Under review

Pro plan is way to expensive!

trude017mill 3 years ago in Website updated by anonymous 4 months ago 124

Is this new? I've never seen the requirement to buy Pro in order to see an article. I love you guys, but $900/yr is out of the question, just to access a few dated articles. You need a different path to cover costs and make a profit. How about a $15-$20/mo plan, I bet you would get a hell of a lot more takers!


The authors and contributors to this site who have put in endless hours of research and expected to reach a very wide audience will be the main losers.  The free exchange of ideas and active participation in the comments section is what enlightened many, including the authors.  Follow up is essential to discussions on investments. An arbitrary 10 day free limit is absurd and has no base.  The reality is that many valuable comments are posted after 10 days, as well as new developments etc.  The poor contributor who slaved for hours on the original article and then was trying to provide follow up based on interactions with readers and news items will find there is no one listening or reading because it costs too much to participate.  Seeking Alphas heart and soul was in the comments of the community.  Shutting off the flow of comments and participation will be like shutting off the water in the desert.  This has happened before to many good organizations that got greedy and shut off the bloodline to the heart.....there has got to be better ways, or perhaps a more reasonable $10-$20 a month to support your efforts.  Might as well shut down the site.  The death will be quicker and more merciful.  Please listen to the users.  This is not a good decision.  Greed kills.


I  am going to add my voice to the growing list of discontent SA members. SA has always offered a very unique website and community to those wishing to learn more about individual securities and investing in general. Among the vast sea of heavily monetized-investment advice on the Internet, SA has always stood out from the rest by offering a viable free membership for most articles. Now SA is just another undistinguishable wave in the ocean.

If SA was in financial difficulty, or if the owners/administrators did really need to more effectively monetize the content, then I can fathom paying $10/month or maybe $15 at the high end. Make free members turn their ad blockers off. Going from $0 to $75 (with very little notice, IMO) is inexcusable and short-sighted strategy. I thought this website placed high emphasis on fair and upfront disclosures?

I will look diligently for other websites and online investing communities. In the meantime, Reddit has always remained free, something SA can no longer claim


I think we should start a forum to share other high quality websites and online investing communities because I will be looking elsewhere as well now.

Agree!!!  How about siliconinvestor.com


This new policy of locking articles is absurd. Did you receive authorization from every author to do this? What if some authors want their content to stay free forever? And how are they supposed to generate revenue through clicks on their articles if you lock them behind a paywall?

I am currently a small time investor and can not justify paying this much to read research, I have a feeling many regular visitors to this site are like me as well.


Like many others, I have enjoyed sa for at least a couple years now, however the new 10 day rule is a problem for me because I use historical articles when evaluating new investments , and I would be glad to pay some amount ($20-25 monthly?) for this privilege... and personally I cannot justify anything close to $75 monthly ($800 annually). Maybe you could offer an annual subscription option for a much lower price?


This is just ridiculous. Introducing paid only access without any communication whatsoever and then one only finds out about it after having checked the forum section.. Thats just terrible Customer Relations. Shame on you.

And the price is just ridiculous as well. You are completely nuts. Good luck with your traffic. Hope a decent alternative shows up soon and eats you..


Sorry but $75 a month is way too much I believe the fee should be closer to Netflix/Amazon i.e. no more than $10 a month or discounted to $100 a year if paid in advance. If SA continues to go this route I for one and
probably many more like me will likely go elsewhere.


LOL, I thought I was the only "free" subscriber suddenly shut out of "analysis" etc., which so often was contributed by some financial advisor or another as promotion, or some dedicated amateur sharing (unvetted) knowledge, with a chorus of often trollish comments from people too young to have seen a market cycle.

Of course, now none of my bookmarks to SeekingAlpha articles work, they're all locked down behind the ridiculously expensive paywall.

I went to the trouble of reviewing what's now included in "free" membership:

Basic Membership Includes:

Real time news and analysis on holdings in your portfolio
Access to our full archive of news, earnings calls and filings
Access to our most recent articles

As near as I can tell, other than just-published articles, which are available for 10 days, you get access to the "archive" of earnings announcements and filings, the kind of boilerplate that you can easily find Googling.

Anything else costs at least $75 a month.

If you don't pony up $75 a month, no point in following anyone thinking you'll catch up later, no point in bookmarking an article, and little point in sharing it because when your friends get a chance to read it, they may be locked out.

I sincerely wish SeekingAlpha well in their repackaging of financial advisor self-promotion and amateur analysis as a an extremely expensive subscription service, far more expensive than many respected financial newsletters.

