Damien

Premium Memberships: No More Ads and Tracking!

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icy-veins-premium-banner-2.png.c16da73c0

Greetings.

Today, we are pleased to announce the official launch of our Premium subscription service on Icy Veins.

Premium enables you to benefit from an ad and tracking-free experience across the entire website, in exchange for a monthly sum (as low as 2 euros or US dollars, although you have the option to give more).

The main reason we have put this solution together is to provide you, our readers, with an alternative to seeing ads. While we have been working hard since the start of Icy Veins to make the ad experience as pleasant as possible (see our stance on ads and ad blockers), and while we certainly will continue to do so, ad problems do sometimes occur. It is a cat-and-mouse game and providers of bad ads always manage to sneak in unapproved ad types, no matter how hard we fight against it.

Until now, the only two options readers had were to either accept the occasional bad or intrusive ads, or to use an adblocker and in the process deprive Icy Veins of the revenues we depend on to survive and grow. Readers have asked us many times over the years to provide a Premium feature that would enable them to support us in exchange for the removal of ads, and now here it is!

For a more detailed explanation of the Premium service, of what Premium revenues will be used for, as well as for details on how exactly to sign up, we encourage you to read the Premium FAQ. If you would like to subscribe right away, please click here or on the Go Premium button at the top of the page

Whether you are a free user, an adblock user, or a future Premium user: thank you for your continued support.

Become a premium member and enjoy ad-free and tracking-free browsing on Icy Veins, as well as a few other perks.

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Hope this doesn't end up like WoWHead....I can't even get on that site because of how many ads they have on there. Although I'm ok with "premium" subs...I shouldn't feel forced to have to pay as I do on that site. It's so annoying that it makes you want to pay so you can load a page. Please don't let this amazing site be like that. 

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3 hours ago, IIIDefalt said:

Hope this doesn't end up like WoWHead....I can't even get on that site because of how many ads they have on there. Although I'm ok with "premium" subs...I shouldn't feel forced to have to pay as I do on that site. It's so annoying that it makes you want to pay so you can load a page. Please don't let this amazing site be like that. 

Hey there!

Firstly, I can't really comment on the Wowhead front since I don't work for them and it wouldn't be right to try and speak for them in that respect, so I'll stick to the topic of us here at IV.

On Premium, we weren't introducing it with the intention of changing anything for our normal users. If you wish to stay as a free, regular user, you are more than welcome to and we will happily welcome you all the same. We won't make any changes to our ads specifically to try and push Premium or anything like that. Rest assured that you will have the same ads as before and, if there is a problem ad, you can always report it by clicking the "Report Ad" button on the suspect ad. This is the best way of getting bad ads removed quickly.

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39 minutes ago, Blainie said:

Hey there!

Firstly, I can't really comment on the Wowhead front since I don't work for them and it wouldn't be right to try and speak for them in that respect, so I'll stick to the topic of us here at IV.

On Premium, we weren't introducing it with the intention of changing anything for our normal users. If you wish to stay as a free, regular user, you are more than welcome to and we will happily welcome you all the same. We won't make any changes to our ads specifically to try and push Premium or anything like that. Rest assured that you will have the same ads as before and, if there is a problem ad, you can always report it by clicking the "Report Ad" button on the suspect ad. This is the best way of getting bad ads removed quickly.

That's awesome news and I'm not meaning to speak ill of WoWHead....I love that site as well. It's just bloated with ads that bog me down is all. Icy Veins has always been a great site and I just love how clean it is and easy to navigate. I just want it to stay that way :P Keep up the good work and who knows...when I can...I may be one of those premium members eventually :)

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Cool stuff, great move. I have to be honest. I hate ads and ad blocker is my go to solution. But if I can support a site I regularly use (even if I don't write a lot) in a way like this I am happy to. I do it for hotslogs and this will be my second non-blizzard heroes of the storm support subscription. So: Done

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4 hours ago, IIIDefalt said:

