The End Of Free?

from the or-the-end-of-crap? dept

There have been a ton of articles like this one over the past few months talking about all the various sites that have started charging for some aspect of what they offer. This one is a bit funny because of the number of really (unintentionally) funny quotes from people trying to sound really smart in explaining why all of these sites are starting to charge money. My favorite is the following quote, which (I think) deserves the promotion of the guy who said it, simply because he got the Associated Press to publish him saying what has to be the most obvious thing ever said: “The trick to getting people to pay for online content and services is to offer something unique.” As if we thought that it was those me-too copycat sites that were going to bring in all the cash. The article is also fairly poorly researched and includes NetFlix as an example site, despite most other sites in the article being content sites – and NetFlix clearly is an ecommerce site. Anyway, what the article doesn’t mention is that most (though, certainly not all) sites that are charging are doing so because they’re desperate. Many are also not particularly creative since they’re not offering very much that is unique or worth charging for – and thus, will eventually be forced out of business.

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Austin Shau (user link) says:

End of Free?

Hey Mike, Austin here… just a quick comment.

Regarding the decline of free information, I think one network that is particularly noteworthy (and going about it in a pretty dumb way, I might add) is IGN. I’ve been visiting IGN for my electronic gaming news to satisfy the geek in me. Over the past few months (maybe more), they’ve started this IGNsider subscription thing because — like you said — they’re desperate.

First it started out as a magazine, IGN Unplugged, that you could subscribe to. Sure you could get your info free on, but could you take it with you to the bathroom, they asked? If you subscribed to their new magazine you could. (I’d probably just print out their material.)

Then the whole Nsider crap started. But, instead of offering “unique” material, they cut back on what you were used to seeing — and tried to make it seem as if you were getting premium stuff.

Example: teaser trailers and .mov files of game footage are now available in 640×480 resolution if you’re an Nsider. Matter of fact, if you’re an Nsider, you’ll be the first to see *any* teaser trailers while non-subscribers like myself have to wait another week or so.
Another example: Reviews on new games that come out are now “locked” to begin with, and then “unlocked” for non-Nsider scrubs to read. After a week.

Which is pretty funny. Because all this stuff *used* to be available to me. But now, because they need cash and are basically scaling back everything they *used* to offer, it’s “Premium?” Wow.

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