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Did we get it right? Answered

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An article on the BBC is predicting that large swathes of internet content, starting with news websites, will soon vanish forever behind paywalls.

Content that is free to users, funded by advertising, will (apparently) soon be a thing of the past:
Rob Grimshaw, managing director of FT.com, says charging for online services is inevitable, as online advertising is unlikely to deliver sufficient returns.

While it is still "swimming against the tide" to expect payment, he says it will be recognised soon that "the oddness has been to give it away".

In the long term, he says not charging will come to be seen as the aberration - and he imagines future business students writing case studies of how publishers were wrong-footed.

So, fellow-pros, do think (as I do) that we have got the model right, with free-to-access content, plus paid-for benefits?



23 Replies

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scraptopower (author)2010-06-09

Instructables has it right. But I'd never pay just to use/browse a site, the back button would be pressed before the page had loaded!

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mikeasaurus (author)2010-06-06

did we get it right? , yes I think this model is the most viable, it satisfies the window-shoppers and members.

I also think the online advertising seen on instructables such as the "fix it" channel and the "Symantic" yellow background seen a while back are less invasive than what I've experienced on other sites.

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=SMART= (author)2010-06-04

I call BS on that article. not everybody can pay, some are poor and some are just kids. Also most of the stuff i read or watch I look at because its there, if I had to pay I wouldn't watch it. If the mateiral is - AMAZING quality (world-class journalism or amazing HD films), - and this material was sold in a way in which i can access it on my ipod, phone or laptop - has no time limit - i can download/save it and use it on multiple computers - No DRM - No adverts (at all) - IS priced very well e.g. £5 for a film £5 per month article sub THEN i would buy it Im tired of the media industry getting all hissy about not earning enough money and how they hate illegal downloaders, The industry does not try to improve at all, they just get the layers in

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Kiteman (author)=SMART=2010-06-06

I call BS on your BS.

Content costs, even if that cost is not monetary.  Somewhere, somehow, the content costs to produce - we are fortunate that so many people are happy not to pass that cost on to users.  If I was to charge the site for the time my projects cost to put together, at the rate my time is officially worth, they would owe me somewhere in the region of £5k-£10k.  I am certain that other members are in identical situations.

"I refuse to pay for it because they complain when I steal it" is not a good excuse or defence, IMO.

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=SMART= (author)Kiteman2010-06-06
What I'm saying is they cant take the content we have free now (be it user generated by the likes of you or me or generated by companies) and attempt to charge for it.

Before the internet the media industry was comfy, they had the consumers right where they wanted them, if they wanted content, they paid for it. Then the internet provided alot of original content online for free, so the media industry was forced to put their content online, some of it was free, others you had to pay for.

The users then worked out that they could rip and torrent anything they wanted, so you or I can now have literaly any media we want for free, only morals would make us actually pay for it.

So right now the media industry has two options;
  1. Desperately try to fight the users taking their content for free, with lawsuits and other things (DRM)
  2. OR they can improve their content, e.g. better reporting or high definition video. Then make it widely available to all users and easier to get than searching and downloading torrents, Then they can either charge a fair (low) price,  or make their content free and have adverts and pre-rolls
As you can tell option 1 is not going to work, so the media industry can either pull their finger out or continue to be stolen from until it dies.

I hope that explains my standpoint, as for your comment i don't really understand the logic, if you wanted to you could post your content elsewhere and make money, but you chose to post it here for free.

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Kiteman (author)=SMART=2010-06-06

as for your comment i don't really understand the logic, if you wanted to you could post your content elsewhere and make money, but you chose to post it here for free.

As V-man said, I'm not in it for the money - I have a proper job.  The media producers *are*, though.  The majority of musicians and actors have very limited times in the limelight, and often have to rely on royalty payments for their income.

Other Makers are in it for the money - they don't post *how* they made their stuff, instead, they sell it on Etsy.  Or, like Kipkay, they post most of their stuff in pay-per-view formats, such as Metacafe.

If you were an artist producing your own t-shirts with screen-printed designs you had created yourself, how would you feel about people taking the image from your t-shirt and using it to print their own t-shirt with an iron-on transfer?




