Is The NY Times Looking To CwF + RtB?

from the sure-looks-that-way dept

One of my big complaints with all the stories from newspaper people about how they're suddenly going to put up paywalls and charge, was that they never actually talked about adding more value. They seemed to just assume people would pay, when the truth is that they've never really paid for the content. But, of course, if you can really connect with people, and give them a reason to buy, then that's something different. But "the news" alone is not a reason to buy, because it's not scarce. It's quite abundant, and if someone charges, then people will just go elsewhere. But there are plenty of scarcities that you can charge for if you're smart about it -- and it looks like the NY Times may actually be taking a more intelligent approach to its own business model.

Last week, as you hopefully know, we kicked off our latest business model experiment, by launching our CwF + RtB options, based on the formula that we've seen many musicians use successfully: Connect with Fans (CwF) + Reason to Buy (RtB) = Business Model. So it's fascinating to see some of what the NY Times is exploring for its own premium offers. While these are still apparently works in progress, some market research shows that the NYT is considering two separate added value tiers. These aren't about locking up the content, but providing additional (scarce!) value that people may find worth paying for.

For example, in the proposed silver level ($50/year) people would get early access to some stories (a la our Techdirt Crystal Ball), as well as some additional features on the site, a choice of a tote bag, baseball cap or some other products, and early access for tickets to NYT's events. Not bad. The proposed gold level ($150/year) also gives the person access to exclusive events, direct access to some of the reporters/writers/staff at the NY Times (even a newsroom tour) and some other features. This is still preliminary, but it seems like the NY Times is definitely thinking in the right direction. It's not about locking up the content that's already there. It's about providing a real reason to buy something additional that's scarce and valuable. And, certainly, given the NY Times' reputation, it has connected with many, many people. So, now let's see what happens when it gives them real reasons to buy. Who knows what model will eventually be launched or how successful it really is, but it's interesting to see the NY Times apparently stealing our idea (that's a joke, people). In all honesty, it's great to finally see a newspaper looking at adding value, not trying to take it away.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Jeff Beall (profile), Jul 27th, 2009 @ 3:42pm

    No New York Times for a Year

    So how much to get them to shut for year (a la TechDirt's $100,000,000).
    But seriously I think this is a valid idea, I read Tech Dirt all the time (Google Feed) so I ponied up a few buck today.
    If it will work for a rag like this why not the NYT?

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 3:48pm

    It won't work

    NY Times is a big name, established news organization! This would never work for a small-time info blog!

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 3:58pm

    What I don't understand is this: If they put up a "paywall" they are evil and backwards people emulating AOL's walled garden. If they put up a news delay system, and the offer to let people see the news earlier (heh?), then they are forward thinkers?

    This memo was written at 4:20

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 4:05pm

    Re:

    It depends on what the "early access" actually implies. If they just delay the news for the sake of premium access...well, then they're removing value, which will be bad.

    If it's what Mike does, though, and simply allow people access to the already-delayed-but-not-published stories, that's much better, because everyone who doesn't pay isn't losing anything.

    It really doesn't matter what you consider to be "evil" or "good". All that matters is effective business, or ineffective business.

     

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  5.  
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    Jeff Beall (profile), Jul 27th, 2009 @ 4:08pm

    Re:

    If they put up a news delay system, and the offer to let people see the news earlier (heh?), then they are forward thinkers?
    Well yes. If you were using their content for research or reference you will still have full access. The idea is to promote the freedom of information exchange and ideas, not to keep publishers from making money. If you value the resource you get to see it first, if you don't see the value you get to see the information as well just a little later.

     

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  6.  
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    lavi d (profile), Jul 27th, 2009 @ 4:24pm

    Score!

    I heard y'all like to Cwf in your Rtb, so...

     

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  7.  
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    nelsoncruz (profile), Jul 27th, 2009 @ 4:31pm

    NY Times Crystal Ball

    Hey Mike, if they call it "NY Times Crystal Ball" I hope you sue them! :D

     

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  8.  
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    Weird Harold's former #5 fan, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 4:54pm

    Mike has secretly filed for a business method patent on the "CwF + RwB" idea. He'll wait until it's fully implemented by all the major newspapers and music labels, then BAM!!

