by Mike Masnick

Have Web Site, Will Investigate

from the services,-not-content dept

Business Week has noticed an interesting phenomenon on the web, but then misunderstood what it means. They're writing a story about what they call "pay to read" journalism where individuals pay a "journalist" to go out and investigate a story. They focus mainly on the case of Christopher Allbritton, a former AP writer who raised $14,334 from visitors to his website to go to Iraq and file completely independent reports. Business Week wonders if this is the future of journalism having "paid content". However, this is, yet again, an example of people not paying for content but a service. It's more "pay to write" journalism than "pay to read". The visitors were paying for some future event - the ability for Allbritton to go to Iraq and write this commentary - not some already written content. The end result was then available to anyone - those who paid and those who didn't. However, those who paid got additional perks, such as earlier access to the material, additional backup materials, and the ability to interact directly with the writer. It's the perfect example of using content as a free promotional item to sell a service.

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