If you want to charge readers for access to your online content, it better be a hell of a lot better than what they can get for free on The Daily Beast
, The Huffington Post
, SB Nation
, The Sartorialist
, etc. It should also probably be better than every print magazine still being sold on newsstands and more interesting and entertaining than Mad Men
, Radiohead, Malcolm Gladwell and World of Warcraft
Just a guess here: It’s probably not.
People will still pay pretty good money for well-written, well-edited, well-curated, well-targetted and/or great-looking print magazines. The Economist
is just one example
. But a great magazine offers more than content; it offers an experience. The problem with online, at least as far as publishers are concerned, is that the Web itself is the experience. And people already pay a hefty monthly fee for that experience.
The Scott Karp
s and Jeff Jarvis
es of the world explained the downsides of online pay walls a long time ago: Sites behind pay walls lose access to potential audiences on Google, on Facebook, on Twitter, on forums, on blogs. You can’t link to them. The online world ignores them.
In other words, they aren’t part of the Web experience.
But maybe I'm missing something. After all, everyone from Rupert Murdoch
to Ann Moore
to Brian Segal
is talking about monetizing online content by directly charging consumers.