Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Media The Almighty Buck

Will Internet Users Pay for Content? 419

securitas writes "One of the most challenging business problems is trying to figure out how to make money on the Internet, especially with content. Louis Borders believes that Internet users will pay for online content and explains in an interview the how and why. He is founder of Borders Group, a $3.4 billion company that is the second-largest bookseller in the USA, as well as the billion-dollar online grocer and dotcom flameout, Webvan. Borders thinks he has found the answers and has just launched KeepMedia, an online newsstand subscription service. As someone who has had spectacular success and failure in his career, Borders' latest venture will be an interesting one to watch."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Will Internet Users Pay for Content?

Comments Filter:
  • by sweeney37 ( 325921 ) * <<mikesweeney> <at> <>> on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:28AM (#6634091) Homepage Journal
    As a /. subscriber I guess I'm proof positive they will pay. Not only do people need to feel that they are actually getting something for the money they're paying, the price also has to be right.

    With /. being one of the largest content delivery systems on the net, I'd be curious to find out how much revenue they generate based upon subscribers alone.

    Perhaps Taco or one of the other "powers that be" would like to weigh in on this issue?

    • by alaric187 ( 633477 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:32AM (#6634125)
      Yeah, I think the problem is size. You need to start small and work your way up. That's what worked for ./ Most of the .coms started with $1 billion dollars and couldn't figure out why they didn't instantly have a huge customer base.

      Yeah, I love Amazon but I'd say 1 slightly successful company out of a thousand, probably doesn't make a good business model. Unless you are the Underpant Gnomes(tm), of course.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:37AM (#6634173)
        "I love Amazon but I'd say 1 slightly successful company out of a thousand, probably doesn't make a good business model."

        Amazon sells books, music etc on the internet. Like people have done with ads in magazines etc. They were/are cheap and convenient. Not a new business model.
        Micropayments IS a new business model. I'm not a slashdot subscriber, as i wouldn't get anything (of value to me) extra for paying.
    • I subscribe. I don't do it for any of the "features" that subscribers get. I do it because I have freeloaded here forever. I use the site daily, all day, almost everyday.

      I need to give them something back. /. still allows you to read the content, post on the content, etc, w/o having to pay.

      This guy wants you to pay to read 140 titles of shit that you are most likely only going to read 5 or 6 of anyway.
      • by worst_name_ever ( 633374 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:39AM (#6634191)
        I need to give them something back. /. still allows you to read the content, post on the content, etc, w/o having to pay.

        Hmm - Maybe you should log in as a non-subscribing user and check out the huge .NET ad in the middle of the page! Somebody sure seems to be making money from my browsing...

        • ok and you don't think that advertising revenue is necessary? You think that you should just be able to goto any MAJOR website and use it w/o ads for free?

          Bandwith, time, etc, all cost money. It has to be funded in some way.

          I have my advertisements cut off at 5 per day and believe me, it's not hard for me to use that 5 up in a half hour or less.

          Like I said, my money goes to the fact that I use this site daily. I have my gripes with it, but I feel that I get my $10 (so far) donation worth.

          That's my wo
          • You're missing his point (I think). The content here *is not* subscriber supported. The amout that /. takes in from subscribers vs M$ et al. has to be a drop in the bucket. If slash got rid of ads, they would probibly fold. The point is, you can't float a dot com on subscribers alone.

            Take newspapers: the price of the paper to the consumer is trivial. Many papers don't even charge any more. They are supported by ad money.

            On a different note, doesn't it seem like the Microsoft bunch and hangers-on spend
      • by ( 463190 ) * on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:53AM (#6634338) Homepage
        If you post, you make the comments that make the pages that carry the ads. Even if you don't post, you read the ads and maybe click once in a while. You're not freeloading here if you don't pay.
      • i don't subscribe, but i did buy the hat.
    • by eyegor ( 148503 ) * on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:35AM (#6634156)
      While I believe that micropayments or subscriptions are likely to be more commonplace in the future, it will be difficult to sell to the end user.

      We've been accustomed to free content and will tend to avoid payment whenever possible. Most people (especially AOL users) will figure they've already paid and shouldn't have to do so again.

      Salon Magazine has been forced to modify its subscription model in order to survive (if you call that surviving).

      Perhaps one model that might work is a monthly credit from your ISP that will go to pay for initial usage of pay/view content.

      Given how few people will even pay for Slashdot content, we're not likely to see this widely adopted anytime soon.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        > We've been accustomed to free content and will tend to avoid payment whenever possible

        This doesn't sound good. The nice thing about the inrnet is that people also provide the content, unlike TV where there are a couple of big channels. Actually when I search for something on the internet I usually find it in free volunteer content (usent faqs, forums, list archives, user documents, collection of random texts, discussions, FAQs, hobist info, HOWTO, diaries, articles, etc).

        I myself have some data in my
        • by yintercept ( 517362 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @11:00AM (#6634983) Homepage Journal
          Sorry, but it costs to create content. Even worse, it costs to deliver content (bandwidth, etc.).

          Most the people I know who've delivered quality content on the net rue their decision. Blogs [] aren't quality content.

          Then there are the tons of reeders who put up put up pourly edited posts, and think, gosh look at this wonderful content I just contributed. I should get all that expensive, extremely time consuming work other people did for free. I don't buy the argument that you can measure the quality of content buy the volume of werds.

          The way I see it. My participation in ./ isn't as a "contributor." I am a consumer of their product. I am consuming ./'s bits and bandwidth as I type. Most of all, I am consuming the large audience that slashdot as build up over the years for my little egotistical jaunts into cyberspace.

          The act of my typing out my pourly conceived and incomplete thoughts is an act of consumption. It is a tasty little ego trip I go through. Now lets wait and see if I get mod points...delicious little mod points.
    • by swordboy ( 472941 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:36AM (#6634158) Journal
      As a /. subscriber I guess I'm proof positive they will pay.

      But you are the wrong demographic. Most people could give a shit if they lost a site because it couldn't pay the bills (for slashdot, that would be me).

      IMHO, people will never pay for content unless a system of micropayment is developed and *bundled* with their PC. For example, lets say that Microsoft packaged $10 of micropayment into their next OS... Users would have already paid for it so there would be no reason not to use it. So they would.

