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HOWTO: Make Kuro5hin (and other discussion based weblogs) some money.

By Wah in Meta
Sun Oct 07, 2001 at 07:55:08 PM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)
Kuro5hin.org

The basic idea of rational trade is to exchange something of value for something else of more value. An extension of that idea is to produce something that can be easily replicated and offered to a large number of entities, allowing an exchange of value that becomes beneficial to both sides. Thus the exchange of value becomes self-perpetuating until such time as the market dribbles off. It is an idea to help this community, and perhaps prosper when the most valuable resource we have is information. The idea is based on trading the "intellectual prowess" of this community for money, on CDs


Now before you get all antsy, let me be sure to say it would have to be completely voluntary, explained up front, and probably require a contract at some point. With a signature. It just so happens that when one brings in "real money" the law is sure to follow. So we must be prepared for that eventuality.

Anyone not entered into a contract would have their comments stripped (unless they want to leave them) before the CD is made. There would also be other rules for exclusion. Diaries, for example should be off limits (unless they want to leave them on). But, other than that section most of the page would do nicely.

Now, before we go on. As some of you might know, I am a sports fan (and missed posting that on that "secret vice" thread) and have followed the sports world for some time. Studying broadcast communication and computer science (while playing football) in school brought me a great appreciation for the Internet. Later, I learned I needed money and started looking at the communications world, the Big AOL/TW/MS/NFL/ESPN, and how they made their money. Most of the people who complain about the salaries of broadcast and entertainment professionals are those that support them by spending their waking life watching these other folks do their thing. This is not a judgement of either side, just an observation, the point is that attention breeds value. And technology has provided means to offer the same view to many, many people. However, the Internet has made this exchange rather cost effective (i.e. worthless) and the idea of scarcity is still generally needed to generate value in the information field. Especially the combative or "sports" (fighting for fun) information field. The one where K5 resides.

This is where recording stuff comes in. You can change the medium upon which a certain amount of information is naturally played upon and generate a more scarce, and therefore valuable edutainment/attention product (from the grass of the baseball field to the electrons in your TV flowing through the scarce air, from the depths of the Internet to the electrons in your Computer, through the flowing scarcity of CDs). This also allows people to "time shift" them, and appreciate them at their leisure.

What we do is press CD's monthly of the K5 database and offer it for sale, underneath that donations line. You would also get a CD with a monthly subscription. It would be completely voluntary, with various rules for archiving purposes, and would greatly increase the value of the information generated in this forum. And would provide for what is the end goal of the majority of the people who use the site, to lurk and just do some reading.

There is no absolute rule that they must be ON the Internet to get this value. The timeliness of the various discussions is also often irrelevant. One could highlight particular discussions that were interesting, and let the rest fall where they may. This would also give us an excuse to go back, revisit old discussions and rate them and perhaps clean them up a bit, but that would probably need to be the job of an (real) editor.

And if you don't think this is a good idea for K5, would it be viable in another forum? One that was built on the general idea that the site would sell your commentary on an ongoing basis? Is anyone doing this? Would you participate in such a community? What would be a good profit sharing plan to the writers (typers)? Content or Quality of Both? Do you need one?

Regardless, the value is there, the demand is there. One thing the American People especially are starved for now is variable information. In a usable, researchable, linked format. One with offshoots into various tangents most would never dream possible. One they can pop into their computer each month, log onto the Net, and cruise around for a while, like an expert. The demand is there, the supply is there. This is true "New Media" and a way to leverage the incredible power that comes together when people share information.

And finally it's a way to pull in a little scratch from our pathetic mental masturbations. A way to use recording and mass media to spread ideas and gain attention. A way to support a community simply through trading it's conversations.

