Thank You Tested Premium Members

We have some updates to announce!

Hey everyone, Norm here. In case you haven’t seen it, we resumed our podcast this week (with a new name and format!) and announced on the show that we just launched Channel Memberships on the Tested YouTube channel. It’s a new way for viewers to directly support the Tested production team and help us continue the pace of videos we’ve been producing these past six months. Adapting to the remote working conditions of lockdown, and with Adam spending more time in the cave, we’ve released almost 40 build videos between March and September! And while it’s taken a lot of effort adjusting to this schedule, we’ve been thrilled at the response and it’s made us want to continue with more (and more ambitious) builds, even when things return to some semblance of the before times.

We’ve also taken this time to reevaluate our Tested Premium Membership program, which is how so many of you directly showed your support for us over these past years and allowed us to experiment with video series like Adam’s King Arthur Armor Build and spending a week making a short film at Weta Workshop. We loved making those series, but the realities of filming in a COVID world make that kind of production nearly impossible for our team, and to be honest we never figured out a great solution for allowing you to watch those videos hosted on the website.

And as a result, we’re replacing the Tested Premium Membership with YouTube Channel Memberships. It’s why we stopped offering new site memberships and renewals earlier this year. If you’re currently still a Premium Member, there will be some new premium content on the site for the rest of the year, and Premium Members should also have received this year’s Gauntlet poster. Please reach out if you haven’t yet.

I also want to personally thank you for being part of this Premium Member community over the years. It has helped us stay in operation, and I have really enjoyed meeting many of you at events and conventions (and hope to say hi when we’re able to travel again!) Going forward, we hope that you’ll consider signing up for a YouTube Channel Membership to continue to support us.

With Channel Memberships, there are two levels to join. $2 a month makes you a Tested Supporter, unlocking badges, emojis, discounts on all our merchandise, first dibs on exclusive merch, and access to a members-only Discord channel on the Tested Discord server. It’s a token of our gratitude for you directly helping make Tested possible. For $10, you’ll become a Tested Patron and get additional access to livestreams, exclusive videos, commentaries, and behind-the-scenes updates.

We know that paywalled content isn’t for everyone, and nothing that you enjoyed on Tested previously will change or go away–you’ll still be able to watch One Day Builds, podcasts, show and tells, and our other series on YouTube if you can’t join as a Channel Member. The perks of joining are for more access to the Tested team and more transparency into our builds and production processes. We’re also in the process of uploading our back catalog of Premium Member videos to YouTube for Channel Members so that archive won’t go away. And until at least February 2021, they will also remain on Tested.com.

Adam and I will be doing a livestream next week to answer questions about Channel Memberships, talk about what we have in mind for behind-the-scenes content, and get your feedback for what you’d like to see. Hope to see you there, and again, thank you for all the support you’ve given us these years and we hope you’ll continue this journey in building the Tested community.

Comments (49)

49 thoughts on “Thank You Tested Premium Members

  1. I get it, and understand the changes you’re making, but that pricing structure? Yikes.
    I’ve been a premium member for around 5 years. It’s always been $40 annually, and that got me the free gift and also all the video content. Now I can either pay $24 for some youtube chat and comment emojis and a discount when I want to spend even more money, or I need to spend $120 to get all the old videos and ONE more video and Live Stream a month?

    I get that running a site is expensive, and moving remote has only added some costs, but it has for all of us too. A lot of people don’t have jobs right now, and those of us that do still aren’t really in a place where TRIPLING the amount we spend on something makes ANY sense right now, or where spending more than 50% of what we have been spending for approximately 0% of what we have been getting makes no more sense.

  2. Just went back and read your 2/24 Premium change announcement. Based on what was said then(over 6 months ago!) it was clear you knew this was coming. Questions and concerns were raised then and ignored, and silence for 6 months, then this.

    A forthright discussion and explanation, then or in the intervening months, would have been the right thing to do. This done how it’s been done just feels like a bad faith move. I’ve been a Premium supporter for years, and if this had been handled differently, would have come along on this ride.

    However, we’re the ones who’ve now been handled-I’m out, it was a good ride while it lasted!

