Introducing Delimiter Membership


Hi everyone,

hope your Monday is going well!

This is just a quick post to let you know that today I introduced a new element to Delimiter — site membership. I want to tell you about it and how it will work.

When I first launched Delimiter, I did so with a five year plan. At that stage of my life — I was much younger! — five years seemed like a long time. I had a business plan which featured a number of different commercial models — from syndicated content to advertising and even premium content through Delimiter 2.0 — and I tried them all at various stages of Delimiter’s life.

Those commercialisation strategies all worked to a certain extent, and I learnt a lot through deploying them. It was a great few years and Australia’s media industry changed radically and constantly throughout that time.

However, as a few people are aware, right now I’m settling down for what I am planning to be a much longer stint reporting on technology issues in the Australian context. The plan this time around is that this stint will last at least ten years.

This is one of the reasons that I have joined the Press Gallery in Canberra: Because I think the Parliament will be a hotbed of technological policy change over the next decade, while still allowing me to track change inside IT departments and the industry. There is so much exciting stuff to come!

With this in mind, over the past few months I’ve spent a great deal of time looking at what might be the most sustainable commercial model to keep Delimiter going over the next decade and beyond. The conclusion that I’ve come to is that it will most likely be a combination of a ‘Freemium’ site membership model and appropriate advertisements on the site.

The ‘Freemium’ model — which I’ve launched today — will see the basic daily news content on Delimiter remain available to all. This is commodity content and will represent most of our articles.

However, to access premium content — exclusives and commentary pieces with my insight and analysis — you’ll need to become a member. It costs $129 per year (including GST). You can find all the details and sign up here. I’ll also throw in a digital copy of my forthcoming book The Frustrated State (due in May next year) for free to members.

I believe Delimiter is the only Australian media outlet which consistently holds the powerful corporations, politicians and vested interests operating in Australia’s technology sector to account.

This funding will help ensure Delimiter sticks around for the long haul and will hopefully allow us to expand to publish more articles than we do now. It will also help to fuel the expansion of the Delimiter forum, which has been going great guns so far.

If this seems like too much to support great Australian independent media, consider that a subscription to Communications Day or the Financial Review will cost you a great deal more — and you still won’t get the whole story. Alternatively, you can pony up to fund Rupert Murdoch’s expansion plans for The Australian. Would you like your News Limited? ;)

Anyway, as always let me know any feedback! And I’m sure there will be a few bugs to work out along the way. And now on with the articles and the next ten years!

Kind regards,

Renai LeMay
Editor + Publisher, Delimiter


  1. Hi Renai, the overall pricing is very reasonable but how about a rolling monthly subscription option?

    • Cool!

      This time I’m only offering the yearly option as during the Delimiter 2.0 days, almost everyone took the yearly option rather than the monthly. It also cuts down on administration etc.

      • Some of us do have a pretty tight budgets and find it harder to swallow the up front cost.

      • must … resist …. spending …. money … on …. content….. and failed!

        Too many promising analysis peices have pushed me over the edge, oh well, at least being back in the Telecommunications industry I can claim it at tax time!

    • Cheers, much appreciated!

      Curious to know — why Paypal? I am using Stripe for merchant processing, which seems much better than Paypal. As mentioned above, I learnt a lot during the Delimiter 2.0 days — the monthly option wasn’t anywhere near as popular as the yearly option etc, so decided to provide one simple option this time.

      • PayPal. I like PayPal from the point of view that only Paypal has access to my ccard particulars and I have it(PayPal) setup as a direct debit as well (cheaper for me).

        • From
          > When you use Stripe.js on your website, the credit card data entered into your payment form is never sent to your server. Instead, the data is sent directly to Stripe.

          The merchant (delimiter) never gets access to your ccard info and Stripe offers much lower fees than PayPal so you are supporting them more by paying with Stripe rather than PayPal. Go for it =)

          • This is basically why I picked Stripe — they just seemed to do everything right by both the merchant and the customer, whereas PayPal seemed to be stuck in an old world paradigm. Most people doing memberships online (at least small independent sites) seem to be using Stripe these days.

