SCB Stamp Collecting Blog - the premier resource for exclusive stamp information and news

Subscriptions – Help and FAQ

Table of contents

General questions answered

Q: Why is this blog available for subscribers only?
A: When I started Stamp Collecting Blog in early 2009, I never imagined it to become so popular. Like most websites it started with just few readers, but by 2013 it had grown a lot and reached 150-200.000 unique visitors each year. This kind of numbers are awesome, but the annual fees to keep it all up and running were piling up (in excess of $3,000/year).

In December 2015, I approached the readers with financial status of SCB and polled the readers with various options regarding the future of SCB. Based on the reader responses and other feedback I made a decision to remove all ads (in the end why have ads if they don’t provide enough revenue to cover running costs) and place all content for subscribers only. This has proven to be very effective way to put  strains on costs as well as move the financial responsibility to people reading and consuming the information I share.

Q: Why should I become a Premium subscriber?
A: Long story short, because that is the only alternative if you want full and unlimited access to everything there is. In addition, all premium subscriptions provide funds witch are essential to support this website and it’s future operations.

Right now (in August 2017) SCB has got over 500 philatelic articles/studies, over 10.000 comments/reader responses, downloadable eBooks, hundreds of listed resources, stamp exchange, postal entities list etc. And the numbers are increasing. Being a Premium subscriber gives you full and unlimited access to everything this site provides.

Q: What about the free trial subscription?
A: Free trial subscription is, as the name suggests, a free trial. You can access only 12 pages (in addition of my stamp exchange and my collection, both of which do not account for the quota) for period of six months. After that you must make a decision to sign up with paid plan or leave.

Q: Why a subscription? Why not simply donations?
A: Shortly put governing (Finnish) legislation makes donations extremely difficult (= illegal) to implement for other than non-profit organizations.

Q: How to sign up with Premium plan (step-by-step)?
A: This is pretty simple.

Step 1. Enter your email on the ‘free subscription’ box and hit Sign up button

Step 2. Within the next 3 minutes you will receive a piece of email containing your credentials to service.
If you signed up with the bi-weekly newsletter on the same, you will receive a separate ‘opt in’ email on that as well. This is because the legislation requires a ‘specific act of content’ for things such as newsletters.

Q: How to sign up with Premium plan (step-by-step)?
A: This should be pretty straightforward…

Step 1. Click the Sign Up / Paypal button anywhere on this site

Step 2. Review the payment, and login to Your PayPal account to make the payment

Step 3. Approve payment

Step 4. That’s all… Once PayPal has processed your payment, you will get three different emails. One from PayPal confirming that your credit card has been charged, and two from the blog (one containing receipt of your order, the other containing your login credentials to Premium membership service).

Q: How do I get the PDF eBooks ?
A: When you log on as Premium subscriber, you will see “Premium downloads” section on top of the main page. Then simply select the book to download.

Q: What is the book like? Can I get a sample?
A: Sure: view sample page.

All stories in the book have been published on the blog, but there are some enhancements as well as updates with the contents.

I tried to subscribe, but failed

Q: I subscribed and everything seems to have completed successfully. However, I have not received any email/credentials. How should I proceed?

A: First, check your inbox once more. Usually the messages are sent out instantly but sometimes it can take up to 5 minutes before they are delivered.

Second, if the messages are not found on your inbox, then check your junk mail folder. Most email providers delete or block all email from unknown senders (adding stampcollectingblog.com domain to your email whitelist is highly recommended for everyone).

If the messages are not your junkmail folder neither, then your ISP has likely deleted them automatically. For example AOL is notorious for this practice. In such case contact us (using the form on bottom of this page).

Q: I received “Subscription saved, but failed to mail login credentials. Please contact us and well submit your credentials manually.” What does it mean and how should I proceed?

A: In short it means that the system saved your subscription, but failed to mail the login credentials to the email account given.

The most common reason for this is that you made a typing error with your email. Another possibility is that your email service provider is down / not responding.

In case of ‘free subscription’ you can proceed simply by registering again with correct email address.

In case of ‘premium subscription’ you should always contact us (use the form on bottom of this page).

Q: I just received an email from guy named Keijo (using @gmail.com email) asking if I’m having any issues with my login. Is this valid service or am I being scammed?

A: These emails are real, and I’m sending out these messages whenever the system notifies me that something might be wrong with the user. A usual example is when the user has subscribed but never logged in.

The reason I’m using gmail address for the contacts is that if the recipients system blocks emails from @stampcollectingblog.com (the usual cause of problems), then an alternative email must be used.

However, please be aware that under any circumstances I will never ask your login credentials and you should never hand them out to anyone.