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Poll
This idea?
o Bad 29%
o Good 12%
o Hrmmm 21%
o Doh! 3%
o Capitalistic!! 3%
o Communistic!! 3%
o Inoshiro rollin' in a phat benz with platinum strapped across his back 26%

Votes: 57
Results | Other Polls

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HOWTO: Make Kuro5hin (and other discussion based weblogs) some money. | 30 comments (30 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
This is an idea we keep coming back to (4.70 / 10) (#1)
by cp on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 11:56:40 AM EST

But as it stands, imho, there's currently not much market for it with K5, as far as utility goes. On Slashdot, it would make plenty of sense and I don't understand why Malda didn't implement it back in 1998 when it was publicly and vocally requested. You see, on Slashdot, unlike on K5 currently, articles are archived (and poorly at that): many comments are discarded altogether, and the rest are displayed in flatmode which is arguably inferior to nesting and threaded modes. This is even more true under their new rules, which sort comments absolutely chronologically, meaning even the limited sense in which the old flatmode archiving preserved thread continuity is lost.

For this to be a viable product with K5, we'd have to implement archiving and in such a way as to degrade quality. And whereas it is a foregone conclusion that we'll get archiving in some form (since it's impractical to keep growing the database indefinitely), all the solutions proposed on scoop.k5 have focused on doing so in such a way as not to degrade quality.

I'm sure some people would buy it, much as some people buy tote bags they don't need by contributing to PBS, but I think you're overestimating the demand.

Why would it have to be archived? (3.00 / 1) (#10)
by Wah on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 04:40:42 PM EST

And I know I'm going slightly against what I posted originally. But couldn't you use the database and build a front end to access it. You couldn't add to the CD (see other comment about how it could link back to the live site), but it could function as a standalone K5. So it might be possible to preserve the options for viewing.

Alternatively, each article could be archived in various ways and picked from there (since I doubt the content each month would come close to the 600 or so MB you could fit on a CD).

Also, the "demand" would probably only really be seen if you could get the physical CD to store shelves, and generate (through marketing) the idea that somehow that CD is analogous to a magazine and worth roughly the same amount of money. This puts the idea of distrubution into the mass scale, as the administrative work would be extensive. However, if you sell 50K or 100K a month, it starts to become feasible. If retailers can be convinced it is worthwhile (requiring "sales" people), and there is an argument for space savings, then it might fly on that level. Also, since the only required equipment would be a computer, that raises the number of people who could participate. As it stand it requires a computer and a high bandwidth connection to participate effectively in real-time (as noted by my lack of posting now that I am on dial-up)

It is also a question of bandwidth in the simple sense, of moving information over time, i.e. the fastest bandwidth is still a plane/truck/car loaded with high density storage. This allows for "cheaper" bandwidth to a wider audience. And more general participation in this type of community media generation.
--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]

Slashdot has fixed this. (5.00 / 1) (#22)
by supine on Sat Oct 06, 2001 at 02:24:56 AM EST

You see, on Slashdot, unlike on K5 currently, articles are archived (and poorly at that): many comments are discarded altogether, and the rest are displayed in flatmode which is arguably inferior to nesting and threaded modes. This is even more true under their new rules, which sort comments absolutely chronologically, meaning even the limited sense in which the old flatmode archiving preserved thread continuity is lost.


This used to be the case as older articles were removed from the database and stored as html files. This meant that your preferences for browsing (ie. Score 3, Nested, Oldest First) were useless when searching the archives.

However, recently they reloaded all the older stories (right back to #1 i believe) back into the database after they beefed up the hardware underneath it. Now if you go back through the archive, stories can be browsed like new ones...

marty


--
"No GUI for you! Use lynx!!!, Come back, One year!" -- /avant
[ Parent ]
Not really... (5.00 / 2) (#29)
by jarndt on Sun Oct 07, 2001 at 08:18:11 AM EST

Nearly all the stories before 1998 are gone. The oldest one I could find is:
Become 007 On The Internet.
Any attempt to access an older story will display:
Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.

Comments are still missing for 1998.

My first k5 comment.

[ Parent ]

the end goal (4.50 / 4) (#2)
by Kellnerin on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 12:35:24 PM EST

It ... would provide for what is the end goal of the majority of the people who use the site, to lurk and just do some reading.