  3. It seems a bit disingenuous to blame this on difficulties with producing partnered content during COVID when the change was announced in February.

    Prior to travel bans or lockdowns outside China, and also long before the extent of the current situation was apparent.

    I can only assume that it had been decided and planned even earlier, as you suspended new memberships at that time.

    It seems more likely that with a site that has not received meaningful technical or admin attention for several years, and ownership that has shown itself either unwilling or unable to improve the site, it made financial sense to take the paywall to the other community. I.e the one with a larger (and growing) audience over at Youtube.

    There is no shame in that, but don’t try to paint this as something that snuck up on you during lockdown.

    $120 a year is a tripling of the cost of a Premium sub, and honestly. for the past 8 years Tested has not at any time demonstrated the ability to produce paywalled content at a rate that made the membership feel like anything other than a “We are Premium because we support the site, not because of what we get in return” thing.

    Which was how most of the people subscribing gladly saw it in return for the open access content and a nice community feel here in the .com comments. This feels quite different.

  4. I am a veteran STEAM teacher in a low income community and have been a premium member for years. I just have to say that I am quite disappointed with this announcement. I’m sure you have data to support your decision and believe that this move will benefit the site financially. Unfortunately you are effectively excluding a sizable portion of your audience. As a maker who teeters between the “have” and “have not” crowd, $40 yearly for the membership was an indulgence, but a valued one. I always try to support creators whenever possible but at triple the previous price this comes across as unreasonable and exclusionary. Thanks for the years of inspiration.

  5. Yeah… What others said.

    $40 a year was palatable considering the small amount of premium content that was delivered. I considered it a way for me to support the site and get a free poster. At $120 a year it’s a hard pill to swallow considering the promise that the number of YouTube posts available to non-members would not reduce (BTW the amount of content since the pandemic has been amazing). So, I’ll try it out for a few months and see if I get my $10 worth. If not, I’ll cancel. Not going to pass judgement just yet.

    Cheers!

  6. I’ve been a premium supporter since 2015. After subscribing I found the site wasn’t amazing to navigate and it was difficult to find the premium videos I wanted. But I continued to support Tested because it’s a makers community.

    I’m sad to see that there wasn’t a merger of the old premium subscription and the new channel membership model, grandfathering long term supporters with a similar, or if needed, even slightly higher yearly subscription. I would happily have stretched from $40 for a year to $50-$60. But more than doubling to $120 to get what I originally thought I was signing up for when I started my premium membership is something I simply cannot justify.

    P.s. I’m also disappointed this announcement was not sent as an email out to premium members, instead I saw the latest video on YouTube and then came here to find this notice. Maybe send an email round for the members that don’t check in too often.

  7. Yeah, I can only echo what others have said. I was happy paying $40 for premium even though I rarely visited the site. However, just hearing it in a video without any form of announcement before hand to premium members just feels like a way to sweep it under the rug. There’s a big difference between $40 and $120. We barely feel we got anything in return for the $40 so I have a hard time seeing how the $120 will be justified. Will the premium content actually be worth that money? We’re talking Netflix prices here, and if it comes down to choosing between that and Tested I think we all know who’ll be the winner – especially since the whole family get something out of Netflix and only me, the nerdy dad, benefit from Tested.

  8. I would very much like a yearly payment option – monthly subscriptions drive me nuts. Suspecting YouTube might not be helpful with that (looks like Patreon might though)

  9. im gonna chime in and pretty much parrot what everyone else has said. the benefits of being a premium member were pretty lackluster and an afterthought. a completely unmoderated and broken forum, full of spam and lacking any kind of coherence at all, and a few snippits of videos that clearly were thrown up because you had to, and not because they were decent content.

    ive been a premium member for about 4 years now. i originally subscribed because you guys were going to do a premium build a millenium falcon series, which i was really excited for. im not sure you ever got more than 1 or 2 videos before that was basically abandoned.

    ive always supported the site because i liked what you guys do, and it was a way to ensure that you kept doing it. but changing the pricing structure to triple the price needed to access the extra videos….. when the videos youve produced as extra content so far in the past have been SO lackluster, is a bit to much. especially at a time when everyone is pulling their purse strings a little tighter.

    i think a better pricing structure needs to be put into play that equals out to the same old 40 dollars a year that its always been. youll ultimately make more money, with more subscribers, than you will than at the higher price point. because it seems like everyone here is in agreement that the price youll be charging is just to high.

