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Important News About Uni Watch’s Premium Content on Bulletin

Hello! As you may have heard, Facebook is shutting down Bulletin — the platform where I’ve been publishing my feature-length Premium content (including the NHL Season Preview, which was just published today) — at the end of 2022.

What does this all mean for Uni Watch? A few key issues are still unresolved, and will likely remain that way for at least another week or two, but here’s where we stand at the moment:

When did you learn that Bulletin would be shut down at the end of this year?

The same time the rest of the world did — on Tuesday. My Bulletin contact told me that morning.

What does this mean for your weekly Premium column?

In the short term, nothing will change. I will continue to write a feature-length Premium article for Bulletin every week. That includes the NBA Season Preview next week.

And then you’ll leave Bulletin when they shut it down at the end of the year?

Technically, I will be free to leave Bulletin in a few days. But I want to take my time to explore a few other options before I exit Bulletin. So I will keep writing for them for at least another month, and possibly all the way through the end of the year.

What do you mean by “other options”?

I will definitely keep writing the weekly Premium column, even after I leave Bulletin. Maybe I’ll move it to Substack, or to another newsletter platform, or maybe we’ll just host the Premium content here on the Uni Watch website. I’m not sure yet. But the basic format of the weekly Premium column will continue without interruption (or, possibly, a one-week interruption — we’ll see how smooth the transition turns out to be).

I paid for an annual Bulletin subscription via Facebook, and it hasn’t been a full year yet. What happens to the rest of my subscription — do I get a partial refund? Will my subscription automatically move to whatever the new Premium platform turns out to be?

If you paid for Bulletin via Facebook, you will get a full, 100% refund after I exit Bulletin. (This will come out of Facebook’s pocket, not mine.) You will get this full refund no matter how much time is left on your subscription. So if you signed up back in late January, when I first set up the paywall, you will get a 100% refund; if you signed up yesterday, you will also get a 100% refund.

For that matter, if you sign up today, or anytime from now until I leave Bulletin, you will still get a 100% refund. So go ahead, get yourself an annual subscription — it’s basically no-risk and free, because you’ll be getting your money back.

In order to get this refund, you must not cancel your subscription. As long as you leave it active and don’t cancel, you will get the refund from Facebook.

If you subscribed via Facebook, your subscription will not carry over to the eventual new platform. You’ll have to subscribe again on the new platform — but that’s not so bad, because you’ll have essentially gotten your Bulletin subscription for free.

I paid for a monthly Bulletin subscription via Facebook. Will I also get a refund?

As long as you don’t cancel your subscription, you will get a refund of the one-month price ($3.99). But if you’ve been paying on a month-to-month basis, you will not get a refund for all of the months that you paid for — just for one month.

I paid for an annual subscription to the email workaround. What happens to me?

Nothing will change. You will continue to receive the Premium articles via email from me. I’ll let you know when your annual term is nearing an end — at that point you can either re-up or just subscribe with the eventual new platform.

I paid for the UW+/Bulletin bundle, which includes the email workaround. What happens to me?

Same as above — you’ll continue to receive the Premium articles via email from me each week, regardless of which platform they’re being published on.

What will happen to the Bulletin content that’s been published?

After Bulletin is shut down at the end of this year, the content will remain on the web through the end of March. After that, it will be taken down.

However, Facebook is letting the Bulletin writers take their published work with them. They say they’re developing a tool that will allow us to download the articles, complete with all the links, photos, and so on, so we can upload them elsewhere. Once I choose a new home for the Premium column, I will try to get the Bulletin content hosted there.

Are you really upset about all this?

I’ll admit that the timing isn’t great, especially given I’m already dealing with a stressful situation on the home front, but it’s not the end of the world. Overall, the Bulletin experience has been a good one — I liked the people I worked with, enjoyed stretching out with feature-length content, and am proud of the work. Also, as I’ve mentioned before, it’s very gratifying to produce work that’s supported by people actually paying for it, instead of by advertising. I’m sorry it’s ending, but I’m looking forward to taking the lessons I’ve learned to a new home. Onward, upward, etc.!

———

I think that’s it. If you have other questions or concerns, post them in the comments or email me, and I’ll do my best to answer. Thanks for listening, and for your support.

