Note To Readers: Cleaning Up Premium Confusion

Some of you may have noticed today that we have added a new pair of graphic icons for the newsletter: one that says Premium and one that says Free. Since we launched Premium back in late April, we have heard from multiple readers who apparently thought—quite mistakenly—that all of our stories are now Premium.

In fact, the vast majority of our stories (often 80 percent or more) are deliberately not Premium. We are hoping that these colorful images will make it easier to tell which stories are Premium and which ones can be read in their entirety by non-Premium subscribers. We're hoping that this clarification cuts back on the frustration of non-Premium readers who click on stories that they can't read fully as well as encourages readers to click on a story, confident that it's entirely available to them.

This is also a good time to explain how StorefrontBacktalk decides which stories are Premium. Our Premium pieces need to have a strong element of exclusivity (information you won't find anywhere else), include substantial analysis and should be at least two pages long. To be clear, many stories qualify for Premium but we only choose two or three each week to be Premium. We consider them to be the strongest pieces of each issue and, those—plus our other Premium perks—are the reasons people upgrade to Premium. But we also work hard to make sure our non-Premium readers get lots of the same quality pieces that StorefrontBacktalk has been delivering since 2006 and that I've tried delivering for years before that as the Retail Editor at Ziff Davis (eWEEK, PCMagazine, CIOInsights, Baseline and others, at the time) and reporting on retail trends for RISNews.

And even those Premium pieces are not fully off-limits for non-Premium readers. The ability to purchase just a single story is critical, and we encourage readers to try our two-week free trial (only one to a customer, please) with no payment-card requested.

Site licenses are another good way to get your entire group full StorefrontBacktalk access—including Premium-only access to the thousands of stories in our archives—for a huge discount from the regular pricing.