What are you willing to pay for online?

What would you be willing to pay for online? It was just announced that the New York Times is going to start charging in early 2011. They plan to let you read a certain amount for free and when you exceed that you’ll be charged.

This got me to thinking and Paul and I to talking. We always had the paper delivered to our house in Minneapolis. When we moved it got delivered with our mail very late in the afternoon but why bother reading the paper when the day is over? I LOVED getting up and having my coffee while reading the paper so we just quit getting it.

Paul said he wouldn’t pay for it online but I think I would. We paid for it before and why should you not pay for it online? I mean, those people who are reporting and writing, don’t you think they deserve to be paid? Newspapers are going out of business left and right and I’m kind of wondering why people think you shouldn’t have to pay for the news or something that you’re going to use. I kind of think what the NYT are doing is a neat thing. If you just want to pop over there, they’ll let you read for free until you reach a certain point. I just kind of feel bad for all those people doing a job that nobody seems to think anything about. It’s not free to put together the news. I wouldn’t want to pay for every place I went online but for example, our local news, WCCO is a site I go to ALL THE TIME. I wouldn’t mind paying a monthly fee for using it.

Then it got me to thinking about all the other “free sites” I go to and whether or not I’d pay to go to them. I spend an awful lot of time at Facebook. Be it talking to friends and family or playing all the fun games over there that Paul and I play, I think I’d be willing to pay for that site too. We use it so much and it gives us a lot of enjoyment.

I think the problem is these things all started out free and people are so used to getting them for free, they’re just aghast to think about paying for them. I mean, I might not have joined Facebook way back when I did if I’d of had to pay for it. But now that I’ve reconnected with so many people and have so much fun on it, I’d pay for it. I’m positive I would.

The other thing this has me thinking is what about the people who do pay for the newspaper? Do they pay the cost of living increases for those of us who only read it online? Say for example People magazine. Magazines have websites too and most of them are free. There is MUCH more in the magazine but still, do I pay more for my magazine so people can look at it for free online?

Just what to do you online that you wouldn’t pay for. What about what you would pay for?

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18 Responses to What are you willing to pay for online?

  1. Sue says:

    I wouldn’t pay for the news online since I can watch it on TV. I do like being at work and reading the paper in the morning though. We have 2 people that pay for their own papers and bring it to work to share. Isn’t that nice?! I also wouldn’t pay for Facebook or any of those sites. I did see a rumor not long ago that FB was thinking about charging…I don’t think so!

  2. Ellen says:

    I do not know for sure. I think it is fair, people need to be paid for their work, but doesn’t the advertisement on the online papers do that also?

  3. Gary says:

    I don’t think I would pay to use an online newspaper. I like HOLDING the newspaper while I read it. Lord knows I’m already on the computer enough in a day and that would just add more time i’m on it. I feel the same way as Sue said, I can watch the news on TV instead. I do however like reading the newspaper when I can hold it in my hands.

    I don’t think I would pay to use Facebook either. I like facebook and I have connected with a lot of people but the reason I signed up was because it was free. There are other sites out there like Facebook where you can reconnect with people that are not free. They are obviously NOT as popular as facebook because they do charge. Not charging is what made facebook as popular as it has become.

    I personally would pay for some other sites I visit though. I would pay for a lot of photograpy sites I visit with no problem.

  4. Laura says:

    There is precious little online that I would pay for. At the moment, I can’t think of anything. Not Facebook, not Cakewrecks (I go everyday), certainly not a newspaper site. And I work for a newspaper as a correspondent!

    I agree that the newspapers need to pay their bills, their reporters, etc. But I don’t think charging for online newspapers, particularly, is a good idea. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, too.

    I have to think back to the beginnings of this country – there’s a reason that there’s a specific clause in the Constitution regarding Freedom of the Press. There’s also a reason that newspapers are non-taxable. The point of a newspaper is not to get the columnists views out there, it’s to provide needed information in a timely, and as inexpensive manner as possible. Without a free press (uninhibited by government or anyone else), a country goes downhill fast. So that brings me to the idea of paying for content. Right now, most newspapers hang out around what, $2.00 a copy, give or take a bit? Nearly everyone can afford that – the school kid who needs it for school, the waitress on her way to the diner, the businessman catching a train for work. You don’t need special equipment to read it. You need your eyes and your hands.

    But once you start charging for online content, well, that takes the news out of the hands of “the people” and puts it into the hands of the “Elite” – those who have the disposable income, or a company expense account, to pay for it.