Q: I received “Requested action aborted, because it seems this device has already got active signups. You can have only one active signup at a time.” What does it mean and how should I proceed?

A: By default free subscriptions are limited to one active account per user, and one way to monitor this is to use so called ‘device fingerprinting’ technology. If device with specific characteristics has been used previously, it (and any device with same characteristics) is locked for the next 12 months. Though the technology is not ‘full proof’ (ie. false positives will happen sometimes), it is accurate enough for the purpose.

If you are sure that you don’t already have an active free subscription, please contact us (use the form on bottom of this page) and we’ll manually create you a new account.

I lost (or can’t remember) my username / password!

Q: I lost (or can’t remember) my username/password. How do I get a new one?
A: Just leave a message using the form on bottom of this page, and I’ll get back to You.

THIS HERE IS MOST COMMONLY ASKED QUESTION. PLEASE FOLLOW THESE STEPS BEFORE CONTACTING FOR SUPPORT

Q: I have got my username and password, but I still cannot login. What’s wrong and how do I proceed?
A:  The first thing you must do is to identify the cause of the situation.

When you try to login, you should either experience a success, or receive some kind of error message such as ‘Login failed. Either your login has expired or you made a typing error. Please check your login credentials.

If you receive error message such as above, it is a clear indication that either your subscription has elapsed, or you have made a typo.   Please check the details of your subscription. Both username and password (as well as quick login link) are all case-sensitive (LARGE and small letters must be written as is).

If you do not see any kind of error message and the page seems to be loading up for more than 5-10 seconds, then you should close the browser  window and try again in few minutes time.  The situation can be caused by a number of things between your browser and SCB experiencing heavy stress and/or slow load times.

If you do not see any kind of error message, and the pages loads up quickly but you still fail to login, then either your web browser or some proxy server in your network is serving old/outdated/false pieces of information.  To clear up this old information you should do two steps:

Step 1: visit https://www.stampcollectingblog.com/premium-logout.php
This page will try to remove all SCB related cookies and storage data from your browser. You can try re-login after completing this step.
If this step works do not proceed to step 2.

Step 2: Manually clear up browsers cache. This page by Google Support provides advice on how to do it with Chrome and other browsers https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/32050?co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop&hl=en

If all this fails to provide a resolution (or feels too complex), please leave a message below and you will be assisted in person.

Q: Why is there no option for me to reset my password? Why do I have get in touch with you?
A: Simply because that’s the way things work here.

Q: I just received an email from guy named Keijo (using @gmail.com email) asking if I’m having any issues with my login. Is this valid service or am I being scammed?

A: These emails are real, and I’m sending out these messages whenever the system notifies me that something might be wrong with the user. A usual example is when the user has subscribed but never logged in. The reason I’m using gmail address for the contacts is that if the recipients system blocks emails from @stampcollectingblog.com (the usual cause of problems), then an alternative email must be used. However, please be aware that under any circumstances I will never ask your login credentials and you should never hand them out to anyone.

I want to change my username / password, how do I do it

Q: How do I change my password or username to something I could easily remember?
A:  You can’t do it for the time being.

If you have forgotten your password or username, then see the previous section.

The main philosophy behind fixed (one year) usernames and passwords is relatively simple. A number of studies (and security breaches worldwide) have shown that most people are lazy when it comes to passwords. They either use very simple passwords (such as ‘password’) or rotate the same password from service to service (which can cause severe issues if any of the services experiences a security breach). Having fully arbitrary data (which expires periodically) is much better for the security of everyone.

Custom usernames are also a bit complicated because a lot of people rotate the same aliases from service to service. This makes them an easy target for possible misuse attempts.

So all in all it is recommended best practice to stick with the username and password given.

Below are some handy tips /tricks that can make your life easier if you read SCB on personal/private computer or mobile:

First, all you have to do is sign in once and NEVER log out. Since you are the only one using the particular device/account, nobody else can access your information.

If you still prefer to sign out every once and awhile (or you use some security program that cleans all cookies every now and then), you can create a browser bookmark/favorite containing pointing to your quick login:
1) Find the email containing your login credentials
2) copy the quick login link
3) Create a new bookmark to your browser manually (see browser vendor websites for detailed help: Chrome, Firefox, Safari)
4) Now whenever you want to login, all you need to do is click that specific bookmark.

Alternatively you can create a shortcut of the quick login link, and place it to your desktop/home screen. Just like bookmark, whenever you want to login, all you need to do is click on that specific shortcut.

EVER NEVER USE THE ABOVE TECHNIQUES WITH PUBLIC/SHARED COMPUTER (LIKE LIBRARY PC).

