For years, Ambiguous New York Media Person par excellence Rachel Sklar has maintained a private email list for her close friends. It's a power cluster of well-connected-on-paper women in media, technology, and the blurry outskirts of each, a ceaseless mill of congratulations and networking. Now, you can buy your way inside for just $850 every year.
An informational email from Sklar and business partner Glynnis MacNicol leaked to Valleywag lays it out plainly: Sklar is going to try to monetize her Silicon Alley doyenne status, at a very steep price. Group email lists are a dime a dozen, but charging 8,500 dimes for the privilege of being part of the (free to operate) Google Groups clique is a little daring. Particularly after having once received a $50,000 grant to operate it. They seem to think pretty highly of themselves!
————— Forwarded message —————
From: The Li.st <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 2:11 PM
Subject: TheLi.st Membership Changes (DEADLINE **PLEASE READ**)
To: "Membership - TheLi.st" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: Glynnis MacNicol <Glynnis@theli.st>, Rachel Sklar <email@example.com>
This email details how TheLi.st will change in 2014. It contains hard deadlines! Please read it.
As many of you know, we've been rolling out the transfer the XXinTech list into a paid, invite-only membership network of the smartest, most successful women in tech and media (around the world!). We have been transitioning over the past six months, and will close enrollment in the new list on Dec. 15th.
I. What is TheLi.st?
The list is our version of The Old Boy's Club: a highly curated network of dynamic, connected, powerful women across tech, media, business, culture, politics, movers & shakers, helping each other land investors, partnerships, press jobs, speaking opportunities, and much more. Need an intro? You'll probably find it through TheLi.st. Our group of 500 power players is networked within one degree of almost anyone you may need.
TheLi.st is also a close-knit community of colleagues and friends, providing clutch support, friendship and having-your-back plus a warm social infrastructure for commiserating, venting, and advice.
And then there's the invitations, deep discounts to fellow lister products and services, and our combined social media & message magnification muscle.
As TheLi.st evolves, the benefits for you as a member grow exponentially. Some of highlights:
Newsletter launched in May to strong critical reception (Buzzfeed, Forbes etc.) Our metrics are well above industry average. To date we've featured over 100 listers (our "Friends & Family" section is designed to feature Lister projects). We'll pass 15K subscribers by year end.
TheLi.st name means something - we've been highlighted in the NYT, SAI 100 and Marie Claire's The New Guard package, which also featured a whole whack of other Listers (visibility begets access begets opportunity!). Also, Geraldo called us "brilliant" and "awesome." We have been holding off new applicants for six months.
We've hosted events in NY, DC, SF, Austin & Toronto, including our Pop-Up Summit in February, partnership events with Marie Claire, the Guggenheim, TechStars, seminars, and general networking events for Listers to connect. These offerings will increase significantly in 2014.
Our members-only database is ready to come out of beta (screenshot attached) to stand as the first line of defense against "but we couldn't find a woman!" All List Members will have tagged, searchable profiles - a real-life Binder of Women.
II. List Membership
*We have created a discounted "Pre-Launch" rate for our current list members. The rate is $500/year. Payment details below.*
Membership in TheLi.st is meant to provide practical resources to build your business, grow your brand, increase your visibility, and establish a valuable, long-lasting network. Benefits:
Daily access to the exclusive Li.st email list, featuring 500 of the most powerful women in tech and media.
A featured profile on TheLi.st Database.
Access to list network groups on other social media platforms (Facebook, Linkedin) and inclusion in TheLi.st Twitter group.
Invitation to private events to meet and connect with other list members.
Significant discounts to products and services created by List members, as well as List friends. Previous offers have included free office space, discounts to conferences like Women in the World, discounts on major e-commerce marketplaces like Of A Kind and Zady, discounted class rates to The Flatiron School and Skillcrush, and Google Chromebooks.
Priority access to Li.st sponsored public events (incl. List-only rates).
Ability to invite a female friend or colleague to join The List (subject to approval)
Opportunities to be featured in/contribute to TheLi.st newsletter
Opportunities to be featured in/contribute to upcoming multimedia projects launched by TheLi.st (e-book collection, multi-media partnerships, etc.)
PR support & message magnification through the List network (reaching an audience of millions via our various sites and social media)
NYC office space for visiting listers/holding meetings, events, offsites etc. (subject to approval)
General awesomeness to come in 2014!
EXCLUSIVE MEMBERSHIP BONUS!!:
As part of this membership, we are excited to offer an exclusive FoundersCard deal to List network members. This offer includes a 3-month complimentary membership, followed by an option to join at FC best available lifetime guaranteed annual rate with a waived initiation fee. Current FoundersCard members may extend their term of card for three months. Additionally, FoundersCard will be open to connecting with List member products for potential inclusion in their offerings. Will will be in touch with details once your membership is finalized.
We have created a "Pre-Launch" rate for our current list members. The rate is $500/year, which is $350 less than the public rate will be at our 2014 launch. We surveyed typical membership rates and conference badge prices so we could be sure to price this not only competitively, but ridiculously well against any comparable org or opportunity.
IV. Payment Options
The base membership is Pre-Launch for $500. Pay at one time OR opt for a monthly payment plan, 1st month $100, $40/month thereafter. We require a month's notice to cancel membership.
>>>>>CLICK HERE TO PAY $500 via PAYPAL<<<<<
**This rate expires on Dec. 15, 2013.**
>>>CLICK HERE FOR MONTHLY OPTION/ $100 DEPOSIT<<<
We also have a corporate membership for those representing the interests of a corporation which we are happy to discuss, and bulk rates for 2 or more Listers in the same company.
Also - this is a professional association and should definitely qualify to be covered by an employer. We are happy to provide supporting documentation to that effect.
Finally, we know that some of you are bootstrapping, or changing careers, or might otherwise need to figure something out. Please email us. We have worked out a number of in-kind exchange deals or alternate arrangements. Our priority is keeping you in this group. For realz. Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
We will send a reminder email the week before the deadline and another the day before. If by Dec. 15 we don't hear from you we will assume you are not interested and we'll affectionately part ways.
We have two goals here: Keep TheLi.st going as an awesome platform for amazing women, and start 2014 with an excited, invested membership. We hope you will be part of it!
Rachel & Glynnis
You can't buy friends, or success, but you can buy access to someone else's successful friends.
Update: Sklar says that new members will not be able to "buy their way in" because there will be an "application process." I've asked repeatedly what this "application process" will consist of, other than paying $850, and Sklar has declined to explain. Until she does, I can only assume this will have the same scruples as a country club: if you have money and we like you, you're in.
Update 2: In her own words:
"I told Sam repeatedly that his post was incorrect - you can't just buy your way in. You never could. I also told him that the application criteria wasn't ready for sharing and would be posted in January. I'm not sure he read the email he posted above because it clearly states that we make arrangements according to financial need and/or in-kind exchange. We've done that in numerous cases already. We put a cap on the numbers to keep it manageable - because we are a staff of two - and are in the process of planning our expansion. Oh also, people are welcome to either decline to stay on the List or to not apply. The free market is amazing that way!"