Two years ago, Liberty.me started a bold experiment in community organizing.
This new domain and website became a portal for people who share the idea that the world should be free.
We made a library, beautiful guides to practical issues, forums to keep the conversation going, member chat, and a full friendship network. There was even more: live shows, a publishing platform, a podcasting network!
It’s been a wild and wonderful ride. And we’ve had so much support! From the very beginning, Liberty.me attracted a wide range of donations. In fact, this site had one of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns in the liberty space. In addition to that, as a way to develop such phenomenal resources, we have asked for a subscription fee to defray costs.
Did it work? Yes!
When I think about the number of startups that fail compared with those that succeed, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. Our community is awesome. We have a beautiful site culture of warmth, engagement, and civility.
Our influence on the world has been magnificent. I see it everywhere. Indeed, Liberty.me has changed the way people think about strategy. It has opened up new possibilities.
We are ready for the next stage. What is it? Following the model of Facebook, Gmail, and many other services, we are opening up even further. We are eliminating the subscription altogether. What this means is that anyone who loves liberty can join us.
People ask: if not through subscriptions, how will you fund this going forward? The usual answer is advertising. We are reluctant to go that direction given how this has affected other sites. Liberty.me will not ever become click bait. We exist for you, not as real estate to sell you things. I have no problem with advertising of course, but it is a matter of ethos so far as I’m concerned. Liberty.me must always be about its users first.
From the outset, I’ve sensed a strong desire to support what we are doing here. We saw it in the opening funding campaign. I hear about the desire to continue that support every day.
So here is what we are doing. We are opening this city in the cloud for the world to move in. At the same time, we are adding a new way to support what we are doing: a donation button. You can use whatever works for you (Bitcoin, PayPal, and so on). This is how we will keep the lights on.
In discussing this change with people, I’ve been warned about the risks. Well, I’m rather used to risks by now. Risking the impossible is how we’ve come this far. I think this same approach will make Liberty.me even bigger and better.
We desperately need this now. The political process has become absolutely egregious in all its mainstream incarnations. Socialism? Please. Fascism? Disgusting, and so last century.
Liberty is the way forward. But if it is going to happen, we will need to bypass the political process. We need to start living what we believe.
Experience what it means to engage with each other and exchange ideas so that we all learn more… and live freer lives.
Join me as we undertake this new stage in the life of our beloved space in the cloud.
Here’s to a beautiful future!
P.S. I’ll have more announcements in the near future. You are going to love it!
Ah, that explains why so many people have been joining today! I just hope it doesn’t become an eternal September. Hopefully the results will be good. I’ll make sure to donate.
(For those too young to remember, the pre-Web Usenet experienced a loss in quality of posts every September, when a wave of college students started participating. They learned, but when America Online connected to Usenet, the veterans termed the result was termed an “eternal September.” )
And I thought I was the only one who was familiar with the time AOL dilluted what was great about Usenet 😀
@gmcgath Like January at the gym.
Yes, I had been waiting for my renewal notice, since my credit card changed. Free is going to mean more work for the staff, no doubt (trolls will emerge) but it will surely be an interesting experiment.
I’ll donate too!
I just payed the next year last month – I will just consider it my first donation.
What will you do abput the whole “trolls pay no tolls?” aspect? Now they don’t have to.
Good point Dawn, that is my concern as well.
Hmm. I cannot find the donation link. :/
The donation link will be coming soon.
Thank goodness. Now I don’t have to pay to add value to something that isn’t mine. 🙂
Good luck, Tucker. I’m soooo glad Liberty.me isn’t following the Laissez Faire Books’ formula.
I know what you mean
@nednetterville What was their formula?
$250 annually after the 1st free or cheap year, and a constant barrage of “Laissez-Faire letters” by email touting “unbelievable financial opportunities” and selling investment advice from the same seers who correctly predicted every market movement since 1928, and marketing their wares using the same “formula” perfected by dial-for-dollars bucket shops to sell shares in uranium mining companies–only using emails instead of the phone. I missed out on so many amazing opportunities that I would have been richer than Donald Trump by now if I had only taken their advice.
Yikes. Sounds rough.
Earlier you argued that paid membership was a great filter against trolling, spamming, and uncourteous behavior. What is your solution to preserve the quality of the site now?
Having moderated very large forums, my experience is that a strong site culture is the single biggest deterrent against trolls. We have that now. With careful monitoring going forward I think we can maintain it and grow it.
I agree with Tucker’s comment above. And if everyone wears collective troll-colored glasses, trolls will be seen everywhere!
Thanks for all of your efforts so far, and for the energy you will have expend on the site going forward.
I’m delighted the site will get a new lease on life, but sad that the for profit model did not work. When things settle down, a public post mortem about why sustainability ( profitability) proved unsustainable would be useful.
I’m also curious why an advertising “ghetto” was not tried. I personally prefer to buy from, sell to, and hire members of my own community. Information to that effect is a benefit to me.
Thanks for all of your efforts, creating and popularizing Liberty.Me, and your ongoing efforts on our behalf.
I’d be curious, when you come up for air, about what you think went wrong with the for profit model. Part of the promise of Liberty.me was that we hoped it would be sustainable in fact, that it would make money for it’s founders. Curious that a free market community has to be non profit…
I will , of course do all I can to assist the new community in any way I’m able.
I’m also a bit curious about the anti advertising stance. Not even a little “ad ghetto”? I like to buy from, sell to, and hire from my community, and advertising, even behind walls, would help.
I read Jeffrey’s comments to mean that respectful advertising will be embraced, so I think you’ll get better than an ad ghetto.
The subscription model worked for me, but I doubt there were enough paying members to make the site financially sustainable. I’m interested to see what lies ahead.