      And then they would see the content that would be available in a pay-for world. If good enough, then I'm sure that there would be renewal. But you'd have to make that process easy, as well.
    • by ramzak2k ( 596734 ) * on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:38AM (#6634180)
      I think you are comparing apples and oranges. Slashdot is different from content provider like the one mentioned in the article. Content aggregator would be a better definition. People subscribe to show an appreciation of that service other than the fact that it is largely a channel of expression.
    • "With /. being one of the largest content delivery systems on the net..."

      That's a very ambivalent way of phrasing "channeling thousands upon thousands of simultaneous connections to your website, reducing your servers to a pile of flaming wreckage".

    • Just because you pay for one site that you likely sit on all day, doesn't mean Internet users in general will stand for being nickle-and-dimed to death by every site they visit only a few times per week/month.

      The pay-for-no-ads/extra-feature model seems to be the best that they can hope for, IMO. If the content isn't spectacularly unique, people will go elsewhere. The idea is to get 'em hooked on free content, then probe for a few bucks for some extra features.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      As a /. subscriber I guess I'm proof positive they will pay. Not only do people need to feel that they are actually getting something for the money they're paying, the price also has to be right.

      As a long-time Slashdot reader (my other userid is triple digits) I'd have to say I disagree. Slashdot is proof positive that offering nothing of value for your money is reason #1 I wouldn't subscribe. I can easily get rid of the ads with Mozilla these days without even bothering to setup a junkbuster proxy. S

    • I also subscribe to Gamespot for its video content, fark & penny arcade for its community.. what else. If I think its deserving, and I get a perk, I'll pay.
    • I agree. People will pay for content if they feel it's worth the money. For example, I pay to view the online version of the Wall Street Journal. For my subscription fee, I get access to the WSJ and Barron's. And the fee is less than half the normal print subscription fee for just WSJ! In a situation like that, I'm actually saving money by subscribing to the online content.
    • as a non subscriber but long time reader of slashdot, I guess I'm proof positive they will not pay. Thats also a testament to the number of linux users (and warezed windows users) that read the site.

      slashdot is far from one of the largest content delivery systems, but it is probably one of the majors as far as the 'friendly' revenue model.

      the simple fact that they have to think about the money involved must take a lot of the fun out of running the site.
    • $5 is well worth the ability to go back through the archives and relive each time Subject Line Troll accussed me of lacking male gentitalia, or once again vividly feeling the awe of one of Sexual Ass Pussy's stunning ASCII art fr1st ps0t's.

      Remember when the IN SOVIET RUSSIA troll wasn't played out? Ahhhhhh, the good old days.

      • > Remember when the IN SOVIET RUSSIA troll wasn't played out? Ahhhhhh, the good old days.

        Kids these days.

        Back in the days of MEEPT and penis birds, all my base were belong to Natalie Portman. And IN SOVIET RUSSIA, posters old enough to remember when line was stand-up comedy, not a Slashdot cliche :-)

        But looking back at what I just posted, I have one thing to say to Slashdot: Where the fuck is my life?!

        Seriously, thanx Andover/VA. I don't know where my life is, but I'm enjoying it.

    • by tmark ( 230091 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @10:04AM (#6634430)
      With /. being one of the largest content delivery systems on the net, I'd be curious to find out how much revenue they generate based upon subscribers alone.

      The dubious claim of /. being "one of the largest content delivery systems" aside, I don't think the testimonials of a few subscribers tells us very much about whether people in general are willing to subscribe to something or not. Someone is ALWAYS willing to do something, and this inevitability tells us nothing about the likely success of a given business practice catered to those people.

      Far more interesting and relevant questions are what proportion of /. (or Salon, or ...) readers actually subscribe ? What proportion of Mandrake downloads go to MandrakeClub members ? etc. It seems clear to me that here, anyways, subscribers constitute a very small proportion of readers which may well be inflated for a number of self-evident reasons (and the reader may have already noticed I do not subscribe). Does a subscription rate of .1%, .5%, 1% or 5% tell us more about people's willingness to pay, or about people's unwillingness to do the same ?
    • I suspect that most people who subscribe to /. think of it as charity. Since the people who are paying are those who are also generating the content, it kind of is charity. IMSO this is different than requiring folks to pay (or no access) for content they have no real emotional stake in.
    • "With /. being one of the largest content delivery systems on the net..."

      I'm sorry, but could you offer any justification for this statement? Most people on the web have heard of Yahoo, and probably Google but /. is not mainstream. If 'largest' means 'one of the top 5,000 sites' then ok, fine.

    • As a /. subscriber I guess I'm proof positive they will pay. Not only do people need to feel that they are actually getting something for the money they're paying, the price also has to be right.

      The success of paying for content depends for a large part on the payment method (and the ability to profitably collect very small payments), the type of content offered, the type of visitors your site gets, and the easy of payment.

      Payment method: If you're charging visitors on a pay-per-view basis, you probabl

  • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:29AM (#6634102)
    Do you think the freeloader mentality on the Internet is ready for change?
    I think it's at the turn of the hockey stick, because it's at about 15 percent of the Web population that's paying for content right now--that's still a low number. Very soon, you'll see that the content that's left to be free is content that will not be trusted; content that has a bias. Just like when you pick up a magazine that's free, and you don't trust it.

    Umm, I don't trust sites on the web that I have to pay for. The only sites that I see on the web that have pay-for content are porn sites and I would MUCH rather use free sites like sublimedirectory or just to avoid paying for stupid content. At least when I know that it is free and I am disappointed it's fine.

    Will you get cooperation from some of the big media conglomerates that already own a collection of big-brand magazines, such as AOL Time Warner and Conde Nast?
    Oh, we don't have them at launch, but we're thrilled to have 140 titles. We've had a lot of meetings with them--extremely positive meetings--and I'm sure they'll come into the platform in short order.

    You are thrilled to have 140 titles because no one is buying into your dotcom bullshit. If anyone is going to want to pay to read stuff online they are going to do it on that site only. Perusing the titles made me think, wow, this sucks hard. I will stick to for now. At least I get free news that is basically interesting, and if it's not on the front page, I know I can quickly search for it.

