Friday, June 19, 2009
Thinking out loud about paid online content
If you want to charge readers for access to your online content, it better be a hell of a lot better than what they can get for free on The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, Slate, Salon, Pitchfork, Politico, Gawker, TMZ, SB Nation, The Sartorialist, Epicurious, YouTube, etc. It should also probably be better than every print magazine still being sold on newsstands and more interesting and entertaining than Mad Men, Radiohead, Malcolm Gladwell and World of Warcraft.

Just a guess here: It’s probably not.

People will still pay pretty good money for well-written, well-edited, well-curated, well-targetted and/or great-looking print magazines. The Economist is just one example. But a great magazine offers more than content; it offers an experience. The problem with online, at least as far as publishers are concerned, is that the Web itself is the experience. And people already pay a hefty monthly fee for that experience.

The Scott Karps and Jeff Jarvises of the world explained the downsides of online pay walls a long time ago: Sites behind pay walls lose access to potential audiences on Google, on Facebook, on Twitter, on forums, on blogs. You can’t link to them. The online world ignores them.

In other words, they aren’t part of the Web experience.

But maybe I'm missing something. After all, everyone from Rupert Murdoch to Ann Moore to Brian Segal is talking about monetizing online content by directly charging consumers.

- Marco Ursi
About Me
Marco Ursi
Marco is the editor of MastheadOnline. His blog offers a mix of commentary, service and ideas related to Canadian magazines.


Twitter: @MarcoUrsi

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Jen says:
Masthead, why don't you do this anymore?...
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