  10. The pricing model doesn’t bother me, but there is no way that I will ever give Google a credit card number for anything. Why not do this through Patreon or something?

  11. I have to agree, videos of a guy doing workshop upgrades is not really “Making” it’s just maintenance.

    At least Norm’s Death Star Book Nook was a good “Maker” video with helpful links and attachments.

  12. Just came here to join the chorus. What do we get for this massive price increase? I was a premium member for several years, until the program was ended, and I sure wasn’t getting much out of it. (We used to get invites to some cool events, but they haven’t done that for a long time.)

    And given the state of the forum (which, I know, isn’t a premium benefit) makes me believe that the people who run this site just really don’t care.

  13. I guess I’m another voice in the chorus. More Tested content excites me, as it seems to excite you. But livestreams aren’t all that big a draw to me, but even if they were, photos, livestreams, commentaries, and Ask Adam videos are just about what we were getting before at, as others have said, 1/3 the price. If you were increasing production or something, or the Youtube system doesn’t allow that pricing or something, that would at least give an explanation. But to say “you’re getting the same-ish that you used to get, presumably made the same way by the same people, but you have to pay use 200% more” seems like an obvious pass.

    Excusing the livestreams, which are not really my thing, and the Discord, which seems to have grown to a size that makes the content all but unusable for a perusing lurker like me, there would have to be a full order of magnitude more content produced that somehow exceeded the One Day Build and tool tip videos. I’d happily pay $3.99 a month, or even up to $5.99 a month to get back what I miss from old Premium subscription content, but I can’t see how many people are going to justify this kind of cost, unless it’s strictly a status thing.

    It’s a shame, because I was really interested in long-form builds like the Ecto1 (and the Falcon build that died), and I like the sometimes personal, sometimes trivial Ask Adam videos. Maybe I’ll consider the Supporter level. Emojis are not a reward in any respect. I’d be almost more willing to be a supporter if it just ended there. Pretending like some bits of colored pixels are worth money has never made sense to me, here or on Twitch or anywhere. We’ll see. I’ll still follow and share and retweet content, but maybe my paid time has come to an end.

    It does make me wonder what this site will become. Is it just going to be a second repository of the Youtube content? Will Ariel’s stuff be here? Talking Room? Tested Mailbag? What’s to keep us coming back to this particular site? Or is your intention to completely make the move to Youtube and Discord? Will Discord become the new place where you read comments, since you’ve said so many times that you don’t read comments on Youtube?

    I don’t want to be a sour grape, and I won’t stop enjoying the videos and spreading the maker spirit, but this seems like an odd choice. I may be assuming too much entitlement, but it would be nice to get a more complete “why” answered.

  14. I’d like TESTED crew to clarify what’s going to happen to the website content here? Especially the content that’s not video oriented? Lots of material here and I hope there is a way to keep all of this stuff available. It’s a historical record.

  15. Just Posting to echo what others have said. 3 times the price for the same content seems a bit unfair. and It would be nice to have working forums to show off work.

  16. I’ll add my voice to the chorus of Premium Members… I was willing to pay $40 for a premium membership, and did so since 2016… $120 on the other hand is way too much and one hell of a money grab… Sorry, I enjoyed the premium content and supporting you guys while I could….

    P.S. I haven’t received my gauntlet poster… In fact, the only posters I received since 2016 were the “Toolbox” and “Bear Costume” posters… I just checked Adam Savage poster tube…

  17. So, this site is dead? Now we are supposed to make a move to Youtube? Or something called discord? What is that? Too many questions and no real answers. I liked the now old model of this site. $40 was ok once a year but, a monthly cost is way too much. I’ve never listened to any of your podcasts because the topics just don’t interest me. The shop tips and builds are what kept me interested. Well, too bad this was a daily visit. You have inspired me through long hours on hemodialysis.

