Magazine Subscription Offers

Through the Subscription Offers system, we can set up different offers to subscribe to the magazine. Offers can differ in price, duration, number of copies, print or digital subscriptions, and so on. Different offers can also have different visuals and different offer text displayed to the subscriber.

This system also allows us to track customer subscriptions. This provides us with the ability to run statistics categorized by the subscription offer which was used to sign up for a particular subscription. Furthermore, we can differentiate in a similar fashion within a subscription offer, using a mechanism we call referral codes. This allows us to provide specific referral codes to things such as conferences, which we can then differentiate further between, by creating individual referral codes for each conference. This way, we do not have to create a different offer for each conference, yet we can still differentiate where the subscriptions came from.

We can see all subscription offers through the Subscription Offer Pane:

This pane shows subscription offers (both active and inactive) with various high-level information. In addition to what is shown in the columns, this pane uses colors to highlight offers. The offer with code default (which has to exist and is used when a customer subscribes without a specific code) is shown in green. Problematic codes are shown in an orange/red color (depending on the theme). In the example above, 3 offers are highlighted as problematic, because they do not have an actual code assigned.

Note: This is just a warning and is OK in this case, since the offers in question are flagged as inactive.

From this pane, new offers can be created, and existing offers can be edited.

Editing Subscription Offers

Subscription offers are edited in a standard edit form with multiple pages of content.

The main toolbar provides a way to preview the current offer online, in a browser, so to reflect how the customer will see the offer.

Note: One should not click the Submit button, for the obvious reason that this would create a new/bogus subscription.


The first page provides a number of general settings for the offer:

The following fields can be set on this page:

Promo Image

An offer can optionally define a promotional image that is displayed on the subscription page. The image is defined as a link to an image. When the link is entered, a preview of the image is shown.

Note: It is not necessary to define a promotional image. If no image is specified, the current cover image is displayed.

Note: The promotional image can be overridden by referral codes (see below).

Promo HTML/Markdown

Offers should always define a descriptive promotional text. This is done in Markdown (which means it can also be HTML, but clean Markdown is preferred):

Offer Prices

The table of offer prices defines the details of the offer. This is the most important part of the offer, as it defines where the offer is available, as follows:

It also provides the number of copies received (for print subscriptions only), the term months, and various prices:

The following columns are available (and can be edited inline):

Note: The Offer Prices list is grouped by region. You may notice, that as regions are changed and the line moves to a different group, the sorting may not appear quite right. This is a display issue only that has no impact on functionality. If it is bothersome, close and re-open the window.

Offers should typically contain lines for all four regions. This means that they will define print, digital, and combo options, unless there is a special reason not to (such as wanting to define a digital-only offer). Prices should be defined for all options, unless the offer is free. Generally, there should be an offer for a single copy and 12 months. In addition, it is possible to define multiple copies and multiple months (typically multiples of 12).

Referral Codes

Referral codes allow us to differentiate subscriptions placed under a certain offer. Since it takes a lot of effort to set up an offer (especially the price table), we want to avoid seting up too many different offers. For instance, we may want to set up a special offer for conference attendees and then use that offer for every conference we go to. However, so that we can differentiate between the subscribers from different conferences, instead we can create referral codes. Referral codes can be used in place of offer codes on the subscription URL.

The Referral Codes page shows the referral codes that go with the current offer:

To edit or add a referral code, a new window is opened (see below).

Note: The referral code tab shows general information about the referral code. It also shows color-coded lines. Red/orange lines indicate a warning. This usually indicates a duplicate code (either the same code is used in another offer's referral codes, or for the offer itself) or an empty code.

Note: Duplicate codes are fundamentally supported, but not recommended. (They are useful for toggling different codes on and off). The screen shot above highlights the default referral code as problematic. This code will be ignored, since there already is a subscription offer that directly uses that code. This code should therefore be removed or renamed.

See below for more details on referral codes.

Staff Instructions

Staff instructions provide internal handling instructions for subscriptions taken through this offer code (such as do not bill or renew, since that is handled by partner X).

Editing Referral Codes

Referral codes are a simple mechanism to create sub-categories within offers for statistical reasons. Also, referral codes allow for overriding of the promotional header text and image.

Like the offer itself, the referral code edit form provides a way to preview the offer online.


The general tab allows setting some basic information about the offer:

Promo Images

This setting is identical to the promo image in the main offer (see above). This may remain blank, in which case the main offer's promo image (or, if undefined, the current cover image) will be displayed.

Promo HTML/Markdown

This setting is identical to the promo HTML/Markdown in the main offer (see above). This may remain blank, in which case the main offer's HTML/Markdown is used for this referral code.

Note: Overriding the promo information is a very useful feature of referral codes that is very commonly used.

How Codes Are Applied

It is important to understand how codes are applied. Let's say the user browses to In that case, the code used is GrapeCity.

Note: If no code is provided, the code default is assumed.

When the system sees that code, it first looks for a Subscription Offer Code of that name. If such a code is found, it is used to generate an appropriate order page. In this case, referral codes are never considered at all.

Note: It is NOT necessary to create a referral code of the same name as the offer code. Referral codes are entirely optional.

In the case where GrapeCity is not found as a subscription offer code, the system will then look in the table of Subscription Offer Referral Codes, where the code is found. The referral code is then associated with an offer, and the system can generate an appropriate ordering page from the offer information. However, if promotional images and HTML are present, they will be used from the referral code, rather than the offer itself.

Previewing Offers

The image below shows what the GrapeCity referral code online preview looks like:

Note: For more information on the display of the subscription offer on the web page, see Magazine Web Site - Subscription Overview.