Extra! Extra! News Goes Napster

Here’s a headline for you: Big Changes Sweeping Online News.

The High Cost of Reading the News

But reading about it may cost you.

Having tried for years to find a way to get people who read online news to pay for it, The New York Times recently announced plans to charge readers for online content.

Just two days prior, the national Newspaper Guild called for a strike by all unpaid contributors of The Huffington Post. Arguing that it is “unethical to expect trained and qualified professionals to contribute quality content for nothing,” the group is calling for compensation for its daily bloggers, especially in light of the site’s recent purchase by AOL for $315 million.

With a dying business model (and a dying readership), traditional newspapers have long struggled with the transition from print to the Internet, much like the music industry.

Game Changer?

As any marketer knows, despite the “game-changing” promises that the Internet had in store for us, the basics of business remain the same: people expect to be paid for their work.

When Gap unveiled its new logo design, people everywhere were wondering just how a multi-million dollar corporation could possibly have designed a logo so awful. As it turns out, Gap had crowdsourced the design, ultimately paying nothing for it (the company later went on to retract it, after a very public lashing). What else did they expect for something that was free?

After all, whether it’s a reporter or an illustrator, people expect to be compensated for work done for a for-profit organization.

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