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Comments (37)

    You are a kind, tough and resilient dude, Paul! Everyone has challenges but here’s hoping the bad juju or whatever keeps coming up changes for the better for you and soon! Your fans out here are cheering for you!

    Paul, I just signed up via Facebook – every couple of dollars of income helps, right? Good luck on the home and work front.

    This really sucks. You deserve better from the publishing world, but at least those of us in this community appreciate what you do, and will support it to the extent that we can.

    Selfishly, I’m happy to hear the Bulletin requirement will die (as I do not use Facebook, etc and loathe the idea of feeding that beast)…I really hope you find an easy way to run the Premium Content yourself. I’d happily pay YOU for the wonderful stuff you produce.

    Agreed, Another thing to consider is the 10% skim that Substack et. al. demand plus if you really read the TOS, you forfeit rights to your work. I highly encourage you to find a way to paywall part of the blog here and keep the money yourself.

    Pateron is another alternative. I do like their tiered pricing structure, so you can provide a few more options for people than just “pay up or keep out.” I don’t know what their cut of the take is, but I also haven’t heard anything about them retaining rights to the original work.

    Patreon charges a commission of 9 to 12 percent of creators’ monthly income, in addition to payment processing fees.

    link

    Paul, I know you were generating income from subscribers to Bulletin. Were you also getting money from Facebook/Bulletin for creating content for them to host? Is that a revenue stream thats going away for you?

    Lee

    I received a stipend from them, yes. That began when I started writing for them in July of 2021 (so I was getting some revenue even for the first seven months of articles, which were not paywalled) and was due to keep going thru June of next year. After next June, the stipend would stop but I could keep generating subscription revenue. The first wave of Bulletin writers all had similar deals.

    Now that they’re shutting down Bulletin, they’re still going to honor the writers’ contractual stipends, so we’ll still get that compensation that we would have gotten up thru next June.

    In short: As long as I can transfer the subscription/paywall situation to another platform, I won’t be any worse off than I would’ve been if Bulletin had kept going. I could maybe even come out ahead, depending on what kind of deal I can negotiate with another platform.

    Does this mean we are finally getting what the people have been waiting for? A Paul Lukas OnlyFans?

    just signed up, was out of work so trying to cut back on expenses, but now i have a job and get a refund, win win

    You sound upbeat about this – so I guess I’ll be upbeat about this. I was worried when I saw the news yesterday but I feel better reading your take on this.

    I genuinely admire your resilience. You’ve outlasted The Village Voice, Page 2, Bulletin…

    Sometime after I leave Bulletin. Since I don’t yet know when I’ll be leaving Bulletin (at least a month from now, maybe not until the end of the year), I can’t say when the refunds will happen. But presumably soon after I leave.

    So you’re saying that you get a few bucks from Facebook, I get access to the premium archives, AND I get to participate in Facebook having a bit of egg on its face? That is one heck of a sales pitch. I’m in.

    Yup, this is exactly why these scammy services should not be trusted. I’m sorry you tried to publish your stuff with a shady service, but you were warned by your readers about the risks of partnering with con artists. Hopefully you can find a reputable service next time. Best of luck.

    I’m 100% sure this shady company you speak of is legit and it created your internet profile.

    I wonder if Patreon would work for you Paul? Or is it just a YouTube thing?

    I’ll start paying for the site once I get over my knee replacement at the end of November. Can’t really afford to spend extra for a few more months.

    Welp, maybe this is a good thing. I hadn’t signed up yet. (September was brutal with work and I finally have some time off to tend to stuff that I put to the wayside – like signing up.) I don’t have Facebook. I will figure it out. Thanks for the heads-up.

    Hopefully the next platform for premium content works out better. I enjoyed the in depth weekly features and found it a good way to provide extra economic support for Paul/the site.

    Patreon? I will definitely be signing up once the new platform is decided. Love the content but had money stuff of my own happening. Excited.for the future.

    Paul – I think you’re running this new site on WordPress. There are “plugins” or services that you can use to offer premium content for a fee and you might not have to pay as much in terms of “skimming” off the top other than credit card processing fees.

    Mark

    I don’t know the ins and outs of how it would work or what it would mean financially, but I sure would love to see a Paul Lukas byline at Defector.

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