With the recent decision by Kottke.org to be reader supported, I'm curious to see how you value your daily reads?
February 22, 2005 11:39 AM   Subscribe

With the recent decision by kottke.org to be solely reader-supported, I'm curious to see how you value your reads. Would you be willing to pay $30 a year for Metafilter? More? Less? How about for some up-and-coming web magazines that operate on a daily basis, say The Morning News, The Black Table, etc.? And how much for up-to-the-second pro blogs in the Gawker empire where advertising is used? Gawker? Gizmodo? Wonkette, etc? How much for Boing Boing were it to be ad free? How much for Fark? How much for the individuals' blogs you frequent? And for some Kottke.org fans who don't see $30 as a micropayment, how much would you be willing to pay for a year of his content? Curious to see what range of dollar-value folks assign to their daily reads that are currently free to access. Please name and value other sites of your choosing.
posted by Dukebloo to Computers & Internet (49 answers total)
I would probably pay $30 per annum for Metafilter or The Hun's Yellow Pages. Or I might feel obstinate and try to find a free replacement. Depends on how good I feel about my wallet when you ask-- but if I didn't feel like paying that day, I probably wouldn't go back and do it later even when I felt like I could-- I'm sure I would find that I didn't need it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:45 AM on February 22, 2005

I don't think individually, but see the web becoming rather like cable TV. I would, say, pay $30/month for a grouping of websites: NYTimes + MeFi + ESPN +access to 100 other similar editorial sites. If you wanted to add premium sites like WSJ.com or Playboy, the individual access fees would be added to your bill. You would not be able to pay for just MeFi.

There are so many websites out there I wouldn't mind subscribing to a service that culls the cream of the crop and guards access. It also serves as an incentive for websites to improve their content, so that they my one day join a 'network'.
posted by remlapm at 11:46 AM on February 22, 2005

I much prefer ads to subscriptions. Although there may be plenty of people willing to pay for content, I am generally not (the $5.00 one time charge was really pushing it, for me). I don't care about ads, bring 'em on. Yes, I prefer less intrusive ones.

A disadvantage (or advantage, perhaps) of pay-to-play is that it limits the user base. I am rather opposed to that, but perhaps if I had been one of the fortunate few who was a mefi member before the unwashed masses came in I would think otherwise. Certainly more answers is often better.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 11:48 AM on February 22, 2005

This is an interesting question.

Personally, I'm generally unwilling to spend anything for internet sites. I don't even like registering, and that doesn't cost me anything but time. I like free access.

I paid money to join Metafilter, but that's because I liked the community and wanted to be able to interact with the users. I wouldn't pay just to read it. I won't pay to read Kottke. I wouldn't pay to read any of the weblogs I frequent (and I read dozens). I'd never ask readers to donate to me for my weblog. It just seems wrong. For me.

One of the great joys of the internet is the free flow of information and opinion. When financial elements enter the picture, this flow becomes less free, and not just in a financial sense.

Still, there are web sites I would pay to use (though none of them are weblogs). I would pay good money for access to google ($100/year? $200/year?). I would pay for the wikipedia ($50/year?), which has quietly become one of my most-used sites. I might pay for one or two other sites (Project Gutenberg?), but all of them would have to be rather focused, and all of them would have to provide life-changing content, by which I mean content that alters the way I act on a day-to-day basis. (Which both google and wikipedia both have, but Metafilter and Kottke have not.)

(I've paid money to audible.com, also, but I actually receive something tangible in return. Well, tangible in a virtual sense.)
posted by jdroth at 11:49 AM on February 22, 2005

I would easily pay $30/year for MeFi, but I can't think of any other individual blog I'd pay for. Now if an entire network of blogs were to levy a blanket charge, there is a possibility I would be moved to open my wallet - but only if it contained a MeFi or a Slashdot.
posted by bwerdmuller at 11:50 AM on February 22, 2005

I only pay for sites that require you to pay to be an upstanding member. That includes the Straight Dope message board and Something Awful. I also prefer one-time fees to annual fees, since annual forces me to re-evaluate the worth which is not fun for me. One-time fees can be just spur of the moment splurges.

I will also kick $5-10 to someone who has a ton of good content, like Dan's Data. And I'll give money to things that are essentially charities, like Wikipedia.

