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We have no pay wall, and Simon Binns joins

Anybody, anytime, can read Confidential: plus we’re going for news

Published on July 7th 2010.

We have no pay wall, and Simon Binns joins

Manchester Confidential is not a subscription magazine, you can read us 24/7 for nothing, nada, zilch, the big zero.

Apparently there’s a rumour going round that our articles, offers and competitions are stuck behind a paywall.

It’s a rumour we started. We're sorry.

He will be given the brief to make Confidential a required weekly read for those who want the low down on the news agenda. We want to find the news that makes the news.

For a short while - six months ago - we experimented with a paid access scheme that included a fee to access our stories. It didn’t work. People didn't want it.

So we quickly reverted to complete open editorial access.

Thus our stories, reviews, competitions, general offers and deals are once more accessible free of charge. There’s no longer any barrier to editorial movement on Planet Confidential.

Except movement forwards. We want to plug the gaps in our coverage of Manchester and the North West, make ourselves better and get better stories to you.

To this end, one of Manchester's best known journalists, Simon Binns, previously of Crain's Manchester Business, will be joining us full time from Monday 19 July.

Simon has proper form in pursuing hard news stories, chasing down leads, getting answers. He will be given the brief to make Confidential a required weekly read for those who want the low down on the news agenda. We want to find the news that makes the news.

Binns says: “I’m really happy to be joining Confidential. It’s a company that has a clear vision of what it wants to be and the passion and desire to deliver it. To be able to find the news first for the readership and publish it online as it happens is exciting. At the same time to join a magazine culture that understands online and has only ever worked that way will be very refreshing.”

For all readers - members and non-members, as Simon Binns says, it should be an exciting time. For us as well.

By the way we’d love your feedback on what we do. We’d love to know what you think of our offers, comps, features, of Gordo, Schofield, Moyo and the rest of our writers. So rant below to let us know.

Like what you see? Enter your email to sign up for our newsletters which are chock-a-block with more great reviews, news, deals and savings.

33 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

EugeneJuly 5th 2010.

You may need to clarify the above article - yuo are still running the Heroes and Friends schemes aren't you? And this is what I am paying for...
So the comment 'Our stories, reviews, competitions, offers and deals are accessible free of charge' may not be entirely reliable...unless someone forgot to tell me you had suspended this (and is still charging me)?


EditorialJuly 5th 2010.

Eugene, we meant 'general' offers and deals not the many exclusive ones for members we are currently offering. The only element that has changed is the access to editorial. For instance for members we have 30 signed up restaurants to our new card that will be launching in the month - another major perk of signing up with us. More on that to follow very shortly by email.

C 2 The GJuly 5th 2010.

Eugene - Few other things that Heroes/Friends get on top on the 30 restaurants and there are many.

FREE Parties most months - Mark Addy, FREE Dry Barge party, City Inn Exclusive gallery viewing (free drinks and food), Zaika tasting (free food and drinks) - Free VIP tickets to Will.I.A.M at sankys - FREE tickets to see shows at palace theatre and opera house etc etc - normal readers dont get this.

You also recieve first grab at tickets to tour dates and events we hold (Opera of Stock being one, sold out in 3 days)

PLUS we pay for you to dine on us - everytime you book Strictly confidential deal you get £10 back.

There will be many more advantages coming up..... watch this space

Arran SummerhillJuly 6th 2010.

That restricted "heroes only" content was due to fail from the outset...

Michele HJuly 6th 2010.

Chuffed that Simon Binns is joining you. He's a good journalist. Looking forward to more hard news content on man Con.

Chris MarsdenJuly 6th 2010.

Restricting all editorial content to subscribers wasn't great but I think the 'Heroes' extras are a fantastic idea. I've booked a few offers on the strength of the 'cashback' offer and the freebies are excellent. Can't wait for the barge cruise this week! Keep up the good work MC.

EugeneJuly 6th 2010.

ah, i get ya...cheers for the clarification. I only wish i could take the hero instead of friend status... seems like a ridiculouly good deal!

MaggsJuly 6th 2010.

Eugene - I think the Heroes fee is the best money we spend. I totally agree with Slouch as we take up every possible offer that we can - off to Beluga and Mark Addy this month and looking forward to the barge trip on Thursday!! Keep up the good work Man Con and welcome to Simon Binns - takes me back to my working days when I used to read every issue of Crains!!

just a friend, not a heroJuly 6th 2010.

i do wonder what the benefits of being a mere friend are now... i feel a little bit conned to be honest....not had anything apart from early booking on tours (which are great but run so many times i dont know anyone who didnt get a place) and don't feel there is any value for money at all

Jeff O'tooleJuly 6th 2010.

Was just thinking that myself, Just a Friend... I think I'll be canceling my payment.

George PoultonJuly 6th 2010.

I also feel pretty conned by the friend scheme. I paid £24 upfront to be a friend because i was repeatedly told by Man Con that articles would only be available to paid up members but this was rapidly ditched soon after i had handed over my money. I would not have paid had i known all articles would be available for free...

AnonymousJuly 6th 2010.

aw well, will there be a business section (full of press releases) now, rather like the property section, but not so much fun as the health and beauty section (the PR Puff!)
Let the Heroes party in Valhalla I say.

mJuly 6th 2010.

Its a fantastic idea to get Simon Binns on board and to branch out into a Business section. It'll complement the news site well and with your combined influence and eyes for a story I think you're really onto something. It's a shrewd move. Readers should not underestimate the relevance to the rest of the site. Business news stretches a further into the future to give a preview of changes and things to come in the city.

Kevin TilleyJuly 6th 2010.

You certainly don't seem to get much for Friends membership. All the offers seem to be available on the website almost as soon as you get e-mail notification... :(

Kevin HJuly 6th 2010.