    I think the best way for them to go is to rely on advertisers, just like they do for network TV. And on the other side of it, like everyone else should be doing, check the expenses. How much are newspapers paying their most popular columnists vs. hard-news reporters? How much are they paying the CEO, the Editor? Are those people worth the compensation packages they’re getting? They need to start taking more of a non-profit mentality, rather than a “bigger and better” mindset. Non-profits, run well, can still pay their employees a fair salary and provide goods and services that match their mission. They just do it in a frugal manner. Newspapers should be the same way. So should TV news, quite honestly. But now, it’s become just like every other organization out there, with the central goal to make money, not to provide the service that is the reason for their existence.

    I guess I’m just getting sick and tired of businesses taking the “just charge for it” road. Every day, I hear “raise prices” as an answer for everything – from government spending to internet use. I rarely, if ever, hear, “gee, we could streamline this method and save money”. Because nobody wants to tighten their belts, but it’s sure ok to tighten the belts of those around them.

  5. Nikki says:

    I don’t read the newspaper, I don’t get one. I get our local (town) news from the internet. From some reason it doesn’t get delivered out here so I go online and read it. I wouldn’t pay for it though. I don’t watch our local news often. I like watching the weather but I can’t stand the nonsense in
    between it all. I do DVR Morning Express with Robin Meade on CNN. She’s on very early so I record and watch when I get up. If she was no longer on TV and strictly online for a fee, I would pay (a reasonable amount) because I really enjoy her and she doesn’t talk about BS. I would pay for Facebook, again for a reasonable amount. That’s my one connection to so many people. What about blogging?? Would I pay for that? I don’t know. I do enjoy reading what people write and I have met some pretty great people from blogging, so maybe. Most of them are on Facebook so if I had to pick I’d pay for Facebook before WordPress. I hope we don’t ever have to pay for any of it.

  6. Lucy says:

    I would definitely pay for it if I had too. But it would be tricky because I would have to stick to one newspaper(unless I want to pay a fortune)…. and currently I get my news info from about 4-5 different places.

    I think we’ve been spoilt about how much stuff is free online (pandora, hulu, newspapers, free episodes on most TV channels) and I think in order to stay afloat these companies are just going to have to charge.

  7. SKL says:

    I wouldn’t pay for a newspaper online unless it had stuff specific to my job or hobby or such like. Generally, newspapers are only giving their spin on what we already know from free sources.

    Advertising should be enough to support the cost of an online news source. If it’s not, maybe the news source isn’t popular enough.

    Getting a paper delivered to your door is an entirely different thing. Someone had to buy paper, huge printing machines, ink, trucks, utilities, rent, property taxes, etc., and pay a bunch of people to physically make and deliver those newspapers. None of that is necessary for an online paper. Yes, you have web design and people actually posting the articles, but that’s a lot less work than the physical paper. There is no way the cost of an online paper should be more than the ads, unless it’s a special interest one (which, as I said, I’d be willing to pay for if necessary). Same goes for Facebook, etc.

    How come nobody is suggesting we should have to pay to listen to Rush Limbaugh or read his transcripts? He’s doing pretty well financially. Must be some money in those ads, huh? (He does charge for extra bells and whistles – I think it’s about $10 per year – but not just to hear/read what he has to say each day.)

  8. SKL says:

    By the way, Joy, does this mean we’re all going to get an invoice in the mail? I mean, your site is by far the one I visit most . . . .

  9. Just a Mom says:

    I think if the newspaper went online all together I would probably pay for it. But I am old school and I like to hold it.

    As for paying for other services I am not sure. I feel that what I pay for internet access alone is more than enough. Let’s not forget that yes we do already pay for internet access!

  10. So weird that you brought this up – my mom and I were JUST discussing this yesterday!!!

    I think I’d be willing to pay a monthly fee for any of the sites that are actually important to me – and I definitely think that news sites should charge, because if less and less people are taking out subscriptions because of ecological reasons or just because some people find it easier to browse online, then journalists aren’t getting paid what they should for the hard work they do. They deserve to be paid, especially when it’s a big, main newspaper that want to give reliable news.

  11. Tessa says:

    Facebook has made so much money that I would not pay. But for the newspaper or online news, I would. Online sites seem to get paid though just by having people go to the site though, so not sure there. But I am with you, I’d love to read the paper in the morning. There is something you get from reading versus watching it on TV or reading online. I love the old fashioned way. Guess because my mom and grandma read it every morning with coffee. You don’t get the funnies on TV 🙂 They do deserve to be paid though, all professionals do. Great post!

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