Pay to Peer
The internet is straying ever farther from its peer to peer origins. When we left the primordial ooze of America Online and Compuserve, we were supposed to profit from perusing each other’s personal, and free, websites. Many of them weren’t very interesting, but they had links, and some of those were interesting. While most people gave up on personal websites and signed up for Facebook and Twitter, some bloggers and opinion jockeys have flourished. I’ve spent a lot of time reading Talking Points Memo, Deus Ex Malcontent, The Oil Drum, Energy Bulletin, The Dish, dagblog, Kottke, Do the Math, The ArchDruid Report – all for free, at least after I paid my ISP. Many, though not all, of the news outlets were free, too.
But more mainstream news outlets are erecting paywalls, most prominently the New York Times, and with Andrew Sullivan adopting a pay filter, now big name bloggers will have to think about charging for access. I already blogged my misgivings about the long term subscription model, but Artappraiser recently posted more recent articles on dagblog about the Times, the second of which surprised me:
It’s fitting that the New York Times, roughly 100 years after making the industry-shifting bet on subscription, is the one rolling out the web’s first truly successful paywall.
How successful, though, with all the layoffs looming?
Last month, executive editor Jill Abramson told the staff she’d have to cut 30 positions from the news division to buffer against financial losses from rapidly declining advertising revenue. Reporters and editors would be offered buyouts, she said, but if she didn’t have enough takers in a month’s time, she would be “forced to go to layoffs.” … Last month, Times publisher and chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said that all divisions of the newspaper needed to “identify cost savings” during a time of plummeting ad sales revenue.
The New York Times will close its environment desk in the next few weeks and assign its seven reporters and two editors to other departments. The positions of environment editor and deputy environment editor are being eliminated. No decision has been made about the fate of the Green Blog, which is edited from the environment desk.
Perhaps their paywall is saving them from a worse fate.
I’d already noted that I enjoy the Dish, and that despite some of their politics I sent them a few bucks. But a Daily Banter article makes it seem that I am consorting with the devil himself.
Sullivan is getting away with it and profiting from failure thanks to two key elements to his media business model: Blogger cronyism, providing a network of media suckups all too eager to offer free PR to Sullivan’s business in the hope that “Sully” will logroll back at them some day; and the American public’s amnesia. …
Andrew Sullivan’s fate is in your hands — you, the supposed people, the supposed actors in the supposed marketplace. If you have any power at all, you now decide Andrew Sullivan’s worth to our culture. You decide if fraud, journalistic malpractice, racial eugenics, traitor-baiting, race-baiting, lying and scumbaggery are rewarded. We’ve been assured that the only reason why these same media elites always fail their way up and remain unaccountable for their colossal failures and crimes, is that the elites protect their own.
Sullivan does cite Charles Murray more than I like – meaning at all. I do at times wonder why I enjoy reading a conservative’s range of topics. It might be because I need a counterpoint to the predominantly liberal sites I follow.