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Pay for Content? Fat chance!

 3:48 pm on Mar 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

Seventy percent of online adults surveyed by Jupiter, he said, can't understand why anyone would pay for any online content.

"If anything, people are less willing to pay than they were 18 months ago," he said.

When the respondents were asked what they would be willing to pay for if free content vanished, 63 percent replied "nothing." No category -- not music, not news, not games, not sports, not education -- drew more than single-digit responses from those willing to spend.

Wired [wired.com]



 3:58 pm on Mar 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

>"nothing." No category --- not music, not news, not games, not sports, not education

If it's unique content online ADULTS will pay $ Billions a year.

Give them a LITTLE something for free and then charge for the REAL THING [askeric.org]

[it's safe to click it ;)]

"The free ride is over and the days of free content have gone," [media.guardian.co.uk]


 4:08 pm on Mar 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

I don't know, Mike... I fit squarely in the 63%. I'm even getting so I won't do a free registration unless it's absolutely necessary. It's been my experience that if I drill around I can usually find a free alternate source or a suitable substitute.

One of my concerns with subscribing is that I tend to be nomadic, often finding a source I like better and dropping old ones. A case in point would be my daily reading list, I don't think 10% of it was in the queue 18 months ago.


 4:47 pm on Mar 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

>A case in point would be my daily reading list, I don't think 10% of it was in the queue 18 months ago.<

Gasp! You mean WmW doesn't constitute at least 10% of your daily reading???:)

Guess I'm one of the 70%. No chance I would pay for content. Not for any reason. If I want to pay for something, I'll buy a magazine and read it in the comfort of my sofa ... not glued to a monitor.


 4:52 pm on Mar 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

I have been known to pay for content...but by and large it is too much hassle...and there isn't much that is unique

when somewhere free asks for donations I tend to give something eventually

hint hint...top right hand corner


 5:33 pm on Mar 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

To me, its the hassle of paying in many cases rather than digging into the bank account. Finding the cresit card, filling out a form, etc.

Hard drive crashes, - and ive probably lost my cookies, passwords, and subs.

Apart from that, its better if your sub is stored on a cookie rather than having to log in every time. Logging in disrupts my browsing speed..

I think the results of that survey may be very different in 12 months or so. We are moving very fast to a user paid Web with quality content for those willing to pay for it. This will happen due to 2 trends - as both technology to pay improves, and publishers start publishing more valueable niched content.


 6:09 pm on Mar 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

>drive crashes

Good point.

>very different in 12 months or so.

Maybe for highly "gated" niche content, but I don't think so when we're talking about content for mass consumption -ezines, news, even forums. The public is already showing a tendency to reduce their surfing and just visit a few sites as part of their online routine. These "have traffic" sites will be able to make it on advertising. That leaves the have-nots. To compete on the fringes, the have-nots are going to have to offer content (probably thinking that -once they achieve critical mass- they'll be able to charge for the visit). For every one site that achieves some success in establishing their pay-per-view model there will be 100 wannabes offering it up for free.


 7:44 pm on Mar 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

Times Online to charge by phone bill [media.guardian.co.uk]

All users have to do is input their mobile number to unlock restricted parts of the site. They will then be simply charged for usage on their monthly telephone bill.


 7:57 pm on Mar 19, 2002 (gmt 0)


The ERIC site is part of a well-established organization that provides information to the education market, and has for years... ;)

Educators have been paying for their professional reference material for a long time. Paying for access to a "premium" database online is a natural step to someone who's used to reading the research abstract for free, and ordering the full research publication for $$$... And university libraries have provided computer access to various subscription-based information databases for years also, so paying for computer access to valuable information is also nothing new.

If you can find yourself a niche as a provider of premium research/information material to the education market, you've got your online, pay-for-content success ensured. If you can find a niche as a source of quality (paid) professional content, you could probably work out site-access licenses to companies in related fields (ALLDATA automotive repair CD-ROMs come to mind. You subscribe/pay up, they send you software, and send periodic update CDs), you're also doing well.

It's convincing Joe Public to pay for more public/general interest content that would be a tough sell...


 8:34 pm on Mar 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

im agreeing with mivox and rc ..and great article Eric!

the future of paid web content is in niched original content that people have always been willing to pay big bucks for.

generalist sites can direct people to these paid content sites via advertising and maybe affiliation, for which the paid sites would probably be more willing to pay for when they start finding they can make good revenue.

brotherhood of LAN

 8:46 pm on Mar 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

It seems that everyone that has posted has a very "advanced" view of this scenario, hats off to you all for observation :)

Im agreeing alot with what chiyo has to say on the matter

Sure, Ive donated to webmaster world, because I think it is worth the money I donated....well no its worth more than what I donated of course :)

I wouldnt want to be using a micropayment structure where Im putting 20 dollars into a site for X usage, and doing this with a peppering of sites. That way the net would become an expensive and inneficient place to be.

I surf the web "on demand" meaning I need some info at one point and may never need it again. However, places like this site offer me a continuous feed of content I more or less demand at all times of the day :) thus not a problem donating. However, I wouldnt say im the donating "type" and IMO many people are the same as me on that one (especially less-appreciative non-webmasters)

If micropayments make a grand entrance, I would like to see them giving me the opportunity to surf X amounts of sites for X amount of time as opposed to a fixed limit on a singular site

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