Payments

Q: What is this KK Mediat company that I see on PayPal, and on my receipt ? I thought this was your personal blog?
A: This is my personal blog. And KK Mediat has been my business (providing B2B services/solutions) for the past 12 years.

It’s easier for me to accept payments like this through my business than in person. Additionally, I get my accountant to do all the ‘boring’ paper work with taxes etc 😉

Q: I don’t use PayPal. Can I pay otherwise?
A. Yes, you can.

PayPal allows you to pay directly (using your Debit or Credit card) without becoming a becoming PayPal member. When you click the ‘Subscribe now’ button, this is what the page you will land upon looks like:

paypal-debit-credit-payment
Notice the area circled on red. If you click that button, it will take you to step where you can do a one-time payment with your debit or credit card.

Alternatively, If you live inside EU, you can pay using IBAN bank transfer. Just drop me a comment below, and I’ll email the banking details required.

Q: Can I get a receipt for my purchase?
A: Yes. You will get an receipt of your purchase to email associated to your PayPal account shortly after your purchase. Please do notice that this receipt is different from the one You get from PayPal.

Q: I checked my email. I did not receive any kind of message or receipt. What’s the problem?
A: Very likely the email message has been marked as spam / junk mail.

First, check your email’s trash / junk mail folder. Sometimes messages get appointed there.

If that fails, then the message(s) have been held/removed by your ISP. In that case, please leave a message using the comment form below, and I’ll get back to You.

Q: Does my membership renew automatically?
A: No. Once your subscription period (365 days) is over, then it’s genuinely over and you need to subscribe again.

Q: I changed my mind, and I’d like to get a refund. Is it possible?
A: No. Due to nature of this service refunds are not provided.

Q: Can I sell or transfer my Premium subscription?
A: Yes, you can. However, please remember that You may not sell / transfer the same subscription more than once. If any misuse of subscription account is noticed, that specific account is closed down immediately without advance notice.

Q: Can I purchase more than one Premium subscription?
A: Yes, you can. There’s no limit how many You can buy.

Please do note that each subscription is handled individually, and having multiple subscriptions WILL NOT extend your subscription period.

Other problems

Q: What counts/does not count as usage in trial subscription

The following pages are excluded from the 12 page reading limit:

– Homepage
– Category/index listings
– Resources (which comes with limited data for free members)
– My collection (and all sub-pages)
– Subscribe and subscriber FAQ/help
– Newsletter subscription
– About
– Search
– Digital perforation tool

All other pages consume the personal reading limit.

Q: I just signed up with trial/paid membership, but when I try to view an article it just takes me to front page. What’s wrong.

A: This is due to known bug/feature with some browsers. If you have tried to view the specific article as non-subscriber first, and then come back to view it again as trial/premium-subscriber, some browsers (Google Chrome included) may return the previous responsecode from local cache.

A work-around is to clear browsers cache from old and invalid data by following these steps:

1) Sign out of SCB.

2) Clear your browser cache. This page by Google provides required steps for number of devices and platforms.

3) After that login as usual, and you should be able to view the page.

If you cannot find answer to your problem above, do not hesitate to contact and ask for help using the form below. There are no such things such as “dumb questions”.
23 responses on “Subscriptions – Help and FAQ”
  1. James K. Oliver says:

    Hi Keijo:

    I have recently reinstated my premium membership, but I am having no success logging in.  I’ve tried your several “fixes”, but no luck thus far.  Suggestions?

    All the very best,

    Jim Oliver

     

  2. Keijo says:

    @Jim… I just sent you email with some advice.

    -k-

  3. Jerrel Baxter says:

    I have just completed payment via PayPal for a Premium subscription and wanted to find out when the subscription will activate.

  4. Keijo says:

    @Jerrel… The activation process is almost instant, as everything runs automatically. Once the system gets acknowledgement of successful payment from PayPal, it creates the account and sends the credentials to email associated to Paypal account. By now you should have received Premium credentials to your inbox .

    If the message is not found on your inbox nor junk mail folder, then your ISP has likely blocked the message/email, or is holding it on delivery queue for undetermined period (usually few hours, in extreme cases even few days). According to technical specifications upon which whole email delivery is based upon, the receiving ISP should notify message sender on all delays and possible rejections, but a number of big companies (such as AOL and Yahoo!) don’t bother due to huge amounts of spam.

    Anyway, if you don’t see the message in your inbox, just leave a message, and I’ll pass you the credentials using alternative methods.

    -keijo-

  5. Jerrel Baxter says:

    Keijo says:
    November 2, 2017 at 22:55
    @Jerrel… The activation process is almost instant, as everything runs automatically. Once the system gets acknowledgement of successful payment from PayPal, it creates the account and sends the credentials to email associated to Paypal account. By now you should have received Premium credentials to your inbox .

