By Tanuj Kalia
Hello law students!
First things first. Lawctopus is free and will always be! So what the hell is happening with Lawcto+.
Well, the thing is that advertisers piss us off! (Details below). We end up thinking about them and spending our time and effort more on them than on serving you. In September 2010, when 5 students of a law school created Lawctopus, we created it for us. For law students. Not for advertisers.
Lawctopus today is an extremely popular website but if this focus on the wrong thing continues to go on, it will not be good we’ll be able to serve you in lesser ways than what is possible. No one loves law students more than Lawctopus, and law students love no one more than Lawctopus (except moms!).
What we want to do is ensure that Lawctopus is funded by law students themselves. Those who can afford can pay in cash (cards actually), and for those who cannot afford, we have other options (pay us in kind by sharing internship experiences, etc.).
This will ensure a more sustainable Lawctopus, which focusses on law students, not advertisers. This will be wow!
So, in the next few weeks, we’ll be introducing some paid features which will be available only to paid subscribers. We are calling this Lawcto+!
Some of you may be interested, excited, and some of you maybe even angry (how dare they charge law students?).
Well, please do give me a patient hearing and consider the following points:
1. We need money to serve you (and ourselves) better: As Lawctopus grows bigger, our costs are rising. Just the website hosting and maintenance costs are upwards of Rs. 50,000/month now.
Growth also means more content, which means Usha (our content head) cannot manage all the content by herself. This means more hires.
Also, there are other costs involved: design, technological changes, paying freelancers, etc.
To cut the long story short: we need money to keep Lawctopus sustainable and ensure that we keep serving you better.
2. Advertisements work and do not work: We earn very well through ads. We make healthy profits, most of which is invested back into Lawctopus (and Noticebard).
However, in the last couple of years, two things have become increasingly obvious. One, most advertisers suck for the primary reason that they don’t pay on time. This means that projects planned for the website can’t take-off on time.
Secondly, a lot of time and energy is expended on ensuring that the advertiser sticks (and they do most of the times) and that they are happy (which they are too but they make us unhappy because many of them try to squeeze out whatever they can. Bloody capitalism!).
Please don’t get me wrong. We’ve got some brilliant advertisers, some of whom are doing excellent work for the legal community. We are proud of them and we’ll continue working with them. However, we cannot say that for everyone! 😉
3. Asking money from students: We understand that asking that students don’t really have pockets overflowing with money. We also understand that for many students even a small amount of Rs. 50 or 100 would be big.
But we want to make this concept of ‘paid subscribers’ work.
And hence, here is how it will work:
A. Lawctopus will continue being free. (Am repeating this multiple times, so please…).
B. If you want extra (and newly introduced) features (which will be awesome I promise), you’ll have to pay a small amount.
C. Students who are economically poor and want to avail the above benefits can pay us in kind (say by sharing their internship experience) after producing a parental income certificate.
Sounds cool? No? Comments are welcome.
What features and at what cost?
We’ll have 3 tiers: Rs. 99, Rs. 199 and Rs. 299.
GST of 18% will be extra because acche din aayenge.
Tier 1, Rs. 99/month:
Expert tips from organizers of events and opportunities.
Exclusive content around practical legal education/career advice (which will involve a lot of research, analysis, interviewing, etc.)
Option to save events/opportunities to google calendar.
Tier 2, Rs. 199/month:
All of Tier 1.
Access to exclusive internship opportunities (from our tie-ups).
All of Tier 1 and 2.
Discount on some of the courses, seminars, etc.
Access to a forum (with guest mentors).
In case you want to suggest a feature, please do leave a comment below.