  18. This is like finding out from a mate that your girlfriend has dumped you and his now going out with them.

    I thought something like this might happen back in February you announced here that memberships were no longer being taken and more recently the push to sell merch at the end of each video.

    On the subject of merchandise your product range is just too bland and most of it seems like someone spending some time drawing something in illustrator, uploading the designs to an online tee shirt printer.
    You’re a company of makers you should try and develop your own line of products like Jimmy Diresta, perhaps he could make or print stuff for you.

    You built a loyal community here and like someone else said earlier it would have been classy if you emailed all members to let them know of the changes first or at least responded in the original thread about this back in February.

    That said I didn’t visit the site much as it was too clunky to use but was still happy to pay $40 to support you. The rewards didn’t really interest me and one year I even contacted you to say not to send me that single as a gift because it just didn’t interest me and didn’t want you to waste the $ to send it to me in Australia.

    Having checked out the membership details after reading the comments above I will probably continue on with 1.99 level as I wish to support you but don’t really need the extra benefits.

    Lastly it’s pretty amazing that all the comments I’ve seen to this decision the writers whilst being disappointed of your decision have been respectful in their comments.

    That said I hope this difficult decision ( trying not to say pivot ) works out for you creatively & financially

    xxx

  19. Just adding my disappointed voice to this. I have been a premium member since 2014 and though there were huge swaths of time where it felt like we paid just to support the site without getting much back I gladly did that since tested.com has always been a great source of creativity and wholesome fun.

    But I guess this is where my supporting role ends. tripling the cost of a (for the supporter) meaningful membership is just plain ridiculous and feels like a slap in the face, to be honest. I totally get that running the site is expensive, but there are better ways to finance it than putting a, for most people, incredibly high paywall up and excluding those of us who don’t have a lot of disposable income, especially in these trying times.

    And blaming it on COVID is definitely a low move, you guys announced this before that was actually an apparent thing, and thus must have planned it way before then even, so using that as a shield to soften the blow loses you some points, Norm.

    I’ll stay around and watch all the content I’m allowed to watch, but tripling the paywall made it one I sadly can’t scale.

    Also let’s shed a tear for LEGO with friends, which was worth the original membership fees on it’s own.

  20. May as well add my voice to the chorus although I’ve been complaining about the lack of premium content for months with no response from the tested team so I doubt this will make much difference.

    The Tested.com premium community has been sorely neglected for at least the past year. We weren’t receiving the amount of premium content we were supposed to enjoy and what we were getting was the occasional 5minute video seemingly presented under the auspices of fulfilling your obligation.

    What’s more what was premium content has now been widely released on YouTube so our premium membership was more of a preview subscription and even the exclusive gift for members is now available to buy online.

    Your COVID justification belies the fact the plan to monetise your YouTube channel has been in the works for sometime but probably didn’t launch while there was still sufficient active subscribers on the site. I’m also under no doubt that after COVID the amount of new content will slump as Adam explores new projects.

    I’ll continue to be a fan of the work you do here at Tested but your recent track record with premium has guaranteed I won’t be financially supporting you on YouTube.

    Always be testing.

  21. That’s me gone, was happy to pay $40 but no way am I paying $120 for the same thing, plain greed and disrecptful to people who have supported you for many years, plenty of other things to watch out there.

  22. To echo other people’s comments – I have been a Premium member for about 4-5 years but rarely watched the Premium content. I was happy to do that to support the stuff I liked and readily watched; the builds, the untitled podcast etc. But to triple this is pretty unreasonable. To blame Covid seems very deceptive since this was announced back in February. OK, you may have adjusted your plans SLIGHTLY or increased the membership a bit due to Covid but the plans were already in place, right?

    I will probably pay the $2pm to continue to support the free content because I love you guys and the content you produce but as a long term premium member I feel quite let down to be quite honest.

  23. Thank god. I’ve been waffling forever about cancelling my premium membership but never did it. This place was never the same after Will left but I still enjoy Adam a lot. hence the waffling.

    120 USD/year == 160 CAD == nope!

    So long and thanks for all the fish.