That's awesome news and I'm not meaning to speak ill of WoWHead....I love that site as well. It's just bloated with ads that bog me down is all. Icy Veins has always been a great site and I just love how clean it is and easy to navigate. I just want it to stay that way :P Keep up the good work and who knows...when I can...I may be one of those premium members eventually :)

I can confirm that we have no intention of changing anything to our ad setup. Ad quality will remain very important to us and will be a key point in our discussions in Q4 with ad agencies to see who we contract for 2018. To give you a concrete ad example, we changed ad agency last year and our decision was in part motivated by a campaign of video ads that they ran on the site around September. The video player was atrocious and slowing down people's browsers, so we had it entirely removed and this year we are working with an ad agency that has a no-video-ad policy (some do get through from time to time and I report them when I see them). We are also no longer accepting mobile overlays and interstitials.

I can also assure you that we will keep on following up with every ad report we get (be it by e-mail, on the forums, or on social media) in order to investigate them. We certainly won't be telling people who complain about the ads that they should sign up for premium.

 

2 hours ago, Nurph said:

Cool stuff, great move. I have to be honest. I hate ads and ad blocker is my go to solution. But if I can support a site I regularly use (even if I don't write a lot) in a way like this I am happy to. I do it for hotslogs and this will be my second non-blizzard heroes of the storm support subscription. So: Done

Thank you for signing up! I was afraid no one would and I am glad to see that my fears were unjustified :)

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11 hours ago, Damien said:

icy-veins-premium-banner-2.png.c16da73c0

Greetings.

Today, we are pleased to announce the official launch of our Premium subscription service on Icy Veins.

Premium enables you to benefit from an ad and tracking-free experience across the entire website, in exchange for a monthly sum (as low as 2 euros or US dollars, although you have the option to give more).

The main reason we have put this solution together is to provide you, our readers, with an alternative to seeing ads. While we have been working hard since the start of Icy Veins to make the ad experience as pleasant as possible (see our stance on ads and ad blockers), and while we certainly will continue to do so, ad problems do sometimes occur. It is a cat-and-mouse game and providers of bad ads always manage to sneak in unapproved ad types, no matter how hard we fight against it.

Until now, the only two options readers had were to either accept the occasional bad or intrusive ads, or to use an adblocker and in the process deprive Icy Veins of the revenues we depend on to survive and grow. Readers have asked us many times over the years to provide a Premium feature that would enable them to support us in exchange for the removal of ads, and now here it is!

For a more detailed explanation of the Premium service, of what Premium revenues will be used for, as well as for details on how exactly to sign up, we encourage you to read the Premium FAQ. If you would like to subscribe right away, please click here or on the Go Premium button at the top of the page

Whether you are a free user, an adblock user, or a future Premium user: thank you for your continued support.

Enjoy ad-free and tracking-free browsing on Icy Veins with our Premium Memberships!

Become a premium member and enjoy ad-free and tracking-free browsing on Icy Veins, as well as a few other perks.

Sorry, but I use add-blocker Sorry but I'm... poor. Yeah, that.

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58 minutes ago, Fliits said:

Sorry, but I use add-blocker Sorry but I'm... poor. Yeah, that.

As we said numerous times, using ad blockers is totally fine and we don't blame anyone for using them. There are many different ways that people can contribute to the website, and you're already contributing with your forum posts, so no need to be sorry or anything like that ;)

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@Damien

Maybe I should ask this in the contact link you provided, but maybe others feel similar:

 

I would like it if we:

1. Had the ability to choose to "donate" 0 to certain sections we don't use (While maintaining the minimum cost of $2)

2. Have the option (opt-in?) to keep (Perhaps anonymous?) tracking on for IV staff, for support purposes (Knowing which "sections" patrons visit often and which are less popular). This automatic "feedback" can still help give you a good indication on what's "on demand".

 

To give additional feedback; I don't play Heroes or Hearthstone at all, while I play WoW a whole lot. I'd rather set the scale to 0 for the games I don't play while increasing the scale for WoW to 60%, keeping OW at 20% and general news at 20%. I'm not sure if it really matters to you or not or whether you deem changes like these as unfair. It's just a suggestion; no hard feelings either way.