One wonders who would pay at least $900 per year for this. The pros don't need it, unless they want to check out each others' pickup lines and an ordinary investor is better off subscribing to a couple of newsletters for far less expense.

SeekingAlpha was fun to read for years, but now the free public-facing side will be dead as a doornail, no point in even taking part in comments, when you follow up, likely you'll be locked out.


I'm sure somebody at SA thought charging $75 a month would be a good idea. I would just like to remind that person or persons that some other genius thought it would be a good idea to use hydrogen on the Hindenburg and we all know how that turned out.


Most likely, SeekingAlpha marketing or marketing consultants projected some degree of profitability at $75+ a month, they have estimates of how many subscriptions they need to sell, and they decided that the free folks are just excess low-value baggage that might as well go away. It's possible SA can maintain some degree of ad revenue with people attracted by that 10-day window.

However, Google ranking will suffer, because why go through the frustration of clicking on a SeekingAlpha link, probability being you won't be able to read the article? (Same with Barron's.)

Essentially, SeekingAlpha has gone private, paywall-wise.

Please offer a pay-per-read option (maybe $1 per article) for those of us who only need to read a few articles per month


let's start a thread with the best alternatives to SA. I'm a longtime follower SA but this is pure greed, come back when you have the quality, history, and class of the WSJ and we'll talk about the price


I'm also really peeved about the latest changes, but not sure how you can compare WSJ to SA. WSJ is a news outlet. Have you ever made an investment from something you read in the WSJ? I love the WSJ, but it's basically just markets news. I can't afford what they are asking at SA for my size portfolio, but comparisons to WSJ don't seem to fit. 

Please post the link to the thread about alternatives- I really need one now. 


I just want to thank everyone for your feedback. Eli and I decided to listen instead of responding immediately. Some clear messages have come through. I hope to update you soon with the next steps we're planning to take.

David, I'd be curious to know if you have gotten any takers and if new paying member numbers have been above, below or about what you expected? But more important than that, I hope you guys seriously consider the many points presented here, the likely death of comments, SEO impact from reduced comments & tons of content that will no longer be indexed, likely loss of users due to pissed off member base, PPC impact from all of the above... Like I said initially, I love SA and truly do wish you well and continued success!


trude017mil, thank you for your question, and particularly for the kindness and civility with which it was expressed. 

My goal is to listen carefully to the feedback here and elsewhere with an open mind. So please forgive me if I don't express any opinions about the issues raised here and in other threads, and limit myself to giving you the data you requested:

1. Signups for PRO have far exceeded our expectations, and there is no sign yet that the sign up rate is slowing. At the current sign up rate, we will be able to pay our contributors more, and increasingly reward them for value rather than pageviews. Paying our contributors more should enable us to increase the quality and quantity of articles for both paying subscribers and non-subscribers who read articles in the first 10 days after publication.

2. We're not seeing a concerning reduction in the number of comments. This is because the vast majority of comments are written within the first 10 days of an article's life. Of the relatively small percentage of comments left after 10 days, many of them are written by people who already commented in the first 10 days. Our analysis of the readership and comment data was the basis for fixing the paywall at 10 days, and ensuring that people who have already commented on an article are able to view the comments and add further comments even after the article is behind the paywall. While it's obviously not optimal to comment on an article when you can no longer see it, a significant percentage of new comments on older articles discuss the stock more than the article itself. We did a gradual rollout of the paywall to check that these comment patterns didn't change due to the paywall, and so far we're seeing no change at full rollout.

3. We took a number of steps to mitigate any impact to SEO, and so far we're not seeing any signs of damage to search traffic. Our search traffic just hit an all time high, and our contributors are reaching a larger readership than ever before and will receive larger payments.

4. We haven't seen a meaningful decline in article reads, nor a spike in account cancellations. That's probably due to the fact that the paywall only impacts "primary ticker articles" after 10 days, leaving the vast majority of Seeking Alpha usage intact. Canceling an account would mean that a user would lose real time news coverage, transcripts, analysis and email alerts on their stocks, when none of those have been affected by the paywall.

This doesn't necessarily mean we've got the product and pricing right. I'd like to continue to listen to your and others' feedback with an open mind, so at this stage I'll avoid drawing conclusions from this data. But I'd welcome your and others' reactions to it. 



Thank you for acknowledging the community and that you are reviewing the comments seriously. As I mentioned earlier, my biggest concern with Seeking Alpha is trying to determine the quality of the authors. When subscribing to a known financial publication, I take some solace in recognized journalistic practices. With Seeking Alpha we are told “Disagree with this article? Submit your own” That’s a pretty low bar.