What makes you say that the majority of the people who use the site want to "lurk and just do some reading"? For me, the attraction of K5 is that my actions, the buttons I click, and so on, have an effect on the site itself. ("YOU choose the stories", etc.) It's about participation, not just being a spectator to the debate but entering into it if you have a point to make (and sometimes when you don't :P). Of course I don't do this for every story, but the opportunity always exists, and to me that's the strength of a discussion site, as opposed to any old 'zine. It may make sense for a Slate or Salon to provide "back issues" in some tangible form, but a static K5 in CD form has little or no appeal to me, unless you deleted old stories from the DB and they were only available in CD form. And then maybe I'd just download the html for a particularly good story pre-emptively after the discussion has died down.

One could highlight particular discussions that were interesting, and let the rest fall where they may. This would also give us an excuse to go back, revisit old discussions and rate them and perhaps clean them up a bit ...

Now it would be nice to go back to older discussions that were good, but again if that happened I'd wish we could revive the discussion, and continue to contribute to it, rather than examine it as if it were sealed under glass. I've always thought it a shame that after a day or two (sometimes before an article even makes it out of the queue, though that's less common now), a discussion dies completely, never to be revived again. I know that's partly a function of the format of the site (everything falls off the front page eventually) and that there's only so much you can say about any one thing, and that there's always something new to pounce on and debate the hell out of. And if we just kept the same thread going forever it would get impossibly huge and unwieldy. But I think "highlighting particular discussions" could be done nicely with a "Best of ..." kind of box in one of the sidebars (yes, yes, I know, there are enough boxes already, and I'm really straying from the original idea in the article now ...)

--
it's under my skin but out of my hands
I tear it apart but I won't understand
I will not accept the greatness of Man
--tears for fears

Lurkers... (4.50 / 2) (#3)
by ragabr on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 01:56:34 PM EST

From what I've always heard in #k5, most of the people who read are lurkers. It also makes sense, because I don't think Bubba would be necessary if only the people who post and vote used it. Just look at the number of accounts versus number of regular posters and there's a huge value for delta.

-------
And my tongue would be made of chocolate. Mmmmm. Chocolate.
-rusty
[ Parent ]
Hey! (3.50 / 2) (#4)
by aphrael on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 02:03:12 PM EST

back in your corner, your lurker! :P

[ Parent ]
Well then ... (4.50 / 2) (#6)
by Kellnerin on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 02:48:02 PM EST

From what I've always heard in #k5, most of the people who read are lurkers.

The next question is, assuming the vast majority are lurkers, do they like to visit the site from time to time (or even obsessively) and just read what's new, or do they want to delve into the archives for an older article? And if you're selling convenience for the lurker who tends to read without interacting, should you just make it easy to download the day's stories onto a PDA for the commute, or something like that? It's just hard for me to see what makes a CD version of archived K5 stories compelling -- it seems to leave out so much of what makes the site special.

--
it's under my skin but out of my hands
I tear it apart but I won't understand
I will not accept the greatness of Man
--tears for fears

[ Parent ]

Perhaps... (5.00 / 1) (#9)
by Wah on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 04:28:43 PM EST

The next question is, assuming the vast majority are lurkers, do they like to visit the site from time to time (or even obsessively) and just read what's new, or do they want to delve into the archives for an older article?

Well, how much does it matter? The only ones that a fixed format (no new postings) would bother is those looking for the "latest, greatest" news. So you would lose a bit of the timeliness, but many of these discussions would be relevant for at least a year or so, and that major religion one (and many others) for probably a lot longer. Also, since they could read it in a fairly native manner (on a computer screen through a web browser), clicking on "post a comment" while connected to the Net would bring them to the current site, and perhaps add to the discussion. Which would also attract new users to the site proper.
--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]

marketing and other thoughts (5.00 / 1) (#14)
by Kellnerin on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 07:11:07 PM EST

...since they could read it in a fairly native manner (on a computer screen through a web browser), clicking on "post a comment" while connected to the Net would bring them to the current site, and perhaps add to the discussion. Which would also attract new users to the site proper.

Well, now if you bring in the element of being able to access the site itself (and presumably other links in the articles and comments -- which would be a major plus) from the CD version, that makes it more interesting but it also makes it less distinguishable from just pointing your browser at www.kuro5hin.org for free. And some basic things will still be the domain of the site itself: if you want to participate, you need a real K5 account; if you want to follow up on your posts and any responses to them, you need to check the real site, since the CD version is "frozen".