  24. Like many have already said this really seems like a kick in the teeth.

    I agree with , $50-60 would be more in line with inflation and be a level I would have been more happy with.

    I have been a premium member since 2013 and have always felt that this was more of just a support amount to a group of like minded creators just trying to make some independent content and actually make money doing it.

    After 8 years of premium its clear that this has become the Adam Savage show, particularly through COVID. I love Adam, and will watch everything he does, but I also love the changes to the Tested group that seemed to be happening, particularly with collaboration with women makers and female voices on the content. I am a huge fan of the fact you guys used your platform to elevate those who are regarded as friends of tested.
    It feels that this change is aimed squarely at those looking to Adam’s content and the rest, which seemed like it was still building up, will be left to the wayside. It’s obvious that Adam is the major drawcard for the site but the premium membership seemed to me to be much more of a Tested community support, this feels like Adam Savage support. Again, I love Adam, but I think he is never going to be out of work anytime soon.

    After waiting for the premium membership to transform into something that was a benefit apart from the free content for so long I am disappointed in this direction. I have no doubt the cost benefit has been done but how much of a cut is YouTube taking for this, I also echo the displeasure of paying google for Tested content.

    Perhaps, as online infrastructure has always seemed to be difficult for Tested, as said, the website has stayed in this quasi functional form for 8 years so perhaps shifting to YouTube is the solution to that, how does a crew of tech people arrive at this as the best solution?

    I don’t think I am making points as succinctly as others here but I feel at the moment my money would be better spent on a few Patreon accounts I have been eyeing for a while.

    Is transparency such a dirty word that we couldn’t have a bit of it?

  25. Totally support everything that has been said here in the comments. I do hope Norm and Adam show premium members that they have truly valued their support by replying to all the points and concerns raised here.

  26. The utter silence from Tested compels me to draw a simple conclusion. In making this decision, a cost/benefit analysis was done, and Tested anticipated a loss of current Premium members(US=cost) with the anticipation of new YouTube members far outpacing the current Premium support base.

    I’m certain the vast majority of people interacting with Tested content do so exclusively through YouTube, so the Tested team could be reasonably certain this new fanbase would be unaware of what Tested has done to their old fanbase, so no harm done, right?

  27. Multi-year premium supporter here, but not a fan of the new pricing options, especially through YouTube (the ads are completely out of control now anyway.) At this point $10 a month just as much as another streaming service. Norm and the guys talk all the time about having to pick which streaming services to keep or not. Sadly this one probably won’t make the cut. Quite disappointing because I still really do enjoy everything, even the previous premium content, from Adam and the Tested team. I get that you are trying to make money, and you absolutely should be paid for your work and time. Maybe another option could come from some of those discussion.

  28. You lost me, at $40yr it was already a stretch, the entire site had/has an amateur feel to it. Searching for specific videos was difficult at best, the same with the forums. I can’t justify the increase to $120. I fear you will lose more supporters than you think. I for one will not be back.

  29. As human beings, we owe each other decency, transparency and accountability. I understand your need to cut operational cuts and to improve revenue, especially in this trying time. I am sure that your data also shows that the majority of your viewership is on YouTube, so it makes since to use their infrastructure. I am curious why the initial messaging for this change was made in a re-titled, podcast and then a blog post as opposed to an email to all users past and present? I have been following this topic closely for nearly six months awaiting details on how to renew my subscription. I think some of the frustration here is that it feels like the Tested.com community may feel like they are being left behind for the YouTube community and there also hasn’t been justification for why Tested is comfortable with us investing 30% of our new membership cost directly in YoutTube, where every other product that is endorsed on Tested is clearly identified as a sponsor or an honest review.

    I would also appreciate if someone could explain the differences between the reward tiers in the new YouTube system? Perhaps in a graphic? If feels like they have they same recorded access, but different live access; which may only have value if you are in certain timezone but I can always be wrong, so I would appreciate some clarity.

  30. Emojis and badges?

    I’ll pile on; I’d’ve been satisfied with a simple announcement “We are changing our business model. and discontinuing premium memberships. Thanks for your support.”