People (including myself) lost interest. The site didn’t provide enough value for the money it was giving. You can find liberty-based articles anywhere online (videos and books too). There’s not much here that’s unique from anything else. It would be unique if it paid writers for good content, if it had a big enough user base to justify all the “pay attention to me” content that comes through, or if it was something more than a site dedicated to advertising everything Mr. Tucker says and does.
The machinery is there for something good to happen. It appears the people running the show prevent this. That’s my opinion.
I think this is the critical issue that this site (and anything else like it) must overcome.
How can we make this worthwhile for people that already spend time on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc), read various Libertarian sites (From blogs to think tanks), and already have a publishing platform of their own?
Personally I think this site would be a boon to most people who haven’t yet gotten an account yet if it had some way of aggregating all their pre-existing online activities.
Maybe a page each user had that aggregated links to all the latest site articles they already check on?
I think I’m off to the drawing board.
I’ve an idea. A browser wallet app you can fill from your Visa card or Paypal etc to a low maximum, say max 1000 cents ($10), to use on articles or any content you appreciate, provided by users or the site. Basically micro donations. It could have a lower security threshold for ease of use.
Around the time of the launch, Jeffrey said that he didn’t intend for liberty.me to become “yet another articles site”. But where are the features other than articles and discussion? Where is a usable marketplace, an entrepreneurial incubator, a dating service, a trustnet, etc?
The leadership needs to change what it’s doing. That’s the bottom line of it. This will always be an articles and interaction website until the fundamental approach of how liberty.me is presented to the public changes.
Troll-colored glasses…gotta get me a pair of those.
This will no doubt boost the number of users to the site, and as long as there’s still effective revenue streams and ways for users to donate as well, then this should all turn out fine!
I’m just glad this isn’t turning out the way Bureaucrash did back in the day 🙂
“We are eliminating the subscription altogether. What this means is that anyone who loves liberty can join us.”
There goes the neighborhood!
Good to see. The more the merrier.
Welcome all <3
Let me throw one idea into the mix. I don’t claim this idea is a singular “savior” to the model, but maybe the most effective and resilient “savior” is a combination of elements.
In a word, “projects”.
Synonyms: endeavors, collaborations.
I know I should write a few articles to explain in a more coherent and complete way, but the bottom line is… talk won’t cut it. What the so-called “liberty movement” needs is… to stop being a movement and become individual action on individual projects to live more free, resilient, productive, independent lives, based upon the tastes, expertise, resources and inclinations of each individual.
##### A MOVEMENT IS A COLLECTIVE #####
The time has arrived for individualists to stop trying to apply collectivist formula to being individualists… collectivism and individualism are oil and water, they don’t mix well, in case you haven’t noticed.
This is where projects, endeavors, collaboration come in.
Voluntary interaction with one or a few other specific individuals is within the domain of individualism (though not required, as hermits prove). The idea being, a few individuals with the same or compatible goals can (in principle and sometimes in fact) get more done than any one of the individuals. And they can all enjoy the benefits of whatever project they collaborate on.
Individualists who actually want to enjoy a better life for being an individualist need to recognize that talk doesn’t get anything existential done, and the purpose of learning is to apply knowledge to our actions in order to manipulate ourselves and the world into a more viable, healthy, enjoyable place to live (even if only reality in our immediate vicinity).
Having said all the above, I don’t claim widespread information sharing (an essentially collective activity) is evil, useless or ineffective for sharing ideas. Frankly, it should be completely unnecessary for any individual who grows up in an environment populated by sane humans and mentors, but in the current and probably permanent situation, that doesn’t happen for anyone on earth (though a few kids may be lucky enough to grow up with one or two vaguely sane humans nearby).
So to return to my point, liberty.me could have a way to help people who want to ACTUALLY IMPLEMENT specific projects or endeavors to find other like-minded individualists to collaborate with them.
TO FIND COLLABORATORS TO DO ANYTHING SIGNIFICANT IS EXTREMELY DIFFICULT in the modern world, even given the internet and endless forums. And who knows, maybe so few humans are ready, willing and able to be part of any significant project or endeavor in the modern world that what I suggest will help few individualists (because even individuals who consider themselves individualists often succumb to adopting contemporary attitudes, behaviors and financial practices (debt instead of savings)). No way to tell except… implement the mechanism and see what happens.
Couldn’t agree more.
@bootstrap Can you not create a group on here for your interest(s) to communicate the project and then work with potential collaborators? I see a lot of focus groups already, join one and go if it already exists. Define some target and see where it all goes 🙂 The FSP didn’t get where it is overnight!
I wondered why you terminated my automatic paypal payment. I hope you recovered your investment in the site development from the crowd funding and early subscribers. I’ll continue to donate.
A membership fee still seems a good filter to me, though a dollar or two per month, paid annually, clearly attracts more members than the higher fee. I’ll take the free (as in beer) access, but I also worry a bit about attracting more people who are hostile toward “libertarianism” generally and only want to bicker with a “libertarian” straw man. Airing differences between libertarians is healthy, but we get enough bickering between the different libertarian schools now.
With the paywall lowered, you might have more luck offering premium content appealing to libertarians. I would pay (and already do pay) for consistently excellent podcasts, like Jeff Riggenbach’s stuff and Scott Horton and Dangerous History.
Is there a link that makes sharing the news about Liberty.me visually appealing? Otherwise I will share the news without that tool.
There will be another announcement coming soon with more news about the site, and it will be out there on social media as well. I’m sure there will be cool graphics to go along with that, so maybe wait a little to start sharing?
Nice to see you on the site Ms. T
@tkibbe I’m ready to share as soon as it is in its full glory!
Just joined the site! When I start earning some money i’ll be sure to donate, awesome signature by the way, mine just looks like a squiggle.