I think it's unlikely (though I could be wrong) that a product that's marketed as a "discussion site on a disk" will attract many people who don't know about the site already or wouldn't want to check it out on the web first. The market of people who would want to buy such a thing would most likely be your fellow K5ers. It could be a marketing tool for the site if you spammed people's snailboxes with it, like an AOL coaster -- "Free sample of web site inside" -- though even that's a weird concept.

The thing is, in order to sell a version of something that's already freely available, it needs to have "added value", and right now I mostly see it being more limited than the original. Getting bookstore/magazine stand placement would be tough -- production of the physical disks may be fairly trivial, but marketing and distribution is not. But I'm running into my unwritten rule of no more than three posts to the same thread, and all I'm basically telling you is that I wouldn't buy such a thing, but I have no real evidence as to whether many other people would. If you could prove me wrong, and truly find a new way for a site that I like to make money and keep running, I'd be among the first to congratulate you ...

--
it's under my skin but out of my hands
I tear it apart but I won't understand
I will not accept the greatness of Man
--tears for fears

[ Parent ]

The arrogance (4.00 / 4) (#5)
by GreenCrackBaby on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 02:06:29 PM EST

The idea is based on trading the "intellectual prowess" of this community for money, on CDs

So not only do you believe that K5 is some sort of collection of mensa wannabes, you actually believe other people would want to buy an archive of our collective brain-farts?

Maybe as a party joke...

people buy "Entertainment Weekly" (4.00 / 1) (#8)
by Wah on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 04:22:21 PM EST

which is of course why I put "intellectual prowess" in quotes.

I think if you were able to get the CD on "magazine" shelfs at major outlets, put a decent price tag on it (say $5), and do some half-assed marketing, you could get a number of people to buy it.

Lots of people have parties, lots of people tell jokes, so, yea maybe there is a decent market there. ;)
--
Information wants to be free, wouldn't you? | Parent ]

This idea (4.75 / 4) (#7)
by spacejack on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 03:50:43 PM EST

has crossed my mind. One thing I have noticed is that after you read a lot of analysis here, you can find the traditional press somewhat lacking (even moreso than you ever did previously). For example, I'm often reading articles now in my local papers about the WTC, and I'm thinking wow, we covered this on K5 last week, it was a hell of a lot more intelligent, and the ensuing debate was just so much more enlightening -- with links and references -- which would be one of the major problems with re-selling K5 I.P. :(

If this idea were to fly or be something I might buy or suggest to a non-K5 user, it'd probably work better as a book. It would need a professional book editor, familiar with K5, who was up for researching the best threads, maintaing some kind of theme, and then compiling a collection of the most suitable posts. Then getting everyone's permission involved, and also not mis-representing anyone via ommission, or taking them out-of-context, etc.

Honestly, I think there's enough material to do this, but I'm pretty sure it'd need an experienced editor from a book publisher who knows that market, willing to take on the work and the risk. I don't know if it'd sell very well, but as time goes on, if more people get accustomed to online chats and messageboards... maybe!

Aye, there's the rub (4.00 / 1) (#11)
by Aphexian on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 04:57:36 PM EST

Then getting everyone's permission involved, and also not mis-representing anyone via omission, or taking them out-of-context, etc.
If you get everyone's permission that is involved, no problem - but, if you fail to get permission, or people abjectly refuse to be included, how can you reliably defend against out-of-context submissions?

Essentially it would only take a refusal on the part of a few of our more flame^H^H^H^H^Hdiscussion-inducing members (you know who you are :-) to significantly throw many discussions into complete out-of-context chaos. I'm certain there would be more than a few threads in which one person appears to be spouting angry rebuttals to themselves.