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Kiteman (author)Kiteman2010-06-06

Just to be clear, I am not arguing against the open-source concept. I heartily approve, using Open Office on my home PC, and licensing my Instructables to suit as well. What I am arguing against is the assumption by quite a large proportion of internet users that *all* content should be free, and there is nothing wrong with copying data of any type from any source. You used your Instructables portfolio to get into university. How would you feel if you came across a classmate passing off one of your projects as their own work? After all, they found it on the internet...

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=SMART= (author)=SMART=2010-06-04

Dammit that just totally destroyed my formatting. I type text in a box, when i click post i want it to post what I have written, not take my text, screw with it and then post it in a massive heap

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=SMART= (author)=SMART=2010-06-04

HOW CAN IT NOT DO PARAGRAPHS AAAAAAAARRRRRRRRR

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NachoMahma (author)=SMART=2010-06-04

. Paragraph with CR . Two CRs after this paragraph . See if that did anything.
. XML-style BR (didn't change to Rich Editor, just typed it in) at end of prev paragraph. Two of them at the end of this para

. Just FYI

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kelseymh (author)=SMART=2010-06-04

Would you mind posting these complaints (slightly more cogently, of course :-) as a bug report? The problem is that the new editor completely tosses line breaks,unless you click the "Rich Text" button and bring up the formatting controls.  Stupid, of course, but maybe not something noticed during testing.

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NachoMahma (author)2010-06-04

.  While I doubt that advertising-supported content will become "a thing of the past" any time soon, it does seem that more and more "top shelf" content is going to pay-to-view.

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Kiteman (author)NachoMahma2010-06-06

In the UK, "top shelf" content usually means "adult".

Do you mean what we would call "top end" or "high end" content?

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NachoMahma (author)Kiteman2010-06-06

. If you were a drunkard, instead of a pervert, you would know that "top shelf" is the highest quality spirits in the house. :)
.  I'm not sure I want to live in a world without free porn. heehee

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Kiteman (author)NachoMahma2010-06-06

Haha, in the UK, that row of spirits across the top shelf is the stuff that only ever gets drunk by people who are already so completely steamed that they can only order drinks by their colour, because they can't remember words like "beer" or "whiskey".

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V-Man737 (author)2010-06-05

Haha! I will forever use whatever websites are free. I gave money to Instructables out of the goodness of my heart, not because I had to in order to use it. I play free online games. I watch free TV. I use free software. I am forever a freeloader, and proud of it! Free things get their support through vehicles other than a direct "you have to pay for this" attitude, and that's what I like! The moment we allow some corporation to dictate how much we pay for something inherently free, like information, is the moment we sell ourselves to that corporation. For instance: Why purchase a bit of software which has a potent counterpart in the open-source world? Open-source software can do everything I've seen rich-people-$oftware do, but guess what? You don't have to pay for it! That's because someone out there makes that stuff as a hobby! Props to them! I hope to do that one day as well. Free stuff keeps communities together.

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Kiteman (author)V-Man7372010-06-06


Is information "inherently free"?  Somebody, somewhere, spent part of their life creating that information.

But, that's beside the point.

I was talking about sites with unique, or near-unique content.

Some sites charge for a portion of their content (science journals, for instance, charge for reading past the abstract), whereas we charge for extra features, leaving almost all the content (except for the under-used pro forum) free for anybody to use.


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V-Man737 (author)Kiteman2010-06-06

"If I was to charge the site for the time my projects cost to put together, at the rate my time is officially worth, they would owe me somewhere in the region of £5k-£10k." - Kiteman

Right there. You said it, man. Your contributions are probably worth more than that, but how much money are you charging us for it? Nothing! Why? Because more than you want the money, you want people to have that information. You can see the bigger picture -- you know that sharing your work is worth more than any amount of money you could keep for yourself.

As for unique content, sure, online science journals have their proprietary information. But they can only whore it out for so long before it becomes common knowledge. What is "hot off the press and fifty cents a peep" today will be doled out in public education en masse tomorrow. Not only is the freedom of information morally correct (in whatever sense you'd like to tackle that phrase in), it is inescapable.

In other words, "unique content" is only unique for so long.

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Rock Soldier (author)2010-06-05

I would hate to see a future where you have to pay to use ANY feature on a website. Paying to use some (more features is okay, but I'll never pay a website just to use it.

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DJ Radio (author)2010-06-05

I think it's better than both all free access but not site, and a good site, that requires payment to use any feature.

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I reckon you got it right. Instructables is the only website I am comfortable paying for extra features, and I will continue to do so until my credit card expires :)

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