Five months ago, the StrongLifts Inner Circle changed from a free to a paid-only community. Since then, I've received several emails from ex-free Members upset about this change. After reading every single one of these emails, and now that five months have passed, I have some observations and conclusions.
First, I am sure switching to a paid community was the correct decision. Recently StrongLifts achieved a new breakthrough by reaching over a million people per month from over 187 countries. We are changing more bodies and lives than any other strength training website. And we're just getting warmed up: my goal is to help 100 million people a year by StrongLifts' 10th anniversary in 2017.
To accomplish this goal we need to hire talented people. Which also means we need stable and scalable streams of income to pay for their work. It was obvious StrongLifts couldn't keep relying on ads and affiliates to generate 80% of its revenue. We had to change to a freemium model where StrongLifts.com remains 100% free while StrongLiftsInnerCircle.com becomes paid-only.
This change has paid off. Revenue has boomed. As a result, the StrongLifts 5x5 App for iPod/iPhone was released (100% free), and revenue continues to be poured into its development to add more features requested by guys like you (Android is coming as well). Revenue is also being poured into the development of the new workout tracker inside the StrongLifts Inner Circle Community. None of this would have been possible if we had clinged to the old revenue model.
Second, nothing has worked better to keep the spam, trolls and bullies out of the StrongLifts Inner Circle Community than charging a fee. With our thousands of paid Gold Members from all over the planet, this not only continues to make us the biggest private strength training community on the Internet, but also the most friendly and helpful one. This, together with the new workout tracker that is being developed, continues to keep us far ahead of the competition.
Three, even though we've made the right decision by keeping StrongLifts 100% free while making the StrongLifts Inner Circle a paid-only community... and even though this has increased the quality of the experience for the thousands of existing Gold Members, the founding Members deserved a better treatment.
I blew it by disabling your free account weeks after promising you could remain for free. I blew it by disabling all accounts of free Members who did nothing wrong when a few free Members were trying to bring the place down because they didn't agree with the changes. And I blew it by disabling your free account without warning and without giving you the opportunity to backup your training log or exchange information with the friends you made over the years.
Hundreds of ex-free Members became paid Gold Members anyway in the days, weeks and months that followed. But some were too upset to ever trust me with their hard-earned cash and lost access to their training logs as a result.
Therefore, because I know your training log was vitally important to you, I'd like to offer you a free copy of your training log(s) at no cost. Simply submit a ticket inside our helpdesk, mention your username, and you will receive a free copy of your log within seven days. Dozens of ex-free Members like Adam and Andreas have already received copies of their logs during the past months. So will you.
Click here to request a free copy of your training log.
I've also decided to offer every ex-free StrongLifts Member who helped building our community (registered before 2011 and with over 100 posts) a 20% Gold Membership discount if you become part of our community again. Simply submit a ticket in our helpdesk next time the doors open to get the special discount.
I really want to help 100 million of guys change their body and life. I've been doing this for not even five years, so I still have to learn a lot. I apologize if I disappointed some of you, and will keep working hard so StrongLifts and the StrongLiftsInnerCircle continue to be the best strength training resources ever.