While this may be a curious exercise in the field of examining logical fallacies, more likely methinks it could reduce many insightful conversations into utter rubbish.
[I]f there were NO religions, there would be actual, true peace... Bunny Vomit
[ Parent ]
yeah and (3.00 / 1) (#13)
by spacejack on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 06:24:40 PM EST

One of the biggest problems with getting releases is that it might require a promise of royalties (however remote the possibility, or how little), which could result in posting for dollars, and wreck everything. :(

[ Parent ]
quick question (4.00 / 1) (#17)
by Wah on Sat Oct 06, 2001 at 12:14:22 AM EST

which could result in posting for dollars

Would it? Couldn't you keep the noise down, and add rules (and this is in the sense of Kuro5hin, but please keep the idea open to other sites) like only trusted members posting in a particular month would be eligible. And of course other considerations.

But back to the question at hand, and I'll try and ask you specifically (since this will take a rewrite to get posted :(, would the idea of possibly getting paid for this type of discussion destry its nature? And the value those that use it find here? How would this affect the community? To become idea recording artists at a professional level? How quick would it degenerate into one-upsmanship? Isn't it already there, or close to it?

Ahh, so many questions. Anyway, feel free to chime in so I'll know what to fix.
--
Information wants to be free, wouldn't you? | Parent ]

well.. (4.00 / 1) (#21)
by spacejack on Sat Oct 06, 2001 at 12:59:37 AM EST

The least destructive thing might be to mine older articles, and just do the legwork of chasing down as many releases as you can. Just come up with a standard price, or royalty promise, or basball cap, etc. and see what people will go for. Maybe prestige alone is enough. Also, rather than trying to record entire threads, you might just select individual articles or posts that stand on their own. I dunno, I guess it's all in the editing. The web has been mined for coffetable books in other fields. Of course, there's nothing to stop anyone from doing the legwork :/

[ Parent ]
Uh... I doubt you'd make much money (3.50 / 2) (#12)
by delmoi on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 05:11:16 PM EST

Everything, Everything is already available online. Who would buy a CD? Who would want a CD? I know k5 is slow, but I doubt a CD would have many buyers...

What I think would be cool would be to setup an 'ecconomy' where everyone chips in, say, $3/mo and can use most of that money to give tips to the guys who write articals, with rusty and the crew taking a (small) cut.

Well, that was my idea, anway.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Five characters (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by fluffy grue on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 11:59:47 PM EST

im-ur
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Not really (3.00 / 1) (#18)
by Wah on Sat Oct 06, 2001 at 12:19:48 AM EST

That place was badly designed and not very well done. And also, it had a business model based on Internet advertising rather than real world sales. And...you didn't love it. :)

Seriously though, was im-ur a bad idea? Or just done horribly wrong? It was an attempt at a newspaper, not a flowing, linked discussion. It was totally inward pointing, rather than the general outside view of the this place (in a sense of the other websites linked from it). Quite a number of differences, and that's just the quick ones.
--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]

Well, okay (4.50 / 2) (#19)
by fluffy grue on Sat Oct 06, 2001 at 12:35:51 AM EST

Obviously it was doomed from the start, but I think the whole "paying authors bounty for posted articles" thing was the real thing which made it go under. Suddenly there was a glut of low-quality flamewar-type articles, and pretty much everything was about gun control and abortion; IMO, the same thing would happen here if authors were to be paid based on posted articles, and there'd also be a huge glut of new half-assed story posters looking to get a quick buck.

Right now the only incentive to post a story is the satisfaction of getting a story posted, and that itself gets rid of a lot of potential crap.

Now, if there were stories which only subscribers could see (subscribers would get, say, a "+1 subscription only" vote option) and where the subscriptions went (in small part) to funding a "subscription-story author pool," I could sort of see that working once there's enough subscribers to support it. Maybe dole it out monthly (based solely on article count, not longevity or anything), with, say, 30% of the funds from that month's worth of subscriptions. (Care must be taken to not enter into "jackpot" scenarios though, since that will only cause gluts of stories when the payoff is greater.)

In any case, two perfect examples of what to avoid in terms of pay-for-content stuff are IM-UR and mp3.com (with the "payback for playback" program where they set aside $1 million a month to pay to artists based on the number of downloads they got). Both of them had the same problem of promoting quantity over quality, and making a fixed "jackpot" which was irrespective to the actual amount of income the site had.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

+1 Subscription Only (5.00 / 2) (#28)
by Verminator on Sun Oct 07, 2001 at 06:45:39 AM EST

Interesting idea, but what would the guidelines be for voting a story as "subscription only"? If it were a quality thing and "subscription" was the option above "front page" I'd think the quality level of the free stories would go down, lowering the incentive for newcomers to return and eventually become subscribers.