The feedback in the paragraph above also helps indicating what I'm trying to explain about my point #2 in that that could also help as an indicator as to what news/guides/content is most relevant to the players.

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12 minutes ago, Yridaa said:

@Damien

Maybe I should ask this in the contact link you provided, but maybe others feel similar:

 

I would like it if we:

1. Had the ability to choose to "donate" 0 to certain sections we don't use (While maintaining the minimum cost of $2)

2. Have the option (opt-in?) to keep (Perhaps anonymous?) tracking on for IV staff, for support purposes (Knowing which "sections" patrons visit often and which are less popular). This automatic "feedback" can still help give you a good indication on what's "on demand".

 

To give additional feedback; I don't play Heroes or Hearthstone at all, while I play WoW a whole lot. I'd rather set the scale to 0 for the games I don't play while increasing the scale for WoW to 60%, keeping OW at 20% and general news at 20%. I'm not sure if it really matters to you or not or whether you deem changes like these as unfair. It's just a suggestion; no hard feelings either way.

The feedback in the paragraph above also helps indicating what I'm trying to explain about my point #2 in that that could also help as an indicator as to what news/guides/content is most relevant to the players.

Thank you for the added feedback.

1. This is definitely planned, but we wanted to start off something simple and see if people felt the need to have some sliders at 0. Of course, when we do this change, existing subscribers will be able to change the sliders on their existing subscriptions (they can already do that, with the existing limitation of not being able to put any slider below 0.40).
2. The anonymous part is hard, because we do this tracking using Google Tag Manager. In order to implement some anonymity, we would need a self-hosted tool, but the stuff Google allows you to use for free is so powerful that you don't really feel like using anything else (especially if it means maintaining your tracking rules in two different tools). Having the option to opt-in tracking would be useful and I'll speak with the dev agency to get it added. That said, I feel that the behaviour of premium membership users is not going to be any different than that of regular users, in terms of how they browse the site.

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2 hours ago, Yridaa said:

I would like it if we:

1. Had the ability to choose to "donate" 0 to certain sections we don't use (While maintaining the minimum cost of $2)

I had the exact same reaction when I first saw the sliders.

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About time you something like this!

Looked before for a subscription plan...or something along that line...and was surprised you didn't have one.

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First off thank you, I prefer this method over ads, I do delist sites I use on a regular basis from my adblocker unless they are really bad, but I have a request, yearly pay version.

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8 hours ago, Calysia said:

About time you something like this!

Looked before for a subscription plan...or something along that line...and was surprised you didn't have one.

Was hard to code with the way the site is designed (the forums and the rest of the site are completely disconnected). We had to hire a dev agency to do all the work. That meant money and we couldn't afford it before this year.

1 hour ago, NateThompson114 said:

First off thank you, I prefer this method over ads, I do delist sites I use on a regular basis from my adblocker unless they are really bad, but I have a request, yearly pay version.

You're the second person to mention it, so it looks more and more likely we will add that.

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2 hours ago, NateThompson114 said:

First off thank you, I prefer this method over ads, I do delist sites I use on a regular basis from my adblocker unless they are really bad, but I have a request, yearly pay version.

I use an adblocker as much to make sure I don't get hacked as I do to prevent seeing ads so I don't whitelist any sites...which is why it's nice having an alternative way to support these folks.

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5 hours ago, Notoriousthf said:

Its not working for me, and i just paid.

Thank you for your support! Did you log out and back in?

