The good old days of tons of something for pretty much nothing are coming to an end, and there’s little we can do to stop it.
It’s finally happening. The foundation upon which the Web is built—oodles and oodles of free content and services—is about to crumble. It hasn’t happened yet, but the signs that it soon will are all there:
• A glut of free content from largely undifferentiated sources
• Premier providers struggling to maintain a steady flow of new content without the benefit of revenue
• A beyond-hard economy beating back every idea, initiative, and dollar that might help float said content on the free Web
• An uncooperative public that remains unwilling to pay for virtually anything online
This is a very good article by Lance Ulanoff and how about charging a little for information? The media is facing a horrible crisis and everyone just watches in apathy. A micro-plan could work quite well and can have a media pass by charging an annual fee to access to newspapers, etc. online. I just let my Yahoo Plus membership lapse after 4 or 5 years and thought it would matter little which does but then again it has been ages since I saw ads in my mailbox!!! Everytime I look in my yahoo box, I think it is not so bad to pay a one-time fee and bypass all this garbage. The print-media works similarly. As long as the papers were cheap or free online the common readers abused the privilege and act as if print can die and online will last forever. How about a little control to make sense of the chaos. Let’s not forget the free web environment was not created out of anyone’s goodness but rather as a growing field to be harvested when the time is right. It is true that one day we may be so dependent, the industry can charge us $10000 for the super-dupper computer that does everything a member of household needs AND everyone will be dependent enough to pay the prices same as a car or cell phone. However, until that glorious day arrives and capitalism triumphs over the little people by showing its ugly face of greed, we could do a few things to minimize the damage. Charge a few bucks for annual access to news databases and you will do more than save the print papers.