     

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  9.  
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    Robert Ring (profile), Jul 27th, 2009 @ 5:07pm

    Scarce?

    This is something that I don't get about the "scarce" aspect of RtB. The only way that "crystal ball" news is scarce is that it is artificially limited. Is there something truly scarce about this, or am I just the first genius to think about this?

     

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  10.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 27th, 2009 @ 5:29pm

    Re: Scarce?

    This is something that I don't get about the "scarce" aspect of RtB. The only way that "crystal ball" news is scarce is that it is artificially limited. Is there something truly scarce about this, or am I just the first genius to think about this?

    The scarcity is *access*. An opportunity to see behind the scenes on what we're working on...

     

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  11.  
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    White Gryphon, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 5:42pm

    Re: Scarce?

    I think a lot of people are stuck on newspapers as only having the "wham! here it is- it's happening now- in 5 minutes it won't matter" kind of stuff. In fact, a lot of articles are written over a period of time, and are released when they are done. Access to reporters as they are writing a story would be fascinating- and I could also see stuff like that being released in a staggered fashion.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 6:29pm

    Re: Re:

    "If it's what Mike does, though, and simply allow people access to the already-delayed-but-not-published stories, that's much better, because everyone who doesn't pay isn't losing anything."

    But in already delaying it, the scarcity (access to the stories) is artificially created, only by denying general users access to the stories for a period of time.

    It is the velvet ropes approach to creating scarcity, always annoying when you line up for an hour, overpay to get into a club, and then discover that it is half empty when you get in.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 27th, 2009 @ 6:40pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    But in already delaying it, the scarcity (access to the stories) is artificially created, only by denying general users access to the stories for a period of time.

    But we're not delaying the stories. They're going out at the same time they would have gone out otherwise. The crystal ball lets you see some stuff before it would have gone out. It's seeing stories in progress.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 6:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "It's seeing stories in progress."

    Are those stories in development, or mostly (as the crystal ball showed during development) stuff that is completed and just being held for later release?

    It's unlikely that a newspaper would allow readers to see stories before they are complete (risk of saying something that isn't true or completely supported by facts in a draft, example). I would say that the legal risk of allowing users to see unedited or incomplete documents would be way too high.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 7:07pm

    Uhm... didn't you make posts against this sort of thing before? Posts against newspapers that would charge for the news for the first day or so and then not charge after words? I thought Ir remember you doing such.

    Furthermore, how are you going to protect your early posts from being copied and pasted on some blog by someone who pays unless you enforce copyright?

     

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  16.  
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    Robert Ring (profile), Jul 27th, 2009 @ 7:12pm

    Re: Re: Scarce?

    I understand that the *access* is scarce, but it's *artificially* scarce. The cost of offering one more person access is essentially zero.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 7:13pm

    Re:

    (to continue where I left off) your plan almost looks like a paywall, something you have always been arguing against.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090707/0207585464.shtml

    Uhm.... perhaps if someone dug enough they could find a post where you said charging for early views is a bad idea, it seems to have always met your general attitude and I thought I remember reading that from you before.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 7:18pm

    Re:

    Here is a quote from you that seems to contradict your apparently changing business model

    "and it's nearly impossible to get a younger generation to ever agree to pay for news."

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20081121/0306092914.shtml

    Yet isn't that what you're trying to do?

     

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  19.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 27th, 2009 @ 7:38pm

    Re: Re:

    "and it's nearly impossible to get a younger generation to ever agree to pay for news."

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20081121/0306092914.shtml

    Yet isn't that what you're trying to do?


    No. We're not getting anyone to pay for news. The news itself is available elsewhere. No one is paying us for "news." What some portion of our audience is paying for is access to stories in progress. I explained this six comments ago, so I'm not really sure why I need to explain it again.