            That Memberful post was actually one of the ones I read when I was considering the issue!

          • Paypal basically has the name to trust, much like VISA and Mastercard. The average Joe is more likely to go for the known ‘safe’ option.

            Its definitely good to see they’ve some competition on their hands!

  2. I am in Renai…looking forward to see many more of your enlightening articles….is it still OKAY to share on facebook?
    I just want as many people as possible to know that they now have an even bigger liar as PM…



  3. Sorry Renai, but no.

    I’m on a tight budget and have recently decided to drop all my electronics journals and memberships, some of them very dear to my heart. If I were to re-allocate $129 to a journal, my first choice wouldn’t be Delimiter.

    The strength of Delimiter is in your reader’s comments, and I’ll still be reading them (where possible). I don’t mean to be rude, but sadly your analysis is not something I’m prepared to pay for. Firstly because I often disagree, secondly because often it seems inconsistent, and thirdly because it doesn’t seem to have sufficient historical oversight.

    One thing I do agree with is that Australia desperately needs a forum where government Technical policy can be debated. The traditional Technical Publications have always steered clear of politics, undoubtedly because most are subsidiaries of the MSM. It has frustrated me for decades that there was no forum to debate the technical decisions of our masters.

    So I wish you well, but I worry that in creating an exclusive area within Delimiter, you will end up with an echo chamber which has little affect outside the group, and the end result will be to defang Delimiter.

  4. Hi Renai,
    Any chance of the pay per article model will be re-introduced? I found that suited me really well. I have a few areas of interest in the technology and communications sector, but many articles don’t appeal to me. I liked that I could by just what I wanted, and wasn’t wasting money on a subscription that covered all the extra stuff I want interested in.

    • Hmm apologies, the pay per article model doesn’t really work commercially — I found with Delimiter 2.0 that very few people took it up :(

    • No worries, I understand the price point may be too expensive for some. In my modelling this level seemed to fit the best. Apologies for that!

  5. I am going to subscribe, partly because I can’t stand a cliffhanger on the Turnbull article, but mostly because I’ll take it as a tax deduction for this financial year. And $129 isn’t too that much more than I pay for LWN.

  6. So essentially Delimiter 2.0 but having it directly on the main site rather than linking off to one with a different look, and removing all but one type of payment option.

    That first bit will probably get Renai more signups than the initial linking off strategy, that always seemed an odd choice at the time.

    Unfortunately this will undoubtedly lead to the same situation as that in the period just prior to and throughout the 2.0 test – Less news and less analysis of news on the main site. Essentially no chance of reaching a broader audience. Therefore less potential impact on the public or politicians.

    In terms of readership and the site as a whole only downsides to be seen.
    Financially possibly a smart move for Renai. Time will tell.

    • This is what I am worried about. I understand that sites need income to survive and that consumers are so used to getting news for free. The problem with introducing a paywall is that you are going to restrict discussion (which is a big highlight of this site). eg The first article behind the paywall has no comments. This would not normally be the case.

      I know that you have probably spent a lot of time thinking and testing various options (and you certainly need to earn an income) but I’m a little disappointed by this development.

      My other point is that $129 seems too much to me. I probably would not hesitate to put down $40 for a year but $129 is making me stop and re-assess. There are so many services that are vying for my monthly (or yearly) subscription that it is hard to jump straight in.

    • Not a bad analysis.

      However, I actually plan to publish more news on Delimiter than I currently am — not less :) I’ve learnt a lot since the Delimiter 2.0 days! I think this will become a bit clearer over the next few weeks.

    • Fair point! A few people have raised this with me.

      I guess the way I would look at it is two things — firstly that additional benefits were offered with the Kickstarter that aren’t part of the membership. And secondly, the membership is more of a long-term, ten year thing — the Kickstarter was a one-off to get the book published.

  7. I have similar concerns to Josh, in regards to the commentary being as important (if not moreso in some cases) as Renai’s analysis and investigation.

    I am also concerned by the price. I can’t currently justify $129. It’s a bit too premium for me :-(

    I wish you luck Renai, and I totally understand the need to be paid for what you do.

