[thelist] Paying for content (was "a miscellany of links")

deke web at master.gen.in.us
Tue Apr 10 10:11:11 CDT 2001

On 10 Apr 2001, at 9:23, Johannah Hubal posted a message which said:

> That reminds me ... I could swear that I saw something on JN's site last
> week about a subscription service - is he going to start charging for his
> alertbox content? I checked his site today but didn't see the line that I
> recall reading.

presents a pretty good argument that micropayment systems have
failed because they are a bad idea, not just because of poor execution.
It works for me.

I like a lot of what JN says. Sites *must* be functional and usable.
But he is dead-racoon wrong about micropayments. I wish he were
wrong. Micropayments would solve a lot of problems. But so would
perpetual motion, and I'm not holding my breath waiting on *that*
one, either.

> What do you folks think about the future of the 'net as far as paying for
> content goes? It seems like newspapers are moving in that direction ... are
> we going to see the end of free information?

Newspapers are moving in the *opposite* direction. Thirty years
ago, it was $1 from circulation for every $3 from advertising. These
days, it is $1 from circulation for every $7 from advertising. Many
newspapers can't even cover the costs of *distributing* the 
newspaper out of circulation revenue, must less the cost of producing

We have free content on radio. We have free content on television. 
We'll have free content on the web. But just as with radio and TV, 
the free content will be crap. If you want CD-quality music, you buy
CDs; MP3s are for deaf people. If you want movies with all the scenes
and where the audio track matches the lip movements, you pay 
for HBO. And if you want the best stuff on the web, you'll pay for it, too.


 "The church is near but the road is icy; 
  the bar is far away but I will walk carefully." 
                            -- Russian Proverb

More information about the thelist mailing list