    But, to make it even clearer: we don't even report the news. And there's simply no reason to pay for "news" and no one will pay for it. But people are willing to pay for access.

    In fact, that link is a perfect example of what we talk about. That's an experiment about taking away value from readers. We didn't do that at all. We added something new (early access to stories) that provides additional value.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 8:24pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I think you are just trying to call it something else, more to do with marketing than reality. In the end, you are asking people not to pay for news, but to pay for access to the news. So you aren't paying for a hotel room, you are paying for a key to get into the hotel room?

    "We added something new (early access to stories) that provides additional value."

    At the end of the day, if the story is done (or discussable) why not just make it public? Information wants to be free, that's your motto, right?

    It's artificial scarcity, not real. Beyond the obvious sheep who will pay you for anything, is it a long term business model? After all, it isn't like anything you write about here goes particularly stale if we wait 24 hours for you to finish putting in the internal cross links.

    The news people I think have a much more viable model in the "pay to get it fresh, or wait a while for free". Their news does go stale, which creates actual scarcity in their material. Oh yeah, to address your next comment, the more news organizations that move to this sort of system, the less chance there is "free" news out there that reaches the quality of information you would get for paying. They are taking the steps to create actual scarcity, which is what you are trying to push all the time, no?

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 9:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "They are taking the steps to create actual scarcity"

    No, they are taking the steps to create artificial scarcity, not actual scarcity.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 9:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Actual scarcity isn't something that can be created. Artificial scarcity is. If it's created scarcity then it's artificial scarcity.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 9:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Not really - the reason their news reports aren't scarce is because they are widely distributed and copied, literally you can get it anywhere.

    Moving to limit distribution, or make that availability only be on a subscription basis (as it has always been in print, someone has to pay for a copy of the paper), they aren't creating artificial scarcity, they are removing "artificial infinity".

    It really depends what you consider to be the natural state of affairs.

    It is clear to me that Mike is attempting to create artificial scarcity on his project, doubly so because he is creating an artificial niche (unreleased stories), and then potentially delaying their release to maintain scarcity. Information wants to be free, both of these are naturally free, and putting them behind a paywall just creates artifical scarcity. This is Mike's own logic. You sort of have to wonder why the heck he complains about paywalls, when this is where he is going, just under the guise of selling you a t-shirt.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 9:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "It really depends what you consider to be the natural state of affairs."

    I consider it to be the state that optimizes aggregate output, that's what we should make it.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 9:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    (with a few limitations of course)

     

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  26.  
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    Douche Bag, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 10:11pm

    If you don't understand this article, please read comment number 13 for Mike's quick recap.

    If you still don't understand, then read Mike's comment again and again until it sinks into your thick skull that no one is charging for news. The news is FREE and will always be free.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 11:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    non-answer. Does aggregate output increase if we kill all the news source and have only one left?

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 12:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Scarce?

    I understand that the *access* is scarce, but it's *artificially* scarce. The cost of offering one more person access is essentially zero.

    What you're saying in akin to saying "the Emperor has no clothes". Better be careful with that, the loyal around here may come after you with pitchforks and torches.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 12:06am

    Re:

    read Mike's comment again and again until it sinks into your thick skull

    Ah yes, ad hominem attacks always make for such a valid point.

     

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  30.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 28th, 2009 @ 2:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If you clearly mark it as 'unedited/incomplete', and I dunno, maybe even ask readers for help (which would be the CwF part), then you might even get better reporting instead of a legal risk.

     

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  31.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 28th, 2009 @ 2:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Scarce?

    What you get with the crystal ball is an opportunity to see (before the rest) what stories they are working on.
    It's not artificially created in as such, that the release times of the stories themselves haven't changed at all, subscribers merely get to see stories as they are being written. A paywall as many would describe it, means that no-one else gets access, unless they pay. But everyone gets access here.

    Would you say that a restaurant-owner, who allows certain customers, who pay extra, a peek into his kitchen to show them how their food is being prepped, also creates an artificial scarcity, or would you call that extra service?