Binns is a great appointment. I love reading Crains....er loved. But it appears from the copy above that you mean him to cover news as well. Excellent. Make yourself bigger, make yourself indispensable.

ChurlJuly 6th 2010.

Great idea. Spread the knowledge. We thought Binns was working for the MEN, well done in getting him. You have a point of difference with the rest in that you cover all the other city stuff as well.

AnonymousJuly 6th 2010.

Can we have some more sport please. This is the city for it, isn't it?

Jonathan Schofield - editorJuly 6th 2010.

We would like to do more sport. But we have to do it the right way. You get some right idiots commenting on most websites that go heavy on sports. We think there is a way round it though. Watch this space.

AnonymousJuly 6th 2010.

The offers may be biased to food. I would be happier if you would give us (heros and friends) more chances for art and cinema previews. Not only food (restaurant) own, but also chances to talk with chefs and restaurantors may be interesting.

MAGJuly 6th 2010.

Confused Friend! Feel ManCon should have made it VERY clear MUCH earlier that it was changing terms and conds of site. I signed up for Friends so I wouldnt lose access to news articles. So I feel duped to be honest...Also NOT clear AT ALL what Friends actually benefit from? Wont sign up again!

ripped off and annoyedJuly 7th 2010.

I notice nobody is responding to the irate Friends who signed up to continue to have access to all articles. Don't take 30 quid from people and then flipently say it was all rumour about charging for editorial content. I do not need or require money off deals for places I probably won't visit. You've got a bloody nerve implying we're still getting value for money when you've moved the goal posts. Don't get too cocky and disappear up your collective arses.

marketingJuly 7th 2010.

We have been responding direct by email to the rants we've had on this article re the Friend membership. We're in the process of relaunching membership, with the inclusion of the a la carte discount card - but given the problems we had with getting this off the ground in the first place we didn't want to go entirely public with the dates until they were cast in stone so we don't let members down further. We have 30 venues signed up for 25% off a la carte dining that all Friends will receive but we cannot publish the full details of this yet. If any Friends have any direct queries or wish to gain a refund of their fee please contact us on membership@manchesterconfidential.com and we'll respond to you direct. Apologies to anyone that feels we've let them down, with the appointment of Simon we felt it was key to get this message out there combined with the fact the editorial is free to air. That is the only element of the membership that has changed.

NortherngeezerJuly 7th 2010.

I'm neither a 'hero' or a 'friend' and i cant see how i've lost out. I agree, there would appear to be benefits to being a 'hero' but not enough for me to stump up me gard earned shekels though. The new discount card sounds interesting though, i eat out a lot so a 25% saving is quite a chunk.

Leigh ScottJuly 7th 2010.

I have always loved Mancon and appear to be one of the few willing to pay the tenner a month.
I'd like to see Binnsy focusing on the business news as it was clear the city appreciated Crains; they just couldn't hold up the staff and teams without the advertsing revenue..

What a potential revenue stream on the back of one guy!

Liane BaddeleyJuly 7th 2010.

Hello, I'm a Friend. Still happy to be so... but am looking forward to a more comprehensive offering. So far I've mainly just received last-minute emails about events which give me a 24-hour window (or a couple of days) to decide on and claim something before the masses jump in. This isn't really very useful to me as I'm a busy person! I was hoping for more foodie events and restaurant deals. Perhaps in the form of a 'Friends' area on the website which displays all the offers currently available to me and other Friends. Then I could visit from time-to-time and see what my current options are. But a proper membership pack and card (with a list of where I can use it) would be a nice start...

just wonderingJuly 7th 2010.

As you clearly have ann open policy to non payers as well as contributors,could you perhaps break down you competition winners by heroes, friends and non subscribers over say the last 20 comps? If non subscribers cant win, then why put them on your site ?

NortherngeezerJuly 7th 2010.

Good point well made 'just wondering'. No point entering the comps if non subscribers cant win. Over to you Ed.

NortherngeezerJuly 7th 2010.

Ed - Another point. The trouble with publishing 'news' is its got to be current, which is why folks buy a paper or read online newspapers. Not sure you can be a magazine AND a newspaper at the same time, just a thought.

MAGJuly 7th 2010.

'We have been responding direct by email to the rants we've had on this article re the Friend membership.' What form does your response take? Havent received one myself...
On above point you kinda are now an offers mag really...can't take you too seriously on news which is a shame. I suppose it's too much to expect non biased reporting these days. Shame. (MCC subscribe do they?)

Liane BaddeleyJuly 7th 2010.

I just re-read my comment. Didn't mean to sound quite so stroppy! But I would honestly appreciate more genuine opportunities, as a 'Friend' - and a more comprehensive guide of how to benefit from the status would be very handy (i.e. membership guide, website area).

marketingJuly 8th 2010.

@MAG hi there, we emailed on your jasonminsky address - if you're now using a different one please drop us an email on members@manchesterconfidential.com

@LB81 we are relaunching the membership and full details, along with a dedictated section adn card, will follow soon. we really do appreciate your support in the meantime.

Jonathan Schofield - editorJuly 8th 2010.

MAG - where have we been biased? If we are biased it's because we editorially support what we are writing about: for instance we supported Congestion Charging. And we wanted Sir Richard Leese back. All papers and magazines, even the Independent, take sides you know.

Richard Hector-JonesJuly 9th 2010.

I must confess to knowing nearly all parties in the business appointment related aspect of this story. But surely the appointment of Mr Binns signifies that Man Con is looking to up its game news-wise.
And so they should if only to silence some of the criticism leveled about croneyism.
It's not for no reason that one PR agency in Manchester - who shall remain nameless - refer to him as Satan whenever he got on the blower to doggedly piss them off in pursuit of a story for Crain's.

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