Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On Subscription Sites; or, a Penny for Your Thoughts

PaywallBeen thinking a little this morning about the “subscription site” model for web content.

One reason why this topic has entered my thoughts is because my Twitter feed has become mildly animated by talk of a new development in the Full Tilt Poker saga, this one apparently involving some of the site’s companies having filed a claim for nearly $100 million worth of money seized by the feds following Black Friday.

Few in my feed have more specifics on that one, since apparently the full report currently exists behind a paywall over on the eGaming Review website. I imagine before the day is through the story will get disseminated more widely by other outlets without such restricted access.

I get a daily email from EGR telling me of all the articles I’m missing out on from not being a subscriber, so tomorrow I expect I will get a message telling me about this latest one. Starting in September, the site began charging £320 a year (plus VAT) for access to its reports, op-eds, and other features regarding the online gaming industry.

The model is not unusual, with many news-related sites having employed it with varying degrees of success (and in some cases, failure). There are “hard” paywalls in which almost no content is available to non-subscribers, “soft” paywalls which allow limited access to all, and other varieties.

The eGaming Review occasionally reports items of interest to the poker industry, which is why those folks on my Twitter feed are talking about it this morning. Most other sites that report poker news are free, although recently we’ve seen some sites experimenting with subscription plans of their own.

QuadJacks has tried something along these lines, introducing subscription plans back in September. To be honest, I haven’t given much effort to deciphering what exactly they are doing over there with their “silver,” “gold,” and “platinum” plans (costing $5, $10, and $20 a month, respectively).

A couple of weeks ago WickedChops also launched its paywall-protected “Insider Wicked Chops” site where “independent poker writers and thought leaders” are posting various “industry inside information” via articles and editorials.

Black Friday obviously had a significant effect on some poker news sites’ ability to generate revenue, particularly those that had depended on affiliate programs and other advertising dollars from the targeted sites. Thus was the partial inspiration, I’d assume, for poker news sites to experiment with the subscription model.

But I wonder what readers of this blog -- many of whom, I assume, also peruse those poker news sites -- think about these paywalls having been erected here and there amid your usual browsing paths? What exactly would make you want to pay to read any of these articles (or with QJ, listen to the shows)?

I assume one would have to have some financial reason to do so -- that is to say, your willingness to pay for such “inside information” would have to be directly related to your ability to use that information to make money yourself. Unless, that is, there is some other, non-financial benefit to be had from such access (e.g., the entertainment it provides).

Soliciting your thoughts here. Sorry, I can’t pay you for them -- not even a penny.

Labels: , , , , ,

5 Comments:

Blogger Jennifer said...

I won't pay for WCP or QJ because I have little interest in their content in the first place. As far as EGR, I'd love to be able to afford something like that, but I don't get paid enough for the articles I write to justify the cost. The access is important, but not as important as paying my own bills on the little money I make as a freelance writer in the poker industry.

11/15/2011 12:56 PM  
Blogger Eddie said...

You don't need a financial reason, you need a value reason. Maybe you will read something that will increase your $$, but more likely you are paying your subscription because you enjoy reading about the content. It becomes no different than any other magazine subscription which you purchase to enjoy the content.

11/15/2011 1:06 PM  
Blogger KenP said...

Well, that site does have enough exclusive access to attract industry types. As to others on the pay bandwagon, it is their scramble for a bottom line. There isn't much free money or new revenue around. Most are scrambling to replace the old model failing.

The growth era with the associated easy money has moved on. People are trying now to hang on until the hoped for come back. Many of those are crippled by being niche marketers and that created added stress on possibly changing their model.

11/15/2011 1:37 PM  
Blogger Rakewell said...

I'd pay to keep reading your blog, if I could only figure out which of these slots in my computer is the one to drop the quarters in.

11/15/2011 10:32 PM  
Blogger Lucypher said...

I do not think they will obtain enough subscribers to stay in business. They can decide to do it for the glory and personal satisfaction (ala Shamus and Grump, etc.) or they can fade away.
IMO, Few of those sites/groups have sufficiently good content on a consistent basis to warrant a subscription.

11/16/2011 10:51 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer Posts
Older Posts

Copyright © 2006-2014 Hard-Boiled Poker.
All Rights Reserved.