    Honestly, I signed up to watch Simone Giertz launch a rocket at BALLS — with the intention of cancelling before the membership renewed. It turned out that a parasocial relationship with Adam Savage was worth $40 to me, as long as I didn’t have to think about the expense too often.

    I just scrolled through the past exclusive videos, trying to figure out how from how many I learned anything useful to my practice. I wasn’t able to come to any kind of a conclusion, but I won’t be switching to a YouTube membership in the near term.

    And, I don’t think I got the Gauntlet either.

  31. Seems like I share the opinion with a lot of people in the comments. Was happy to pay $40 per year for the occasional extra video and the annual free gift, though did it more to support the site. Can’t justify the $120 a year sadly so will be discontinuing my membership after this year.

  32. I understand that it costs money running Tested and I’m sure you did your homework and came to the conclusion that moving the subscriptions from a neglected website to reach a broader audience directly at YouTube made the most business sense.

    All the same, they way this was communicated left something to be desired, I think specifically in that this felt sprung on us without much warning. The choice of pricing structure is confusing as well. I think a lot of friction could have been avoided if there had been a subscription tier equivalent to the current $40 premium available. As it stands, downgrading to some emojis for half the current cost or triple for undetermined extra content does not make it an any kind of obvious choice.

    From a personal perspective, I am not looking forward to trading the respectful chitchat that would sometimes take place at Tested.com with an avalanche of lackluster YouTube comments. Nor am I happy about the prospect of having to resuscitate my YouTube account just to hand a chunk of the subscription cost to a company I’ve tried to decouple myself from as much as possible for the last few years.

    I will need some time to figure out what my support for Tested in the future will look like.

    Respectfully, from a premium subscriber since 2014.

  33. Seems others feel the same as myself. Joined Premium in 2015, but since then this site really has become just “the Adam Savage project” where it used to be so much more. I’m glad you cancelled my subscription because I would have felt bad about doing it myself.

  34. It’s a very poor end for this website 🙁

    Tested was good in the past, now you can spend 12$/month in very valuable content.

    Good luck in your another-youtube-maker-star evolution.

  35. I’m out. Can’t do it at that price. The exchange to $CAD makes it worse. Love all the new content and its frequency, but that new price is way too steep.

  36. Man, A week in and the continued silence is deafening. As it has been since December. I haven’t even been able to listen to the last two episodes of Adam Savage Project because this all just bums me out so much.

    As someone who is just starting to put together a website/youtube about tech, the way in which this silence makes it seem like they took Premium Members for granted sucks. There are 38 comments before this. Few if any are repeats. 35*40= $1,400 a YEAR just from the people who commented here. Do you KNOW how much of a difference it would make to a new channel to have a spare $1,400 just ONCE, much less yearly? I could move from my Samsung 9+ to a real camera, with a real tripod, and a great boom mic, and good lighting for streaming and talking head AND B-Roll, and accounting software.

    It feels like, with the lack of not only a response here in the comments, but also a CONTINUED lack of an e-mail, like no one at Tested is thinking about the people who were giving our hard earned money to help support them.

  37. I agree with I’m surprised that there has been no reply, no email, no anything.

    The way Tested appears to have just dropped Premium members in favour of new YouTube channel members and has not commented on the feedback from their old premium community makes me think they have simply abandoned us.

    I’ve unsubscribed from the YouTube channel until there is at least an acknowledgment of what the many premium members have said.

  38. Agree, I haven’t been able to watch or listen to the pods either. I am not opposed to them making money but I really feel out in the cold as a premium member. My renewal is late in the year so my premium membership isn’t even up until November and according to their schedule I wont be able to see content as of Adams next QnA. I feel like we are this annoying minority who have been supporting for a long time and are just too difficult to deal with now they are full steam ahead on YouTube.