    I see the Googles of the world like the freeways, where you're going from one place to the next, and that's the place to go. They have a very viable business being the main artery across the Internet. Our approach is to be a walled garden, where we bring in this very high-quality content. As a consumer, you would certainly want to use the freeway and the walled garden for different needs.
    I (and plenty of others, including NON-GEEKS) see Google as God of the Internet. If I want to find an article, I search google and it finds it fast (including newspapers, magazines on the web, etc). Why in the world would I want to search your index of pay-for stuff (and limited to 140 titles currently) when I can use google to search 140+ titles on a SINGLE TOPIC in seconds? This idea is going back to Library's and making you pay to use them. I don't think it's going to work.

    I just think that Google has cornered the market on this type of crap long before this guy could. provides what everyone needs for EVERY media type.

    I will stick to free content thank you.

    Just my worthless .02
    • by glesga_kiss ( 596639 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:50AM (#6634298)
      Umm, I don't trust sites on the web that I have to pay for.

      Hell, I don't even trust sites that require a login. It's fair game if you post messages/articles on the site, or when you head to the checkout, but if they want me to log in just to read the content, then I'll be hitting that back button.

      And as Garcia says above, the chances are that the back button will be taking me back to a Google search, and I'm sure the next site in the list will be much more accessible. Their loss.

    • The problem with this model is that when the users start paying, the users start demanding. They demand better content and more of it. When the content is free nobody cares if it is excellent or crap, and they have no room to complain. Anyone remember The ROMP? They kept calling their user base free-loading wusses. Users liked their content, so they obliged. After about a month they had to call the entire operation quits because they simply could not keep their new flash content out on their release schedul
    • Do you think the freeloader mentality on the Internet is ready for change? Have you noticed the way whenever a /. article is from the NYT, a google link pops up within the first several comments?
    • Where do you think previous ventures in selling content, such as Contentville, failed? Contentville is an interesting example. In some ways, it was the right idea. But it was the wrong time, because people were not paying for content three years ago.

      Well uhhh, because I said so in my prospectus. Duh, of course people will pay for it TODAY! Hey, just because everyone wasn't buying my crap a few years ago, doesn't mean they won't buy it now.

    • This isn't really an attempt to get people to pay for online content. It's actually an attempt to get people to pay online for magazine content. The content in question is not freely available, and it's already proven to the customer. If you pick up a magazine at the supermarket and turn to the "letters to the editor", there will be a number than start, "In your article in the July issue...". If the letter is interesting and you didn't pick up this magazine last month, you may be interested to read this art
  • Other's will, but I won't simply because (for me) the Internet itself is the content that I'm after, if I wanted hallow content I'd use AOL or something.
    • My piss-poor website is funded out of my own pocket, and realistically, that's the way it should be.
      I put up some banners for shirts and posters, but to date I have not had a single purchase. It really doesn't bother me too much. I realize that I'm making only a couple of hits a day, and as of late, have not been updating as often as I'd like to. Even so, I do not consider my site to be operating at a loss. My bandwidth is a fixed cost, which I pay anyway for net access. Any sales that I would make off
  • Why doesn't someone go ask Salon if people will pay for content?
    • by Kibo ( 256105 )
      And the answer they'd get back would be a "Yes" with caveat. People will pay for something, if its more valuable than the money they're paying out and isn't available elsewhere (google's cache included) for less. They've chosen to compete in a marketplace where most of the content is free, and already encompases nearly every fine gradiation of the human experience. A tough way to make money to be sure.

      Unless they're planning on going the SCO route, and intend to sue other content providers for "dumping.
  • No, we will not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DesScorp ( 410532 ) <> on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:34AM (#6634134) Homepage Journal
    We are exceedingly cheap. We expect FREE on the internet. It's been burned into our heads since the dot com boom. At one point, "free" topped "sex" in web searches. We think if it's digitized and non-physical, we should have access to it and be able to copy it. We can't grasp the concept of monetary value for digital things. We can't wrap our brains around the idea that those digital things took work to create, and people that made them want to be paid for them. Since we can get it so quickly and easily over the internet, we just cant comprehend that.

    If MS ever started selling Office exclusively as a download, they'd lose millions of dollars. Because Office just wouldn't feel like a real product to them. Put a CD in that consumers hand, though, and they're more willing to pay for it.

    With the exception of Apple users, who will do whatever Stevie tells them to (buy music at the Apple Store! On your Ipod! Now!), most denizens of the internet are, let's be blunt, cheap bastards.
    • Disagree (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bnet41 ( 591930 )
      I have to disagree with you. The reason is people will pay for content if it's worth it. People pay for dating and meeting sites all the time, and I heard ESPN Insider does well. The problem is people don't want subscriptions. If I see an article I want to read, then I should be able to buy that article, and not a months worth for $9.95 or whatever. In the long run people will pay for quality sites, that are well run, well moderated, and deliver interesting content.
      • Re:Disagree (Score:2, Insightful)

        by SugoiMonkey ( 648879 )
        People will pay for content when they feel they know the author and/or creator and want to be a part of his creations. Popular comic sites are able to reel in $1-2 thousand a month from their own 'little' clique. ToastyFrog [] has been able to get money by providing content well worth purchase, and a forum for people to gather.

        In order to make money (IMO), you have to make the people feel as though they're getting something unique. You have to connect to your audience. If you expect to rake in millions from

    • Re:No, we will not (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dnoyeb ( 547705 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:52AM (#6634331) Homepage Journal
      I disagree. I am not cheap. I am more than happy to pay for content. I will pay for it what its worth. And as of today, I can get the best content for free. So why would I pay for less than the best when the best is already free??

      You have to offer something better than what is being offered for free.

      As for the digital thing. I imagine it was equally as hard when the government said, "This green piece of paper is worth 5 sheep." I can imagine the farmers having a hard time seeing he value of that piece of paper. Similarly I think is people seeing value in digital content that you cant touch.
    • We think if it's digitized and non-physical, we should have access to it and be able to copy it.

      Not so much copy as backup. If I pay for information from the web I want a guaranty that it will not disappear later on when I need it. The only way I be can sure is by making a local backup.

    • -If MS ever started selling Office exclusively as a download, they'd lose millions of dollars. Because Office just wouldn't feel like a real product to them. Put a CD in that consumers hand, though, and they're more willing to pay for it.

