Linked by David Adams on Sun 11th Jul 2010 18:54 UTC
Internet & Networking There's an article today at abc.com 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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StaubSaugerNZ
Member since:
2007-07-13

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

Reply Parent Score: 9

deathshadow Member since:
2005-07-12

Well, that was one 'mother' of a post ;)

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


Funny, given how absurdly slanted your response was... and unrealistic too. Lemme guess, early to mid twenties, two college loans with mommy and daddy still giving you money, either US west coast or somewhere in the Nordic states of Europe? Either that or a Kiwi. Sorry, the attitude (and ignorance) just kind of screams that.

Who pays for mothers to have children?


If the father didn't run like a gutless coward, he does. If not, poor woman works two jobs to pay for the mistake --- otherwise the state ends up footing the bill, so in a way we all do...

Unless you're in some third world undeveloped nation where people don't even go to the hospital for births... What's the infant mortality rate across the spine of Africa again? 1 in 8 stillborn, 1 in 5 before the age of five? A little civilization and money to pay for it is a good thing. Do we even want to talk Sierra Leone?

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


Traditionally? The father who goes out to work and pays for everything... nowadays? The mother goes out to work and has to pay someone else to watch the kid since the father usually isn't man enough to bother -- so she's not even doing that labor anymore. (Be a man, raise your **** kids, keep it in your pants, or at least wear a **** raincoat!)

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


Who says raising a healthy child isn't a reward unto itself - but of course that's a loaded question since spin it around and who's paying them so they can raise the kid when they aren't working... It's called a job!

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?

In college mommy and daddy usually are paying for it, or they put themselves a decade into debt with college loans helped out by others who are still having life paid for by mommy and daddy or on credit. Then when they grow up they have to go get day jobs and it ends up stillborn, or they are lucky enough to find someone who will ACTUALLY pay them to keep working on it. Right Linus?

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


BWAHAAHAA... Ok, rule one, don't argue that with a history minor. Not only will they laugh in your face, they'll point fingers and say "hey, look at the ..."

The exchange of coin or goods for labor predates written history; from shiney beads to gold coin, monetary exchange has been the basis of every major civilization... and the history of labor without exchange is not a pretty one you want to be bringing up - much less being the exception, not the rule. There's a reason we have the aphorism "A man worth his salt"

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.

Imagine the husband wasn't able to go out and find a job to pay for his not being able to keep it in his pants -- Imagine the mother couldn't go out and find a job to get a decent days wage for a decent days work or that the state wouldn't pick up the slack through programs like WICK... Imagine living in one of these pre-industrial third world hellholes where the kid is put to hard labor before they're old enough to walk, and end up member of a rape gang running around with a AK-47 by the age of 12.

A little civilization goes a long ways.

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.

Yes, working... like professional artists, professional sportsmen, professional musicians, professional software developers, and professional news reporters. To compare the people working those as their JOB to some home hobbyist rubbing one out in their basement is a travesty of the highest order -- especially when some of those people have college loans they are trying to pay off and a family to feed.

Creating a paywall to create artificial scarcity is actually a bad move since it is advertising that drives the revenue stream - just ask Google.

and yet the coffer is not bottomless -- see the continually skyrocketing cable fees and increase in commercial time the past twenty years, where in th 70's and 80's a half-hour show without commercials was 22 minutes, today it's 17... and don't tell me it costs the cable company $60/mo for basic 60 channels. Most of that is cycled back to the stations in rebroadcast fees becuase the commercials aren't cutting it for revenue.

... and forget not the original dotcom bust, which can partially be blamed on the 'advertising can pay for anything and everything' mentality; Just ask Juno, NetZero, and KMart's Bluelight how well that worked. For every success, there's a rather depressing body count they are standing upon.

You go on about free agencies - so why is someone even WANTING to charge for services an issue then? This is the part that burns me, you don't want to pay for it, DON'T. The Internet on the whole is a luxury, NOT a neccessity (unless it's your job) and frankly too many people are getting their panties in a twist over that luxury due to this increasing sense of entitlement. Magically we're supposed to just have a means of life materielize from thin air or something.

Life doesn't work that way.

Edited 2010-07-12 13:08 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

StaubSaugerNZ Member since:
2007-07-13

Well, that was one 'mother' of a post ;)


Funny, given how absurdly slanted your response was... and unrealistic too. Lemme guess, early to mid twenties, two college loans with mommy and daddy still giving you money, either US west coast or somewhere in the Nordic states of Europe? Either that or a Kiwi. Sorry, the attitude (and ignorance) just kind of screams that.

... [abridged due to word limits] ...

You go on about free agencies - so why is someone even WANTING to charge for services an issue then? This is the part that burns me, you don't want to pay for it, DON'T. The Internet on the whole is a luxury, NOT a neccessity (unless it's your job) and frankly too many people are getting their panties in a twist over that luxury due to this increasing sense of entitlement. Magically we're supposed to just have a means of life materielize from thin air or something.

Life doesn't work that way.


Thanks for your reply. I have no problem with people charging with what the market will bear, in fact I have my own business. I think we agree on that. I was trying to point out several things (which I'll extend upon a bit) since your original post insuated that for-profit is the principal reason people produce stuff (perhaps that is not what you meant):

* paywalls don't work when people will provide the same stuff for free. Especially when some of that free stuff is of good enough quality and sometime superior. Since news is not really that scarce they need to be thinking that people will pay for ease-of-use instead. However, paywalls are a large barrier to ease-of-use.

* conventional economics and measures of productivity don't account for much of the labour actually performed in the world. Most of this labor is unpaid, unrecorded and free. Clearly accurately accounting for this labour is difficult. This is only one of the limitations of the economic models we have. That also means that care has to be taken when using economic models to determine the future or justify courses of action. Sound judgement is also required.

* people will do stuff they want for free and their reward is sharing it widely with others. I certainly do this with a lot of the products I create, and it is only some of them that can be charged for. Clearly not everyone acts this way, but it is not like the profit motive is the only reason that people do stuff. In fact it seems the exception (as I hope my over-the-top examples seemed to illustrate).

Incidentally, it is good you have a minor in history. Fortunately I understand this Americanism, however you should not always assume all your readers do. While historical insight is helpful it is not necessarily relevant to a discussion on economics and probably no more relevant than my PhD in (astro)Physics. (giving quantitative and qualitative understand of the limitations of economic models).

Edit: typos

Edited 2010-07-12 20:19 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3