As an example of what I consider too much, there is Flickr. I really like their service but what I would gain out of a premium account is definitely not worth $40/year to me.
posted by smackfu at 12:00 PM on February 22, 2005

It depends on how the pay model changed the site itself. Salon Table Talk probably would have been worth paying for, but after you had to pay for it, it was no longer worth paying for, because most of the interesting people had left. Without a major change in the way we view Internet content, almost any blog that required a subscription would quickly become irrelevant, since no one would link to it and it would be left out of the cross-pollination that most successful blogs thrive on. Look at the reaction when someone links to a pay-only article on the front page of Metafilter. And no, I admit that I almost certainly wouldn't pay to support a site that it was possible to read for free. I have a blog and I've turned down offers of donations because I feel like I get as much or more out of it than anyone who reads it.
posted by transona5 at 12:06 PM on February 22, 2005

It's a tough one. I read a lot of "pro blogs" (like engadget) already, and I suspect many other MeFites do as well. If I even pitched in $5/yr for each of my regular reads, it would add up to a few hundred dollars. And while I obviously think that these sites have value, and wouldn't want to begrudge their authors what's fair, I'd have to pick and choose.

I have pitched in a little bit to some websites in the past--usually $5 or $10. I think that if more websites had a "give me $1" or "give me $2" button, a lot of them would probably get that $1-2 from me.
posted by adamrice at 12:13 PM on February 22, 2005

I'd pay for here, but would prefer that there were ads instead--a skyscraper along the side, banners at the bottom etc. Even a popunder.
posted by amberglow at 12:33 PM on February 22, 2005

I'd pay for here, but would prefer that there were ads instead--a skyscraper along the side, banners at the bottom etc. Even a popunder.

And what adamrice said--giving a buck or 2 is easier than 20 or more.
posted by amberglow at 12:33 PM on February 22, 2005

posted by amberglow at 12:35 PM on February 22, 2005

On second thought, I've realized that I would (and should) pay for AskMetafilter. Of this entire family, I like the green the best; I value it highly.
posted by jdroth at 12:35 PM on February 22, 2005

I already do subscribe to blogs, including Metafilter. Since they're free, these are voluntary subscriptions.

My standard is: do I get as much enjoyment from the blog as I do a good print magazine, e.g. The Atlantic or The New Republic? If yes, then I kick in $25/year, about what a year's sub costs for these titles. Right now, beyond MeFi, I'm contributing to Lileks and Andy Sullivan, and in the past I've supported the Footballs That May Not Be Named. If they weren't part of larger publications I'd do the same for Mickey Kaus and Kevin Drum.

So yes, Metafilter is easily worth an extra finn (fin?) a year.
posted by mojohand at 12:42 PM on February 22, 2005

Would you be willing to pay $30 a year for Metafilter?

I shouldn't admit this, but I'd pay $30/year. Wait, I already probably average $20-$40/year in donations. It's all cool.

I also really enjoy sites with optional donations via PayPal. I love the moon and so use the free moon phases calculator on my website and so chip them a few bucks every now and again. When I post to my blog from work I use PhotoBucket for img storage (I can't FTP from work), so I occasionally give them a bit.

And I REALLY like the idea of micropayments for art/music, and I actually enjoy paying (via BitPass) Scott McCloud and others to read their work online. I think micropayments and BitPass should be encouraged as the way of the future. Online comics are still a tiny fraction of the cost of paper comics.

It's just great to be able to give $.25 or $5 or $20 to any worthy cause, even the Humane Society, online at the click of a button. Much better than all the (waste of paper) letters I receive, often with marketing tricks like a nickel or address labels in the envelope (alerting me that a large marketing firm is doing the begging and taking a large % for themselves), asking me for minimum donations of $25-$40.
posted by Shane at 12:44 PM on February 22, 2005

I watch Salon's "free day pass" ads almost every day. I find it hard to pay for online content.

(Just to clarify, Kottke's not asking anyone to pay to view his site's content. He's asking for donations so he can concentrate more on his site and make it better.)
posted by fletchmuy at 12:45 PM on February 22, 2005

I wonder how many people have, as I did, realized as they read this thread that they were overdue for a donation to MeFi. I bet Matt'll do OK today.
posted by mojohand at 12:51 PM on February 22, 2005

No way. The more of the web that is locked away, the less useful it is to me professionally and personally. It's already bad enough with the fee-based archives at newspapers and journals. Subscriptions will mean I never read the content. If I had to pay a dime for every web site I visit at least once a year, it would cost me thousands of dollars a year. Very little of the content is worth it, including Jason's site. He's a nice fellow, I like to see what he's up to, and we have some acquaintances in common, but unless he's giving me super-sekrit inside info I can't get anywhere else, the most he'll get out of me is the cost of a beer the next time we see each other socially.

