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    Paywalls and Advantage

    I often get questions from prospects or clients---especially daily or weekly publishers---about how a paywall could be managed in Advantage. These questions are more complicated than they may first appear, since Advantage is a customer-centric platform used mainly to manage paid subscriptions.  I recently met with a French startup company – Poool – which has developed a structured design, and a potential paywall solution for publishers using Advantage.

    The rise of paywalls

    A "paywall" is the term used for policies restricting access to content---partially or fully---by requiring a paid subscription at some point. It has been around since the early days of publisher websites, with the first paywall introduced in 1997 by the Wall Street Journal. The practice has expanded since then, …



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    Customer Partnership

    It used to be that customer service in the United States was legendary.  I remember flying on a UK airline with a stellar reputation years ago and being disappointed that they were unable to sit my wife and I next to each other, just because her flight had cost more and she was seated in the “premium economy” seats. This despite the fact that I had flown on that airline across the Atlantic 8 times in 8 weeks and there was plenty of room.  When I told the gentleman behind the counter that they had upgraded my seat on the way to the UK from the US, he said “Oh, that’s because you had the American customer service person helping you.  We’re horrible over here.”  I was speechless.  He was admitting that the American customer service agents have the flexibility on this UK airline to make such …



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    Aller Advantage Upgrade: On Time and Under Budget

    This was not your ordinary update. With operations in three different countries, involving more than sixty people, the Aller upgrade project was a bit more complex than most. They upgraded from 2013r3 to 2016.8 and jumped onto the continuous update track. The upgrade included 60 integrations and 2,029 test cases, and yet still was completed on time and within the budget.

    Gilda Jantunen, Group Manager IT - Business Service Delivery, Marketing & Sales at Aller, sent this message to all team members: “It is my pleasure to pass on to you all the congratulations and positive messages I have been receiving from all stakeholders in all countries regarding the excellent job by the team during these last 6 months. I join them in thanking you and recognizing your efforts.”

    Aller realized many …



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    Look How You Can Improve Your Business with Advantage Now!

    We’ve been busy these past few months, even busier than usual. We’ve developed some exciting new things in Advantage intended to increase your revenue, delight your customers, and make your job easier!

    --Do you offer any kind of membership to your audience? If so, check out the new Members Advantage module.  Members Advantage is a fully integrated solution for membership associations, including professional societies, alumni associations, charitable organizations, and clubs. It simplifies management of your organization with a member portal that steps a user through the membership application process, membership renewals, member self-service and payments. You can also provide special discounting on other products and offer external “third-party” benefits, and track such essential …



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    The Evolution of Content and Marketing Channels

    I joined a Facebook group from my childhood town some months ago. One day, a post appeared showing photographs of the wrecking ball tearing down the junior high school I had attended. One of the comments said “So sad.” A reply to this comment said “Progress is good.” What I later found out is that a replacement facility is being planned which will incorporate modern-day building codes and a more post-baby-boom scale appropriate to the demographics of the area.

    Part of me experienced nostalgia at that moment. I was reminded of wonderful times in junior high, some good friends I made there, and some great teachers I had. But the other part of me welcomed progress. Building codes have evolved. So has education. So has technology, obviously. So has business, marketing, and content …



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    "A Software Update Is Available"

    “Update Is Available.”  “Updates were installed.”  As I move through my day and interact with various pieces of technology, it’s a constant refrain.  When I look down at my phone, I see that a new update is available.  If I dig down into the details, sometimes I see that it’s a seemingly small incremental jump.  Should I update now or wait for a more consequential update to come along?  If it’s a more significant update, do I press forward with getting the latest and best that my device has to offer, or do I opt to just stick with the stable features that I currently know and love?  Even my television now tugs at me to apply updates.  Quite a change from the “dumb” TV that I knew growing up!

    While the merits can be debated, it’s undebatable that the software industry has moved towards …



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    Five Tips to Improve Your Subscription Payment Success Rate

    With the rise of the "subscription economy,” auto-charging customers regularly in exchange for goods and services has become a popular business model. Of course, this is old news for publishers, who have been making use of renewals and recurring payments longer than most other industries. However, auto-charges come with their own challenges---recurring credit card payments have much higher decline rates than stand-alone payments, for example. Here are five tips to improve your subscription payment success rate: 

    1. Optimizing retries

    The most common reason for failed credit card payments is that the credit line on the account has been exceeded. For this 'insufficient funds' scenario, as well as in the case of technical errors, you will likely want to retry the payment before taking …



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    Alma Talent Live on Advantage

    Congratulations to Alma Talent (the new business unit created when Alma Media acquired Talentum), who went live on Advantage in May of 2016 after an 18-month project. The project team invested many months of hard work and overcame substantial challenges, including a merger of the business in the middle of the project. The implementation of Advantage at Alma Talent replaces the existing circulation, fulfillment, inventory management, reporting, accounting, invoicing and payment systems, along with a revamp of many related, integrated systems and platforms. Many of these legacy systems had been in place for almost 20 years. Advantage is a true evolution for the Alma Talent magazine and books business.

    Santtu Elsinen, Senior Vice President & Chief Digital Officer at Alma Media, has this …



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    Peeking Behind the Curtain of Advantage QA

    At any given time, we at AdvantageCS are working on at least one, usually more, large development projects, be it in collaboration with clients or as AdvantageCS-funded research and development. Recent examples include our eCommerce platform Cider, a Single Sign-On solution and Members Advantage, our membership project. From a QA standpoint, the challenge is to ensure that hundreds or even thousands of hours of development work get tested and that the resulting product is robust and easy to use.

    The role of testing in Agile methodologies

    Our software development projects are organized in an agile framework called Scrum. Unlike "waterfall" projects, agile projects don't have successive analysis, design, development, testing and rollout phases. These activities are executed …



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    How Many Groups Are You a Member Of?

    With apologies for the ending preposition, let’s think about this question for a moment. I’m personally a member of:

    Amazon Prime

    Delta SkyMiles (and about 7 other airline frequent flyer programs)

    My church

    Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

    The Society for Scholarly Publishing

    Hilton HHonors (and about 5 other hotel loyalty clubs)

    Costco

    My local public library

    Consumer Reports

    National Car Rental’s Emerald Club

    Best Buy Reward Zone (and many other stores)

    My homeowners association

    Conservatively, I’m a member of roughly 30 organizations/clubs—not to mention my “membership” in my family, my community, the management team of my company and the human race! If you take the time to list your memberships, it’s likely you’ll find a similar amount.

    Why do we join so many …



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