  39. FROM THE WHOLE TEAM AT TESTED:

    Hey Everyone,

    First and foremost, we want to thank you all for your support and especially your patience with all of these changes. We apologize that the communication on this hasn’t been good. That’s on us and you are owed a better effort. Many of you are correct, sending a newsletter first was the right thing to do, rather than try to catch everyone with this post. Please know that there was no intent to ignore or delegitimize your thoughtful comments. We’ve been in the process of taking in a lot of feedback from all of our channels, and we wanted to give a response when we feel we had made substantive conclusions rather than empty replies. (Which is why we also held out on sending a newsletter.) Your comments have been read and digested and we’ll do our best to address most of the issues raised in this chain below (please forgive the extra long post, broken up into 5 parts…)

    WHY DID WE END PREMIUM ON TESTED.COM?

    To be completely transparent, the model was simply not sustainable in the long term. We needed to make a change that would allow us to put our resources towards the facets of Tested which our fans respond to the most. The management and infrastructure related to keeping the premium service operational was simply not the best use of the budget (supplied by you!) or the talent we have available. Keep in mind, we also have a lot of data to suggest that the model was not particularly successful as it was presented. Could we have made improvements and changes and stayed within the ecosystem of Tested.com, perhaps, but we weren’t positive the audience numbers were where they needed to be to prove long term success. If we made a big change, we only wanted to make it once.

    WHEN DID WE KNOW THAT PREMIUM WAS ENDING ON TESTED.COM?

    We knew the long term model was in a precarious place in early 2020. Keep in mind, because we’re on an annual schedule, we must always plan one year ahead. Before COVID, we were confident we could continue creating content and keep the infrastructure up through 2020, but 2021 was going to be problematic. Therefore, the best thing to do was to shut down new annual memberships in February. At that time, we didn’t know what was going to replace premium or where. We weren’t trying to be coy or deceptive. We simply didn’t have all the answers, yet action needed to be taken and we wanted to relay that action to all of you as soon as possible. (Keep in mind, we STILL don’t have all the answers.) We just knew we needed to try something new and we had plenty of options to investigate. Unfortunately, that’s when COVID hit and threw everything out of whack. We didn’t know how/when/if we could shoot the kind of content our audience was used to. We didn’t know if we’d be able to maintain our business in a completely anemic ad market. The future suddenly became very uncertain and we needed to focus on getting our general business straight before committing to a new premium model. To be frank, we weren’t sure we were going to make it through months of an extended shut down. (…1/5)

  40. (…2/5)

    HOW DID WE LAND ON YOUTUBE CHANNEL MEMBERSHIPS?

    When we finally got in the groove of regular production in the COVID environment, we were able to complete our research on how to best move forward with premium. We took some meetings (including Patreon) and we spent time with data and feedback from our various channels over the years. Ultimately, we decided we needed to bring the premium model to where the majority of our audience spends their time. We were burning resources trying to bring people off of Youtube and onto Tested.com, and we assumed those same challenges would continue if we started the service on another platform. We’re not necessarily over the moon with Youtube’s share of profits or the flexibility in the current channel membership platform, but it does allow us to do some of the things many of you have asked about. At this time in Tested’s history, Youtube channel memberships was the right fit. It doesn’t mean it will be perfect, but we think this will help our business to continue with limited disruption and even some new, exciting opportunities.

    And P.S.: For those of you who asked why Tested.com members were not given the opportunity to shift directly into the Youtube plans… We investigated methods of membership transference or free trials. Unfortunately, there was no technical solution that could be worked out with Youtube in time for launch. However, we’re continuing to work with them on alternative possibilities.

  41. (…3/5)

    WHY DOES YOUTUBE CHANNEL MEMBERSHIP COST WHAT IT COSTS?

    Contrary to what may be a common misconception on Youtube, Tested is not Adam Savage. As many of you premium members know, the money that goes into this business doesn’t directly flow to and from Adam’s bank account. Sure, we have a parent company to help leverage larger partnerships and expand our reach, but we still operate like a small business with a very small number of full time employees (six to be exact.) You know our mission has always been focused on creating quality content and sharing most of that content with as many people as possible. Your support in premium memberships over the years has helped us tremendously with that mission. We are eternally grateful. So we wanted to create a channel membership plan that aligns with that message of support, which is the $1.99/mo. level. Members who subscribe to this level are absolutely helping us continue to make the content that you all hopefully enjoy. Additionally, we’ve also received a lot of feedback about our fans wanting more “access.” In order to allow for this shift in our model, where viewers can interact with Adam or have more say in our content decisions, we decided to create the “patron” level of channel membership. After some number crunching and cost analysis, we decided to set this price at $9.99/month, as it reflects what we believe to be the value that these benefits offer. We absolutely know that this is a significant price increase from our $40/annual membership plan on Tested.com and not everyone will be able to take the leap. It’s not our intention to box anyone out or make you feel disconnected from the brand. It’s truly just a matter of making a business decision that helps best with our operations and a prolonged future.