      Software comes in boxes?
      Damn, think of all the time I could have saved if I had just walked into a store and bought all these programs, esp back when I was a dial up user.
      How much does this newfangled 'packaged software' cost?
    • Re:No, we will not (Score:5, Interesting)

      by arkane1234 ( 457605 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @10:45AM (#6634829) Journal
      We are exceedingly cheap.

      I much prefer the term "working class".

      We can't grasp the concept of monetary value for digital things. We can't wrap our brains around the idea that those digital things took work to create, and people that made them want to be paid for them.

      Oh, we can grasp it with our tiny little minds just fine, thanks for playing. We just don't like it. There's a very big difference between not comprehending it, and not liking it.

      I for one have issues with it simply because the value is just not there. Obviously if I personally paid a small amount for all of the little things that I use on the net, I'd be dead broke. It's called nickel-and-diming you to death... and quite honestly I'm already being nickel-and-dimed to death with everything else.

      Sure, you say that $10 is a single days dinner. Well, I'm sure it is. $700 is someones single days dinner somewhere, too! To be quite honest, most of things I use just aren't worth the hassle of not eating for a day. What ever happened to the old days *before the dot-com era* where people did things on the net because they thought it was (awesome | fun | informative | gave something back to the community | the-next-best-thing-since-sliced-bread)? That's how Linux was started.

      To be quite honest, I personally think that if you rely entirely on the web for your existence, your making a huge mistake. Unless you have a niche market, or your just damned good at what you do.

      If MS ever started selling Office exclusively as a download, they'd lose millions of dollars. Because Office just wouldn't feel like a real product to them. Put a CD in that consumers hand, though, and they're more willing to pay for it.

      How many individuals honestly go out and buy MSOffice on CD without a life-or-death emergency pushing them? The majority of the market usually ends up getting it with their system, prepackaged. Most think it's just a part of Windows.... I've known quite a few people that found out that they need MS-Office for some reason like college, and they didn't have it. (neophytes mostly, not people like you and I who are seasoned in "computers") The majority of them went to the store and nearly jumped out of their skin when they saw the price. Most of them, because of the necessity of it in order to continue with their tasks, purchased it through other means such as the college bookstore. (far cheaper because of a student discount) But, the honest to god truth is that unless faced with an emergency like not being able to do your college schoolwork without it, you just don't need it if it isn't available on your computer already. So, the media in which it's distributed quite honestly would only affect IT personnel who would then need to burn it to a CD for safe-keeping before including it into the standard Ghost image :)

  • Pardon me... (Score:2, Insightful)

    ...but wasn't one of the original ideas behind the Internet and the World Wide Web the spread of knowledge?

    Doesn't making people pay for ideas kind of make people not want to *have* ideas?
    • No, it makes then want to have them (that is: generate them), assuming they get some of the payment for the ideas they generate.

      But it does make people not want to *get* ideas. If I have to pay for an idea (especially if I don't know if it works) then I'm much more likely to rely on myself for ideas, instead of using tested ideas of others.

      In other words: paying for ideas generates lots of mediocre similar ideas, whereas free ideas promotes the spread of the best idea.
  • by CausticWindow ( 632215 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:34AM (#6634139)

    Quoting ESR:

    If you want to describe a feeling of comfort and satisfaction, by all means say you are ``content'', but using it as a noun to describe written and other works of authorship is worth avoiding. That usage adopts a specific attitude towards those works: that they are an interchangeable commodity whose purpose is to fill a box and make money. In effect, it treats the works themselves with disrespect. Those who use this term are often the publishers that push for increased copyright power in the name of the authors (``creators'', as they say) of the works. The term ``content'' reveals what they really feel.

    As long as other people use the term ``content provider'', political dissidents can well call themselves ``malcontent providers''.

  • Possibly. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CaptnMArk ( 9003 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:34AM (#6634149)
    1) only once (unless it's cents - micropayments)
    2) no DRM copy restrictions
    3) open file formats

    2 & 3 are essential for fair.

    I only started buying DVDs when 2 & 3 were true (playable under Linux).
  • On-the-side (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheTomcat ( 53158 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:35AM (#6634155) Homepage
    I believe Web Content is much like Music when it comes to "making money".

    Bands rarely make cash by selling their CD, but often in side-offers like t-shirts, stickers, etc ("merch"), and ticket sales to shows.

    Web artists/authors/etc, rarely make (enough) cash by selling memberships/content, but often on side-offers, like ads, merch [], etc.

  • But there are certain obvious conditions that one seems to forget:
    1. People have to want what's on sale
    2. It must not be available anywhere else (cheaper)
    3. Profit.

    AFAICS everything comes down to 1 and 2, and if one does the job sem-decently, 3 as well. So, yes, people will pay for "content", but they must want it and it must be unique (or perceived to be unique, since perception is as good as, or possibly exactly the same as, reality.)
  • If the content is porn, and the price is right... wel.. Users will pay!

    BTW, users will shortly pay for Service Packs from MS, apparently. Does that count for content??

    Users pay to get contented, not for content actually.

  • I already pay (Score:5, Informative)

    by isorox ( 205688 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:38AM (#6634178) Homepage Journal
    Most of the places I go to are

    • Companies I buy, or potentially will buy, products from (my custom)
    • The BBC which is a public service broadcaster (taxes)
    • Government sites (taxes)
    • Friends sites (which we do for fun)
    • Slashdot (I dont subscribe at the moment, but I dont block the ads, and have bought from thinkgeek)

    I dont go to many sites that employ staff, I might drop a few quid to a site I really like that is struggling to pay hosting bills, but the best sites in life are free. Charge money, and I'll go elsewhere. I used to run a 2000 visits-a-day site back in 99, I did it for fun. One of the biggest sites I goto now is trektoday, with no paid-for staff. Once you start charging by the page, I'll think "Is this really worth it?", I'll stress over every click, doesnt matter if its 1 cent a page or 0.001 cents. Its akin to paying per minute, or byte, for internet access.
    • A few days back, there was an interruption of the stream from radio.wazee []. I realized how much I listen to their content and how much I would miss it if it were gone. I was afraid they had sunk into the web oblivion and was relieved when they stream was working the next day. (Note: Both the winamp and wmp streams were down...did not check the rma stream, not that I would care if it was up down or sideways.) Now that I am working, and they have a Paypal donation option, I am going to start contributing.
    • Your post got me thinking. I don't subscribe to Slashdot either, but there's a good chance I will if I can manage to land a decent full-time job (stupid economy). The thought went through my head: I'd miss out on the Think Geek ads if I subscribed. Granted, they're not enjoyable for their own sake like some Volkswagen ads, but I like to be informed of the latest offerings at Think Geek, and I'd rather it not come in the form of email spam.

