The shortcomings of charging for online content

Jeff Jarvis has written an excellent article about  the mistaken strategy of charging for online news. He argues that pinning hopes for the survival of news on charging for it is not only futile but possibly also suicidal.

Jarvis writes:

‘Charging for content brings marketing and customer-service costs. Online, it reduces audience and the advertising they justify. Putting content behind a wall cuts it off from search and links; they cut off your Googlejuice. When publishers build those walls, they open the door for free competitors, who can now enter the content business with virtually no barrier to entry. Publishers who fool themselves into thinking pay will save the day only further forestall the innovation and experimentation that is the only possible path to success online.’

By remaining open to the web, through not charging, you give yourself more opportunities to enter into conversations and to spread the influence and build the reputation of your brand. Companies as well as newspapers can benefit from being as open as possible in order to participate fully in the social web.

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