Information on this web site is provided by Community Resources Information, Inc., an independent non-profit organization not affiliated with any government agency or program.
- Cash Assistance Programs
- Child Care and Preschools
- Education Programs
- Employment & Job Training
- Energy & Utility Assistance
- Financial Programs
- Food Programs
- Health Care - General
- Health Care - Specialized
- Home Care / Long-Term Care
- Homelessness Programs
- Housing Programs
- Legal Assistance
- Tax Credits
- Transportation Services
- Disability Resources
- Domestic Violence Resources
- Ex-Offender Resources
- HIV / AIDS Resources
- Immigrant Resources
- Senior Resources
- Youth Resources
Explanation, Subscription Options, & Policies
A "metered paywall system" has recently been added to the www.MassResources.org web site. Service providers who routinely use the web site in the context of doing their jobs will likely be affected by this paywall, whereas those who use the site to find out information for themselves or family members should not be impacted. Below, we explain why the site now has such a system and how a paywall works. We also describe subscription pricing. A description of our policies regarding subscriptions can be found by clicking on the following link: Subscriber Agreement.
Section 1: Why we have added a paywall to MassResources.org:
Paywall systems are being developed with increased regularity for content-focused web sites. Their main purpose is to provide a means of generating subscription revenue from regular visitors to a web site.
MassResources.org is run by a small Massachusetts-based, 501 (c) (3) charitable non-profit organization, Community Resources Information, Inc. (CRI). The development and operation of the MassResources.org web site has been, and is, the principal activity of CRI. We are not affiliated with the Massachusetts state government nor the U.S. federal government and receive no government grants or payment for the operation of this site. Our independence from political or bureaucratic influence is an important strength of ours; but it is also a reason why we must now ask our most loyal visitors and their employers for help in financially supporting our efforts by paying a modest subscription fee to access this web site.
This web site has now been in operation since 2003 and, up until now, we have never charged visitors a subscription fee for its use nor placed any commercial advertisement on its pages. While this has been an ideal situation for the many visitors to the web site, it is, not the basis of a sustainable 'business model,' one that would allow the site to continue in the long run and flourish. Like any provider of content, or any organization for that matter, we have our own operating expenses that must continually be met.
After trying out other revenue producing options that have not been successful, we believe that a metered paywall provides the best solution to our organization's need to generate a modest amount of revenue to help cover the operating expenses of the web site going forward. As a not-for-profit organization, any subscription revenue we raise that is in excess of the expenses needed to maintain the site and keep its content up-to-date can be used to expand the information we offer and to develop new features.
We would like to acknowledge up front that we recognize dealing with this paywall will likely be an aggravation to many service providers and other professionals who reach it and some frequent visitors to the site may choose to go elsewhere to try to obtain the information we provide. We hope that you will understand why we have taken this step. If you have come to value this web site and the information and tools it offers, please keep in mind the long term value to you in our taking this step: Raising sufficient subscription revenue will enable us to continue providing, and improving upon, this web site service indefinitely. For many of you who use this site in the context of your daily jobs, we hope that your employers will see the value of your continued access to this site and that they will be willing to cover the subscription cost so that you may continue using the web site.
Our policy of paid subscriptions applies only to service providers and other professionals who use the site in the context of doing their jobs and is not meant for consumers (i.e., individuals visiting the site to find out information for themselves, a family member, or friend) who visit the site. However, among service providers and other professionals, there are no exceptions to this policy.
Section 2: How the metered paywall system works
In essence, a paywall (eventually) blocks the viewing of pages on a web site until a person has paid for a subscription and created a user account name and password. This account name/password can then be used by the subscriber to log into the site from any other computer or device he or she typically uses.
Some paywalls work by restricting access to a web site from the very first visit to all non-subscribers. These are called non-metered paywalls. Instead, we have implemented a metered paywall, which is a much better approach for a web site such as ours. A metered paywall allows the computer a visitor is using to view a set number of pages for free. Once this allotment of page views has been exceeded, a message ("paywall") is presented with the request to subscribe to the site in order for that computer to have further access to the web site. When a paywall system restricts access to a web site, it is, of course, the computer an individual is using that is blocked from further viewing web pages. The same individual could still visit the web site from a different computer that has not reached the limit of free page views.
Our paywall is designed to impact the higher frequency, regular users of the MassResources.org web site. For the most part, these are individuals who use the site in the context of their employment. This could involve visiting the site to gather information to assist clients or patients or for other information gathering purposes. By and large, anyone who uses the site a modest amount during the course of a year should never see the paywall. This applies to the vast majority of "consumers" who use the site, namely persons who visit to find out information on assistance programs/resources for themselves, a family member, or friend.
At present, our paywall system allows a computer to view approximately 50 pages of content on our web site for free and about 10 separate uses of our Eligibility Check tools. Upon exceeding the allotment of free page views (or Eligibility Check uses), a "paywall" message appears and the computer is blocked from viewing additional content pages until a subscriber account has been created and the subscriber logs in. While most pages on our web site are metered (i.e., viewing such a page will add to the count toward the 50 free page view limit) some pages, such as the home page and this one, are not counted at all and can be viewed even after the computer has reached the paywall.
It should be noted that a paywall system such as our does not track the Internet browsing habits of individuals nor can it identify individuals who visit the web site and do not become subscribers.
Section 3: Subscription Options and Prices
For service providers and other professionals who have surpassed their computer's standard allotment of page views and who wish to continue accessing the web site, here are the subscription options:
- $65 for an annual (12-month) "premium" subscription that provides access to all of the content on the site and unlimited use of the site's Eligibility Check tools.
- $35 for an annual (12-month) "standard" subscription that provides access to all standard page content but limits access to the Eligibility Check tools.