      It seems like some sort of ad preferences system would be a win-wi
  • Micropayments (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chazman00 ( 321337 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:39AM (#6634192) Journal
    You'll see people start paying for content, when distributers start pricing it correctly. Sometimes I only visit a site once, maybe twice. Do I want to buy a 20-50 dollar a month subscription to get the article I'm interested in? Obviously not.

    However, I would be willing to make a 50 or 75 cent investment in a good article or two. Micropayments could be a huge boon to the net. Paypal or Visa or Mastercard ought to get their act(s) together and make it happen already
  • by imag0 ( 605684 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:40AM (#6634200) Homepage
    About the only way that I think I would happily toss down a monthly $fee for online content would be to have the content shipped to me on a (monthly, quarterly, whatever) basis on cd as well as the access.

    HTML is small, dynamic content can be shoe-horned into static, and you can always look back on the good old days (think LWN on cd. or Wikipedia, relive your first p0st over and over again on Slashdot the 99-01 collection, whatever).

    I think I would even pay a premium for such as service as well (20 bucks a year for online access, or, 40 and we ship you a quarterly cd as well!)

    Myself, I see the net being a little too ephemeral to be chucking down cash for something you will never get to touch or keep a library of for your own use.

    My 2 cents. Now, time to go read the article! ;)
  • As with most television programming, most web content, while valuable, would not be bought if it were sold, because the perceived value is not worth the hassle of all those little payments. But if you have a concentrated source of high-value stuff and offer it on decent terms, you will have subscribers and I believe you can make it self-sustaining and even profitable.

    For the rest of us, a gift culture just works better because you don't have to hassle with all that bookkeeping and settling-up, and if ad.s
  • These are the same types of people that told you Charlie's Angels 2 would be a big hit, and that America cares about Ben and J'Lo.

    In a year no one will even remember this guy's tale to care about his failed business.

  • by ewn ( 538392 ) <> on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:43AM (#6634228) Homepage
    Every expensive product in human history that faced cheaper (free is just the extreme) competition has at one point resorted to insulting their customers by calling them cheapos. "Freeloader Mentality" is a very hollow word that describes the simple fact that people make many of their economic decisions in a surprisingly economic way: As long as major news sites are free (as in beer), people won't pay for yet another one that charges them. It's that simple and ist's called competition.Get used to it.
  • ...but only under one condition: the paid content that's provided is unique and hard to replicate. The only content I can think of is commentary or proprietary articles from journalists that are trusted (what an oxymoron!) enough for people to pay for what they have to say.

    It won't work with news - blogs have become much faster and more accurate than any on-line news services. It won't work with any kind of photographs or reviews - there will always be oddballs who decide to provide comparable content f

  • by acomj ( 20611 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:45AM (#6634251) Homepage
    I know its music, but apple gets poeple to pay for music. Wall street journal gets people to pay for there services as does bloomberg. Information is valuable. There is no easy way to pay for web pages if you want a little at a time.

    Its like newspapers. In boston we have a "Free" daily paper (The Metro) its small but has the days news. The "pay" Boston Globe is much bigger with more depth.

    There is a place for both.
  • by prisoner ( 133137 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:46AM (#6634259)
    and people generally don't pay. We tried it as a last resort before shutting our site down awhile ago. The only way that worked for us to make money was to syndicate our content onto other web sites. We did pretty good business until the .com bust killed that. Another avenue we pursued was advertising but we didn't have many people on staff and chasing ad dollars (at the time anyways) was a full-time salesman's job. We were all techies. Needless to say, we didn't get many ad contracts. We also tried joining "networks" (think Home and Garden "Channel" on something like MSN)and that was a nightmare. Obviously, we weren't very good businessmen either but it was fun for awhile. People just don't expect to pay on the internet, there's simply too much free stuff.
  • by gatkinso ( 15975 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:47AM (#6634268)
    We USED to get all TV for free.

    THEN we paid for cable - but that was ok because we got out boobs, 4 letter words, and gore... commercial free.

    NOW we pay MORE for cable, get twice the commercials, and have to watch edited versions of many movies.

    Go figure.

    So to those who say we will never pay for content on the net... what are you watching tonight, and how much are you paying again?

    • We USED to get all TV for free.

      When was that and how long for? As far as I know there are two paying options which cover pretty well all TV: pay via your shopping or a licence/tax.

      Or did you perhaps think that the money spent on TV ads wasn't recouped by the companies concerned every time you buy their products?


  • Again, the price must be right. 30 a year is a decent price for most websites and if they could do it even cheaper, it would be even better. For online versions of Time, of course you'd give that to print subscribers, but how about a online version that is cheaper to subscribe to then the dead tree version? This would work great for Time and other print magazines. Less paper going out (lots would take the digital version) and less trees getting killed.

    If it's already an online venture (Slashdot, Pocket
  • by JSkills ( 69686 ) <jskills.goofball@com> on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:48AM (#6634280) Homepage Journal
    What I'm saying is that people on the internet are not likely going to pay for *just* content, unless it is something extremely specialized that is not accessible in print. But for the most part, publishing companies only make articles from their publications available online either an issue behind or only publishing some (and not all) articles in the recent issue. They are way too concerned about canabilizing their print readership. And if I have to pay, I'd still prefer the print format over reading from a computer (or any devices screen). Until there's some form of electronic paper I can take to the bathroom, on the train, or to the beach to read, I can't see paying for electronic-only content. And suprisingly, the paying print subscribers of magazines today hold no special priveleges over those who are not paying susbcribers when it comes to viewing content on the correspinding website of a print publication. If you subscribe, you should get the content in any format you want.

