Your comments

Thank you! Our goal is to build the most valuable site for investors, so it's nice to hear our work is appreciated. 

Thanks for this feedback! 


Most of the items from the Analysis hover-over menu have been moved to other hover-over menus: 

Articles about CEFs are in the Stock Ideas menu. (We're thinking of moving this to the ETFs menu.) 

Articles about ETFs are now in the ETFs hover-over menu.

Articles about Retirement are now in the Dividends hover-over menu.

Articles about Investment Strategy are in the Investing Strategy hover-over.

You can find any item in the site map, which you can reach by clicking on the See All Sections link in the Latest News menu, or by bookmarking this page directly: https://seekingalpha.com/sitemap 

Thank you for this feedback about access to sector coverage in the navigation.


Based on your feedback, we're going to add back the link to the sector coverage page (probably in the Stock Ideas section). 


In the meantime, you can access sector coverage directly via this page, which you can bookmark:
https://seekingalpha.com/stock-ideas/sectors


You can also find direct links to all the individual sectors on the site map here:
https://seekingalpha.com/sitemap

Thank you again for your feedback, and for helping us to make Seeking Alpha more valuable!

I've published an instablog post with a detailed explanation of why we changed the comment system. Please feel free to comment on that post: https://seekingalpha.com/instablog/3-david-jackson/5283480-changes-ordering-comments 

We removed it because it wasn't sufficiently popular. We're now evaluating what to replace it with which will resonate more with subscribers. Do you have any suggestions?  

Thank you everyone for your comments and feedback. Listening carefully...

Crabpaws, thank you for your response. Happy to clarify the issues you raised:


1. We're not looking to change Seeking Alpha into "a more elite audience that is probably smaller but more profitable in membership fees." On the contrary, growing our subscription revenue will allow us to publish more and better articles for all our users. We want a larger audience, not a "smaller reader base".


2. Seeking Alpha is not looking to "reduce staffing or expenses", and isn't in any sort of financial crisis. We probably contributed to that misperception by the wording "Please support Seeking Alpha", and our recent communication with contributors in which we said we wanted better control of our payments for articles, instead of having our content expenses determined by unpredictable traffic flows to the website. The issue is strategic: we don't want to be reliant on advertising alone, because it doesn't provide sufficient financial visibility and strength for us to keep improving our product and raising our payments to contributors, and it faces headwinds from ad blockers and Google and Facebook's dominance.


3. We don't plan to "cull out the less-popular columnists and pay the rest more." Paying for popularity is one of the consequences of an advertising-only business model. It's why other finance websites cover popular large caps, but are thin or have nothing on less popular stocks. Value in finance (the ability to beat the market) is often inversely correlated with popularity. That's why subscriptions are so important to us: when investors pay for value not populism, we can turn round and pass that value on to our contributors.


4. We care a lot about our community, not only about our business. That's why we designed a paywall to impact the minority of pageviews, because the vast majority of article reads and comments occur within 10 days of publication. I understand, though, how the $75/month price point would lead you to the opposite conclusion. At this point I won't say more about that.

Guy at Work, thank you for your reply. I've read your original post. As I said in my post above, "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" at this point.

Since there are overlapping forum areas on this topic, I wanted to share an answer to a question I received in another thread:


The question, from trude017mil was: "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!"


My reply:


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. 

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.