Ten Of The Seventeen

Sep 10, 2021

This will be an update on subscriptions and renewals. It's a free post. If you're not interested in that stuff, well, there's nothing Illini beyond the jump here. Just a bunch of talk about subscriptions. Auto-renewals begin next week, so I wanted to talk about what's coming next.

That's the first thing to note here. As I mentioned when we launched the new version of the site last September, we have moved to an auto-renew system. The number one rule of any auto-renew subscription system: don't talk about the auto-renew. Help people forget that it's happening soon and by the time they realize that they wanted to cancel, boom, it's already renewed.

This is why, with the old subscription system (TinyPass), I left auto-renew turned off. I'm not a big fan of "here's a free 30 days and if you happen to forget to cancel before day 31 you're locked into $90 per month for the next six years" business strategy, and I was just trying to cover my costs, so I let people renew when/if they chose to renew.

Now that I'm trying to put food on the table, we've switched to auto-renew. I wrote about this last fall when we launched. And I'm writing about it now to remind you that auto-renewals begin next Friday. If you subscribed on our launch day (September 17th), your card will be charged at your subscription level on September 17th. If you didn't subscribe until October 21st, your renewal will happen on October 21st. It's 2021 - you probably understand how this works.

If you're not interested in renewing, before your renewal date, you'll need to hit the cancel button. It's right up there under My Account. We're not gonna go Comcast here and make you call three different 800-numbers to cancel. Just click that button and you're good. If you want to stick around, do nothing and it will auto-renew on your subscription date.

Or, if you wanted, you could, like, upgrade...

I'll make this quick. When launching the new site, we developed two tiers. Blue Tier was access to all of the articles, Orange Tier got you the Slack, the newsletter, the season previews, and the discount at the store. Blue is $30 per year, Orange is $60 per year. Easy peasy.

But I had this subset of people who, when subscriptions were $24 per year, used to give me $100 per year. Generous people who would send me emails (and money) to encourage me to pursue this. Our new system had no ability for them to do that anymore, so we added a third tier. It was originally going to be called the "Benefactor Tier" (oof), but then a few days before we launched we changed the name to the Seventeen Club. And we added a free t-shirt if you joined the Seventeen Club.

If you're not familiar with the phrase, when I created my Twitter account in 2009 it was asking for a bio. So I randomly wrote "One of the seventeen Illini fans who cares more about football than basketball". And because of that, "one of the seventeen" stuck. I'll walk through tailgate lots and people will yell "hey Robert - I'm one of the seventeen!". It still means what it means (football!), but it's also kind of our little secret phrase around here. One Of The Seventeen = IlliniBoard.

I figured the ten people who went over and above with generous donations before would join the Seventeen Club this time and I'd send out ten shirts. More than ten people joined the Seventeen Club. I'm eternally grateful for this (seriously - you're making this possible for me), but it left me a bit overwhelmed. This wasn't really supposed to be a "tier". Now what?

In the last year, we've been discussing what to do about that. And this is our decision: to make the Seventeen Club its own thing. It can't just be a t-shirt every year. It needs to offer more for the subscriber. Blue tier gets you the articles, Orange Tier gets you the Slack, newsletter, previews, and store discount. Seventeen Club? Starting next week, Seventeen Club will get you:

  • The Seventeen Club Tailgate. On October 9th, before the game against Wisconsin, we're going to host a tailgate for all Seventeen Club members. Details to be announced soon. Come hang with all of us. Maybe you can even meet that guy on our Field Pass podcast - Dude K.
  • Zoom Meetings. Four times per year, I'll host Zoom meetings with Seventeen Club members. Two basketball, two football. First one happens next week (more on that below)
  • The Roster Management Page. That's our working title for now. And it won't debut until early 2022. But we're building out a database of all things recruiting and roster management. Transfer portal, signing day... many more details to come. And the page will be exclusively available to Seventeeners.

I'll have more on all of that next Friday (the first day for renewals, which is the first day of Year Two). Why talk about this a week in advance? Well, because I have an offer for you.