That's the problem I have with a news site like K5 having a subscription only section, it lowers the quality of the stories available to the newcomer and could end up hurting the site more than helping it.

I, as much as anyone, would love for K5 to be profitable for the creators as well as its contributors, but I don't believe that limiting the information available to the non-subscriber is the answer.

In order for a subscription model to work it needs to have a significant enough incentive that people will feel justified in paying for the privelege. But with a site like K5 where the content is member-created, we can't limit the casual users ability to contribute to the discussion. Maybe a "subscription user" status much like the trusted user status giving a subscriber the power to mod to 0, view hidden comments and .....(insert main incentive for subscription here)?
If the whole country is gonna play 'Behind The Iron Curtain,' there better be some fine fucking state subsidized alcohol! And our powerlifting team better kick ass!
[ Parent ]

re. your sig (none / 0) (#25)
by perdida on Sat Oct 06, 2001 at 05:38:07 PM EST

I was wondering when someone would make that joke.

I already saw some all your qaeda are belong to us signs at the anti-anti-war-protest in D.C.


The most adequate archive on the Internet.
I can't shit a hydrogen fuel cell car. -eeee
[ Parent ]
Increasing k5's readership, and 'postership' (4.00 / 1) (#15)
by Murfet on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 11:10:23 PM EST

Has there been any attempt to put together an 'advertising package' for k5? I'm not talking about banner ads, or anything insipid like that. Perhaps just a one page introduction or email template, outlining what internet forums are about. The reason I ask is that here are a lot of people, like some my family and friends, who use the internet but are not really confident enough to 'stray off the beaten path' and experience a part of what makes the Internet important.

Now I'm relatively new to k5, but it would be reasonable to assume most readers and posters, having had the nouse to find their way here, are reasonably skilled technically - which is great, but means that we do have an aggregate bias. There are a lot of people who are 'technical' newbies, but are otherwise intelligent - and their contribution could be valuable.

I've tried to raise interest in online discussion with, in particular, my sister - and I think she now reads Slashdot, but I think it's somewhat more intimidating to participate in forums like k5. I believe the technical literacy required is fairly low ( everyone uses Hotmail, after all ), and I'd just like to know whether anyone has come with any 'promotional' material for k5 or similar sites?

Murfet.

"Perhaps the purpose of categorical algebra is to show that which is trivial is trivially trivial" P. Freyd
Idiotic (3.50 / 2) (#20)
by DarkZero on Sat Oct 06, 2001 at 12:58:45 AM EST

Who would ever buy something that is being given away for free in their own home? For that matter, who the Hell would buy month-old amateur journalism on a CD? Even PROFESSIONAL journalism isn't worth jack shit a month after the fact.

What you're proposing is pretty equal to CNN to selling video tapes of its broadcasts in stores. If you can play the tapes, you have a television and a VCR. If you know who they are, you probably have cable. So really, the chances are that the only buyers for CNN VHS tapes are people that already have CNN being given away in their own home for just the price of their cable box. And worse yet, who would want to buy nightly broadcasts of CNN from a month ago on a regular basis, instead of just watching the timely broadcasts at home?

Anyone that can play the CDs already has a computer, so they'll probably have an internet connection to go with it. So really, there's no reason to buy it right there, but in addition to that, they'd be buying last month's news, which I doubt anyone wants. Your idea is dumb and flawed, but I applaud your efforts to try to get some money for kuro5hin. Unfortunately, you can't take a free site on the internet and bottle it back into the old economy to make money. The only way kuro5hin is going to get any cash is from a minor incentive system (the subscriptions) and/or a donation system. There simply isn't any middle ground between the old economy's paper-based "buy it or leave it" way of selling information and the internet's electronically-based "just take it, it's free" way of disseminating information. You either throw away all of the advantages of the internet and sell information in a "buy it or leave it" way, or you give it away for free under the condition that anyone can have it if they want it, but it'd be really nice if they made a donation.



