Once more around the sun and we come to another April 1st – another April Fools’ Day. About a month before, we brainstormed a bit on ideas and two came to the fore. One was for the faux “premium version” site idea, which became the mainstay of the day’s joke, the other being a play on Marvel’s recent advertisements for the upcoming new “Heroic Age” Avengers series. Rather than “I am a secret Avenger,” these advertisements would be “I am an UncannyX-Men.net contributor!” After a short bit of discussion, it was decided that both were great ideas and not mutually exclusive. So, the two would be merged to create a more fleshed-out and elaborate prank.
Once released, the article seemed to receive positive praise in the Feedback section of the Forum, with long-term posters playing along with the joke, acting as if they had subscribed to the new service and praising the benefits of being a member. On behalf of the staff, thanks to all those who played along and made it a fun event, especially from whose Forum identities we created faux identities who professed via testimonials their admiration for being beta testers for the new service.
The article which followed was mainly written by me, with significant embellishments from Peter Luzifer. As always, Peter contributed his Photoshop talents and created both the gold/diamond/“bling”-themed logo and the Contributor-customized images. The idea of the Avengers advertisement-inspired images themselves came from Binaryan.
Shortly after midnight EST, the following blurb was released on the Front Page
UXN Premium is here! Welcome, beloved site visitor. We here at the UXN have some exciting news, which we hope will generate a lot of interest from those who enjoy our humble fan site. This has been a few months in the making and today the day is here. While the experience of the UXN will continue without change for the vast majority, those who wish to participate will experience the wonder of the new UXN Premium Member service!
In the article & in the Latest Site Updates were links to the main story…
Since the beginning of the UXN, the staff has been proud to provide our labor of love, a vast resource for the world of Marvel’s X-Men universe, for free. In fact, it has been a long promise of ours that it will always be so. Unfortunately, due to the increase in server costs and decrease in online revenue as a result of the global economic downturn, we here at the UXN were facing some hard decisions.
Fortunately, we came up with a compromise which would allow us to keep our promise of having the site continue to be available free of charge to everyone, yet offer a “premium membership” service where those who choose to assist in site finances with nominal membership fees can enjoy a more enriching experience.
Membership fees: After much review, we have come up with the following three service plans which offer our visitors both choice and flexibility regarding Premium Membership:
6 months: $19.99
Full year: $34.99
All prices are in US dollars and payment options include Mastercard, Visa & Paypal.
Premium Membership: So, what does Premium Membership entail? Well, as previously pointed out, everything you enjoy about the UXN will continue to be free. You will still have access to the thousands of issue summaries, dozens of Spotlights, hundreds of Character entries and volumes of articles. However, there will be two new features, only available through the Premium service.
The first is the result of a few requests, made either in the Forum or via Private Messages & e-mails, is the wish to get to know us, the Contributors to the UXN. For that, we have installed a V.I.P. chatroom, where you can interact with us on a more personal level and have your say in future decisions regarding the site and its content. Accees to that chatroom is available only today to non-Premium members, for our visitors to get a sense of what is waiting for them as a full-member.
The second new feature, and we agree that this will be the single most popular feature of the Premium side of the UXN is that we will be able to absolutely assure, with money-back guarantee, that the UXN contributor known as Monolith will be much, much nicer to you.
As a test run for this new program, we actually provided free Premium Membership to a handful of our regular visitors as a sort of “beta test” of the service. As the test period ended, we asked for some responses and are pleased to provide the below testimonials:
Testimonial #1: Crulie Anne “I can’t tell you how much more fun it is being a Premium Member. The atmosphere is just so much warmer, even though not really much has changed. Well, Monolith did use a whimsical emoticon when replying to one of my posts, which actually got a few astonished PMs from some of my friends. They wanted to know how I got on his good side. I wanted to tell them about my secret Premium Membership but it was not allowed. I guess they know now!”
Testimonial #2: Mick Tristan Ey “For years I've been yearning for the UXN to produce more spotlights. I was like an addict not getting my fix and going into withdrawal. Thanks to the site's premium membership, including a discharge for a 12 step program at a clinic of your own choice, I've now come to realize how much I was hurting the people around me. And, Peter Luzifer was nice enough to let me choose which character they would NOT do the next spotlight on… and it took them only ten and a half months to deliver."
Testimonial #3: Spectral Cavalier “I used to leave the site in tears after visiting the forum at night. I remember one time I posted a theory about the Phoenix Force and Monolith just tore me a new one, pointing out that I obviously had no clue that the story had been touched upon in the Days of Future Past follow-up in Excalibur. I admit it was stupid on my part, but wow.
“However, just last week, after being a provisional Premium Member, I made a point about Forge’s magical powers and Monolith took the time to remark how thoughtful the post was, even though I personally knew it wasn’t.”
Testimonial #4: Holy Becks “I’m actually a Contributor for the site, though I haven’t written an issue summary, article, Spotlight or character entry in years. The last thing I turned in was about three months late and had so many typos and grammar errors that it’s being edited at a rate of one paragraph per week to keep my editor's sanity. It’ll be out in late 2014. Anyway, all this had me quite worried about the attitude of the other site members. However, luckily this Premium membership came out, so now for a low fee no one can complain! Come to think of it, I think I’ll volunteer to write that article we were discussing. As long as my credit card holds out, they’ll have to be nice when I don’t deliver! Say, maybe I’ll suggest a site redesign too…”
Testimonial #5: JonE “I wish the UXN had instituted its Premium Membership program years ago. Once, I came back from the comic shop and read an issue of a comic where a major character had died. I then noticed that the character’s Character Entry hadn’t been updated, even though the comic had been out for a few hours, so I e-mailed Monolith so that he could correct the error. A few days later I wondered why he hadn’t replied, but then I noticed that my spam filter had diverted his reply, probably because of all of the curse words in his e-mail. Turns out that he picks his books up on the weekend and hadn’t yet been aware of the death.
“Anyway, low and behold, the same thing happened a few days ago. However this time he sent a reply to my e-mail, thanking me for pointing out the oversight and that he would be sure to update the character’s entry when he picked-up his books in a few days. He was so very sweet. Still, I’m not clear on why Monolith doesn’t just pick up his books on Wednesdays…”
Testimonial #6: Perri Branillo “It seems like a lifetime ago when I was banned from the forum. Honestly, I deserved it - what I did was so hideous and unspeakable that I wonder why they let me back in though the premium membership. All it cost me an additional fee of $89.95, for which I got a series of counseling sessions with Peter Luzifer, who made me see my errors. Indeed, writing down the forum rules in your own blood a thousand times seems hard, but it made me a better person. Hopefully my story will serve as an example to some other reckless kids out there."
Summary: So, just to bring everyone up to speed on this service, let me summarize:
#1) Regular service will entail everything you have come to expect from the high-quality of the UXN’s site.
#2) for a nominal fee, you can become a Premium Member, after which you will get to know us better and Monolith will be much, much nicer to you.
However, don’t take our word for it. Hear it from the man of granite himself:
Monolith: “Most people in this world are cool; I mean really down-to-Earth, people of great and kind souls. But then you get people who just e-mail and PM without thinking and can really write things that just show them to be complete knucklehead goofs that deserve to be smacked up-side the head. Of course, if you are one of those people and you’ve paid for a Premium Membership, then I apologize for calling you out just now. Sorry, man.”
So that’s it! UXN Premium Membership! We think you’ll find it worth its meager fee.