The Next Reality: Paying for Free Information

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The Next Reality: Paying for Free Information

By Bob Speyer, Web Success Team

Paying for BlogsThe New York Times is making news instead of just delivering it to its readers. Times have been hard on newspapers across the country. As the size of your daily newspaper dwindles, so have their profits. The NY Times operated at a $35 million loss in the third quarter of 2009.

To shore up its bottom line, the Times will now charge consumers for its web content. By increasing online revenue, it hopes to offset print advertising losses and utilize the digital press to build your business online. Let’s face it, we need our news organizations to be profitable. They provide a valuable service. As the “Fourth Estate” they act as our eyes and ears around the nation and world to keep watch on government while keeping us informed.

The New York Times’ “metered model” will permit visitors to read a fixed number of articles before charging a monthly fee. Any subscriber will have free unlimited access. It’s their way to boost readership and flip visitors into paid customers. They may even have to be more aggressive and use some online direct response marketing tactics and take advantage of social media marketing using Facebook and Twitter. Incidentally, the Wall Street Journal already charges for their online subscriptions.

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So What’s Next? Our Predictions

We predict that charging for blog content will be the next online reality — and its coming to a computer screen near you! We have all been weaned on free web content, but most analysts conclude that newspapers and magazines will have to charge customers to remain in the news business.

With the explosion of smart phones, like the Apple’s iphone, delivering content to mobile devices will be the next big revenue source for providers of news and blog-worthy content. Content providers will be offering you subscriptions to news, sports, finance and more. And it may not stop there. Popular blogs may also charge a premium to be part of the “inner circle” to receive cutting edge content, such as proprietary information, insider tips and strategies.

We anticipate the pricing to be very modest but increase over time as the consumer gets use to paying for content. Paid value always is perceived to be better than “free advice.” In the end, the marketplace will decide and determine your web success.

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