Free or Paid Content?
Here’s one debate I’ve been trying to explain to several top notch bloggers for some time now. While the going trend in the blogosphere has been to go free and ride on the advertising wagon, some still believe that the subscription model is doable.
There are two sides of the coin here:
- As readers, we surely want content to be free, do doubt about that. Yet, in return we see the sites and blogs offering free content dumping as much advertising as they can in return. And yes, advertising has been a proven business model for decades — that’s why we get free TV today, albeit the length of commercials are sometimes longer than the programming itself. On the web, ads are all over that some people have gone used to it and have become ad blind while others even install ad blockers on their browsers. The issue on ad blockers killing the online ad model is still another topic altogether.
- As content providers, we are also looking for ways to generate revenue from the effort and valuable content we deliver. Even those who provide ad-free blogs/websites will surely feel the weight of the cost of operation at one point or another. The ad model is good since it enables the providers to serve their content for free and allow third-party to pay for it. But sometimes advertising can be a double-edged sword too — it affects editorials, site usability, and sometimes content quality.
So, here’s a hypothetical scenario to my fellow bloggers out there — If you were to drop all the ads on your blog, deliver your RSS to full feeds and still continue your blogging rhythm, how much would you charge for monthly subscription fees?
Your answers will reflect how much you value your content and the effort you put in them. So, a Php1.00 monthly subscription might be perceived as short, low quality and infrequently updated content. The higher you go, the more value you see on your content. This will also change the writing habits of bloggers and will motivate them to stick to their niche, focus on quality content development, and take care of their readership.
As for me, I think I’d go for a Php20 monthly subscription. How about you?
Update: Here’s an interesting article from the NY Times – Pay Me for my Content.