Part Two: Paying to Read Blogs…

When I finished the previous post about paying to read blogs, I looked around and found this interesting post by Jonathan Fields (No relation). Here’s what he has to say, and if you read the comment thread you’ll find some interesting opinions.

All I know is I wouldn’t pay to read a blog, on the internet or on a Kindle…not even for .99. And I wouldn’t advise a beginner with a Kindle e-reader either. We often take for granted that everyone knows the Internet. But that’s not the case. A lot of people are just getting into reading e-books, and I’d hate to think how many of these beginners see a blog for sale on Kindle for .99 and don’t know they can read the very same blog on the internet for free.

This one comment/question sums it all up for me: Could the FT paywall model ever work for a blog other than a mass news source?

And this is pretty much what I said in yesterday’s post before I’d ever read Jonathan Fields’s post: And, I wonder, too, what does that tell us about the state of the blogosphere?

Whose Blog Would You Pay to Read?

ShareAround the same time I shared my thoughts on the New York Times’ decision to put up a paywall last week, Fred Wilson shared his thoughts:

I like the subscription model the FT (Financial Times) has been using for some time now. I may get the exact details wrong but its the idea that’s important anyway. You can visit the domain something like nine times per month for free. They cookie you and when you stop by the tenth time in a month, they ask you to pay. And many do.

This model recognizes a few fundamental facts about the internet. First, you need to make your content available for search engines and social media linking. That drives as much as half or more of the visits these days. And if you have an ad model at all, and most newspapers do, then you need those visits and that audience.

Its also true that the ‘drive by’ visits will bring new audiences, some of whom will become loyal and ultimately paid audience members.

The other thing I like about the FT’s model is that its an elegant implementation of freemium. The best freemium models allow anyone to use the service for free and then convert the most serious/frequent/power users to paying customers.

It’s an interesting model, too, because it sidesteps the near impossible task of allocating which content is good enough to be paid for and which should be given away free, basing payment not on content, but on usage.

But, it also made me wonder…

Could the FT paywall model ever work for a blog other than a mass news source?

So, my question FOR YOU is –

Is there any blog, whether run by an individual or team of contributors, that you believe offers such astonishingly good and unique content you’d actually be willing to pay to be able to visit it more than 9 times a month?

I love many of the blogs I read, but, sad to say, I don’t know if I’d pay to read any (attention brown-nosers, no need to name mine, I don’t even think I’d pay to read it, lol!). Not that they don’t add value, just not enough for me to pay for the privilege of opening my wallet after the ninth visit.

And, I wonder, too, what does that tell us about the state of the blogosphere?

What about you? Is there any blog you’d pay to be able to read every day?

Why Pay to Read a Blog on Kindle When You Can Read it For Free on the Internet?

There’s no denying we’re living in hard times now. Last night on the evening news I saw people line up for miles just to get a full tank of gas at ten cents a gallon. It was a promotional thing offered by a large company. And as the people were filling their tanks, I watched their grateful faces closely. I’ve never seen so many genuine, thrilled smiles on the evening news. For once, the regular people were getting a break…their own mini stimulus…instead of big banks and large corporations.

One of the things I’ve always loved about blogs are they are free. Agree with them or not, wonderful literary agents have been blogging publishing advice for years…advice that’s helped millions of authors learn how to query, how to write a decent book description, and how to be a publishing professional. Janet Reid is one of these bloggers: she doesn’t charge a dime. Lori Perkins is another agent who blogs for free, offering her many years of advice.

I wouldn’t think of charging anyone to read my blog. I’d rather stop blogging altogether than charge people to read mine. I’ve even made a note of this on my sidebar!! Advertising is another story. I don’t do it here on my blog, but I don’t care one way or the other about what other bloggers do when it comes to ads. If you’re a small personal blogger and you want to do ads, have a blast. I don’t think they work, and we’re only talking about making pennies, but they don’t hurt anyone.

But I recently saw a small personal blogger charging people .99 on amazon to read their blog on Kindle. And I mean a small blogger, not a large news service or someone famous. I’m assuming the only way to read a blog on kindle is by charging for it…at least I hope that’s the case. But this is an assumption and I could be wrong. And if I were going to charge people to read my blog on Kindle, I’d charge one cent instead of .99. And I’d give them a huge, huge break in the spirit of personal blogging. And if someone asked me to charge .99 to read my blog on Kindle, I’d tell them, “You can read my blog on the internet for free. Give that .99 to your favorite charity instead.”

For me, and millions of other personal bloggers, blogging isn’t about making money on readers. I know .99 isn’t a huge amount. But it’s cheesy, and it reminds me of agents who charge reading fees. Personal blogging is about informing readers, entertaining readers, and tracking the daily changes in all of our lives. Especially with small blogs, where amateur bloggers like me share everything from our opinions on books, our own new book releases, and our thoughts on how goddamn tacky it is to charge people to read blogs.

And why anyone would pay .99 to read a personal blog on a Kindle passes me by. Small, personal blogs are free all over the Internet; you don’t need to pay a dime for them. And the bloggers like me who write them are more than happy to entertain you without charging you as much as a dime. And if you do have to pay, there’d better be something extremely professional and spectacular about them. And I’m thinking along the lines of a famous bestselling author sharing their personal thoughts, not someone like me who’s just writing what comes to him first thing in the morning.

I honestly hope this isn’t going to be a new trend in blogging. I hope it’s just a few opportunistic personal bloggers…with illusions of granduer…trying to cash in on the ever so popular .99 Kindle thing that’s been making the headlines everywhere these past few months. Because if paying for small, personal blogs…on Kindle or anywhere else…is going to catch on, personal blogging will never be the same again.

If I’m missing something here, please feel free to enlighten me on the comment thread. Because I honestly don’t get why anyone would pay anything to read something they can get for free.