For current and future subscribers

Note from Britt: SPN is now a membership funded site. Over the past four years I’ve depleted my own savings set aside for SPN, so my ability to personally subsidize everyone else’s free access has come to an end. So from 2019 onward, everything published on SPN must cover its cost. Costs

  • Individual members ($10/mo) have unlimited reading access, and when a member submits a personal letter-to-the-editor they can choose if it’s published behind or beyond the paywall. Because members pay to receive content, we welcome articles and press releases for publication behind the paywall, at no charge to the organization.
  • Non-profit members ($20/mo) can assign up to two membership accounts, and when they submit a press release it can be published behind or beyond the paywall. A non-profit can be considered an SPN member if they have at least two individual volunteers and/or employees subscribing to SPN. We would need to know who they are, so we can attach them to the non-profit access.
  • Corporations have a similar plan available, but with more member signup allowed, and more costly ($50/mo). Also, the emails attached to corporate plans must belong to the corporation, not the individual.
  • To publish anything beyond the paywall without a membership, it’s a one-time fee of $50.

Costs that we bear include web hosting, a stand-alone server, software, administration, supplies, computer equipment, transportation, camera and videography equipment, and of course human effort.

Q: Where do I subscribe? Answer

Q: Are there other ways to pay? I don’t like Paypal and/or I’m not comfortable giving my credit card information to online providers. Answer

A: Absolutely! Contact us and provide us with your billing email address (where we can send the invoice) and your preferred username, and we will set you up manually. You can pay my mail or in person (we can meet for coffee!).

Q: Where do I log in? Answer

A: You can log in either from the top menu or from the right-hand side bar.


Q: How do I log in? Answer

A: You will need your username (or email) and your password. Remember to click the “I am not a robot” button!

Q: What if I don’t remember my password? Answer

A: Click Forgot password or Password Reset. You will be asked to enter your email address, and the password generator will send you a new password.

Q: What if I don’t like my password? Answer

A: You are welcome to change it! Just use the assigned password to log in, then click Profile to update your profile. Once there, you can change everything (first name, last name, email address and password) except your username.

Q: I cannot log in, what’s upAnswer

A: Be sure you do these THREE things:

1. Enter your username exactly as you entered it at registration. It will be one single word.

2. Enter your password exactly as you entered it at registration. Caps and lowercase must be as you entered it.

3. Click the checkbox beside the words, “I’m not a robot.” If you are using an incognito browser or MSIE, you may have to check some security images (eg, nine pictures, and you have click on all that have a car or whatever is indicated).

Once you have done these THREE things, then you can click the Login button.

Q: I still cannot log in, what’s upAnswer

A: It could be one of two things.

1. You may not have completed your registration. There are still a handful of people who have paid but have not completed their registration. Sometimes this is a result of using an infrequently used email address (possibly connected to your Paypal account). Email us to get a link to complete your registration.

2. Try logging in using your email address (not your username), and refer to the previous question for the three important things to do before clicking the Login button.

General Questions

Q: Do you lift content from social media? Answer

A: No. That’s a nasty rumour circulating in certain circles. As per our policies, when we find something that may interest the greater community, we always ask the originator for permission. Nothing is published without the originator’s direct consent.

Q: Do you plagiarize content from other news outlets? Answer

A: No. Again, a nasty rumour, same circle. We double-source all of our news items. We publish press releases from primary sources, and we may append links to locally relevant resources. We do embed videos and posts from social media, using publicly provided embed codes, and with videos we always include a statement saying that this information comes from a publicly provided embed code. Control of the content always stays with the source.

Q: Are you fake news? Answer

A: No. We define fake news as inaccurate information. We don’t get our news from social media rumours; we go to the original source. And, we double-source the facts. We do occasionally make mistakes, and when we do, we will always issue a public statement of that error, we will issue a correction, and an apology.

Q: Do you steal photographs? Answer

A: No. Images on SPN come from SPN’s own photography, contributed photography, or open source. Our preferred source for photographs is Wikimedia. The copyright information and link to the source is almost always provided in the image’s “alt” code. If we use someone else’s photographs, we seek permission.

Q: Speaking of photographs, can I get a photo of me removed? Answer

A: Yes. Photographs can be taken without permission at public events, and sometimes it is unrealistic to ask permission (like, say at the Polar Dip or at Canada Day). We try to always get adult consent for photos of children. If you see a photo of yourself that you would like to see removed, contact us and we will remove it.

Q: Why did you shift to subscription (coined by some as “selling out”)? Answer

A: If we didn’t secure a regular income, SPN was destined for the dustbin. By moving to a subscription based service, we are aspiring to achieve minimum wage for our one employee first, and ultimately a living wave. Eventually we would love to hire someone so that we can expand our offerings to subscribers.

Q: Is the shift to subscription a get-rich quick scheme? Answer

A: No. At $0.33 per day per reader, it will take a significant number of subscribers before the publisher can even dream of earning an industry-equivalent income. It costs money to run a business. Sooke PocketNews spends a significant amount of money to pay for the platform that delivers the news. To date, the “free” news has been heavily subsidized by the owner, to the point of investing all personal savings over the past four years. With diminishing advertising income, and without an equal or greater revenue source, the ad-dependent model is mathematically unsustainable.

Q: Why can’t you profit off advertisements or donations? Answer

A: Businesses that used to be supported primarily by advertisers are all struggling with diminishing income. Hence the rise of of subscription-based services like Spotify and Netflix.  With regular advertisers have been diminishing over the past four years, SPN was at a point where losing two more advertisers would have meant the end of SPN. We’ve learned the hard way that being ad-dependent would not sustain SPN.

Q: What if I can’t afford a subscription? Answer

A: Contact us! Make your case, and we can give you temporary access for a certain period of time.

Q: Why do subscribers still see advertisements? Answer

A: Our business model has always operated on the principle that advertisements must be locally relevant and meaningful. This means you will not find ads for Walmart or Ikea on SPN, but you will find ads for Artisan’s Garden and locally performed shows on SPN. We maintain that this specifically-local exposure benefits both the provider and the reader.

Q: How did you decide to switch to subscription? Answer

A: We consulted with select local business owners, conducted a focus group, and researched industry trends. A number of those business owners we consulted have agreed to act as advisory committee members. We gave our readership and our existing advertisers 30 days notice, and heavily advertised this change.

Q: Are you now behind a paywall? Answer

A: Mostly yes. Our pages are still mostly open (we have live streaming weather, especially for earth quake information, power outages, etc and traffic information). Select articles are still open, like that written by others, that written by student (building portfolios), or sponsored content. Contributors get to select if their content will be open to all or limited to subscribers. Articles that require hours of staff labour (like sitting through five-hour Council meetings, and then doing research and subsequent write-ups) will be available to paying subscribers.

Q: What changes with the move from ad-dependent to subscriber-dependent? Answer

A: Personally, we think this is a shift worth massive celebration. Think about it. As an ad-dependent business, our real product (that which we could sell for money) was clicks. The real customer is the advertiser. Basically, you were the product. And you’ve seen what happens when clicks are the main business driver: Headlines become click bait, and content is divisive by design.

With the shift to being subscriber-dependent, it’s back to the basics. The real product becomes the content. And the real customer is YOU, the reader. And, really, isn’t that was a news service should be?

Layout issues

Q: Why are your ads cut off? Answer

A: If the ads look wonky to you, you are probably using Internet Explorer. Less than 5% of our readership use this browser, and given that a fix would require programming and software while we’re still focused on food and shelter, this issue is out of scope. We recommend you use another browser.

Door RRZEicons - Eigen werk, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Image credit: Door RRZEicons – own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia