Starting on Monday, December 16th, all video commission files, which have to-date been free to download, will no longer be so. They will cost $0.99 a piece to access to help cover the exponentially growing cost for me to host them for y’all.
I wanted to put up a post to not only announce this, but to explain why this is necessary, as well as outlining the ways I’ve made it possible to not just save some money if you’d like to watch these regularly, but to also still accommodate folks who cannot afford to pay for the videos.
So, it’s no surprise that my sites have continued to get more and more popular. And while I tried to stave off the inevitable by archiving old videos and doing the Holiday Card project, the past month was absolutely brutal for video bandwidth. To give y’all numbers, 13,661 videos were downloaded for free last month. How many were purchased from the archive? 123. I don’t think it’s hard to see the discrepancy there, and honestly, it wouldn’t be an issue if it weren’t for the fact that the bandwidth cost has exponentially increased and appears to be doing so again for the following month.
To avoid making the debt I am in keeping this all running, all video commissions will cost $0.99 a piece to access. It is the only way to stave off an ever-growing cost to entertain y’all. However, there are multiple ways for you to access the videos at a discounted cost, and I will still accommodate free downloads for those who cannot afford to buy them.
Buy A Video Pass
I have created a discounted Gift Card option that you can purchase if you plan on downloading videos regularly. You can order a card in various amounts, but pay less than it is worth, earning a discount in the process. The breakdown is as follows:
Pay $8 – Get $10 in credit.
Pay $18.75 – Get $25 in credit.
Pay $35 – Get $50 in credit.
Pay $65 – Get $100 in credit
This is very important: Do not use the Gift Card to buy anything else in the store. You will get a refund, and if you continue to abuse this nice thing I am doing, I will ban you from the store. These passes are to accommodate anyone who is interested in a more regular support of me so that they can get a discount for said support. Please do not cheat me of money for other products with this.
Additionally, if you purchase any file in the store for any show, you are allowed to download that file ten times. For free. You may pass along the link to those extra downloads to anyone in any manner that you wish. For free.
Let’s say that you’re the person who commissioned that episode. What then? Oh, right, not only will I personally email it to you the very minute it is uploaded and done, but you get 25 FREE DOWNLOADS OF IT. You have all of the power.
Download the video for free from someone who bought it
I am very aware that a great deal of my traffic/video downloading comes from lurkers, and I did not want to force people to do things that made them anxious, uncomfortable, or were impossible to accomplish financially. Hence, the extra downloads. Every day, there will be a comment thread on the first page of comments where you may share your free downloads to your heart’s content. I will not find this crass or tactless or rude. By all means, help each other out. The point of this is not to make a Scrooge-like fortune off of y’all. It is to gently shift the burden off of me so that Mark Does Stuff does not crumble into an ocean of debt.
You may organize Tumblr exchanges of the links. Or share them through Dropbox or BitTorrent. Or whatever you want. I would avoid uploading them to YouTube or Vimeo, please. Otherwise? I am not at all interested in policing how y’all get your hands on these. The idea is that those who can afford to contribute every so often will carry the weight of everyone else. oh my god economic theory.
Again, I am aware that I have never charged to entertain folks and that this is very jarring and drastic. Trust that I agonized over this for weeks before financially, I realized I had to. This honor system is in place to also recognize that people should still be able to be entertained regardless of how much money they have. I am not interested in creating a paywall that values those with money as fans over those who are not. So, I want to make this my explicit blessing to pass around free downloads, and to tell y’all not to feel guilty for getting things for free. Financially, even if the video downloading increases continually, as long as a tenth are paying for the other 90% to enjoy this, I won’t be negatively affected by the cost. Please do not feel bad. I want you to enjoy this and I am flattered to be watched at all.
Videos will be available after I finish watching them
A neat side affect of this is that for those of you who don’t post on MarkSpoils and access the videos early, now everyone can watch my commissions about an hour after I watch an episode. If you don’t know, I write my reviews a week in advance to give myself a bit of a cushion in case I have an emergency. So, I’ll be uploading my commissions and putting them in the store while I write my reviews! All three of my current shows are in the store:
I’ll tweet from @MarkDoesStuff when a new episode is up! DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DOWNLOAD A FILE IF I HAVE NOT TWEETED ABOUT IT OR NOTIFIED MARK SPOILS THAT IT IS UP. There is a lag between it going up in the store and it actually having a file attached to it. If you sit there and refresh the page, you’ll get a dead order, and I’ll have to manually fulfill it for you. Please wait until I’ve officially said it is available.
If something breaks or you mistakenly click a link too many times, I can help!
I can re-set your download links at any time. Do not try to abuse this. My site keeps a log of every IP address that clicks on a link, shows me how many times it was accessed, and at what time, so don’t think you can fool me. Just email me for help! markreadsandwatches at gmail
Video commissions are now just $20.
Since I expect to make some money from this and because they’re not available for free, it is a gesture of recognition that I’m lowering the price on this, hoping that more folks might be able to afford a video. It’s a circle of TRUST! Or something. (And Mark Reads videos, while still free on YouTube, also get the $5 discount. Just because!)
The first episode of every new show/season will be free
Because! It’s a way to get your friends hooked and to thank you for following along.
Giveaways and discounts!
Another neat side affect of this all is that I can finally start doing giveaways, offer bulk discount codes on things, and have stuff to give away. If you follow me on Twitter or follow the comments, keep an eye out for fun little things I will give away. I also have been gifting random Video Passes to folks who were worried that they could not afford videos anymore. 🙂
Thank MarkSpoils and go hang out with them
I floated the idea and worked out all the kinks with the lovel angels over at MarkSpoils, a fansite dedicated to me (THAT IS A SENTENCE I GET TO TYPE NOW!!!!) that is just the best thing in the world, and where I’m known to visit from time to time. The discount card breakdown? That was GamgeeFest over at Spoils who helped figure out the sliding scale discount. The idea for giving away the first episode of a show/season? That was Aurora_Belle. They’re the ones figuring out how to get free downloads to those who need them. They’re the ones who helped quell the immense fear I felt when I realized I had to find a way to charge for video downloading. While I would have had to do this anyway, it would not have been implemented this smoothly and with this much organization without them. They are lovely, wonderful people, and I wanted to publicly thank them for helping me.
Oh, and go post there. It’s awesome.
Support Mark Does Stuff!
I’m still selling Holiday Cards for the next two weeks, and at the bottom of that post, there’s a list of ways you can support me if you’re interested but don’t watch video commissions.
Thank y’all for your support of me, your interest in all this weird shit that I do, and for making this shit work every day. You’re the best fans I could ask for.