     

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  32.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 28th, 2009 @ 2:45am

    Re: Re:

    well it really seems that certain commenters here on the blog are particularly obtuse in understanding the concept of added value in contrast of detracted value.

    But I'll try to recap it once again (to help lift the burden on Mike's shoulders of doing so):

    Mike&co write news-stories, which are then put in a delayed release-list.
    Before Crystal Ball, we had no way of accessing that info earlier, than the release moment of said news-stories. So everyone got access at the same time.
    Now, with Crystal Ball, some people (the ones who pay for it) get access to these stories BEFORE they are released to the site. The delay cycle hasn't changed a bit. The stories still are in that queue, and will still be released at the same time that they normally would have before the Crystal Ball existed.

    So non-paying visitors still have access to the stories, paying visitors merely get a peek into Masnick's kitchen to see what's brewing in there.

    A paywall, which is often mentioned in this case, means, you don't get access at all, unless you pay. This clearly isn't that.

     

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  33.  
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    eclecticdave (profile), Jul 28th, 2009 @ 5:55am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The odd thing about the access offer is that in this particular case it's kind of both scarce and infinite.

    What I mean is, it's scarce in the sense that you don't have to allow anyone to peek into your kitchen - but as soon you decide to do so, since this is a virtual/digital kitchen, there is no limit to the number of people that can peek.

    I think the real point here is that there is no competition involved here, you don't get to negotiate the price so there is no pressure for the price to tend towards zero as would normally be the case for an infinite resource.

    This would cease to be the case if one or more purchasers of Crystal Ball republished the content - then I would expect market forces to kick in and force Mike to either offer this service for free or else withdraw the service entirely.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 6:30am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "A paywall, which is often mentioned in this case, means, you don't get access at all, unless you pay. This clearly isn't that."

    A paywall is something that restricts of limits access to anything by cost, as defined here by Mike and the users a long, long time ago. That the paywall "protects" only a smaller subset of the content doesn't change it's function.

    "Mike&co write news-stories, which are then put in a delayed release-list."

    That's part of the issue. If it's really news, just release it. Delaying news is like moving us from the internet age back to the newspaper age, where you had to wait for some non-news daily event to get the news (printing in that case). If stories are not being displayed only because they are delayed, then they pretty much are not news by the time we see them.

    "So non-paying visitors still have access to the stories, paying visitors merely get a peek into Masnick's kitchen to see what's brewing in there."

    At the end of the day, it's still a paywall, no matter how you slice it. Even if the access option is paid for in t-shirts or Malibu Grand Prix laps, it's the same thing.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 6:31am

    Re: Re:

    If you don't agree with me, you are an idiot that obviously doesn't understand. Right. ;)

     

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  36.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 28th, 2009 @ 6:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That could mean that us European folks get one HUGE update to process, while the American folks get it in smaller chunks during the day.

    I think the delay works very nicely.

    BTW, before the Crystal Ball, did you ever notice the delay?

     

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  37.  
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    Josie, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 7:46am

    How excellent! I hope I see this action taken by every major news publication!

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 8:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    1) Paywalls are bad because they drive viewers away, not because they are paywalls. You're arguing semantics here. So what if you want to call it a "limited paywall"? Go right ahead, it doesn't change anything. The only thing that matters is if it will drive viewers away or not.

    2) Not all articles are hot-news reports. The ones that are hot-news items obviously won't be delayed because speed is key for those, but there are plenty of other stories that can be (and probably are) delayed without any negative effects.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 8:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I doubt that would be the case, really. The people that pay for the Crystal Ball probably don't care about the early access that much, it just happens to be an added bonus for supporting a site that they enjoy.

    Obviously I don't have the statistics to back my claim up, but it does make sense. The articles are already free, so someone who would settle for the republished content at a slightly later time probably wouldn't have paid in the first place.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Scarce?

    A paywall as many would describe it, means that no-one else gets access, unless they pay. But everyone gets access here.

