Paywalls or content critics

Categories Writing

In a time when more people are creating more content and news travel fast I’m a bit perplexed by the rise of magazine pay walls. It’s not that I don’t understand publishers need to increase revenue, it’s just that I don’t see what news outlet would make me get out my Visa.
My normal reaction to a paywall is “too bad, that would have been a nice article to read”, and that is also the extent of of it.

On the other hand I probably would pay to read a blog of someone I admire/find thought provoking/funny. After all, I pay for books (even those where the content originates from a blog).

So maybe that’s a valid reason for paywalls – limiting access to columns, in-depth articles etc. The question then is, who will tell me what is worth paying for?! How many free months of access will it take for me to grow a habit? Who will play the role of the bookstore clerk/librarian and suggest material worthy of both my time and money?

I would think the real money lies in being the “critic” of content. Building a trust from knowing what’s worth ppl’s time first, and then possibly being the go-to source for good paid-for content. But that of course implies you’re not an old-school critic, working for a newspaper, because that would mean you get stuck behind the pay wall! 🙂

What content critic are you already listening to, and what sites would you pay up to use?
Maybe we also need to widen the concept of “pay”? Ads and actual money are the two everyone seems to rely on, but shouldn’t it really be a third and fourth option to explore…

Update April 21st

Econsultancy article about a possible third payment option?!

2 thoughts on “Paywalls or content critics

  1. Editors at a well renowned magazine is a good source of critic 😀

    But really, the first debate is over what kind of quality am I after? If i want to keep up with my peers – I pick up what ever magazine they’re reading, FT tends to always work.

    If i just want to learn about something new and have no current peers, your “content critic” comes into play, but. How would I know? I would only need the service when I venture into new topics – and a critic must surely find a niche? Who critiques the critic? For more on that subject I would recommed the essay “The critic as artist” by Oscar Wilde

    Other than that I would argue that a true market classification of content quality is only achieved over time and in the same way Bordeaux wines are priced. The house claiming the highest price produce the best wine – and have done so for at least a hundred years. If they were to make crap wine, they would not be able to charge what they do.

    In a free market this will always be 100% true and accurate – over time.

  2. For keeping up with peers there’s little need to venture out from what shows up on my Facebook feed… which in itself makes it unlikely I feel the need to pay my way through to news content 🙂

    As I don’t know anything about wine I won’t contest that the higher price gives you the better wine, but question is if that holds through when the original product is “the same” like with news – does the higher paid journalist ensure better told news? Does the most expensive newspaper cover more news?

    I agree editors are usually a good source, but the question still remains the same -how will I know if it’s worth the money without first paying?

    And thanks, I never mind reading a bit of Oscar Wilde 🙂

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