    • Personally I could easily justify and afford $10.75 (or even $12) per month for the detailed analysis pieces Renai produces – it’s just the up-front yearly sub that is a deal breaker for me.

  8. Tried reading an article, hit a paywall. This is one reader you will lose in short order if this keeps happening – as others have said already, I find the comments and discussion more enlightening – the articles aren’t particularly dissimilar in subject to those that can be found elsewhere, just with a much bigger serve of opinion than you’d get from other journalists. The comments aren’t something you own or can claim value from, all you’re doing is diluting their reach, effectiveness, quality and value. You are on a good wicket as much from fortune having such a community around you as from your own skills – don’t accidentally kill the golden goose.

    • No worries, I understand! The offering is not going to be for everyone — apologies. But I hope to win your membership eventually with good content :)

  9. Have you considered some sort of marker for the articles that require membership on the home page?

    It can be a little frustrating not knowing which articles require membership until you scroll down and see:

    “To get access to the rest of this article, you’ll need to become a member of Delimiter. Click here for more info and to sign up!”

  10. Ugh.. I will have to purchase this next month, I have spent my discretionary budget this month and the boss (read as Wife) wont allow me any more ;(

    Though a half-yearly option might be a good idea (instead of the monthly one since it IS a logistical nightmare sometimes) could also be $65 and you save $1 if purchase yearly rate :)

    • No worries! A half-yearly option is not a bad idea, and it’s something I hadn’t tried with Delimiter 2.0, so I’m not sure how it would go. I will think about it.

      I also have the same issue with the Wife :)

  11. It may just be a psychological thing, but I would have said “just under $10/month” is quite an acceptable threshold, therefore “just under $120/year” (incl GST) would be a better price.

    But hey, you’ve probably done the math, and there may be a Mrs LeMay and little LeMays and four-legged LeMays to feed! ;)

    • No worries, I understand!

      I did quite a bit of math about this and calculated things … it was a difficult process, but I think I have the right long-term price point. It will be interesting to see if I’m correct!

      *sigh* I used to love math in high school … now in business it can be a colossal headache ;)

      • Maths. It is short for mathematics, not mathematic. Yes, 300 million Americans can be wrong – they usually are ;-) They say ‘could care less’ as well…

  12. I already donated $50 towards the relaunch and book. I can’t afford $129 up front for a year subscription. Doesn’t sit very well – didn’t realise I would be donating for the launch of another pay walled site.

    • The delimiter now stands for the amount of commas Renai can now feed into the bank account! But yes, it does look like those who ‘donated’ get nothing other than knowing they paid towards helping put up a paywall. Renai should be kicking a free 12 month trial towards everyone who donated.

      • That’s not really a fair comment, the Kickstarter was imo primarily to fund The Frustrated State book, the restoration of Delimiter is just a side benefit.

        I’m frustrated too as I can’t get the $129 past the MoF right now – if there was monthly or quarterly option I’d use my meagre “toy” allowance to pay for it. On the whole I do think the full Analysis pieces are worth paying for and iirc the main news articles will always be free which is great.

      • I certainly don’t begrudge him making a living from the site, but a month or two free trial for donator’s would seem tactful.

        • Cant argue with that idea! :-) It’d be a great way to reward us for backing the book and help sell the value of the Analysis pieces to the more sceptical folk.

        • No worries, I understand. Quite a few people would like a free trial. Unfortunately I’m not sure I see the need at this point. But I appreciate the feedback :)

  13. There is a market for content.

    However, I find it difficult to see $129 pa value on Delimiter that I would be prepared to pay for. Is this for content that isn’t currently published? If so why not offer us a view with introductory “1st month free no obligation” as with Netflix?

    • You raise a valid point! A lot of people have asked for a trial period.

      However, unfortunately personally I don’t see the real need. Netflix has been relatively new to countries like Australia. Delimiter, on the other hand, has been around for quite a long time and I think readers will have a relatively good idea what to expect from me from here :)

      Plus, the first part of each members only article is free — so you can get a taste of what you’re missing out on.

