So, my Premium Membership expired a couple days back. I've usually extended it every other Christmas, when I have been able to afford it as a gift to myself during the '2 for the price of 1' sale they have each December. Spending ~25 euros every two years was bearable for me because, even though I've never had a lot of money to spend on things, I liked Premium.
Now that I no longer have it, I've looked into the new "CORE" memberships. And oh boy.
I was first a little suspicious of what was going on when one day the star next to my username on my page had turned into a weird orange text, but didn't think too much of it. I should have, though, because usually when a big company feels the need to suddenly re-brand something, they're trying to cover up something negative that is happening. A good example is the new, "simpler" (aka everything is hidden behind a few buttons and I can't find anything) layout and the new logo - it's not helping anyone but makes the site look 'modern' while everyone is supposed to ignore the fact that dA has struggled with money and income for years, now worse than ever.
And now that I've seen the new prices for CORE, it's just painfully obvious that this site is a sinking ship. There are less options to choose from and they're much, much more costly. If I recall correctly, we used to have the options to purchase one month, one year, two years, or a whopping 7 years at a time, and while I can't remember the exact prices I do remember that the price I always paid was approx 25 euros. With CORE, however, there's only two options - three months or a year. Three months costs $15, and a year is $50. There has been no real explanation for hiking up the prices, only a half-arsed "we believe CORE is worth this much" excuse. And now that USD is so strong, the price is almost the same in EUR. Which means that I'd have to literally pay double - no wait, quadruple - for the two years I used to get for 25€ since the buy 1 get 1 doesn't extend to year long memberships any more.
It's a sad thing for me to say that I won't be extending my Prem- eh, CORE membership any more. I've really liked the option to fully customize my userpage as well as certain widgets, mostly the poll option, but I never really used any other features. I'll never want to change my username, I never used journal skins, never bought or sold prints on dA either. The things I am a bit sad about are the ability to freely use thumbnails in comments/descriptions, seeing more deviations per gallery page, and my 10Gb of sta.sh space disappearing, but the latter is just a question of moving my files to another server - many of them offer a lot more than 10GB, for free. And I've been using adBlocker for years, so even without CORE dA ain't getting my ad-revenue.
My overall opinion? This was a bad decision. Doubling up the prices is not going to double the site's income, and might even reduce it judging by how many negative journals and comments I've seen covering the same subject I'm writing about now. I'm not going to leave dA completely, I'm just never again going to give them my money. A person living on student allowance can't possibly shell out 50 bucks in one go for something as trivial as this. A big portion of dA's users are young people probably already struggling with money problems who simply don't have enough to use their savings on a website membership. Sorry, dA, but "Building the Future" isn't really enough of an incentive for me to keep funding your crappy business.
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As a side note, they also seem to have raised the prices for dA points, since I remember them being about 100p=$1 and now 400p=$5 in the shop. Not that I really care, though, the points system was always bad and caused people to severely underprice their art - I've been there myself - so I'm mostly glad if it becomes even more unpopular. Not to mention the monstrous 20% fee if you use the commission widget... which is the only way to get points that can be converted to actual money, afaik.
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ANOTHER NOTE: I just realized browsing the CORE page that while you can only buy yourself a 3 or 12 month membership, you can still gift a one month membership to another user (the button is all the way down the page). What the hell. Useful information to anyone who's just looking to change their username, I guess.
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tl;dr - not extending my membership ever again, I can't afford the new prices, CORE is not worth it and dA is a sinking ship full of bad decisions. I tried to cover as much as I could, but might update this journal if I realize I left out something important.
I appreciate your differing opinion, but this has been a rant and I'm glad I got it out. Kudos and cookies to whoever manages to read the whole wall of text.