    If you're going to charge people for online only content, it's really got to be more that just what's available in print. Slashdot is not available in print and it is more than just news, it's an experience of discussion with a great deal of other like-minded people. I am part of a group that runs a successful non-porn (well maybe some) pay website []. In talking to our members, the main reason people subscribe to our site and keep renewing their subscriptions is the experience, not just the content. The experience being the activity in the various message forms, the ability to rate and comment on every piece of content, the ability to parametrically search and access all content for the past 6 years (online publicaitons rarely offer that), the ability to see who's currently online, etc.

    Sorry for the shameless plug, but it illustrates the point that you really can't charge for *just* content presented in the same way as print. I don't believe Salon executed successfully using this model, and I can't see how anyone else could either.

    Just my 2 cents ...

  • Sure, it works... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by speleo ( 61031 ) * on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:49AM (#6634286) Homepage
    We built a site for the New York Review of Books [] years ago with an online subscription model and it's been very successful.

    The key -- that some folk seem to miss -- is that you need content that people are willing to pay to access. All too often the content provided by a subscription site isn't worth the price even if it was free. It also helps if your publication's demographic actually has money.
  • Micropayments in this system we have WILL NOT WORK. Instead, we need a Xanadu type system where everybody's contents are self-assesed and charged appropiately by the micropayment counter.

    By then, if you're juat a consumer, you pay. However, if you actually give something back, you get too. Make enough content, and you make money. Pictre the Xanadu system as a cab fare the rapidly flings back and forth.

    Even with micropayments/subscription, my content on Slashdot and tech related sites is worth money (proba
    • by CaptnMArk ( 9003 )
      Yes, the current system is not suitable for payment.

      The reason is that caching is optional and not under control of the user.

      When you pay for content, using already paid and cached stuff or downloading again is much bigger difference than just a matter of time.

      We need to enhance the browsers to enable micropayments.
  • Already paying... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mraymer ( 516227 ) <> on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:51AM (#6634324) Homepage Journal
    The problem with this is that people are already paying for the content; they pay for net access, and most people feel that should be all they need to pay.

    It's like television, which survives off ads. The only problem is we've learned that advertising on the net doesn't work very well. I think with clever, amusing, and less annoying ads, that could change. Also, I think most people base the success of an ad on the number of click-throughs; this is not logical, especially if you have an ad similar in nature to a print ad, where a click-through is not necessary to gain your interest in the product/service.

    The Internet is still pretty young, and the Web is even younger. In time, hopefully, things will flesh out and new business models will emerge. I think for now, though, the industry is still trying to recover from the burst tech bubble.

  • by mcgroarty ( 633843 ) <brian.mcgroarty@ ... m minus math_god> on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:52AM (#6634329) Homepage
    I'll gladly pay for better content. No contest there.

    But I won't give my credit card number to a thousand different sites. I will not subscribe to a bunch of sites (recurring payments or minimum payments greater than what I'll use on my visit), and I will not enter my personal information over and over and over again. And when it comes to downloadable books, software and music, I want that content downloadable forever, or the deal's off.

    Until there's a standard for centralized payments (it's fine if there are multiple payment centers, so long as they all speak the same protocol), I'm going to use Google to hunt for alternate sites for information and entertainment.

    Until downloadable content is as loss-proof as a book or a CD (meaning my library doesn't go away if a hard drive goes away without a backup or I run out of space and have to kill a folder of tunes I won't listen to for a few months), it doesn't feel like you actually own anything. If you have a permanent account with permanent access, you feel like you've purchased something, and it feels like your money's afforded you a little certainty. If you only get one, two or three downloads or a 30-day cap and then you're screwed, it's just as fulfilling (and often less trouble) for others to load up bittorrent and grab a few movies and CD images. The whole download-limited purchase thing seems really short-sighted.

    • But I won't give my credit card number to a thousand different sites...

      Until there's a standard for centralized payments

      Happy to oblige... here's your answer [].
      • But I won't give my credit card number to a thousand different sites...

        Until there's a standard for centralized payments

        Happy to oblige... here's your answer [link to MS Passport].

        Actually, Microsoft got rid of the wallet feature early this summer. Even when they offered the feature, they were still giving your credit card number to merchants rather than acting as middle man for the payments, so you were still leaving yourself open to all the problems that come with a hundred sites with varying levels

  • by m00nun1t ( 588082 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:55AM (#6634355) Homepage
    ...which I wish I could take credit for :)

    I heard a guy speak about this a while ago. He is CEO for a large Australian portal site, and like all portals, is struggling to make money. His comment was that, as a general rule, people are more likely to pay for content that is user created, rather than content that someone else creates - bad news for traditional news sites!

    Some examples: Hotmail premium services, dating sites, forums (see EZBoard), and yes, even slashdot.

    Sure, most of those examples have many more people not paying, but the key thing is they are all getting people to pay money. Think about sites you pay for or might be tempted to pay for...
  • Sure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by killmenow ( 184444 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:57AM (#6634370)
    People will pay for online content with the following provisos:
    1. Same or similar, comparable, slightly lower quality content cannot be available elsewhere for free
    2. They have a meaningful value proposition (people will feel like they're getting what they're paying for)
    3. The economy (and their current income level) allows them to have the disposable income for most online content is not vital to have
    A prime example (although it's not "online") is HBO. I pay an extra $10/month for it because its content is (imho) that much better than the rest of what TV has to offer. If an online service can get people to feel the same way (that their content is that much better than the rest of what the Internet has to offer) no doubt people will pay.
  • does this need an argument?
  • by aengblom ( 123492 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:59AM (#6634389) Homepage
    Yes, they will when they have to. When they start logging on to sites that just arn't there anymore.

    Now, I'm not going to pay for general news today. I can get it at the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, CNN, MSNBC, LA Times etc. etc. etc. I'd pay if they all dissapeared, but they won't.

    NYTimes is profitable. The Washington Post's website is it's only real national edition and too strategically important. Others are similarly situated almost all are heading towards profitability. The WSJ is pay only and profitable. Salon is... well it just doesn't die ;-).

    But, you know what, I've put some bucks into political blogs I read to keep them moderately healthy. I'd hate to see them go and -- more importantly -- I'd pay a moderate fee if they went pay-per-view.

    The New Republic went mostly pay-per-view a couple months back. It gave me the little push I needed to subscribe to the deadtree version, which gives access to articles online.

    And I subscribe to ArsTech's forums, since I habitate there fairly often and I want to help keep that site alive.