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      You look like candy. I don't mind spending you at all.
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      Are loot boxes and card packs a form of gambling?
      With randomized microtransactions under the proverbial spotlight, I believe this question is going to be a big one in the near future. As of right now however, the answer varies broadly depending on who you ask; many American and European countries are in the process of studying the question, whereas most Asian countries have already legislated. Given the different gaming culture, as was explained in the second paragraph of this article, this makes sense: Asian countries have been way more exposed to microtransactions – and their effects – than western countries have.
      In an unexpectedly liberal move, China dropped a bomb in December 2016 when it announced that game publishers dealing in the country would have to reveal the draw chances of randomized virtual items and services. Furthermore, this new law outright banned loot box-like systems. Blizzard complied with the new legislation in a particularly crass way by instead selling meaningless amounts of in-game currency (dust for Hearthstone, credits for Overwatch, etc.) and giving out an equal amount of packs or loot boxes as a "gift" for purchasing said currency. I'm not joking.
      Of course, this is just one step towards regulation (or not) in one country, and, as stated earlier, distinct countries are tackling the issue at different speeds. However, I suspect the battle to have far-reaching consequences. In the US, lawsuits against analogous systems, notably, Pokémon cards, was ultimately dismissed back in 1999. Why? Simply put, booster packs were deemed to "not be harmful enough" despite passing the gambling test, which serves to identify what constitutes gambling in the US. How do you perform this test? Look for the three following elements:
      Consideration; basically, a cost or "risk" Chance; an unpredictable outcome (what will I win, or; will I win something at all?) Prize; what you will gain if you do win (for binary gambling), or; what you will gain (i.e. cards, for non-binary gambling) Notice anything? Loot boxes and card packs – though only those purchased with real currency – fit the bill. I've seen individuals argue that loot boxes could not be considered gambling because they always had a yield, but the test cares little about the nature of the yield as long as it is directly tied to consideration and chance. Jurisprudence has set a rather strange factor – harm, which, I have no idea how the judge evaluated – as one of the main component for future lawsuits. And so, we must then ask whether loot boxes and analogous systems are in fact harmful. Some have hypothesized that they can contribute to video game addiction, but the very existence of this disorder is still being debated. Perhaps we should instead look at gambling addiction to make a case, though we are headed deep into political and moral territories. Who should be in control of their own fate? Let's not go there just yet.
      Moral and design concerns
      It is with much noise and celebrating that Heroes of the Storm moved away from its standard microtransaction system to embrace loot chests fully back in May 2017. Most of the changes brought in by Heroes 2.0 would ultimately serve to support the introduction of randomized microtransactions.
      Indeed, if economic research showed that loot boxes were not more lucrative than typical microtransactions (such as buying exactly what you want, such as a given Hearthstone card or Heroes of the Storm skin for a set price), they simply wouldn't exist. They are predatory in the sense that they exploit basic behavioural traits to make more money than a typical, non-random system would.
      The success of loot boxes becomes particularly terrifying when certain fundamental games design principles have to be twisted to promote the appeal of purchasing loot boxes. Games such as Overwatch are hardly affected. Other games, such as Hearthstone, are incentivised to make more powerful cards rarer to increase potential profits, though ultimately, this is a thing we have come to accept – unjustifiably, perhaps? – from card games. Other much more reprehensible game examples literally tie player power to randomly finding certain items. Loot boxes and their content need to be advertised, too, which distracts from the game.

      Hey MVP! Don't mind my skin and banner, by the way. Cough. But they do look nice. If only you had them, you could be just as good as I am...
      The human demand for gambling is undeniable. Unlike video game addiction, however, gambling addiction is recognized as a mental disorder. Whether certain whales are affected by the disorder is difficult to tell, but vices ultimately tend to affect the most vulnerable of us. Controlling certain behaviour is excessively difficult, if not impossible, but knowing that my favourite games may be subsidised by people whose lives are compromised by gambling problems is always a sad thought. And although I generally try and avoid making unfounded assertions, I can't help but to question the effects of exposing children and adolescents to gambling, regardless of the form. This is particularly worrisome as younger gamers are being groomed by popular mobile games to see such microtransactions as completely normal.
      TL;DR
      Electronic Arts' massive blunder with Star Wars Battlefront 2's loot crate system caused a global awareness of randomized microtransactions, prompting reactions from several political figured around the world. Random microtransactions would be considered a form of gambling by US law, but existing jurisprudence tells us that they are unlikely to be controlled unless objective harm can be proved, just as with physical collectible cards. Random microtransactions exploit human behavioural weaknesses to generate significantly more profit than traditional transactions.