I have been reading a couple of posts on other blogs that raised questions whether the bloggers should now start charging their readers for contents that they deliver! As a blogger, the idea came as a shock to me as my concept of blogging in the direction of penalizing the readers, though I still monetize this blog.
Blogging is all about ‘freedom‘ – both for the authors and their readers. This powerful but simple means of publishing content gave unmatched opportunities for millions of people around the world to voice their opinions. The readers on the other hand were able to pick and read whatever they want to at their own convenience. And now the greed seems to be taking priority over moral values as everybody seems to be after money, no matter how it comes!
History of blog monetization
At first it was all about plain web logs – content, content and more content! Soon the content started getting organized as the blogging platforms evolved and the concept of blogging, which was originally meant for casual writing, started to become more professional. Initially, there was no need to attract readers but it soon became a marketing topic as the monetization potentials were discovered.
Soon enough, typical intrusive advertisements and banners were introduced that gave bloggers some pocket money and motivation to write more. At this point time, the content was still not forced to be optimized or altered. But, the advent of non-intrusive and context based ads saw the platform technologies getting optimized to target search traffic and the need to have keywords in your content arose. Thousands of bloggers along with ‘the big boss’ Google had a great party time!
The mad chase after online income then forced bloggers to write content for which they get paid and this was the era of ‘Paid reviews‘. Already rich and famous bloggers cashed in more and their blog contents, though continued to be famous, started to stink! And these bloggers even started to write about what they are not used to.
Around the same time the trend of multi-level marketing evolved and referral/affiliate income mechanisms were devised. Many a time, the readers were tricked into these schemes many of them even paid for the same!
Several unethical ways of making money was soon followed and accordingly ad systems and technologies to monetize each pixel of your blog space were invented. Monetizing your blog roll, other links, RSS feed, guest blogs and even the comments (I heard that one of the leading MMO bloggers used to charge the readers to post a no no-follow comment!) became something very common.
Still no sign of respite for the readers!
With all these numerous ways of making money already in practice – sometimes even at the cost of the readers’ comfort and privacy – there seems to be no slowing down in the commercialization of blogs! And now they are talking about making the readers pay for what they consume. Is not that against what web logs actually stand for?
I personally believe that all these talks about Pay-Per-Read will not do any good to the concept of blogging nor would it produce great bloggers and blogs. If they have to pay and read, they could as well go subscribe to printed magazines and news papers right?
Over to you…
Now, I would like to know what you – as bloggers and blog readers – think about this idea of ‘pay to read’. I am sure somebody like John Chow must be drooling at the new opportunity to make more money, but I would like you to answer the following question.
Is Pay-Per-Read a good trend or thinking at all?
Is it fine to make the readers pay for specialty tips and services that are posted on blogs?
Will you read a blog if it requires you to sign up and authenticate and actually track/make you pay for what you read?