It's no secret that social media and a subscription business model doesn't exactly go hand and hand. There's a reason that the world's most popular social media websites are free to use.
But just how difficult would it be for a company like Twitter to charge its users? According to the 2010 USC Annenberg Digital Future Study (PDF), zero percent of users polled indicated that they'd be willing to pay for Twitter. That makes finding a way for newspapers to charge for their websites look like a walk in the park.
Making money online isn't always easy, especially when you run an ad-supported business. And that's not just true for the small fries; it can be even more true for popular, heavily-trafficked sites.
That's the case for Reddit, the popular user-generated news site. It was purchased by Conde Nast Digital in 2006, but a blog post last Friday indicates that all is not well at Reddit.
When the New York Times tried to have Apple pull the plug on the hit
iPad news reader, Pulse, I noted that as newspapers like the New York
Times attempt to 'save' their businesses, it would be wise of them to
figure out how they can work with creative third parties. After all, individuals outside of these organizations may be able to
do more for them in some areas than they can currently do for
But if emails between an online publisher who wanted to license content
from Dow Jones is any indication, news organizations may be better at
talking about getting paid for their content than they are at actually
accepting money from businesses that are ready to pay them.
As Twitter makes the transition from profitless startup to revenue-generating business, the massive number of links that are shared on its service on a daily basis represent valuable currency. Given this, Twitter naturally wants to exert more control of those links.
This summer, it will do just that when it finally rolls out its own link shortening service that wraps all links shared through Twitter.com and third party clients using the company's t.co shortener.
Journalism, apparently, is in trouble. The once-dominant financiers of journalism -- newspapers -- are dying. And while some see hope in new media, the harsh reality is that journalism's woes have less to do with distribution mediums and more to do with business models.
That's because the kind of journalism that is threatened is expensive, and even online, there aren't too many business models that can support it. So what should we do?
Back in 2008, online social networking startup Ning couldn't give
away free, hosted social networks fast enough.
The company, which was co-founded by Marc Andreessen of Netscape fame,
reportedly estimated that by New Year's Eve 2010, it would host approximately 4m
social networks. Social networks which would produce billions of daily
page views for the startup. Ning's projected trajectory excited
investors so much that they invested more than $100m in the company.
Much has been made about the market for micropayments over the years, but for the most part, billing for small transactions remains a challenge for online merchants, especially small and mid-size publishers who sell content and virtual goods.
PayPal, however, hopes to provide some relief later this year with a new offering that makes it easier for online merchants to process micropayments cost-effectively.
In 2006, the domain name Sex.com was purchased by a group of investors for a reported $14m.
The buyers of Sex.com, Escom LLC, had big plans for their $14m domain name. According to a press release announcing the sale, "The new Sex.com will transform into the market-leading adult
entertainment destination by offering compelling, next-generation web
interaction experiences to revolutionize the industry. The new Sex.com
will leverage the millions of monthly unique visitors that are already
coming to the site while it continues to roll-out a host of
professionally produced products and services..."
Ken Fisher, the founder and editor-in-chief of popular online tech
publisher Ars Technica has a message to readers who use ad blockers:
you're killing us.
In an effort to defeat ad blockers, last Friday Ars experimented with a technique
designed to prevent Ars readers with ad blockers from viewing Ars
content. According to Fisher, the experiment was a success
"technologically" but not surprisingly, a "mixed bag" socially.
Twitter's Trending Topics list may or may not be useful to you. While they can often be helpful in spotting breaking news events and the hot topics of the day, they're also notoriously associated with spam.
In an effort to make them more relevant to users, Twitter yesterday rolled out Local Trends functionality for all Twitter users.