GOOD Magazine, which we’ve been enjoying since it launched in 2006, recently launched a new Website and a revised subscription plan. The magazine used to charge $20 for a 6-issue annual subscription. 100% of the subscription price went to charity, and got the subscriber into a year’s worth of GOOD events and parties.
The new Website is focused on the publication’s active community. Users can create a free account and profile, and then comment on blog posts, create original content, and get invitations to GOOD events and parties. The magazine has also changed its subscription plan—users can pay-what-you-wish model. Subscibers can pay as little as $1 for an annual subscription, though $20 will get you free access to events. Like before, all subscription proceeds go to the charity of the subscriber’s choice (out of 12 pre-selected non-profit organizations).
What’s so great about GOOD is the simplicity of the business model. Most magazines don’t profit from subscription revenues to begin with. It’s the ad-revenue that really pays the bills. So GOOD’s strategy of donating subscription revenue to charity is a smart one—it is perfectly aligned with GOOD’s overall vision/mission of doing good for the world, and a pretty compelling way to connect its subscribers with different charities and causes. The pay-what-you-wish model is still a relatively new idea, so we’ll see how it pans out. But remember when Radiohead let people download their album using this model? They did pretty well. From Fortune:
In a study that examined traffic to Radiohead’s In Rainbows Web site during the first 29 days of October , 38% of those who downloaded the album at the site paid something to get the album, while 62% paid nothing.
Of those who paid, 17% paid $4 or less, 6% paid between $4.01 and $8, 12% paid between $8.01 and $12, and 4% paid more than $12. Put another way, those who paid more than $8 accounted for about 79% of the revenue generated from the site.
With GOOD, subscribers will be getting a physical magazine delivered to their doors (unlike the digital download of Radiohead’s album), which may prompt a more generous response. And, since all the money goes to charities, subscribers may still end up ponying up more than they have to. Either way, it’s good of GOOD to try something new.
On a semi-unrelated note, GOOD can now be found at your local Starbucks. The magazine partnered with the coffee company to create Good Sheets, a newspaper-style paper that covers one major election topic each week for the 11 weeks leading up to the U.S. presidential election in November. From the New York Times:
The sheet on health care, for example, gives a history of government health care programs, statistics about health care spending, and suggestions about solutions, including notes on those that John McCain and Barack Obama endorse.
This collaboration is a great way for GOOD to increase awareness of its brand. It hasn’t yet reached the mainstream, and Starbucks will help push it to center stage. The Good Sheet is also a great way for Starbucks to further its own image as a “third place” where people can gather to chat, relax, connect, and learn.