      Also, wanted to note that I’m curious — what sort of content on Delimiter would you pay for? :D

      • You seem to use those words a lot Renai….. “personally I”

        You might not feel its needed, but listen to the readers, not just your personal view. It might not always be right one ;)

        The things I’m seeing here are

        – Its too costly/too much for most people to bite off in one go.
        – Due to the upfront cost, people feel a free trial is needed to see if its ‘value’ for money on such a large outlay.

        • I think the annual price is reasonable but agree with you that for me it’s too much in one go – even a quarterly option would make it affordable for me.

        • Apologies again!

          Perhaps it might help to understand my decision-making process. So far the subscriptions are going very well — exceeding my expectations and my planning!

          I am definitely willing to iterate and change my approach in a situation where there is evidence that the current approach is not working. However, the current approach is working very well, so I see no need to at this time.

          I hope this helps with understanding.

          • No worries, Hopefully it works out for you, as you said its going better than you hoped. So I guess thats good.

  14. I’ll have to wait for a viable monthly sub Renai. I would love to read the analysis pieces but 129 up front is going to stretch my budget a bit =P

    • No worries, I understand! The Membership structure won’t be for everyone. Unfortunately I don’t have any plans to offer a monthly sub.

  15. Agreed, with a lot of others here, its a big ask for a unknown….. a 30 day trial for people to see what they will be ‘buying’ into or monthly subs.

    Let say 1 NEW paid article per business day, means paying 50c an article to read it, and that’s assuming you publish 5 paid articles per week for 52 weeks. If its only 1 new article a week, its more like $2.50 an article!

    I guess what I’m trying to say, its a bit hard/rich to ask for such a large sum upfront for a unknown oh how much/what we’ll get in the future.

    • No worries, I understand if it seems a bit much. However, it is the model I have decided upon at the moment after a great deal of research and calculation.

      I am planning to publish 1-2 paid articles per day. I guarantee subscribers will not feel let down on a year-long basis :)

      • No worries Renai, we’ll see how the planned vs actual delivery of those articles goes. 1-2 articles a day is a lot of work, on top of some ‘free’ articles to keep people coming around. If you manage to keep it up for 10 straight years, then you might be on to something!

  16. Hi Renai

    Thanks for your site and your contribution to the Industry. I have a very tight budget right now with two kids so unfortunately i wont be able to purchase a subscription. Please do keep up the good work, no doubt you will make a reasonable income from it if your kickstarter campaign is anything to go by. Please do me one favour though, ask some hard questions, dont be afraid to call these pollies out on the total BS. We need more independant hard hitting journalists that understand technology instead of these microphone holding, press release typing “IT journalists” *cough cough*. If only someone had’ve asked where Turnbulls costed ready to go plan was, or why nbn’s new board reads like a who was who of ex telstra. Just speak up!

    • No worries, thanks for your kind words, and I understand re the membership!

      In terms of the hard-hitting questions … I don’t think I will be pulling any punches :D

  17. Some people might find it steep. But I don’t! Media outlets like this need to be supported to pay the bills. The alternative is the Murdoch and Fairfax press, which is unacceptable. I should also remind people that just your clicks while on those sites actually support those organisations through their advertising agreements!

    (Just one example: after reading the Courier Mail in Brisbane, someone I know feels like actually killing a large number of very important people AND going to Syria to support the “war” effort. He acts like an evil junkie. But he calms down when I go to the ABC News site and tell him what’s there – nothing particularly dramatic. I just made him promise to stop reading the Courier Mail and now he’s fine. I thought it was just a trashy tabloid.)

    I’m signing up. It’s very reasonable compared to having my News Limited and I realised I have a special interest in telecommunications networking after dithering for years thinking about what my specialisation working in IT could be.

  18. This, in my opinion, is a sad move. I am a pensioner, currently supporting 2 on an income of just over $600 per fortnight and with a 15 year old car and a very, very, modest home – i.e. bottom of the markert regional. I still give 1/8th of my income to charities and as I am on such a low income, that is a real 1/8th, not one subsidised by tax relief. I simply can’t afford to pay $129 for an annual subscription – most of those who do will either be corporately sponsored or professionals on relatively good incomes who will effectively pay only around half of that after tax deduction for a work library or such.

