Duotrope announced this weekend that it will no longer be a free service as of January 1, 2013. It will instead cost $5 per month. For those familiar with it, Duotrope has for seven years offered a free online database service to writers and publishers helping them find each other.
The folks at Duotrope have run their service accepting donations from users and setting monthly goals for such revenue. Unfortunately, it says it has fallen short of its monthly funding goals every month since 2007. Only “about 10% of those who have used our services have ever contributed.” (See “Duotrope is Going Paid!” — December 1, 2012; see also http://www.facebook.com/Duotrope.)
Although Duotrope is not the only service providing information about publishing markets, the site is very easy to use, it is well organized, and I find its market information quite extensive. Even better, the site is not bogged down with advertisements and its Submission Tracker works like a charm. So it is at least a viable candidate as part of a writer’s arsenal of marketing information and tools.
No doubt the site will have less users once payment is required. The jury is still out on whether that is a good or bad thing. A strength of the site is its user feedback and the site’s compilation of response times, acceptance rates, and similar information. With less users, that data source could be diminished. But Duotrope anticipates an increase in quality as a worthwhile exchange for some quantity. Whether Duotrope is right about that probably depends on how many writers choose to pay its fee.