Perhaps Seeking Alpha can add a ratings system to contributors with every article, that can assist in validating the new costing model. Some “off the top of my head” ideas:

  • # of followers (1-2500, 2501-5000, 5001-7500, 7501-10,000, 10,001+) 5 points max
  • Number of editors picks (1-10, 10-25 ,26-75, 75+) 4 points max
  • Interaction with commenters vetting out the article (0 comments, 0-2%, 2%+) [% of comments belonging to the author] 2 points max
  • Accreditation (recognized financial credentials [CFP, CIWM, CLU, FP, PFP, RFP], acknowledged financial credentials, industry tenure [1-10yrs, 10-20yrs, 20+yrs] (4pts, 2pts, 3pts graded) cumulative 9 points max 
  • Grand total of 20 points

I've often thought along the same lines, these are EXCELLENT suggestions.


You're welcome David and thanks for the input/feedback on what's happening internally and how it's going. Eager to hear of future updates/changes/modifications.

David, I ponied up for the $30 a month offer.  This to me feels like it should the premium PRO level pricing.  Other, lower priced, tiers seem well advised as well, perhaps with caps on the number of archived articles available per month or such.

As an advertising & marketing professional for the past forty years, I'll suggest that you offer PRO subscribers the option to add a "PRO" suffix after their name, perhaps as the default condition.  


I haven't read all the comments/replies above, but I just discovered the new "pricing plan" that got slammed on all of us long-time alpha seekers without warning!  I had some articles in a browser window I had planned to follow up on, and now they are all restricted to Pro when I refresh.  This is a poor way to treat your members!  You should have at least given us a heads-up beforehand.  And the price is outrageous.  There were already pay subscriptions for some posters/analysts articles.  And now this on top of that.  It's one thing to pay for something you've subscribed to, but to pay for an ad-laced site is another story.  (Not saying I mind the ads that provide you revenue, but to charge on top of that is a bit heavy-handed.)

I second most opinions here. A big disservice having changed access this way, and the price proposed doesn't reflect what's affordable by your audience. Bad move, I'm disappointed and will be looking somewhere else for news


$75 per month is too much.  What would I be willing to pay?  $20 per month or $200 per year.

If I am going to pay money for this site, then I wish the editors would better review the content.  For example, one popular author, who writes almost daily REIT articles, regurgitates the same content for each respective REIT article over and over again, without adding much additional content. 

I have noticed a misleading trend developing in the article titles.  "10 Top Silver Stocks for 2018", for example, with only 6 thru 10 listed in the article and the rest available thru the author's paid service.    

I get a lot of useful information and have learned a great deal from SA'S articles and comments.  I hope you will please reconsider your fee structure and adjust your editing standards.


Simply put, in addition to the well stated points above, I do not believe that the quality of information on SA justifies the cost of access, especially for dated articles (which I would imagine have a diminished value relative to the "free, real time" content). I think it is now worthwhile to pay a premium to access research written by professionals. While it may be potentially profitable for SA in the long run, I think it is utterly ridiculous to charge $900 to read mostly novice research.


Pro plan is exorbitant. cut it by 2/3 and no problem. 


I believe $10 a month or $100 a year would be fair and reasonable to most folks. While 20 to 30 a month may be palatable to some that is a bit of money to cough up for a smaller investor/retree I think you will lose a ton of subscribers even at that level. I am accustomed to the layout/format of seeking alpha and am willing to pay a bit to help but price it too high and I will be forced to look elsewhere.



I'm an active commenter ($30/month offered to me) on a relatively small number of articles and many of my comments are on older articles.  I often find the comments more useful than the articles.

Is this right?  As a non-subscriber

- If I miss an article for 10 days, I lose the privilege of both reading and commenting

- If in that 10 days I either comment on an article or click "track comments" I maintain access to the article's comments

- the audience for my comments is only those who began tracking comments in the first 10 days, unless they happen to have a pro subscription and also happen to somehow stumble on the comment

- even for articles I've commented or clicked "track comments" I lose access to the article after 10 days

If so, my biggest concern is the final point.  If commenting or clicking "track comments" allowed me to maintain access to both the comments and the article then SA will continue to be a valuable asset to me.  If not, I suspect I will drift away.

Also, if the "track comments" button works as I describe above, it should be made far more prominent.  Maybe it should always be visible when reading an article so readers don't forget to click it.  Or maybe use a yellow background for articles being read that aren't subscribed to so readers don't forget to track an article.

I personally would not object to only being able to "track comments" on 10 additional articles per month as part of my my free subscription.  That would keep people from going crazy with the track comments feature.