If you use the site's Eligibility Check tools on a regular basis, you should pick the "premium" subscription. However, it is possible to upgrade your subscription from "standard" to "premium" at a later date.
These two annual subscriptions are not set to "auto-renew" when they expire. This means that you will need to renew your subscription around the time it expires to continue using the site. We also offer a temporary subscription with three time options:
- $10 for a one-month (30 consecutive days) subscription; or
- $5 for a one-week (7 consecutive days) subscription; or
- $1 for one-day (24 consecutive hours) subscription
A temporary subscription provides access to all content and unlimited used of the site's Eligibility Check tools for the duration of the subscription (i.e., in terms of access to the site, it is like the "premium" annual subscription described above). For those subscribers who need access to the site on an intermittent basis (i.e., during some weeks or months but not others), a paid temporary subscription can be repeated as often as one likes. Temporary subscriptions, like with annual subscriptions, do not automatically renew.
Individual and Computer-based Subscriptions:
We offer both individual-based and computer-based subscriptions. An individual-based subscription is appropriate for a person who wants to access the web site from different computers (e.g., office/home, multiple offices) or devices (e.g., computer/iPad). A computer-based subscription is appropriate in situations where multiple people (e.g., part-time staff or volunteers at an organization) wish to access the web site from the same computer(s). For example, if 20 part-time staff persons share 5 different computers over the course of a work week in accessing the web site, an organization could purchase 5 computer-based subscriptions rather than 20 individual-based subscriptions.
For the individual-based subscription, we ask that the username/password used to login to the web site not be shared with others. For the computer-based subscription, we ask that the username/password assigned to the computer to login not be used on other computers.
Discounted Group Rate:
Agencies or organizations that wish to purchase 5 or more annual subscriptions for their employees can do so at a discounted rate (we will reduce the cost of each subscription you purchase by $5). To inquire further, send us an e-mail to Subscriptions. Please state the number of subscriptions you are considering for employees of your organization, the type ("premium" or "standard" or a combination of both) and whether you wish them to be individual or computer-based subscriptions (or a combination of both). When a subscribing employee leaves your organization or changes job responsibilities, you may contact us to request a transfer of that subscription over to a different employee. See our Subscriber Agreement for further details.
Section 4: Exceptions to a Paid Subscription
As described in our Subscriber Agreement, our general policy is to expect regular users of the web site -- those who use the site in the context of their professional work -- to pay for a subscription. While we make no exceptions for service providers, there are two types of exceptions to this policy as described below.
a. Exemptions for Individual Consumers.
It is our intention to continue making the MassResources.org web site free and accessible to individuals who are wanting to view the standard pages of content on the web site for their personal use in gathering information for themselves, family members, or friends. [We do not provide free temporary subscriptions to anyone who has registered to use the Eligibility Check tools and used up their free allotment of 10 uses. All registrants must become paid subscribers to continue using these tools. This applies to everyone who registers regardless of how you use the web site.]
The majority (about two-thirds) of all visitors to the MassResources.org web site are consumers of the programs and resources for which information is provided. Typically, these visitors come to the site once or twice and view 4-5 pages each time on average. Heavy use of the web site, enough to trigger the paywall, by someone seeking personally-relevant information, is uncommon, but can sometimes take place. Persons who encounter the paywall and who want to continue accessing the pages of the web site to find out information for themselves, a family member, or friend, may contact us to request a free temporary subscription.
To request a free temporary subscription to continue viewing the standard page content of the web site, please do the following:
- Please send an e-mail to Subscriptions indicating your request for a free temporary subscription;
- State in your e-mail message to us that you intend to use the web site for personal use and not as part of your employment or research;
We respect your privacy, hence we request that you not share with us any explanatory details as to why you are visiting the web site. You do not need to provide us with your name or address. Please do not share with us your social security number. Having said this, please take note of the following:
Should we create a temporary subscriber account for you, the e-mail address you use in correspondence with us will become your username that you will then use to log into the site.
Staff at MassResources.org will review all requests for free temporary subscriptions and reserves the right to issue them on a case-by-case basis. As noted above, we do not provide free temporary subscriptions to anyone who has registered to use the Eligibility Check tools and used up their free allotment of 10 uses. All registrants must become paid subscribers to continue using these tools.
b. Exemptions for Computers in Public Settings.
As mentioned above, it is our intention to continue making the MassResources.org web site free and accessible to individuals who are wanting to view the web site to gather information for themselves, family members, or friends. As our paywall system blocks a computer's access to our web site, we also make subscription exemptions for computers located in public settings -- such as libraries, community colleges, and other community settings -- provided that use of the computer is by clients/students/consumers, etc. and not employees of the setting in which the computer is situated.
A staff member of an organization may request a subscription waiver for a computer in a public setting by doing the following (only requests coming from an employee of the organization in which a computer is located will be considered):
- Please send an e-mail to Subscriptions indicating your request for a subscription waiver for a specific computer;
- Identify yourself and your role in the organization (e.g., librarian; community center director); clarify the name and the address of the organization/agency that owns or maintains the computer if it is different than your employer;
- State the street address where the computer is located and the general placement of the computer within the building (e.g., "in a room open to the public");
- State who routinely uses the computer (e.g., "members of the public"; "students"; "our clients") and the general nature of their visits to www.MassResources.org as you understand it;
- Affirm that the computer is not intended for use by staff persons where the computer is located.
A MassResources.org staff member will review all subscription waiver requests of this type. We reserve the right to honor them on a case-by-case basis. Some computers may be exempted from requiring a subscription on an annual basis, whereas others may be exempted permanently.
If you have any questions about the MassResources.org paywall or about subscriptions to the web site, please e-mail us at: Subscriptions.