Now, that said, I do take out advertising on sites I like, but then, I get something out of the deal, too. Not including the $25 I gave to the scholarship fund, over the last three years I have given Matt $170 in advertising revenue. Not a lot, but I like to think it helped him as much as it helped me.

And like everyone else is saying, $30 is not a micropayment. $.03 is a micropayment.
posted by Mo Nickels at 1:01 PM on February 22, 2005

I should say: if subscription is optional, that is, if I can view the content without paying, then I will.
posted by Mo Nickels at 1:02 PM on February 22, 2005

I'm planning on paying the $30 to Kottke.org as soon as my student loan check gets here. But I can't say I'd do the same for Metafilter's main page content. The blue is amusing, and occasionally interesting, but not worth me paying for it. The same goes for BoingBoing(where the ads are usually so well targeted I actually like them being there). I paid $5 to join MetaFilter, which lets me interact in the green here. I might consider donating again, it depends on if I continue to use it.

I can't think of many other blogs I'd pay for really. Not SlashDot, since these days I usually find out about things before they're posted there, the editorial quality isn't so great, and the comments are a huge mass of snarky uselessness.

At the same time I see nothing wrong with a dedicated blogger asking for donations from time to time, which allows me to pay when I feel like I've gained something valuable from them, as opposed to feeling like I've been ripped off if I have a busy month and can't check in or all the content isn't interesting to me.
posted by ElfWord at 1:03 PM on February 22, 2005

I don't really want to pay anything for online content. I'll watch ads (Salon) or maybe glance at your sidebar ad. I kick in five or ten bucks per year to two cycling sites that I like, cyclingforum.com and fixedgear gallery which are both free but ask for voluntary contributions.

If I was forced to pay I sorta like remplam's plan of a bundle of web sites, like cable TV.
posted by fixedgear at 1:06 PM on February 22, 2005

I don't understand why people have an issue paying for content. People have it done it for centuries: newspapers, novels, etc etc. It's all content.

I would pay a yearly fee for MetaFilter, absolutely. Although with money comes expectations, and I think I'd like to see the site a little more stable than it is (*cough* JRun *cough*) in order to feel comfortable subscribing to it.
posted by xmutex at 1:08 PM on February 22, 2005

Of all the major free sites I visit on a daily basis, I would probably only pay for MetaFilter, Television Without Pity, Lileks, Arts & Letters Daily, the Gawker media sites, The Onion, Ain't it Cool News, and MetaCritic. I'd probably be willing to pay about $25 annually for those sites. There might be a few other smaller sites (blogs, etc.) I'd be willing to pay for, but in much smaller amounts.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:10 PM on February 22, 2005

I guess I would pay 30.00 a year for metafilter since I come here on a daily basis and I feel I gain enough from this site to warrant that amount of money. I might feel different if I couldn't contribute and I was just reading #1's musings.

I dole out 20-30 bucks a month for Kingdom of Loathing (I am unnaturally attached to that game). I also play that game on a daily basis and it is worth it to me - I realize that amount may seem excessive to others, but I must have all the familiars!!!! If I was required to pay this amount however just to access the game, I wouldn't bother.

The one webcomic (Questionable Content) I read on a daily basis, I support by buying items he sells and I would be willing to throw down 30 - 40 bucks for yearly access.
posted by Julnyes at 1:11 PM on February 22, 2005

i would probably pay $30 for metafilter, but few other sites. there's a big difference between paying $30 to support a community you are a part of and paying $30 to read someone's personal blog.
posted by nequalsone at 1:14 PM on February 22, 2005

After a 3 month vacation that left me mostly web-blind, I found that I didn't miss any of it: MeFi, Plastic, CNN.com, weather.com, Google or Hotmail.

I did get Hotmail Plus ($20/year) just so I did not have to log in once every 30 days. As for news and weather, I can generally get all I need from the the top half of the dead-wood version of the USA Today front page.

I have not yet found a blog to whom I would donate (although The Misanthropic Bitch came close). I occasionally threw $5 to MeFi or Plastic when situations became dire, but with certain recent events on both sites, I won't anymore.
posted by mischief at 1:16 PM on February 22, 2005

The difference between MetaFilter and Kottke is the community. Here you can participate, at Kottke you just read. I would gladly pay $30/yr for MetaFilter, but probably would not pay for Kottke just to read his collection of links. If he had original content, like AndrewSullivan, then perhaps.
posted by caddis at 1:23 PM on February 22, 2005

I like the Kottke, kinda for historical reasons, although he has shaped my academic career a little by introducing me to some cool stuff. I would rather pay to subscribe to a package of blogs, and just pay a buck at a shot, so when I went to the site I could renew for 2 months for a dollar and not feel it so much.