    If the message is not found on your inbox nor junk mail folder, then your ISP has likely blocked the message/email, or is holding it on delivery queue for undetermined period (usually few hours, in extreme cases even few days). According to technical specifications upon which whole email delivery is based upon, the receiving ISP should notify message sender on all delays and possible rejections, but a number of big companies (such as AOL and Yahoo!) don’t bother due to huge amounts of spam.

    Anyway, if you don’t see the message in your inbox, just leave a message, and I’ll pass you the credentials using alternative methods.

    -keijo-

    Strangely I still haven’t seen an e-mail regarding the premium account as yet. 

  6. Jerrel Baxter says:

    Found the e-mail with the login, it went to the PayPal authorization address.

  7. Keijo says:

    @Jerrel…

    Found the e-mail with the login, it went to the PayPal authorization address.

    As it was supposed to 😉 Happy to hear its working all ok.

    -k-

  8. Peter Payne says:

    Hi Keijo,

    Very little time for stamps at my end too, but that’s mainly down to having an unwell wife to look after.  Priorities are priorities!

    The reason I’m writing is that I recently renewed my premium subscription and everything worked fine.  However, I’ve changed emails since last year and would be really happy if you could replace my old email with my new address.

    Many thanks in advance and keep up the good work!  I fully intend to participate more as and when that becomes a possibility.

    Peter

  9. Keijo says:

    Hi Peter,
    I just updated your email to system, so the next newsletter should drop into your new inbox.

    Take care,
    -keijo-

  10. Daniel says:

    Keijo,

    First off, happy new year to you, all your loved ones and to all SCB subscribers.

    Just want to bring something to your attention: I renewed my premium membership on December 3 and have lost 3 days since my old subscription was good till December 6.

    Thanks

    D

  11. Keijo says:

    @Daniel… By default the system does not extend existing subscriptions, as each one is treated anew. As such I recommend renewing only on the very last day of validity, otherwise you loose some days (unless I do a manual intervention to fix up the lost days). And yes, fixing this is on my to-do list. It’s just the usual ‘so much to do, so little time’ excuse.

    But lucky for you, all December subscriptions get a Xmas bonus from me, and thus even your subscription will be valid till 31Dec 2018. I just had not gotten around to activating this extended period, but just did. It should take into force the next time you login.

    Happy 2018 to you as well & hope you enjoy the articles & other stuff,
    -k-

  12. K,

    Lost my username/password 🙁

    DJCMH aka Gene

  13. Keijo says:

    @Gene… Sending you email soon.

    -keijo-

  14. Aleksandar Dragicevic says:

    Sorry… I forgot my password…

     

    Aleksandar

  15. Keijo says:

    @Aleksandar… It seems your (trial) subscription expired over a year ago, so unfortunately no password exists for that. Just sign up with paid Premium subscription at https://www.stampcollectingblog.com/premium and you’re all set for year of stamp fun 🙂

    -k-

  16. Anthony Brown says:

    Hi – could you give me a new login code please – for some reason my old one doesn’t seem to work any more!

    Many thanks, Anthony

  17. Keijo says:

    @Anthony… Email coming your way.

    -keijo-

  18. Cecil Reams says:

    Hello, cant find my user name or password.

  19. Keijo says:

    @Cecil… Email sent your way, please check your inbox.

    @everyone… I’ve deleted a bunch of older support request to keep the page simpler/shorter. If I removed some response that was helpful to you, please ask again 😉

  20. Kevin Welch says:

    Good afternoon. I’ve lost my user name and password. If you can help, I’d appreciate it.

     

    Kevin Welch

  21. Keijo says:

    @Kevin… Email is on its way to you. Please check your inbox for message titled ‘Stamp Collecting Blog credentials’ (and if you cannot see it, check also junk/spam folder as it might end there).

    -k-

  22. Brian Heidrich says:

    Keijo

    my membership expired and I want to renew but now I can’t login – i had this setup so I never had to login.  Now that it expired -I can’t login.

     

    Let me know so I can renew today.   Thank you. Brian

  23. Keijo says:

    Hi Brian,

    email is on its way to you.

    As guidance for everyone with same problem, the solution here is very simple. Just go to SCB home page and subscribe like you did on the very first time (see below image).

    image

    Once the payment has been made, new credentials are delivered to your inbox (this should happen almost instantly, on very rare occasions there can be delay of few minutes).  Then log in using the new credentials, and the system should remember your device/login for the next 365 days (unless you specifically log out, clear the cookies or change device in between).

    -k-

     

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