The Stickler Weekly Status

My commitment is complete – 6 months worth of weekly Sticklers. This was a test to see if a paid subscription model would be viable. The answer in a nutshell is “no”, as the numbers just don’t add up. As I’ve mentioned before, reaching the solvers of my newspaper puzzles has been very difficult, resulting in only a faithful but relatively small group of solvers (thank you!) doing the Stickler each week. In financial terms, even with a significant number of solvers making some kind of contribution or buying a Boxed Set, payments wouldn’t cover the amount of time and effort put in.

Here are some stats:

Average unique website visitors – 3000 per month
Number of people who contributed (over 6 months) – 48
Number of people who bought a Boxed Set – 53
Average number who solved each Stickler Weekly (by downloading a PDF or solving online) – 160

These are good numbers in essence but clearly there needs to be more regular visitors who contribute in some way in order for there to be any change in what’s offered, or for me to make a long-term committment.

Allowing open access (that is, no requirement to log on or register) to puzzles, hints and solutions, is a concession that ultimately reduces my ability to promote and do marketing, and to analyse exactly who is using the blog. I am currently reviewing this approach and would appreciate feedback on the subject. (BTW, if you want to be included on my mailing list but don’t want to post a comment on the blog, just email me and say hello).

After much thought I’ve decided to continue with the Stickler Weekly and its website accompaniments for the time being and I will strive to remain some kind of force in the Australian crossword industry. This may change if paid (non-crossword) work encroaches on my crossword-setting time.

How you can help:

Clearly Stickler Caps aren’t for everyone. If you can think of merchandise that you would buy with a Stickler logo on it, please let me know.

Thanks for doing The Stickler Weekly – it will return next week.

Best and thanks

The Stickler

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6 Responses to The Stickler Weekly Status

  1. Jenny says:

    Please please keep giving us weekly challenges. Maybe coffee mugs with stickler logo since most people I know have a coffee as they try to solve the puzzle. Thanks for all the enjoyment you provide each week. Will continue to spread the word.

  2. Richard Sternes says:

    Good morning David
    Your trial was not the success for you that I might have hoped – my regrets.
    Will miss our Stickler ‘conversation’ this week.
    I’m at a loss for marketing ideas, except to agree that maybe it’s time to step up from open access and opt for some form of logon/register/formal contribution. We’re all accustomed to ‘user pays’ these days and as I’ve always said the ‘tutorials’ are worth a subscription in themselves. As ever, I hope for the best and thank you for the immense enjoyment you’ve brought me this past year as well as before.
    Regards and best wishes – Richard

  3. Robert Balic says:

    Thank you for your effort David. I’m sorry I couldn’t get anyone else interested as most people that I know consider cryptic crosswords to be a bit snobby.

  4. peter lisberg says:

    Thanks for continuing for now. A log in and user pay may work, but I fear that people will simply not bother, or at least not in numbers required. I am still waiting for the boxed sets 2 etc. and will buy them as soon as they appear.

  5. Andrew Gibson says:

    G’day David.

    I am surprised and disappointed that you received such a low number of supporters. All your crosswords are of such a high standard and I am very happy to pay $3.30 for the weekend AFR, if for no other reason than to solve the crossword that has captivated me for the last ten years or so.

    Your freebies are wonderful too. It’s a pity that I did not discover them until part way through the series and I missed the early ones.

    Your previous comments have made me wonder how many people actually do cryptic crosswords and what their age group is. My thinking is that they are people who have retired, have plenty of time and like to keep their minds active. This being the case social media may not be the best way to let this age group know that you are out there. But then again without having to pay a huge amount of money for advertising how else do you let them know? The sad fact is that I do not personally know a single other person that does do them. I have often tried to show people how they work (even the simple ones) but they very quickly loose interest.

    I will be more than happy if you introduce a fee for service with the need to log on etc. just so long on as I can get my weekly fix.

    The first coil of twine starts singing (6)

  6. rosemary o'neill says:

    Love the crosswords , but agree its hard to get the word out there. Would it be possible to get an interview with a television show to reach a broader audience.
    Also, I would be happy for you to set an annual or bi-annual subscription.