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TORn to explore subscription-based business model
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Apr 1, 2:21am

Post #1 of 30 (2746 views)
TORn to explore subscription-based business model Can't Post

In a big shake-up for the largest fansite of the author J. R. R. Tolkien, TheOneRing.net (TORn) founders have announced they are about to begin beta-testing a subscription service to better align with the business model of Amazon.com for the upcoming Lord of the Rings TV series: a "TORn-Prime," if you will.

"It's something we've been working toward for a while because we want to continue to deliver a top-class website that services the fans of Tolkien," says TORn's new spokesperson, Sarah Mcleod. “We will roll out a beta test with our message boards, then evaluate a model for the entire site.” While the timeline is still under discussion, preliminary plans are for Barliman’s chat and the Home Page to begin offering premium subscriptions during the June-August, 2018 time-frame. The once-popular Green Books will also be revived for premium subscribers.

"With a Middle-earth TV series announced, we're expecting a lot more fans will want to join TORn so we have to be prepared for the influx. Some users may have noticed that our “Donate” button has not been updated for some time; as part of the new configuration, we will be introducing new channels to purchase subscriptions.”

"The subscription service beta test for the discussion boards starts in one week. Current board members will be able to keep their status for six months but will have to choose a subscription level by 1 October." The message boards will go off-line for one week while they are reconfigured. Current members will be logged out and need to log in to access the boards and new members will have to sign up at one of the subscription levels as described below. We will accept all foreign currencies and offer multiple payment methods - further details will be released.

TORn also plans to launch a wider variety of merchandise as a secondary income stream to supplement their popular range of branded T-shirts. The new merchandise will include mugs, caps and small backpacks.

"We're also looking at branching into themed merchandise, such as cloaks with a smart design that could be worn in the office and a new energy drink that also warms you up. Fans of the books and movies will know what we're referencing with those products!" says McLeod.

The subscription levels and their annual fees are currently set at:

* Poh-tay-to (free) - read-only access to all boards.
* Silver (US$10) - access to all boards and can reply to existing posts. Can't create new posts or post photos. Standard avatar (from a defined list - see here), and no footer.
* Gold (US$15) - access to all boards and can respond to existing posts as well as create new posts and their own avatar and footer. Can post photos.
* Jool (US$30) - same as Gold, plus can create polls in the Pollantir. Gains modding privileges (voting posts up or down to show approval/disapproval) and read-only access to a hidden board that is open to people involved with the Middle-earth movies.
* Mithril (US$50) - same as Gold, plus full access to the hidden board. Mithril members have the right to summon one Nazgul per year for no more than two hours. Note: bookings required for Nazgul, especially around Halloween. Terror and damage caused by the Nazgul is the responsibility of the summoner.

(This post was edited by entmaiden on Apr 1, 3:03pm)

N.E. Brigand

Apr 1, 3:54pm

Post #2 of 30 (2655 views)
Summon him? He's not a tame Nazgûl. // [In reply to] Can't Post


Treason doth neuer prosper? What's the Reason?
for if it prosper none dare call it treason.

Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
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Petty Dwarf

Apr 1, 5:16pm

Post #3 of 30 (2658 views)
I'm not thrilled with this. [In reply to] Can't Post

I just joined and now I'm going to have to pay to talk with other Tolkien fans? I've had fun, and I was going to donate occasionally, but a subscription is just too much for this college student. I'll be heading elsewhere once this starts up.

"No words were laid on stream or stone
When Durin woke and walked alone."

Tol Eressea

Apr 1, 5:48pm

Post #4 of 30 (2648 views)
Finally! [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been hearing First Agers whine about the demise of "mods up" voting long enough. Tongue $30 seems a small price to pay for the privilege, hey guys? I'm in for that and one higher. Are reservations being taken for Halloween yet?


Apr 1, 6:40pm

Post #5 of 30 (2630 views)
Wonder if that is a good idea. [In reply to] Can't Post

If the debaters seek themselves elsewhere then rather than a forum for debate and discussion TORN will merely be merchandising tool to promote praise for Amazon. They're treading a delicate balance. Perhaps it is what they want though. Amazon seems to have a bit of cash to spread.

Of course come to think of it... today is that day.

(This post was edited by InTheChair on Apr 1, 6:52pm)


Apr 1, 6:51pm

Post #6 of 30 (2623 views)
Only if you change "Mod-down" to "Morgul-bladed", and [In reply to] Can't Post

change those lame light sidey titles like Lorien and The Shire to really cewl ones like Durthang and Gorgoroth. And add free user name changes. Every day. And I want that cloak to be 'smart' like in having the ability to shield me from unfriendly eyes. And I demand that you accept payment in my preferred foreign currency, Beanbean Coins.

Where do I sign up for the Nazgul?


Apr 1, 7:37pm

Post #7 of 30 (2613 views)
Rosie Cotton?.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Rosie Cotton is TORN's new spokesperson?..

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Booklet - Custom Booklet Project


Apr 1, 7:53pm

Post #8 of 30 (2606 views)
But [In reply to] Can't Post

Of course come to think of it... today is that day.

It's not. That was yesterday.

Petty Dwarf

Apr 1, 7:54pm

Post #9 of 30 (2604 views)
In the US [In reply to] Can't Post

today is that day. The things about Amazon product placement and Guillermo del Toro also came out today.

"No words were laid on stream or stone
When Durin woke and walked alone."

Superuser / Moderator

Apr 1, 8:07pm

Post #10 of 30 (2601 views)
Be sure and check out the new Mithril-level board, and Silver-level standard avatars [In reply to] Can't Post

Once the Mithril board goes private we'll have to move the standard avatars to another board so Silver members can access them, but for now it was a convenient place to put them.


Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.

"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase


Apr 1, 8:09pm

Post #11 of 30 (2601 views)
I hope [In reply to] Can't Post

Kiwis will get discounted rates. It's only fair.

Forum Admin / Moderator

Apr 2, 9:50am

Post #12 of 30 (2554 views)
Worry not! [In reply to] Can't Post

You’ve got a bonus entry in my free drawing Wink

The Hobbit Soundtracks - Being an online archive of information concerning Howard Shore's score for The Hobbit films.

Grey Havens

Apr 2, 10:43am

Post #13 of 30 (2557 views)
*points to the calendar* [In reply to] Can't Post

Pssssst...it's April Fools! Pranking the message boards is a bit of a tradition around here on April First. Fear not...the boards will continue catering to the penniless and the penniful (I think I just made up a word).

Grey Havens

Apr 2, 10:44am

Post #14 of 30 (2549 views)
What about half-Kiwis? [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe I can get a half-discount. "Mates' Rates" is a phrase I didn't learn until moving here, but it works for me!

Grey Havens

Apr 2, 10:51am

Post #15 of 30 (2551 views)
Hmmmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

Does the Nazgul come with its own Fell Beastie? Move over, Pony Parties...hello, Beastie Birthdays -- the birthday party no kid will ever forget! Just think how the kids will squeal when riding one of *those*! Definitely the Next Big Thing in trendy birthday parties.

Forum Admin / Moderator

Apr 2, 3:45pm

Post #16 of 30 (2513 views)
I think you can get it as a firework [In reply to] Can't Post

for the younger ones. They're talking about an age minimum for the real Nazgul (only kids 12 or older can get the real Nazgul)

Good to see you Ro! Air NZ just announced non-stops between Chicago and Auckland - I'm watching airfares Smile

The Shire

Apr 2, 8:43pm

Post #17 of 30 (2504 views)
April Fools? [In reply to] Can't Post

Message Boards are very, very, extremely "post 90's" -- I think they pretty much died out as a hotbed for internet activity about 10 years ago. The idea that this place is gonna splode cause there's a TV series is...backdated thinking, to say the least. Social media has basically annihilated old school MB's. Most MB's are ghost towns or hubs primarily for a very old, hardcore community -- you see the same 20-30 people posting 90% of the content -- noobs don't last long. I'm not here enough to pay $$$ for "access" -- you can get Tolkien news anywhere else on the 'net and chat on Twitter, Facebook or a dozen other formats. This is like a sad, balding, paunchy middle aged man slapping on some cologne and asking out that cute 21 year old bartender...in other words, it's not 1998-2005 anymore, let it go with dignity guys. Maybe you got an uptick in traffic during the Hobbit trilogy, but trust me, that was the last gasp of the MB culture. Imagine an email list going to "subscription" during the MB heyday. Honestly, if you want to kill this Forum dead, by all means try a "subscription" format....

(This post was edited by BOSW on Apr 2, 8:44pm)


Apr 2, 9:21pm

Post #18 of 30 (2495 views)
"This board is like a sad, balding, paunchy middle aged man slapping on some cologne and asking out that cute 21 year old bartender" [In reply to] Can't Post

Guilty as charged!

*shambles off, thinking about letting it go with dignity...*

squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary

= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Apr 3, 1:28am

Post #19 of 30 (2462 views)
Not to mention pitiless and pitiful [In reply to] Can't Post



Apr 3, 2:35am

Post #20 of 30 (2463 views)
Hang on a minute [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll be back to read your post once I find my glasses...


Apr 3, 2:37am

Post #21 of 30 (2447 views)
Only if you promise [In reply to] Can't Post

to put pineapple on your pizza. Cool

Tol Eressea

Apr 3, 2:49am

Post #22 of 30 (2448 views)
Yep, April Fools! [In reply to] Can't Post

Whoa now. Step back a minute. Breeeeath.

Something does seem to have gotten under your skin. If it's the above insanely well-crafted offering of April 1 fun from the admins and you fell for it, well, shoot, you're not the only one. Wink

If you didn't fall for it and this is your way of contributing to the annual Celebration of Foolishness, nice try, but I must say that your wording has a mite too much bite to it to feel friendly, is too ageist to be funny, and upsets the carefully cultivated equilibrium we value at this "old-school" message board. (Is there any other kind? Smile )

Let the old and not so old folks have our fun, sprinkle our posts with a limited but useful variety of emojis - and who is it hurting? We are quite happy here beneath the fading trees, some of us completely shunning Twitter and FB for our Tolkien news and views. There are worse places to meet friends and exchange quips, rumours and heartfelt differences of opinion.

You're a welcome presence here, BOSW. See you around? No charge.


Grey Havens

Apr 3, 9:12am

Post #23 of 30 (2423 views)
Well, Eldarion just turned 12... [In reply to] Can't Post

...which is actually pretty hard to believe. Frankly, I"d rather have a Nazgul-themed birthday party than a pi-themed one, which is what he's really hankering for.

*waves back* Ooooh, non-stop flights for you! Awesome!!! Keep me posted!

Grey Havens

Apr 3, 9:13am

Post #24 of 30 (2422 views)
That, I can promise... [In reply to] Can't Post

but I refuse to put egg on my hamburger!!!

Grey Havens

Apr 3, 9:27am

Post #25 of 30 (2433 views)
I think he just suggested [In reply to] Can't Post

we sing "Let it Go" with dignity. Think we can pull that off?

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