Middle ground (4.00 / 3) (#23)
by bigbird on Sat Oct 06, 2001 at 12:15:22 PM EST

There simply isn't any middle ground between the old economy's paper-based "buy it or leave it" way of selling information and the internet's electronically-based "just take it, it's free" way of disseminating information. You either throw away all of the advantages of the internet and sell information in a "buy it or leave it" way, or you give it away for free under the condition that anyone can have it if they want it, but it'd be really nice if they made a donation.
I believe there is always a way to add value. Right now, the subscription model for k5 is broken - there is no reason to subscribe. While a few places (wired, I believe) tried ading a subscriber only area, with extra content, I do not know how well it worked (although it appears to be a viable model for porn sites). For k5, the main value is in areas where everyone can comment, rather than a private club.

IMNSHO, what might be worth $5/month would be the following:

  • guaranteed level of service - have a dedicated subscriber-only machine and bandwidth, while the freeloaders like me get to share a slower connection
  • secure webmail address - I want to have bigbird@kuro5hin.org, with a hotmail-like service over https, rather than going to the extreme of hushmail
  • encrypted browsing, and access through a "hidden" backdoor which cannot be traced to k5 by workplace admins - nothing like hiding your k5 habits. Subscribers could enter k5 from www.makesomethingup.com, with only an entry box for username and password visible on the site, and no incriminating identifying marks.
  • bump back the number of comments on a page to 50 or 100 for non-subscribers, and allow unlimited numbers for subscribers
  • ad-free browsing, which I believe is currently the only benefit for subscribers, other than the moral superiority of supporting the site. Moral superiority does not pay the bills, however.
The above would not change the current k5 experience for most users, but would provide a worthwhile enhancement for others. Might even make it worth $5/month.

bigbird

If you think hunting is barbaric, you should try visiting a chicken farm

[ Parent ]

Porn Sites (3.00 / 1) (#27)
by Verminator on Sun Oct 07, 2001 at 06:08:56 AM EST

I wouldn't consider the subscription model for porn sites and the one for a site like Wired to be analagous. Porn sites generally operate on the "buy it or leave it" business model, anything you can view on them as a non-member is generally a censored enticement to join the subscription service, this is why they're profitable.

A site like K5 couldn't operate on this model for the simple fact that its content is member-created and without a wide base of users it would simply dry up.

Porn is also more appealing than news to most people. Maybe K5 should put up a porn section and/or get on one of those "buy membership to one site, get 8 more free" schemes?

Or course, if Kuro5hin was planning on being a for-profit website in the first place it would have been a porn site instead of a news and discussion forum as porn has proven to be one of the few profitable enterprises on the internet.
If the whole country is gonna play 'Behind The Iron Curtain,' there better be some fine fucking state subsidized alcohol! And our powerlifting team better kick ass!
[ Parent ]

What I see in this.. (3.00 / 1) (#24)
by slaytanic killer on Sat Oct 06, 2001 at 01:29:39 PM EST

I believe this could have some possibilities as a little additional gift for people who are already contributors. The problem is it's too physical and ungainly... And if it included the deleted stuff, there may be some odd difficulties.

I would certainly like one for Slashdot, though. It's too slow and badly-structured to really go through it otherwise.

Huh ? (3.00 / 1) (#26)
by mami on Sat Oct 06, 2001 at 09:52:23 PM EST

Eight out of ten times I like to forget what I read here as fast as possible. I certainly wouldn't want to buy this stuff on CD. I would immediately stop commenting, if K5 would start selling their archives. I would be appalled.



Faster pages (none / 0) (#30)
by jforan on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 11:43:21 AM EST

I might consider paying a few bucks a month if they speed up the pages (e.g. paying subscribers get their own less bogged down front end). I haven't really thought about it much though. And it wouldn't necessarily work depending upon where the bottle neck is.
I hops to be barley workin'.
HOWTO: Make Kuro5hin (and other discussion based weblogs) some money. | 30 comments (30 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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