For the last year or so, I’ve been a member of a new film-based social networked called Letterboxd. Essentially it’s a site where you log and rate the films that you see and share that information with your followers. For some cinephiles, Letterboxd has replaced the Internet Movie Database as their primary location for rating movies. Up until now, Letterboxd has been in a public beta mode, which meant that you typically had to be invited by another Letterboxd member in order to join the site. However, Letterboxd officially announced in their first newsletter that they have officially removed the invitation requirement and opened the site to the public. During its 15 month beta period, Letterboxd had gained 40,000 members, who added nearly 8 million films to their profiles.
However, in their move to being a public site, Letterboxd also introduced a multi-tier membership system. While all users are still free to rate and log movies, the more advanced features of the site are now limited to people who upgrade to a pro account, at a charge of $19 (US) a year. You can also pay $49 (US) to be given patron status, which currently just means getting a public thank you on the site (though there will be other bonuses). There has been a mixed response to this change of membership. One of more controversial changes is that free members are now limited to creating lists of only 20 films. Since the ability to create film lists are one of the most popular features of Letterboxd, some existing members are not that happy with this change. However, existing lists are unaffected by the change. As for me, I’ve been very active on Letterboxd since I joined the site last year and it has become an essential tool for me to track my movie-watching habits. I upgraded to a pro account without much apprehension, since I thought that the cost was quite reasonable (in fact, it’s less expensive than the $8/month I pay for Netflix). I’m quite happy to support the site and ensure that I am still able to use it with the same level of quality. You may find me on Letterboxd at http://letterboxd.com/spkx/ UPDATE (2/9): A Letterboxd member backlash has resulted in unlimited lists being re-added to the free account. Though you will still need the pro account for Netflix integration (unless you already had it), IMDB import, and a personalized year-in-review.