Recently, Eli Hoffmann, Seeking Alpha CEO, sent a letter, which is can be found below, to active Seeking Alpha users about the rebranding of SA PRO to Seeking Alpha Essential. In the letter, Eli emphasized that Essential has enabled SA to meaningfully increase our investment in content and tools. As such, SA believe’s it is a victory both for Essential subscribers, who are already benefiting from a rich and growing content and feature experience, and for those not yet ready to subscribe who are benefiting from the improved content and tools that Essential is enabling.
He also noted that we reduced the monthly cost of Essential from $75 to either $19.92 (yearly subscribers) or $29.99 (monthly subscribers), a price we feel is approachable for any serious investor. This has led to meaningfully higher subscriber satisfaction, and you can read more about this in his Q3 board letter.
That background brings me to the point of this letter: How is Essential impacting SA contributors?
When we launched Essential, we began making single-stock articles more than 10 days old exclusive to subscribers. We felt this struck a reasonable balance between making something meaningful available only to subscribers (it’s hard to research a stock if you can’t go back more than 10 days), without crippling how daily users of SA follow their stocks and the markets.
Still, for authors this meant less exposure and less money, as users could no longer read their older articles. To address this, we introduced the “Author’s Pick” tag to allow you to make up to 5 of your older articles free. Many authors use this extensively. But it’s only 5 articles.
So in May, once we saw that users were signing up for Essential and sticking around, we introduced “Essential Reader Payment Bonuses” for authors whose articles were being read by subscribers; each read results in a once-weekly per-article payment from a pool of Essential revenue allocated to Reader Bonuses.
Then, in June, in order to reward authors producing outstanding work, we introduced Editors’ Picks bonuses. Single-stock articles chosen as an EP during a calendar month get an additional bonus based on the division of a pool of Essential revenue allocated to Editors’ Picks.
As Essential grows, we expect to grow the pool. We also hope we will see an increase in both coverage and quality.
The new article bonuses are of course in addition to regular article payments, and the $1,000 we pay daily for the PRO+ Idea of the Day.
From the get go, we felt the changes we made at the beginning of this year would be positive for users and for contributors. (As a reminder, active authors also receive free access to articles otherwise available only to Essential subscribers.) It is so satisfying to see this playing out, and this is only the beginning.
Eli’s Letter - Introducing Seeking Alpha Essential
Dear Seeking Alpha user,
In February, we launched Seeking Alpha PRO. We have renamed it Essential, reflecting our aspiration that Seeking Alpha be an essential destination for successful investors.
Essential is priced at a level we believe is accessible to most investors: $19.92/month (=$239/year). Still, some users aren't yet ready to pay. In this letter, I would like to address these users, as well as users who already subscribe or would consider subscribing to Essential.
I’ll start with the first group. You may be asking: In February, you made single-stock articles more than 10 days old exclusive to Essential members. Do you plan to further limit site use for non-paying community members?
My answer is: unequivocally no. The opposite,
- Since launching Essential, we have increased our opinion and analysis articles by 10%, and raised compensation for authors who write high-quality investment research. All of this is available to the entire community.
- Since launching Essential, we have increased Breaking News coverage by 20%. All of this is available to the entire community.
- Since launching Essential, we have reduced the ad load for all users, and improved our quote pages by introducing new tools to help you better research stocks. For example, charts to track dividend yield, yield on cost, dividend growth, dividend history and payout ratios.
In other words, introducing Essential has enabled us to invest more in the Seeking Alpha experience for everyone. Since day one, our mission has been to empower investors to make smarter, better-informed investment decisions. We remain fully committed to that mission for all investors, whether or not they choose to become Essential members.
Now to those who already subscribe or would consider subscribing to Essential. What are the benefits of being an Essential member?
Essential members get access to a growing number of exclusive features, including:
- Unlimited article and transcript access: Tens of thousands of in-depth single-stock articles, and companies’ earnings-call transcripts going back more than a decade. After 10 days and 90 days respectively, these are exclusive to Essential members.
- Powerful research tools:
- Find the best articles on any stock: Essential subscribers can look for the best articles on any stock using the Editors’ Picks filter.
- Find the bear and the bull perspective on any stock: Essential subscribers can compare long and short cases using the Long and Short Case article filters.
- Compare stocks: Essential subscribers can compare stocks using the tools on symbol pages. For example, using the Valuation tab on symbol pages you can compare the P/E ratios of the stock you’re looking at with other stocks in your portfolio.
- Dividend investing on steroids: Symbol pages for dividend stocks include a scorecard with ratings for Relative Yield, Dividend Consistency, Dividend Safety and Dividend Growth. On the homepage, Essential subscribers get Trending Dividend Stocks and Dividend Increases.
- Exclusive newsletter: The Idea Guide is an exclusive newsletter for subscribers. It digs through Seeking Alpha articles to highlight potentially interesting and actionable long and short ideas, and visits hotly discussed stocks to uncover potential lessons and identify takeaways.
- Stock ideas based on what you already like: Many investors want to find similar stocks to those they already own. Our new Peers tab on symbol pages allows you to do that, and to find competitors and alternatives you should be aware of.
- Enhanced alerts: Seeking Alpha’s Breaking News email alerts are often short. With your Essential subscription, you get the full text in your inbox, rather than having to click through to read the news. With your Essential subscription, you can also stop getting email alerts about articles by authors you don’t like by muting them.
And we’re just getting started. As our subscriber base grows, we plan to invest more in our product and increase the value we deliver to you.
We are proud to be the world’s largest investor community. It’s the authors, commenters and readers that make Seeking Alpha unique. Thank you for being part of that.
P.S. We’d be thrilled for you to test drive Essential. We allow users two weeks’ access for free. Here’s where you can sign up to try it out.