    I predict that eventually, some day, the Wall Street Journal will open its archives to everyone. So that means that the stories it is supposedly charging for today are merely being delayed until then. Hence, there is no paywall at the WSJ either.

    Would you say that a restaurant-owner, who allows certain customers, who pay extra, a peek into his kitchen to show them how their food is being prepped, also creates an artificial scarcity, or would you call that extra service?

    There are a number of restaurants in my area that give food away for free. Yes, free! Of course, those who are willing to pay a little extra can actually go inside and eat first. Call it "extra service", if you will. Others have to wait until the scraps are thrown into the dumpster at the end of the night to get their "free" food.

     

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  41.  
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    eclecticdave (profile), Jul 28th, 2009 @ 10:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You could well be correct in that.

    Nevertheless, I've thought about it some more and I maintain that what the Crystal Ball part of the experiment makes clear is that "access" can be an infinite good.

    Clearly access is often a scarce good - Mike's offer to join some purchasers for a meal for example - there is only a limited number of people that can possibly fit in the restaurant while Mike is there!

    In the case of the Crystal Ball - there is no limit to the number of participants and it costs nothing extra to provide the service to each additional member - that is the definition of an infinite good is it not?

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think it is why some of us react negatively to this idea, because it appears to break two of Mike's very basic rules:

    Paywalls suck.

    Don't charge for infinite goods. Information wants to be free, let it be free.

    If anything, by creating the crystal ball, Mike has now pointed out to all the regular visitors that they are getting a delayed feed, not everything. In a weird way, he has relegated everyone to second class status. The marketing guy in me says you should never make your users feel second class.

    I am sure in the short run Mike will sell looooots of t-shirts, but the real question will be the longer term viability of the concept, do the shirts continue to sell as a rate that justifies this as a business, or is this a one time rush on a new idea? It comes to back to the question of "how many t-shirts do people really need?"

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Scarce?

    Arguing semantics still?

    The only thing that matters is how users react. That's it. Period.

    Call it a paywall all you want. Call it DRM. Call it copyright. Call it a deal with the devil. No matter what you want to name it, the fact still remains: Are you making money off of it, and is it hurting your business?

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But he's not charging for an infinite good. He's charging for the value tacked onto that infinite good.

    To explain with an example, it's like water. Charging for water is stupid, because water is extremely plentiful. However, many companies charge for the water delivery systems, which are not plentiful. Likewise, some companies charge for more valuable water (bottled water), because it is "better" than the water your normally get (of course, this is becoming a case of false advertising, in which case it'll crash dramatically some time if it continues).

    What Mike has repeated many times isn't that you shouldn't charge for infinite goods, but that relying on keeping infinite remaining finite does not work. If you can make money off of an infinite resource, then all the power to you.

    Granted, I do agree that regular visitors will now feel second class. However, one of the major questions is: how many people care? TechDirt doesn't rely on breaking news to get its viewers and readers, so will knowledge of the existing delay actually cause problems? If it hurts the viewers, then of course the smart thing is to stop any delays, and refund Crystal Ball purchases (or exchange it for another bonus). If nothing changes for the negative, though, why not charge for early access?

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Like most people who criticize his views on paywalls, you miss Mike's point entirely.

    Paywalls are not bad because they are paywalls.

    Paywalls are bad when they drive away your customers. That's all.

    If you can implement a paywall without negatively impacting your business, that is a good thing. In fact, it would probably be recommended, since you're missing a perfectly good money-making opportunity otherwise.

    The nature of Mike's "paywalls" probably won't drive away readers, purely by the nature of this site. If they do drive people away, I expect Mike to be smart enough to fix the mistake. If they don't cause any negative impact...well, then it's good business sense. Which has been Mike's stance all along: doing smart business is good.

     

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  46.  
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    Nasch, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Scarce?

    I understand that the *access* is scarce, but it's *artificially* scarce. The cost of offering one more person access is essentially zero.

