Scott Rosenberg sighs:
During my time at Salon we tried every online revenue strategy you can imagine: Gate off some of the content. Gate off all of the content. Don’t gate any content but ask users for cash to join a premium program. Slate tried a subscription program well before us. Many others followed. Yes, there are differences between such sites and local newspapers. Yes, 2009 is different from 2000-2002. But the fundamental lesson remains: you can get some revenue from readers, and there’s nothing wrong with trying; but if in doing so you cut yourself off from the rest of the Web in any way, you are dooming yourself to irrelevance and financial decline. Don’t make your content less valuable at the instant you’re telling people it’s going to cost them more to get it.
Well, who better to try than Rupert Murdoch? But I agree with Scott: everything we have learned so far warns against it. But the web is very dynamic and you never know.
(Artist Rob Matthews printed out all of Wikipedia’s featured articles and bound them in a 5000 page book.)
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.