Content – give it away or go bust?

March 18, 2009

The paid-for vs. free content debate continues with passion here in a great overview of an interview with Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired. It’s a fascinating read, and raises many issues for publishers to deal with.

Those who continue to give away content must find other revenue routes within the overall offer, of course, or face the prospect of losing their business. Those, on the other hand, who are giving away most of their content for free, and retaining a percentage as paid-for, on a premium knowledge-provision-basis, have at least got a good chance of developing a profitable publishing model which will ride the recession and move into a more certain future…hopefully.

It’s a great interview with Anderson, and he raises some pertinent and prudent points.

More importantly, it resonates for all of us – if your business depends upon knowledge, information and content – typically, a publisher falls into this category – then monetizing this content amidst a glut of free online content is probably the biggest single issue facing the survival of your business today.

Free content – either embrace it in some form, or lock up. If you don’t, chances are you’re going bust.

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2 Responses to “Content – give it away or go bust?”

  1. realfoodlover said

    It’s a real balancing act, is it not? On my blog I am giving away content for free – but it is also my calling card, and leads to paid writing. It also satisfies my desire for self-expression, and gives me a free self-tutorial in new media and online networking. The Spark, the southwest’s FREE quarterly I edit, is another good example. Established 16 years ago, its inquisitive independent editorial is paid-for by its cutting-edge non-conformist ads (for therapists, spiritual teachers, eco-services), the likes-of-which you rarely see elsewhere.

    I like a free model in a world where everything has its price…Let’s see how far we can get by giving stuff away!

  2. bristoleditor said

    Hi Elisabeth

    Many thanks for the comment and inputs – much appreciated. And, yes, it is a tricky area.

    I favour the ‘calling-card’ appproach you mention, and indeed, also look for other bloggers to add posts on my blogs – after all, if it adds value for the readership, it can only be a good thing.

    There are so many content models out there around blogging and content delivery, it can get confusing. I prefer to keep it simple, and remain a place for information, education, discussion and humour. In equal measure, ideally!

    Thanks again.

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