    That is true, sort of. The difference here compared to most infinite goods is the scarcity is time. Anybody with access could copy the crystal ball content to their own blog/feed/whatever. However, it's not like a movie or song where once it's copied the scarcity is gone. It would have to get copied all the time, as soon as it's posted, in order to totally remove the scarcity from the crystal ball.

    Given the price (not much IIRC) compared to the hassle of copying it, I would think anyone that interested in TD would just subscribe. OTOH, if the crystal ball fails, it can just be discontinued - Mike hasn't built the whole business on protecting this artificial scarcity, unlike SOME COMPANIES we can all think of.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 3:08pm

    Re:

    "If they put up a "paywall" they are evil..."

    Who's saying they're evil? We're saying they're stupid.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "That's part of the issue. If it's really news, just release it."

    Ok, here is someone who clearly has never run a news/information site or blog, and has no idea about the publishing cycle or even WHY people delay things.

    For instance, because they want to proofread them a bit before releasing them, or maybe they want to check their sources first, but already have most of it written. Or maybe they only had time to write HALF of it and had to go out for a smoke. Should they release it right now? HELL NO, IDIOT.

    Try any content management system sometime, you'll notice a nice little check box that says "publish". So yes, instead of writing it down on your Notepad like some sort of neanderthal and then pasting it and releasing it at the same time, people CREATE their articles, then EDIT them until it is the way they LIKE it. And then they PUBLISH it.

    ARRRGH seriously, the ignorant always trying to find some sort of evil "conspiracy" about the evil article writers that don't just post their drafts and manuscripts for everyone to see before they're ready or before they are satisfied the way tey look.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 3:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Scarce?

    Good point. Except you're saying that, the restaurant that allows people to sit and eat for free, and pay a little extra to take a peek into the kitchen or get some sort of unique specialty are JUST AS BAD as those that want people to pay for their food, or otherwise send them to the dumpster.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 4:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Scarce?

    Call it a paywall all you want.

    Fine, now we've got that settled.

    No matter what you want to name it, the fact still remains: Are you making money off of it, and is it hurting your business?

    Is that supposed to be a "fact" or a question? Talk about semantics, I really don't understand yours.

     

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  51.  
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    eclecticdave (profile), Jul 28th, 2009 @ 4:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > But he's not charging for an infinite good. He's charging for the value tacked onto that infinite good.

    I'm not sure what you mean when you try to separate the value from the good like that.

    Certainly Crystal Ball has value, but that doesn't make it scarce. Music has value, but isn't scarce.

    "Access to content" is no different to "Distribution of content" particularly on the internet. It's irrelevant whether you choose to label to content imcomplete or in-progress - it's still infinite.

    Access to the content creator on the other hand is indisputably scarce - but that's not what this is.

    I should point out BTW that I have nothing against the Crystal Ball offer myself, it's perfectly OK as far as I'm concerned and I don't buy this first-class/second-class citizen idea. It's an infinite good (because it's just content) and as such it adds value if you purchase one of the other options, or if you just want to support Techdirt.

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 4:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Scarce?

    Except you're saying that, the restaurant that allows people to sit and eat for free, and pay a little extra to take a peek into the kitchen or get some sort of unique specialty are JUST AS BAD as those that want people to pay for their food, or otherwise send them to the dumpster.

    Umm, no. I didn't say either one was bad or better than the other or anything like that.

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2009 @ 8:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Scarce?

    Is that supposed to be a "fact" or a question? Talk about semantics, I really don't understand yours.

    That would be the sad result of rewriting part of a sentence without changing the other relevant parts. Either way, the point still stands: Paywalls are bad only if they hurt your business.

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2009 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I probably should have said "additional value". That probably would have made this much more clear.

    The idea is to charge for value that is separate from the infinite good. In this case, the infinite good is of course words, information and ideas, and those can be spread anywhere and everywhere.

    I think one of the things you're getting hung up on is that you see the Crystal Ball purely as "early access", and thus think it's infinite because of that. If that was true, I could buy the Crystal Ball, re-post the articles almost instantly, and then all the value would be lost.

