Speaking Of Subscription Models…

from the bad-bad-idea dept

Since today seems to be “speaking of subscription model…” day, I’m going to go on a quick little rant here. I just started reading an article at MIT’s Tech Review about Handhelds of Tomorrow. I like MIT’s Tech Review. They usually have pretty good articles. A few years ago, someone from Tech Review emailed me and said how much everyone at Tech Review liked Techdirt and asked (politely) if I would include a link to Tech Review on my list of links at the bottom of the page. I did, because it always was a good read. Today, however, I’m reading this article… and when I get to the bottom the “continue” option leads to a page telling me I need to pay to read the rest of the article. Nowhere on the first page did they tell me that the part of the article they were showing me was just a teaser to get me to cough up some money. They just let you get a bit of the way into the article and then say “ha ha, pay up!”. This doesn’t make me feel particularly kind towards MIT’s Tech Review any more. It makes me feel cheated. Besides, if they’re going to charge for content, they should at least charge on an article that hasn’t already been written by almost every other (free) publication out there.

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Comments on “Speaking Of Subscription Models…”

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Jason says:

Will businesses even like a pay per use model?

I’d be curious as to the amount of businesses that won’t go for the pay per use model.. even if there is a single source (.NET?) for users / payments.. and then it dispursed to the site as usage occurs. Aren’t businesses going to want the predictability of $4.95 / user / month ? Remember the old dialup days where ISP’s oversold their networks to make money .. They were banking on the users that “forgot” or “underused” their accounts.. I’m sure AOL makes a good amount of revenue from users that don’t even use the system.

Carter (user link) says:

Re: Will businesses even like a pay per use model?

It’s funny, from an economic perspective, the most efficient distribution of a resource is to charge by the unit. This (theoretically) lowers prices to consumers and maximizes profits for corporations by eliminating waste/over-use. Unfortunately, people hate per/unit charging and love buckets.

You can see this happening now with GPRS services for cell phones. Providers started out with per/KB charges, but are now switching to bucket plans based on consumer demand.

The Misanthrope (user link) says:

MIT Goes Pay-per-view

Funny you should mention that. When I first linked to Henry Jenkins’s “Blog This” from my site, it could be read in its entirety for free. I happened to whack the link a few days later and noticed that it had taken a page out of Salon Premium’s book – a bit of teaser bait, with the “Continue reading…” bit.
While I have nothing against this – I do think good stuff is worth paying for – it did seem a bit ironic considering the article’s content.
The article can be found at:

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