Curt Monash has a nice post that turns around the question of innovating business models for online publishing . He considers the reasons that people consume information, and uses that as the basis for evaluating the potential of the various business models (e.g., freemium, metered) available to the companies that produce it.
It’s a long post, so I’ll excerpt his conclusions:
- “Freemium” models, in which one gives away some good information but charges for the best stuff, can succeed.
- Charging by some kind of usage metric doesn’t make sense.
- Grand cosmic all-you-can-consume-of-all-but-the-most-highly-valuable-information subscriptions — e.g., an “ASCAP for news” — could be marketable.
Monash doesn’t bring up the possibility of monetizing participation–a route that I think a number of publishers should consider. But he covers a lot of ground, and would-be saviors of the publishing industry would do well do read his sober, comm0n-sense analysis before latching onto a new business model as a get-saved-quick scheme.