I pay for a service on Seeking Alpha, but not the Pro+ membership.  I think if you are a paying member to a service on Seeking Alpha, you should have access to all Free Seeking Alpha Articles and not be restricted by the new policy to remove them after 10 days.  It makes sense to have some additional benefits if you decide to pay for a service on Seeking Alpha.




It's very disappointing to search on relatively popular equities and find every single article locked.  For non-PRO users, the utility of SA is less than 50% of what it was a month ago.   It's also annoying to make a decision based upon an article and then find shortly thereafter your access has been removed w/out notice.

This lack of value will catch up to SA as will representing intent to compensate authors w/out even notifying them that their articles become locked.  (it's a ridiculous situation to follow links to locked articles all over this site!)

However, congratulations that your pro subscriber base is "growing beyond expectations" without any impact on traffic or engagement. 


Another among many discontented marketplace subscriber

I am skeptical about your pro subscriber base "growing beyond expectations".  For how long.  You just killed off the goose with the golden eggs.  Disgraceful how the authors as well as the loyal SA readers are being shafted.


This is an outrage.

Give people a choice, add pro get no adds.

Non-pro = get adds.

Feel betrayed by seeking Alpha. Now hidden old articles that are older than 10 days old...


The math here alone makes zero sense.  Let's assume that the majority of Seeking Alpha users are not institutional investors considering I'm not sure what institution is going to use crowd sourced research that often provides little insight into industry or company details beyond the 10,000 foot view.  Of course institutions would be willing to pay $900 when they pay much more for a Bloomberg terminal and other data sources.  The problem is, I'm assuming the vast majority of Seeking Alpha (SA) users are individuals with relatively small portfolios that do not leverage research provided by big box brokers for free.  Let's say the average user has $100K in investable assets (probably too high, maybe not)...that would mean they are spending 90bps on getting insights from SA...Put that on top of users who use ETF's or have a broker with high fees and you're talking about an expense ratio in the range of 1.5%-2.0% which is absurd.  Some basic analysis/logic on the part of SA which looks at their user base would tell them the pricing makes no sense.  I would definitely pay something reasonable to hear some high quality crowd sourced perspectives, but a large portion of SA "analysis" is done by rookie or even "seasoned" investors that have little understanding of the company they are researching beyond what you would read in a press release.  That is all from the peanut gallery. 


You just Wrote what i wanted to write!:D If we assume most people wont beat the market consistently and the S&P market return in average historically below 10% than how the hell would worth for most individuals more than 10% of their annual return to be paid to get some info?! Me personally i beat the market in the last 2 year by a multiple of margin but my total portfolio size is just 40 000 USD yet, so how the hell would it make sense even for me to buy this subscriptions. If i got billions to invest and this "investements" about all the investments channels together wouldnt reach more than 0.1% of my annual return i would consider a buy!:) I love to be here,but i dont get my ideas from here,i come here to discuss under articles in general,and see other peoples opinion about certain companies, it wouldnt make much sense to me to buy anything in the range where it is today. I wrote a personal e mail when i been greeted to be one of the "elite 5000 chosen one",but i explained fairly simply there as well that it doesnt make sense for the vast mayority of individual investor.


Seeking Alpha may be getting an initial flourish of Pro subscribers, but I wonder if in the end, their page views overall will go down?  Not a good way to attract and keep advertisers.


I'd pay $39 per year but not $900 per year. Not sure how they derived at this figure. There are some great, talented investors posting articles but many are just average Joes (I am just an average Joe). Anyone have suggested alternatives to Seeking Alpha?


I have found a few but none with quite as polished a layout and format as Seeking Alpha. I would almost be willing to start a competing website as I'm still pretty upset over SA's subscription pricing which I think is pretty outrageous.


Very poor decision by management here. No one is going to subscribe to this. Give it a couple weeks/months and watch the backtracking begin...


Sounds like declining ad revenue is the motivation for this change, so I would suggest putting a nag message up to get people to turn off their ad blockers. I could never justify the PRO cost, especially given the many authors that have to be taken with a huge grain of salt. Most sites have been able to remain free by getting support from users to turn off ad blockers, and most are happy to do so if ads are not obnoxious. lastly, this change in policy was very poorly communicated, if you value the community you should not make radical changes like this without explaining the rationale. You could also consider an ad free version of the site for an additional charge.

I find the comments section here to be at least as informative as the articles (unless its about AAPL, then you get flame wars) so I have to believe this will reduce or eliminate comments once the article's behind the paywall.


Classic response......SA wants to bend over the very folks who have made it the "go to" site for research and opinions.  Apparently some 30 something, newly minted MBA thinks there is an untapped revenue stream to be had.  Too bad.....I am already looking around for an alternative.  