    I doubt that, though, because I don't see the real value being in the early access (in fact, I'm curious to know how many buyers actually care that much about it), I see the value being in that you're getting something from TechDirt.

    That's really where the scarcity lies, in that you can only get that value in one place. It's sorta like getting a signed photo from an actor. The photograph on its own isn't worth much - you could probably print one off from the internet for free. Heck, you can probably get one from the internet with a signature included. The real value is that the actor was the one signing it.

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2009 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Scarce?

    Either way, the point still stands: Paywalls are bad only if they hurt your business.

    I agree. While a paywall is a paywall, that doesn't mean that it's bad.

     

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  56.  
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    eclecticdave (profile), Jul 29th, 2009 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > If that was true, I could buy the Crystal Ball, re-post the articles almost instantly, and then all the value would be lost.

    But it is true! You absolutely could repost the articles, that's what makes them infinite.

    > I see the value being in that you're getting something from TechDirt.

    Sorry I still don't see what you are getting that is in addition to the content. Unless you mean a "warm fuzzy feeling" in which case I think that's probably an infinite good as well ;-)

    > It's sorta like getting a signed photo from an actor. The photograph on its own isn't worth much - you could probably print one off from the internet for free. Heck, you can probably get one from the internet with a signature included. The real value is that the actor was the one signing it.

    The photo that the actor personally signed is scarce ... but the "signed" copy from the internet is infinite. The difference being that the former has a naturally limited supply, the latter does not.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2009 @ 8:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > The photo that the actor personally signed is scarce ... but the "signed" copy from the internet is infinite. The difference being that the former has a naturally limited supply, the latter does not.

    I think this is where you're getting hung up on. A signed photo is nothing more than an image with a neat scrawl on it. If the image and the scrawl was all that people cared about, then I could make a high quality scan of it, release it to the public, and no one would ever bother getting their own directly from the actor.

    But that doesn't work. Why not? Sentimental value. A genuine signed photo is worth much more than an exact replica purely because of sentimental reasons. Even if I could copy the signature exactly by hand, using the same photo and pen, anyone that knows it's a fake will think that it's worthless.

    You don't see the value because you don't care about TechDirt all that much. Which is fine, I don't really think the Crystal Ball is worth buying either. The point is that some people DO see value in it, and are willing to pay for it (maybe...we'll have to see the market notes).

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2009 @ 12:57pm

    A signed photo is nothing more than an image with a neat scrawl on it. If the image and the scrawl was all that people cared about, then I could make a high quality scan of it, release it to the public, and no one would ever bother getting their own directly from the actor.

    If you're talking about selling it as if though it were an original, then you're talking about criminal fraud. That's an entirely different subject. Not that people haven't tried it, but it's not really what's being discussed.

    But that doesn't work. Why not? Sentimental value. A genuine signed photo is worth much more than an exact replica purely because of sentimental reasons.

    It's worth more because of market demand, whatever the reason, sentimental or not.

     

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  59.  
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    eclecticdave (profile), Jul 30th, 2009 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > Sentimental value. A genuine signed photo is worth much more than an exact replica purely because of sentimental reasons. Even if I could copy the signature exactly by hand, using the same photo and pen, anyone that knows it's a fake will think that it's worthless.

    A single genuine phone would indeed usually be worth more than a single replica - no argument there. But what if you used a photocopier to make a million replicas?

    I think you are confusing two different things here. The price of an item is composed of two different aspects - there's a "value judgement" against the item which determines how desirable it is, and a determination of how scarce the item is.

    Let's see if a different example helps. Imagine if there were only one diamond and one lump of coal in the world. The diamond would (probably) command a higher price than the coal due to it's greater beauty.

    However if diamonds were so plentiful you had to keep kicking them out of the way when you walked down the street, they would still be just as pretty, but they would be essentially worthless.

    The key thing here is for an infinite good the effect of the unlimited availability completely swamps the initial value judgement - it doesn't matter how desirable it is the price always ends up at zero.

     

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