Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

Cheaper membership options! These are tiers of joy

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
Get posts in your inbox:
Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

Dear PainSci Members,

The membership program is now almost two years old, and I’m dropping the main price and adding two new plans, so the options are now: USD $3, 5, or 10 per month (or 30/50/100 yearly). You don’t have to lift a finger here, but you can now change your price easily, and start paying less — like a sale that never ends. Login to your account, click the “Upgrade / Manage Membership” button, and you can choose your new price in seconds.

The new plans…

  • Plain membership for $3/30 — Free emails + premium emails.

  • Main membership for $5/50 — Literally the same as what you already have: all the emails + audio versions + exclusive content on … just like before, just a buck/month cheaper.

  • Fabulous membership for $10/100 — All of the above… plus … not much else, honestly. I will dream up the occasional perk for my favourite people in the entire world. (Fancy a webinar, anyone?)

My plan names are a work in progress. 😜 (Seriously, these are just silly placeholders. I cannot decide. Naming things is the hardest thing in marketing, seriously.)

That orange salamander? That’s the real one!

Your choices in more detail…

Don’t change a darned thing!

If you don’t change prices, you will just carry on at $6/60 — same price, same benefits, for as long as you want. Change it whenever … or never.

Change only the price: pay slightly less for the same membership benefits

If you drop down to $5/50, nothing will change except you’ll save a bit of money. You will continue to get exactly the same membership benefits.

Or save 50%! But dropping down to 3/30 will sacrifice most benefits

If you’d like to pay half what you've been paying, and you’ll still get the main membership benefit: extra posts in your inbox. But only in your email inbox. All other membership privileges will go away: post archives, audio versions, the members-only RSS feed, or members-only areas around the site.

Or rise up to new highs! What is this new top tier all about anyway? It’s about being a damned saint, that’s what

You’re already buying me a monthly muffin-coffee combo, and so you’re already one of my favourite people. But why not add a sandwich? (Or a quarter percent of my rent, more to the point. Not that sandwiches aren’t great, but I only need so many.) You now have the option to pay more, and get … absolutely nothing in particular for it.

I have clearly missed my calling in sales. 😜

I am making no promises about what I will do for my top-tier members. There probably will be something… but I will not be busting a gut to “earn” that extra few bucks with yet more bonus content. I am already at maximum gut-bustage … and some of you are probably willing to pay more for what I’ve been doing the whole time. Would have you have been happy to pay 10/100 originally? Then level up to that now!

It’s going to be fascinating to see how many of you choose that. I have no idea what to expect.

These are tiers of joy

When I started this membership thing mid-2021, I bravely set my price at $6/60 because it seemed like I could not justify any more or any less… and I have been uneasy with it ever since. Two years of squirming.

Clearly many of your are fine with your price so far, and I salute you. Hell, I bless you. I would not have made it through the last two years without you, no joke: would already be defunct without your patronage.

But many members have not continued at $6/month, and plenty more good candidates never started. I have friends with good jobs, and a genuine interest in the subject matter who haven’t joined, nice people that politely laughed at my price: “It’s just too much for one newsletter. I have twenty of these subscriptions. It adds up!”

Meanwhile, other friends — the more entrepreneurially aggressive ones — have pushed hard the other way: “Dude, you must charge more! Value yourself! True fans will be happy to pay $20/month!” It is a weird business truth that a higher price may increase perceived value and inspire more sales, not less.

But this is a one-man shop, and I don’t have the kind of chutzpah I’d need to triple my price. Even at 6/60 I have suffered from constant neurotic pangs of doubt that I’m doing enough to earn your membership fees. I’ve been trying and failing to get comfortable with that compromise the whole time.

Tiers are the answer, and it is an immense relief to know that members who continue to pay 6/60 are happy to do so, and not because it’s the only choice. That relief is so surprisingly intense that I have started thinking of the new plans as my “tiers of joy.”

Warm Regards,
Paul Ingraham, Publisher