Macworld introduces Macworld Insider

We’ve just launched Macworld Insider, a new club that grants members access to special features on Macworld.com that go beyond anything you can get here for free.

Before I explain a little bit about what Macworld Insider is and why we’re introducing it, let me tell you quickly what it isn’t: It isn’t a scheme to wall off the stuff you’re used to reading on Macworld.com so that you can’t see it unless you pay. We’re not throwing any of our news, reviews, opinion pieces, how-to articles, or tips and tricks over the wall. Everything that’s already on the site will remain here, for free.

What we’ve done is create some new site features and package them together into the new Macworld Insider.

Here’s what we’re making available to Macworld Insider subscribers:

  • Full-text RSS feeds. Macworld Insider members have access to special personalized RSS feeds containing the entire text of our articles. This means you can subscribe to your feeds in NetNewsWire, Google Reader, or any other RSS reader and read our articles directly in that reader rather than visiting our site, if that’s your preference.
  • Back-issue magazine archive. Insider subscribers have access to a downloadable Macworld magazine archive going back (at the moment) to 2007. Every issue we’ve published since January 2007 is available as an unencrypted PDF file. If you download them to your Mac, Spotlight will index the text and you’ll be able to find articles directly from within Spotlight. You can read them in Preview or Adobe Reader. You can copy them onto your iPad and read them from within iBooks or GoodReader or just about any other iPad PDF reader out there. And yes, this means you can recycle those old print issues if you’ve still got them around, and save some bookshelf space. As soon as the current issue of the mag goes off sale, it appears in the back-issue archive.
  • Special community status and features. Members of Macworld Insider receive a special Insider badge on every post they make in the Macworld Forums. They also get access to a members-only forum where they can interact with Macworld editors and get special treats. (For example, the last couple of weeks we’ve been posting that week’s Macalope column on Friday afternoons.) Members will also be able to participate in monthly live events with Macworld editors and writers, and will get a monthly Macworld Insider newsletter.
  • Some special deals. Every Macworld Insider can get a free floor pass to Macworld Expo, and will receive a discount on all the products we sell through our online store, such as our Superguide books. We hope to add other special deals in the future, as well.
  • One-page article view. From time to time we will post Web stories in multiple pages. We don’t honestly do this much—it’s a tried and true practice used by Websites to artificially goose page views, and it’s kind of user-hostile. Well, good news for Insiders: Every article you read on Macworld.com will appear as a single page, even if it’s been designed to be two, three, or even four pages long.
  • Ad-free Macworld.com layouts. Insider members get the option of turning all display advertising on our Website off. I hear from some readers who say that they use ad-blocking software on our site because the ads annoy them. But the fact is, Macworld.com stays in business because of the money those ads generate. By offering Macworld Insider, we hope we’re giving a “good karma” path (in the words of Steve Jobs) for users who would rather not see ads on our site but who would still like to support us and keep us in business. (And if you don’t mind the ads, have no fear—Insiders can switch between ad-free and regular layouts at the flick of a switch.) Our ad-free layouts aren’t an afterthought, either. We’ve specifically designed them to collapse all advertising areas completely, so you won’t see ugly open spaces or empty boxes that used to have ads in them.

That’s what we have to offer for now, though we intend to offer other Insider features in the future. Still, as it is I think there’s some compelling stuff here.

If you’re a subscriber to Macworld—and that covers people who get the magazine in paper form, as well as people who get the digital version of the magazine via Zinio—you can subscribe to Macworld Insider for 50 percent off the base price, or $19.95 for a year's worth of access.

And if you’re not a Macworld subscriber, we’ve got a pretty good deal for you. The introductory price for a year of Macworld Insider is $39.95. As a part of that deal, you can opt to get a print or digital subscription to the magazine for a super-special rate, or you can forego the magazine and just subscribe to Insider. (My guess is that a lot of people will sign up for Insider and opt to get a digital copy of the current issue, for perusing on their iPads…)

To learn more about Macworld Insider, visit macworld.com/insider or view the video below. We’d love to have you join us.

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