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Janet Roberts

Revenue Idea: Pay to Blog
By Janet Roberts

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One way to get readers to pay up for your content is to offer them a service that's so irresistible, they can't pull out the credit cards or checkbooks fast enough.

That's apparently what the crew of Media Unspun, the daily media-watch email newsletter, is hoping to create with its new Weblog: Anybody can read the blog, but only subscribers who pay the $50 annual fee can post comments.

It's a fun idea: Dangle a 24-hour party invitation to reward your paid subscribers and lure freeloaders. First, though, you'd better be sure there's enough desire among your eavesdroppers to pull up chairs and get in on the conversation.

That desire apparently was there among Media Unspun readers, according to a promotional solo mailing, which also included links to the subscription page and the blog, hosted by Blogger Pro, the paid version of Blogger.

Pay-to-blog is another revenue stream for Media Unspun, which came back to life earlier this year as a paid-circulation daily with a limited-access free component. (See "Back By Popular Demand")

Site visitors see the blog comments, a free-trial subscription blank and the names of staff and paid subscribers who have gotten the password that allows them to post comments.

A link to the subscription page appears only in the first blog entry, down at the page bottom. No doubt a permanent link placed high on the page will appear soon.

This probably would work best if you have an active, engaged audience with no other outlet -- such as a free discussion group or message boards at your Web site -- to express opinions on your newsletter or on issues you raise.

Still, we love innovation. What do you think? Check out the blog.

Ezine-Tips for October 23, 2002

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