an extra year. Additionally, if you’re not a Premium member yet, now is a good time to upgrade to a yearly subscription. And if you’re a Premium Supporter member, your subscription price will not change with this update.

If you can't afford the increased price, email us and we will work with you. We make concessions daily to students, teachers, people living in countries with an unfavorable exchange rate with the US, and every other scenario you can imagine. This will absolutely not change under the new pricing structure.

If you have questions/thoughts/feedback on this change, we are (as always) very available and would love to talk. Email us or message us on Discord.

As always, deepest thanks for your support, presence and willingness to work with us to make Are.na better. We would (quite literally) be nothing without you.

Charles Broskoski is one of the many co-founders of Are.na.