Linked by David Adams on Sun 11th Jul 2010 18:54 UTC
Internet & Networking There's an article today at that looks at recent trends around net-based pay-for services and the smattering of paywalls from News Corp to the NYT that are up or threatening to be put up, and speculating that this could be the beginning of a trend. Of course, a YouTube video rental site and a few large publishers putting up paywalls will make zero difference to the "free internet" on their own. But if they're successful, it could spark emulation. But could this be a trend that could snowball enough to change the nature of the net?
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Because like most of your naive dirty hippy ideals, it fails to take into account "who's going to pay for it"

Electricity costs money, labor costs money, hardware costs money and guess what -- SOMEBODY has to foot the bill.

The very notion of a 'free internet' is so ridiculously naive; It's NEVER been 'free' as in beer... SOMEONE had to pay for it; and if you're talking about companies charging money to use it you're NOT talking about 'free as in freedom'.

MOST of the cash for the original infrastructure came from American taxes and donations to private schools (so excuse me if I don't exactly shed a tear over the US holding onto ICANN) and has been built up by people paying just to connect; the real services paid through advertising of commercial products or other material goods worth paying for... as well as good old fashioned hat in hand donations.

Right now you're probably paying an ISP just to log on; It's not free. Big services with large hosting usually have to operate hat in hand if they are 'free' (wikipedia much) akin to PBS; someone still has to pay for it somewhere!

So god forbid you have organizational structures to make sure the service can afford to stay afloat...

Christmas on a cracker this fringe whacko corporations are evil nonsense is wearing just a little thin. It's like do us all a favor and go back to eating your Tofu around the drum circle to sing "Kumbaya"

(I was originally going to say "Lesbian Seagull", but I know some people wouldn't get the joke and assume it was a sexual slur when it's not! Christ I hate being niggardly in my speech just because other people are dipshits)

Next thing you know they'll come up with this brilliant health care plan that involves forcing people who can't afford insurance to buy it from the state. <carlos>Look around, the stupid people didn't get it...</carlos>

"Who's going to pay for it?" -- in the long run with this naive pipedream bull, everybody!

You're so shortsighted and bought into you the corporatist view of things you don't even know you have blinkers on.

Who pays for mothers to have children?

Who paid for your mother to raise you ? (saint she must have been to raise such a US-centered myope).

Who pays for all the unpaid labor that mothers put in each day?

If it is not paid then why do parents raise costly children with no financial reward?

Why would people build a multitude of operating systems of industrial quality (there is more than one after all) and give it away for free?

Your primitive, narrow, and quite frankly obsolescent view of economics is Industrial Age thinking and doesn't account for such things.

People working for the exchange of currency is recent and the exception to the rule in global labor - even today. Most labor performed in the world is unpaid and voluntary and not accounted for by traditional economics. Imagine what would happen to the world economy if mothers charged for their services? What would happen to the world if a cartel of wives charged for conjugal services? Most men would just dump the wife they had for someone who did the same for free - and there will always be someone who will.

Generally people only charge for labor (in barter or currency) when they are 'working', which is doing things they don't like and wouldn't do otherwise.

People will still create art, play sport, play music, write software and report on news whether they are paid or not. Maybe it won't be up to the same 'standards' as the current news system, but then it will be in as much depth as the reporter chooses to go - which could be in far more if the journalist has an interest (eg. GrokLaw). This is not to say all paid reporting will disappear, just as un-paid reporting will not either.

Creating a paywall to create artificial scarcity is actually a bad move since it is advertising that drives the revenue stream - just ask Google. No news agency has a sufficient monopoly on reporting to make people pay for the news in sufficient numbers and the drop in eyeballs will be calamitous as advertisers will not pay top dollar for a shrinking market. Free reporting will pick up the slack and since the internet has global reach the mesh of such reporting will be sufficient to cover the globe. Despite the multitude of money-collecting news agencies most of them get their sources from a handful of reporters on any issue anyway.

This is a boneheaded move from Byzantine management thinking struggling to adapt to the global internet where artificial scarcity is very difficult to maintain and entice users to buy into. Hope you don't have shares in those companies.

Edited 2010-07-12 07:26 UTC

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