We are at the end of Year One. Which means we are at the end of the t-shirt offer for the Seventeen Club. From the most recent shirt order I made, I have about 40 shirts left. Since our system allows prorated upgrades, the first 40 people to upgrade from Blue or Orange to Seventeen can get one of the shirts for a prorated amount.

How much would that be? Well, say you subscribed to the Orange Tier last year on the first day (September 17th). There's 7 days left in your subscription before it renews, and if you upgraded to Seventeen Club today, it would be somewhere around 57 cents. If you subscribed on October 10th, it would be around $2.50. And then you'd get a shirt (if you're one of the first 40). You would renew at $90 and not $60 (or $30) of course, but then for that $90 you'd get all of the new stuff coming to the Seventeen Club.

Like the Zoom call next week. On Wednesday evening, I'll be hosting a Zoom call. I'm calling it Football Preview Part II. I spent about 3,500 of the 24,000 words in the preview complaining about not being able to evaluate how the players might be used. Well, now we know how the players might be used. So I'm going to hop on Zoom and go through everything we've learned these first three games. You'll want to miss it.

We're going to do four of them throughout the year. When the basketball preview comes out in early November, Tyler and I will host a Zoom to discuss the upcoming basketball season. We'll do another one near the end of the hoops season, probably around the time of the BTT (and maybe even an impromptu Indianapolis happy hour). And then after spring football, Craig and I will do a Zoom call to discuss what's coming for 2022 Illini football.

The reason? I want to be more "on-demand" in Year Two. You (the subscribers) are the reason I can do this. I work directly for you. So I want to make myself more available to you. Have a question about the football season? Hop on the Seventeen Club Zoom on Wednesday night and ask me.

I think that's it. Again, I only have 40-some shirts, so if there are a bunch of upgrades, I'll have to cut off the shirt offer after 40. When that happens, I'll put it on Twitter and in the comment section of this post.

Wait - I didn't tell you how to upgrade. When you're logged in, go up to the top of the page to the My Account section. If you're on your phone, you might have to flip to landscape to see it. Click on My Account, and then you can choose to upgrade. Just avoid that cancel button. It, like, totally doesn't work or something.

(It works. I'm making jokes. If you want to cancel, it's that easy.)

OK, now I think that's it. Thanks for listening. And thanks for subscribing. I'll have much more on all of this a week from today as we begin Year Two.

Go Illini.


IBFan on September 10, 2021 @ 11:28 AM


IlliniA.J. on September 10, 2021 @ 02:13 PM

Love it!

mac2212 on September 10, 2021 @ 02:53 PM


HailToTheOrange on September 10, 2021 @ 03:07 PM

can we auto-renew for more money? I'm serious....or bring back the tip jar?

IBFan on September 10, 2021 @ 10:10 PM


GilThorpe on September 10, 2021 @ 06:14 PM

when some family and friends say to me: " you must be the biggest Illini fan out there"
I always respond "no, as crazy as you think I am, there are at least 16 other people who are just as crazy , or more crazy, than me"

IBFan on September 10, 2021 @ 10:10 PM


illiniwhat on September 10, 2021 @ 07:01 PM

Make a donate section for the 17. $90+

PowerGranger on September 10, 2021 @ 09:39 PM

Is anyone else not getting the upgrade option on that page?

IlliniMan91 on September 10, 2021 @ 09:42 PM

This sounds great! Roster management portal has a ton of potential - love that idea

twilson77@comcast.net on September 10, 2021 @ 10:01 PM

As one of those that upgraded to become one of the Seventeen, I love your changes and I ask that you keep-on, keeping-on!

uilaw71 on September 11, 2021 @ 11:57 AM

While at it, guys, make sure your card info is up to date. Mine had expired.

orangeandblue on September 13, 2021 @ 09:00 PM

Good tip. Mine was expired too.

khazaeli@gmail.com on September 12, 2021 @ 09:50 PM

As you wish.

mdonsbach on September 13, 2021 @ 10:32 AM

Best extra $30 ever...okay not ever but value added for sure!

Tolkien73 on September 14, 2021 @ 08:47 AM


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