  42. (…4/5)

    All that said, we have totally heard your feedback and we will be opening up a new level of Youtube channel membership that may be a little more reminiscent of the premium model on Tested.com. This level will cost $4.99/mo. and be available by the end of the month. The exact perks and benefits are in the approval process now, so we don’t want to prematurely announce them… But there will absolutely be a new plan and we will make sure everyone knows the specifics as soon as it’s launched. (In a newsletter this time too!) In the end, if you are unsure about committing to any level of channel membership, we 100% understand. We hope you continue to watch and enjoy the content we put out as every single view matters. We only suggest that you keep an eye on what we do in the premium space for now and take your time to make an informed decision. Maybe we can win your business back at some point.

  43. …(5/5)

    WHAT’S HAPPENING TO TESTED.COM?

    If you read our first answer on why premium membership was shut down on Tested.com, you may have noticed mention of infrastructure and operational cost. Despite it’s old design and lack of regular maintenance, Tested is still quite costly to manage because it lives on a proprietary CMS. The good news is Tested.com is not going away and will be undergoing some much needed updates. The bad news is that not everything about the site will remain the same. We’re currently engaged in a major restructure of the site’s underlying technology in order to curb these maintenance and infrastructure costs. By mid/late October, these changes will launch to the public. We’re still finalizing the list of features and content that will be carried over to the new infrastructure and we expect to pass more information along to all of you by the end of month, so please understand if we don’t have the answers you may be looking for at this time. In general, decisions are being made based on data, not just the need to cut costs. But in relation to premium content, however, we’ll be keeping those videos live and will continue to add news ones as they are created.

    We know this probably doesn’t answer EVERY question you may have, but we do hope it offers some more clarity without boring you with the minutia of our business. Since we’re taking feedback from so many places, we may not respond on this thread right away if there are follow ups needed. Just know that we absolutely read these comments. If you have been a premium member at any time and you didn’t unsubscribe from our premium newsletter, you should receive our more detailed update on the new Youtube plan and website changes by the end of this month. But those updates will also be announced in a future post, so if you are unsure of your newsletter status you still won’t miss out on the information. (We’ll probably set up a post with these answers as well but we wanted to get this response out ASAP.)

    Again, many thanks to all of you while we negotiate through this. Our fans are always on our mind when we have to make tough decisions, and we value the effort you all take in engaging with us.

    -Team TESTED (Adam, Norm, Joey, Gunther, Ryan, and Kristen)

    (5/5 END)

  44. Thank you for the response and for listening to the community and giving a reply addressing our concerns.

    The transparency and honesty about the position of Tested as a business and the maintenance costs associated with the current infrastructure for tested.com is very much appreciated. When your customers are a community, being open about things like this is important. It includes us and brings us along in your journey rather than closing us out.

    I’m also very glad the team agree a newsletter would have been a better approach. I look forward to hearing more about the $4.99 membership level is being setup and will be looking for the newsletter announcing it.

  45. Whatever happens to the site in October, I hope you will be able to bring along the comments on posts. There is a lot of knowledge in those that enhances people’s enjoyment and value from the videos and articles.

  46. Wow,

    I just found out my Premium subscription has been cancelled. I know I wasn’t as active as I hoped I would have been and maintained my subscription to help Adam and Tested continue.

    I still have great respect for Adam and his activities, but I have seen this troubling trend of Patreon, etc. pay per view developing in all my favorite YT channels. I’m on a fixed income and subscribe to over a hundred YT channels and therefore if I had to pay even one dollar a month to all of them, I’d be broke.

    I guess I’ll have to be happy with what I can see for free. Best of luck Tested!

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