Changing Free Registrations
After five and a half years, we’re going to change the way Free account registrations work on Write.as, starting January 1.
In short, this will only affect people without any Write.as account at all — existing users will be able to continue using the platform at no charge, as long as they keep their original account. (And we won’t ever change this!) But anyone who hasn’t created an account by December 31 at 11:59pm Eastern won’t be able to create an account via our open registration flow. Instead, they’ll need to choose a paid account, or get a Free account through another channel. Read on for details.
Where we are today
Write.as will soon celebrate its seventh birthday, this February! When we started back in 2015, it was a completely free platform that didn’t even let you sign up — you could publish individual, anonymous posts and share the link.
You can still use Write.as like that to this day. But since then, we’ve also added full accounts and paid plans, grown almost entirely via word-of-mouth, and earlier this year, became profitable as a company, ensuring we can continue building this for decades to come.
Along the way, we launched complementing products like Snap.as and Submit.as. We released our publishing platform as free and open source software, called WriteFreely, so anyone could host their own “Write.as.” Besides the 325,000 writers we now serve, tens of thousands more write and publish on independently-run WriteFreely communities around the world.
Now, looking forward, we want to focus on making our ecosystem better for everyone in it. We want to put dedicated effort into building our product roadmap. And we want to continue helping our open source platform grow and develop. So, after discussing this with the community, we’ve decided that the best way to give ourselves space for this work will be to limit new Free registrations for the foreseeable future.
Improvements for subscribers
With this change, we’ll turn our focus entirely to improvements for our existing community. In the near term, this will include the ability to comment on posts, and more widely, a new social space called Remark.as — open soon, for Write.as subscribers.
We’ll also add some long-requested features, like custom favicons, more control over your site’s navigation bar, more accessible design, and control over your site’s layout.
From a marketing perspective, we’ll finally be able to freely talk about everything the platform can do, instead of always catering to the limitations of the Free plan. Our hope is that this will help us present things in a more coherent way, and put effort into calmly growing the business again in the coming year.
As we continue building around the customers that keep our bootstrapped business alive, we plan to offer new ways to pay for our products.
As we’ve written about before, we believe privacy-focused platforms like ours should be as widely accessible as possible. That means we’re happy to work with people on pricing, for example, if they can’t afford a subscription, or are in school, or are retired, or if they live somewhere that makes paying in US dollars difficult. When in doubt, just reach out to us and we’ll be happy to work something out.
Along these lines, we’ll also look to reduce our prices as our business continues to grow. We’ve already started on that in some places, for example by reducing the price on our WriteFreely iOS app.
Finally, subscribers can still rest easy knowing they’ll fall back to our limited Free plan if they stop paying for their subscription. This is our continued way of saying “thanks” for financially supporting us, for however long you do.
Options for Free users
If you’ve relied on our Free Write.as plan, you don’t have to worry — we aren’t putting any new restrictions in place. In fact, we’ll actually be loosening things up a bit, like our automated spam filters, since more of our users will be trusted.
For new users looking for a free or low-cost place to write, we still want to help. Besides discounts on our paid plans, we’re keeping certain options open here on Write.as, and helping everyone find alternatives otherwise.
Staying true to our roots, we’ll continue supporting completely anonymous publishing. That means everyone can continue using the platform without ever signing up, and our anonymous Android app, iOS app, Linux desktop app, and command-line client will continue working as they always have.
We want to continue supporting the communities, writing groups, classrooms, and public libraries that rely on Write.as as a free writing tool. So we’re leaving our invite system open for the foreseeable future, to let you give others a completely free account on Write.as.
Current Free users in good standing will get a couple invites to send out by default — up to 3. For our paying Pro users, you’ll get:
- 5 invites as a monthly subscriber
- 10 invites as a yearly subscriber
- Unlimited invites as a 5-year subscriber
If you ever need more, especially for your writing group, students, or patrons, just reach out to us and we’ll be more than happy to help.
Self-managed and WriteFreely communities
Finally, you can enjoy the same clean publishing experience you get here, without relying on our paid service, through our open source platform, WriteFreely.
WriteFreely makes it easy to start up a website that works just like Write.as. You can host your own blog, or a whole group of friends. Organizations can set this up to give their members a completely private or public place to write.
Besides running the site yourself, you can also join WriteFreely communities that already exist, hosted by organizations and hobbyists that want to offer a place for people to write.
If you’re interested in helping our ecosystem grow, the WriteFreely project is also a great place to get involved. There are many ways to contribute, and all will help us continue to build a suite of clean, simple web publishing tools that are accessible to all.
If you have any thoughts or questions about this change, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via email or our forum.
As always, we want to make sure we’re hearing from everyone who has invested themselves in our platform. We couldn’t have gotten to this place without you, and we hope to share in this next stage with you.
Happy holidays, and we’ll see you in 2022!