    I well understand that we are cursed with a neo liberal ecomic system that is designed to fortify the wealthy at the expense of the poor. Trickle-down economics which actually gushes up wealth from the bottom and redistributes it at the top, whilst trickling down only greed, individualism and selfishness. It is distorting and ruining our society. Indeed, it has already done so.

    No, I am not against business per se. I am not against someone making a reasonable income. However this sort of price hike disturbs me:
    1. It disadvantages those, such as myself, who have no choice & simply can’t afford to pay
    2. It fails to acknowledge the support and contribution of those who have been supporters of the site and spread the word such that it has grown to this point, where the $129 imposition may well succeed
    3. It demonstrates a sort of “one size fits all” approach that is really “one size fits all of those who can’t afford to pay for the real thing” – in other words it contributes to the continually increasing disparity between the haves and have nots
    4. It gives privileged access to the best information thus reinforcing the difficulty in fighting case or presenting an argument for the disadvantaged
    5. It ignores what ethical publishing, particularly but not only in academia, has acknowledged for several years now – that free and open access to significant information, research and content is the way to go
    6. It ignores the relevance and attraction of comment that you get for free and that is valued by many readers

    I could probably add to this list but I’m sure you get my drift. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that I can count on you to give it any real consideration for your answer to just about everyone who has expressed concern about this change has been a dismissive one: eg. “No worries, I understand …” In other words, “TOUGH” – go somewhere else then, I don’t need you anyway …

    Sorry, Renai, this is a really unfortunate move and reflects what seems common practice today for politicians and corporations, that of making change after supposedly comprehensive reviews but without ever including the clients within those reviews.

    It is your venture and you will do what you wish. You have started and maintained an offering of great worth. You deserve to be recompensed for your efforts. I have no argument with that and hold you in no less esteem for it – not that anyone would care about my opinion, anyway. However, I find it sad that you have chosen this route; that you have announced it in this manner; and that you are dismissive of suggestions to make it more equitable for people to continue to support the venture.

    • No worries, Roger — I completely understand your position and sympathise with you.

      Unfortunately, I’ve done a great deal of business modelling, and this is the model that I have determined represents the best course of action for me to proceed over the next decade. We will see a great deal of change in the media over that time, and I need to position Delimiter for the long haul. I am currently enacting a ten-year plan.

      I am aware that not everyone will agree. However, so far the model is seeing a strong amount of support from readers, and so it will continue.

      Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience.

      • Roger: Unfortunately, I’m not sure that I can count on you to give it any real consideration for your answer to just about everyone who has expressed concern about this change has been a dismissive one: eg. “No worries, I understand …”

        Renai: No worries, Roger — I completely understand

  19. I like your new model, reminds me of the only other Australian media site in my opinion worth paying for!

    Thank you, Clinton.

  20. Signed up, I read this site quite a bit.

    One thing I’d suggest is that “Member Only” articles unlock after a period of time (say 6 months) This is something not many sites do, but I think would be useful, particularly as time goes on and you start linking back to previous articles with similar analysis (as this allows non-members to read back what you’re referring to)

    I’m unsure if this would have any impact on the subscriber take up, though.

    • good idea David… It would also give non members a ‘taste’ of what they are missing out on!

  21. I gave this new set up a few weeks. Then I decided to subscribe. It’s difficult to find anyone who takes Australian tech issues seriously. There are so many industry shills. I’ve always found Renai’s analyses in contrast to be thoughtful and balanced.

    In spite of having subscribed, I still have some issues. The cost of 129 dollars a year still seems a touch high to me. At least for text only. If there were some video content or interactive content, such as a real time question and answer session with an important IT person, that might make 129 dollars a bit more reasonable. I also already donated to the book The Frustrated State. So I don’t know what I would do with two copies! I would have thought that some other benefit instead of the book would be one option for subscribers in my position. I say all of that with some reluctance; I appreciate that getting tech stories requires a lot of running around and is hard to budget in terms of time.

    I am enjoying the full access. Overall I feel that it is worth it even if it’s qualified by the above points.

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