    Finally, I work at a company that publishes $1,000/year newsletters via the internet. (Granted its PDF, not HTML) It content and people certainly pay, even if it isn't the general public.

    Yes, I'm ahead of the curve. I'm obviously willing to pay for pulp-based content as well, which many aren't even willing to do.

    For those stuck in 2001, believing you are the only one who "get's it" that the 90s were irrational exuberence and everything dotcom was dumb: Get off your high horse. Everyone knows, even those in business and things are improving. Profits are being squeezed out--even in the crappy economic times.

    The internet is just a different way to transmit information. There is nothing inherent about it that means people won't pay for entertainment and valuable information there.
  • There are two general types of content that could be on the web: highly specialized content, and rather generic content. The highly specialized content (wsj analysis, medical papers, etc.) can be sold on the internet because users know there's no other place to get it for free. For the generic content, there are tons of websites that are willing to provide free content just so they have visitors. As long as someone is willing to undersell on content, it will remain free.

    Free news sites are an understandabl
  • by adzoox ( 615327 ) * on Thursday August 07, 2003 @10:04AM (#6634428) Journal
    An insightful set of posts popped up on /. a week ago about micro payments and the success or failure of them. This was the general direction I posted in this discussion, look at my post page for the full discussion:

    I regularly post to Slashdot. I am essentially a micro-content provider to Slashdot. I have posted over 300 comments, many of them high Karma scorers. If I made, say, one cent per Karma point, then I would be about 3 dollars better off by now! Woohoo!"

    Maybe a site like Slashdot could charge "micropayments" but rebate to it's users that have high moderation. This may have an effect on eliminating troll posts and encourage well thought out responses.

    I pride myself in the high moderation I get here & substantial page views/responses I get elsewhere. I mainly use this site & other Mac Chat/Forums sites as a way to "micro-advertise" my website & my eBay auctions. I figure, if people think I say something interesting I must be selling something interesting ;)

    Another take: If you actually sell something on eBay OR leave feedback for a transaction you are rebated or awarded a micropayment. This way, even eBay could CHARGE for content. Buy - you are deducted a micropayment - leave feedback - awarded/rebated a micropayment

  • Neat idea, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by YllabianBitPipe ( 647462 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @10:08AM (#6634452)

    So I took a look around the KeepMedia site. It seems you get access to ALL the magazines available for a pretty low price. And there's a huge list of magazines there.

    I drilled a little deeper and notices, well, 90% of these magazines I have no interest in reading. There's a handful of titles that look pretty good but there's some serious gaps ... I didn't see enough newspapers or tech magazines that I'd like to see.

    Finally, it dawned on me, this is not a good idea for me. I seriously doubt these articles have a lot of the PICTURES. It's not going to be as robust as a magazine. Lastly, what's the point of this, when I can just go to the library (as I do, maybe once a week) and just peruse the magazines there? Better selection, actual print copies.

    This site basically is running against the problems with eBooks. In addition to paid content, we have the problems of, do people really want to read magazine-length content on a screen? Do people want portability? Do people really want to "own" content that's only online? At least these people got the price point right. But I think they're gonna have to think about some of these other issues, too.

    It just seems like, when your business model is competing against the physical library, you got a hard road ahead of you...

    • Re:Neat idea, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 )
      People don't want to pay for static content on the internet because it is inferior to static content in a magazine in every way other than permanency (if you are allowed to store it and view it on multiple devices - at worst there's always PDF) and searchability. Of course most articles are broken up into pages (more ad impressions) and the site has no search engine or, as is more common today, an amazingly crappy search engine. The big problem there is that many sites today are a mishmash of static and dyn
  • by HarveyBirdman ( 627248 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @10:12AM (#6634494) Journal
    There's just too much content these days. If someone goes to a pay model, there's always some alternative. I can't think of any content I frequent that I'd pay for (sorry Slashdot ;-)), but certain services are very useful.

    I've been using Yahoo BillPay for over a year now at $7 a month, and I'd never, EVER go back to writing checks and mailing bills. In fact, I visit a mailbox once every 3 months because I now handle all business and correspondence online. I still have all these old 34 cent stamps to which I have to add a sheaf of 1 cent stamps in order to mail anything.

    I also pay extra for Usenet access from a company that is dedicated to it. Gotta have those complete multi-part binaries, don't ya know. :) At least until the RIAA eventually goes there. :(

    And I pay a little extra for an email/web space combo.

    So I, personally, have no problem paying for services even thought I'm skeptical about paying for content. That's why I don't complain about advertising unless a page gives me more than one popup at a time. That's like two commercials playing at the same time on TV.

  • The interesting thing about this concept (apart from abysmally slow response times) is that it is an archive: for $4.95/month, you get access to the archives of the selected publications. In order to get an article from the current issue, you'll have to pay for it. And this, strangely enough, is why I think this has a chance of succeeding...

    While it's easy to find current news on the Web, finding old news (useful to put current stories in context) is almost impossible. Due to storage limits, most informati

  • For answer to above question, please review the post before this one... ;)
  • It seems like a reasonably good service idea. And the current terms are largely reasonable. There's only one I object to:

    The terms of service are posted on a web page. They can change it whenever they feel like it, and don't need to notify the customer. But you are bound by whatever they change the terms to.

    I won't be signing up. I would really need to have the service before I would agree to those terms.
  • I like Borders bookstores, but this venture wouldn't get my investment money.

    One thing that struck us is that the movie business (gets) two-thirds of their money from their archives, while magazines are getting zero. That's a huge pool of content that's not monetized at all.

    By "archives" here does he mean DVDs, videotapes? I would think so, if it accounts for a 2/3 of revenue. I think there's a fundamental distinction here, in that a DVD has the advantages of rentability, playback on the medium of yo
  • I do pay (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nuggz ( 69912 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @10:27AM (#6634629) Homepage
    I do pay for some content.
    I have some subscriptions to some pay sites.
    But generally I don't because they overprice.
    I don't want several bill payments running through my credit card.

    Online subscriptions are too expensive, I only want to pay a few dollars a year. It should be easy and secure to pay. Automatically renewing subscriptions aren't ideal.

    It has to offer something better, and it should prove that it is better.
    Online prices should be cheaper then a comperable dead tree subscription, even if they offer additional services.