Bye, bye, SA!  Why should I even bookmark the site?  Ridiculous price hike very clumsily handled.  Self-destructive move.


bye bye i read sa less and less.

I see that they've taken my suggestion and implemented something to force people to turn off their pop-up blockers in order to read articles, which I am completely fine with. Hopefully with the extra ad revenue they're able to revert back to letting small timers like myself read older articles to get background information on companies we could potentially want to invest in.

P.S. I read one of the non-paywalled articles a couple of weeks ago about a stock that I've been following closely, and the author didn't even present the factual information correct. You expect people to pay for opinion articles where the authors barely take the time to research a stock before giving their opinion?

I have to agree with all the comments above.  Have used SA extensively for personal and work related insights for years now.  But the Pro subscription is out of reach. 

this is very surprising - im an awesome contributor but now its impossible unless you write an rticle i guess? i mean if they wanted to make that a thing, which is basically a diluted VIC, why not just start a new website instead of breaking the one that worked?


$100-200 a year I can understand.   $360+ a year is way too much.   SA is NOT WSJ or NYT.


Unfortunately their silence on this issue i.e. under review for 3 + months now speaks volumes they are essentially hoping that all of the complaints will just subside which regrettably appears to be the case and as long as the current PRO members are willing to pay the premium for their subscriptions why should they care about the peasants.  

Terrible, you've lost a user. 

Seeking alpha is going bonkers, plain stupid and suicidal.  I actually come here to read comments.  I will be deleting my account or at least unsubscribing.


The price of PRO is now significantly lower. See it here: https://seekingalpha.com/pro

Oh get real SA. $45/month is insane. Earn it through ad revenue if need be. You want to monetize users, ill just go elsewhere. You will continue losing users and authors, and after 1 or 2 years, your site will be defunct. Good luck to you. Meantime, I will be spreading the word to boycott this site. What a shame. 

The cost... if you MUST charge.. should be no more than what it would cost for 1 trade on your average platform. Example... I pay $7.95 with eTrade. Subscription per month with Seeking Alpha should be NO MORE than that per month! And if I pay that, you better be sure as hell I'll expect the Ads to be turned off like I would with any other platform where I move to paid.

PS - You're largely hosting text, maybe a couple images per article... not video... nor any large files or anything with large storage needs. Costs are not that high for hosting SA and everyone knows that.  This shouldnt be rocket science... Whoever is SA's "product manager of pro" shoud look in the mirror. Guaranteed you'll have many times the subscribers with the lower rate and it will result in far higher revenue.

One other comment... Spotify... $9.99... Netflix... $9.99... so many other subscription models are right in this range... why is SA (who pumps out no content, its all user/community driven), charging so much more. You think there's a premium to charge more money for articles that might make you money? Think again.


Probably the best argument in this entire thread for reasonable subscription costs. I sometimes subscribe to investment-related products for at least a year if for no other reason than to show appreciation for the content that is delivered for free. If Seeking Alpha Premium was $9.99 a month, I would subscribe immediately. I suppose I could write articles, get "vetted" and then maybe qualify for Premium as a perk. But who knows if I'd ever get vetted? In the meantime, give me a 9.99 and I'll be in by dinner time.


I Agree BGJ! Perhaps we should start a new post asking how many SA members would sign on for premium @ 9.99/mo. I bet the numbers would be compelling...

I fully agree with these comments and refuse to pay for articles about ETFs. Why am I seeing articles on VYM locked? Half the time, they are very generic and are little more than clickbait. 

This is in very poor taste and -- delete my comment -- there luckily are still alternatives to outline.com

So sad to see so much content walled off now.  Please come up with a reasonable subscription model!


Hi Ken,

Seeking Alpha Essential is available as low as $19.99/month.


I have been a subscriber of Essential for a few years years and in the two days I'm no longer able to read articles older than a week or so. I have always had access to older articles and am wondering why I wasn't notified that my service has been downgraded. Thanks

Anyone who pays for subscription is a silly Billy. None of the stuff they publish is any use. It is junk. The only thing I liked was the interactive discussions and comments. Not for me. Thanks

im cool with 1 dollar a month like la times.

20 dollars a month. why should seeking alpha get that much if community is driving value. How Netlix can charge 2 times less and they buy quality movies or they produce ones. Articles are too  junky to pay 20 and why should I pay to see comments which are again...content of community.

Tools you created should be paid but paid articles is not good idea.

How can S.A increase the subscription base to attract more people willing to pay for certain services,what bait needs to be put on the hook?I enjoy S.A but it is the comments to the many well versed articles that i focus on?