The askme has probably saved me hundreds of dollars. I know from experience that once you start asking for money, it changes the vibe of the place, and the rules of engagement.
posted by craniac at 1:37 PM on February 22, 2005

Kottke's fund drive reminds me of public radio and public tv drives. Except that Kottke isn't like NPR or PBS.

I'd pay for metafilter, Television Without Pity, my hometown newspaper, and google. That's probably it. And I'd want to play monthly, so that I could voice my opinion by stopping payment. Which is why I might give Kottke $2.50 right now, but then I'd want to see how things go for a month before I ponied (ponyed?) up more money.
posted by dpx.mfx at 1:40 PM on February 22, 2005

I will pay for content or a community as addictive as crack say (guess which one). I don't know too many blogs that provide "content" in the way that I mean, interviews articles, films, images, stuff... If it's a link-out-only type of blog.. Nah, not so much perhaps.
posted by dabitch at 1:41 PM on February 22, 2005

ps, missed dpx.mfx on preview but yes I would prefer monthly as well and have full understanding for those who like that type of setup. A year feels like a big commitment to try a new thing out as well.
posted by dabitch at 1:43 PM on February 22, 2005

remlapm, you're right on. i have been expecting to see web services that lump together memberships to various sites for one price, similar to the way that we pay for cable television, but for premium content. for instance, maybe a subscription for $150/yr that includes access to nyt archives, mediabistro's avantguild, and wwd content and archives.
posted by kelegraph at 1:46 PM on February 22, 2005

I pay $50 a year for MeFi, and gladly. But I agree with transona5 that if it was mandatory, the place would probably change for the worse.
posted by fuzz at 1:56 PM on February 22, 2005

Sure, I would pay.
posted by xammerboy at 1:59 PM on February 22, 2005

My 5$ metafilter account was the first time I paid money to a site that was not in exchange for a tangible object. Other than that, I'm hard pressed to think of what I sites / services I would willingly pay for in addition to paying for the monthly connection to the internet in the first place. If the connection were free, then maybe I'd be more inclined to micropay for some microcontent. For instance, if metafilter went to a 50$ a year subscription model I know I wouldn't go for it, cut that in half and I probably still wouldn't go for it. If I had a subsidized internet connection, I'd probably put a "month's worth" of its current cost towards the *filter family once a year if I had to.
posted by safetyfork at 2:19 PM on February 22, 2005

I'd pay $30 annually for MeFi. I'm most of the way there anyways, being moved to give after the Suicide Girl discussion.

$30 is six to ten drinks at a bar, depending on where you're drinking. I get a whole lot more satisfaction out of MeFi than that. Plus I don't have to brave the restroom.
posted by sacre_bleu at 2:21 PM on February 22, 2005

I would take back that last emphasis if I could. A daily read of a different sort: I would pay a small fee for a well designed web-based email solution that had an excellent search and good storage capacity (but I'm happy it's currently free).
posted by safetyfork at 2:26 PM on February 22, 2005

I didn't mind paying the $5 to signup here at all. I already spend €50 per year as a subscriber on Boards.ie. I get some extra features but mainly because I love the site and it wouldn't exist if people didn't donate.
posted by daveirl at 2:37 PM on February 22, 2005

On second thought, I've realized that I would (and should) pay for AskMetafilter. Of this entire family, I like the green the best; I value it highly.

I value the green as well, but I consider myself to be paying for it by answering questions to the best of my ability and in accordance with my professional training (Most of the time, anyway). Were Ask.Me a subscription site, I'd have serious second thoughts about donating my mad MLIS sk1llz so somebody else can charge for my work.

Contributing to a resource that anyone can read for the price of staring at a textad is a joy, however.
posted by stet at 3:00 PM on February 22, 2005

I'd concur: if anything, I'd pay for Ask Metafilter before I'd pay for vanilla Metafilter. It's better, more informative, smarter, easier-to-read, less show-offy, and the first weblog I hit every morning, after my own. I don't mind giving my thoughts, experience, and knowledge so Matt benefits: I ain't doing anything with most of it, so he might as well.
posted by Mo Nickels at 4:04 PM on February 22, 2005

I paid for Daring Fireball, though am rather still waiting for the good content to begin to flow again.

I used to pay for the Well, but left in favour of this place and would pay for it if I had to. I can't think of any other sites that I'd pay for if they suddenly demanded it. There's almost nothing on the web that's unique.

Actually, I'd pay for gmail, and [this site]. That's it.
posted by bonaldi at 4:57 PM on February 22, 2005

I don't pay for content, period. (Well, I guess I ponied up $5 for this, but that paying for the privilege of being abused - not for the content).
posted by spock at 5:38 PM on February 22, 2005

My $5 was so I could join in on the green. The blue and the gray are icing, but I wouldn't have paid for posting privileges there.

I enjoy Kottke, and, in fact, his is the only solo blog I read frequently (daily, actually). But I don't plan on putting money up. I'm happy for him, that he's doing this, and I hope he has success with it. But if I had any extra money, I'd put it towards MeFi. That's moot, though.
posted by Alt F4 at 6:05 PM on February 22, 2005

Things I would pay for/have paid for online:

Metafilter: Would definitely pay for this place. It's been a usual daily link of mine for years. Even more so now with askme. I come to the green more than the blue these days.

Fark: I've paid for totalFark before. The only reason I don't anymore is that I just couldn't keep up with it.

ViewAskew Message Board: I made a donation to be a member of this group. As a regular, I like it there.

There are a few more, but the point is, I would pay for a community site if it was worth it to me.

A personal weblog? Sorry, won't pay for it. There are tons and tons of blogs out there for me to check out. I just don't see the value at all. I honestly don't see kottke.org doing anything different from a ton of other blogs out there. Like the totalFark thing above, I can hardly keep up with the information overload anyway.

I wish him the best of luck, but damn, that's quite a stretch.
posted by punkrockrat at 6:23 PM on February 22, 2005

It took me three years to pay $5 to join Metafilter, even though I read it regularly. Something in me rebels at the idea of paying for websites, although I will and have donated to the ones I value who ask for it. But I'm much more inclined to give voluntarily than to pay - I have no problem with the NPR model, it makes me feel like I'm helping out. If I had to pay to listen? I wouldn't listen. And, $5 is doable, but $30 is a pretty big sum for me to spend all at once.
posted by mygothlaundry at 6:36 PM on February 22, 2005

No, I wouldn't subscribe to any blogs or forums (including this one)*. Part of it could be my current finances, sure. But even if I won the lottery tomorrow I wouldn't start dishing out the dough. (Y'all must be leasing SUVs, living in Miami, and buying big screen TVs.)

I would however donate something (occasionally) but it's likely to be much less than $30/yr. Hell, I sometimes decide not to register for a site because it requires a verified email.

Somehow paying for online content seems radical or something. It's not at all comparable to cable. I can scream and yell at VH1 all I want and I won't get banned or pulled into meta. It's just not the same.

*This was actually a gift from a very nice person.
posted by Jim Jones at 6:53 PM on February 22, 2005

I happily pay for anything I enjoy regularly, both as a thank you for what I've already gotten out of it and in the hope that I can continue getting more of the same. I donated to kottke, I've donated to NPR, MeFi, Salon, The Morning News, my local college radio station and a few other places, plus I pay for the shareware I use. I see the whole thing as basically voting with my wallet: giving someone my money is the highest possible form of praise.
posted by cali at 7:35 PM on February 22, 2005

If I know there is one guy working his butt off, and I am getting something out of it, I'll chip in. A few bucks. And only for, let's say, my top ten list.

My most recent donation was to WatchingAmerica.com ... cos I heard their radio interview and a) I can't believe how they produce this material with a staff of 2 to 4... and b) The stuff that they do make available I literally cannot find anywhere else.

To me, that is incredibly rare. I mean, to find a truly unique service is once in a blue moon. But WatchingAmerica.com, Alexa.com, and craigslist.org meet that standard... although the last two don't seem to need my cash!
posted by Bacchanalian at 1:56 AM on February 23, 2005

Isn't this a simple yes-or-no question, no matter how much you dress it up?

I'm solidly in the No category, and in the Hell No category for the personal Weblog in question. Wow, blogging full-time – how unprecedented.
posted by joeclark at 5:18 AM on February 23, 2005

Can't some enterprising soul whip up a real poll so people don't have to comment and it can be anonymous? Because I like to think that most people would say no.
posted by Jim Jones at 9:20 PM on February 23, 2005

« Older My eyes are better...sort of.   |   Is an iSight worth the money? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.