  • I think it's at the turn of the hockey stick, because it's at about 15 percent of the Web population that's paying for content right now--that's still a low number

    I didn't realize so many people had porn subscriptions.

  • Just not the content that most deliver. I can't stand sites that you pay for that give you a tiny screen with crappy compression or sound that cuts out every time you start dloading an iso.

    I think it funny that the big media providers can't play nice with the television makers and put built in decoders on TVs. Yeah I'd pay ten bucks extra to watch Star Wars on demand, yeah, I'd pay to play for decent content on video games. Nothing like Starwars Galxies where I have to pay 15/mo. just for the privled
  • The first thing that needs to be done is to get micropayments sorted out once and for all. Noone wants to pay a monthly subscription, they want to pay for what they actually use, and they'll probably not know their usage ahead of time. Of course, there's nothing to stop sites still offering cheaper subscription services for those who like that sort of thing.

    However, what will really make this work is to find some way to centralize this so that a person only has to pay a single organisation and will get som

  • by HomerJ ( 11142 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @10:44AM (#6634811)
    I pay $4.95 a month for a subscription. I also paid the $24.95 for a yearly subscription to IGN.

    So I pay about $85 a year for content. Why? Because it's content I actually find really useful. ESPN has a lot of really good articles in their insider pages, in aditition to things like linking articles to the local paper's websites of my favorite teams on sports stories. Not to mention their own extra content is written by the top guys in the business. IGN has a few nice videos once in a while, and some of their previews are really good. Not to mention with both of them, I got printed versions of ESPN the Magazine, and EGM.

    The problem with paying for slashdot pages, or other micropayments, is that I'm getting anything special. I don't care to "help out a website". I want something I can't get anywhere else. If slashdot offered something like a private mirror for linked sites, distribtutions, debian/gentoo mirrors, etc. that's something to pay for. Hell, if even slashdot had their own articles to read to "subscribers only" I'd at least look to see what they were.

    So to make a long story anyone that has a website and wants subscription dollars. Make something worth paying for, and people will pay for it. Too bad only a few websites really grasped that idea.
  • by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @11:27AM (#6635247) Homepage
    The problem with making content digital is that it DESTROYS the inherent scarcity of it. Sure you can try to introduce artificial scarcity (RIAA?), but due to its digital nature, it will find a away to avoid that. I'm sorry, but once content turns digital, its value drops considerably. Companies can't have their cake and eat it too.

    Now, I should mention that when I speak of content, I'm speaking of things like music, movies, text, etc. Those things lose most, if not all, of their value once they become digital and reach the internet. So what can be sold?

    Experiences. Slashdot is an experience, live broadcasts (think pay-per-view) are experiences, chats with famous people are experiences, etc, etc, etc.

    Certain types of things DO have value on the internet, just not all of them. What is currently going on right now as the internet comes of age is that people are experimenting with it to see what sells and what doesn't. Not everything is guaranteed to sell, in fact, you may ruin your chance of selling a physical version of it as well if you unsuccessfully try to sell something on the net (RIAA again). Its a big gamble, and there will be lots of casualties, but eventually we will learn what can and cannot be sold on the internet.

    A good example of how this works is in Snowcrash. Hiro does a search for something with the librarian, and filters for free content only. Yet when he needs something rare or specific, he has to pay for it. In fact, a whole profession (gargoyles) has sprung up around this business of rare/hard to obtain/unique information. Well, just my two (or fifty) cents worth.

  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @11:56AM (#6635530) Homepage Journal
    Via my monthly bill.

    Just like my cable TV, I pay a monthly fee for content.. I also have to pay for my equipment, my electricity usage...

    Getting unwanted advertisements on top of that is offensive. ( not to mention the Spam ). So is the suggestion that I have might to pay MORE for the crap that I'm already getting hit with that i dont want.

    Don't tell me I only pay an 'access' fee.. as I don't want to hear it. I pay. Period. If they cant make a profit in that business model, then they don't need to be in business.

    I remember when cable was touted as 'commercial free'.. because I was paying for it.. that didn't last long... bastards....
  • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @12:15PM (#6635716) Journal
    Honestly, what I've seen is quite a bit of mentality of "even though this site asks me to subscribe, it works good enough for me without paying - and they're obviously profiting off enough other people to keep it viable anyway".

    (I'm very much guilty of this attitude myself.)

    It seems to me, especially with web sites offering really "niche" information, they do better by offering everything free - but occasionally begging for donations. Giving people the "sob story" of "We can't afford to keep paying for our bandwidth unless we raise at least X by next month." seems to get regular users to fork over some cash. (Even better if it's made as easy as clicking a "Pay me now with PayPal!" type of button on the main page.)

    The trick is, do it like a traditional fund raiser. Show the users regular, real-time updates of the total amount earned, and the goal you're trying to reach. People are much more likely to pay if they can actually see their contribution push a number closer to a target.
  • by KalvinB ( 205500 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @12:18PM (#6635745) Homepage
    As proven time and time again. I implemented a subscription service at for high bandwidth areas of the site in January and have made a nice amount of money. I'm not getting rich off of it but it's enough to know it's a feasible idea. My site isn't large enough yet (and doesn't have a fast enough connection) to expect a large number of subscribers.

    The problem is just like any other business, most people just slap up a site, throw some crap on it and expect people to pay. My site was entirely free for as long as my connection could take it. Which was 2 years. I then went through my log summaries, figured out what was taking up the most bandwidth and put it behind htaccess and now sell accounts to access those files.

    Another thing is that you can't lock everything down. Otherwise people aren't going to be finding your site. I made sure to leave a bunch of good stuff freely available even though it takes quite a bit of bandwidth. The site is also diverse in it's content to attract people for quite a number of reasons.

    The other thing is that most businesses fail. It's not surprising that there are a few big money makers and a lot of no money makers. Setting up a business anywhere takes talent and a product people will pay for. Most people don't have either.

  • by wytcld ( 179112 ) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @01:14PM (#6636326) Homepage
    First off, the selection of mags is even worse than what the local teenager comes to the door trying to sell you so they can "realize their future." Second, after scanning that, I discovered they've added code to the site so you can't use your browser's Back button to get out of it. Did they hire porn techs to program it for them? Will they bring along other ethical practices from the porn industry?

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin