Monday 23 February 2009

Jeff Jarvis whacks idea of press charging for content as a 'waste of precious time'

Jeff Jarvis looks at the concept of newspapers saving themselves by charging for online content in his Guardian column today...and gives it a mighty whack.
He says: "Like a gopher in the garden, the notion of newspapers charging for content online keeps popping its nose up out of the dirt. Pardon me while I whack this pesky rodent in the skull."
Jarvis admits: "We pay for movies, some TV, and now music (thank you, iTunes). But online news is different for many reasons. First, as soon as knowledge is known, it’s a commodity—and not a scarce one that can be controlled. Second, there is no end of competition online. As countless publishers have observed about their nemesis, craigslist, it’s impossible to compete with free."
He adds: "But here’s the killer: When content is hidden, it cannot be found via search (not to mention bloggers’ and aggregators’ links). In a link and search economy, content gains value only through these recommendations; an article without links has no readers and thus no value. The real cost of charging for content—and it’s a cost born by the content owner—is a loss of Googlejuice."
Jarvis concludes: "As various bloggers have lamented lately, all this talk of pipedreams and preservation is a waste of precious time when we should be exploring and executing new business models and exploiting new opportunities to transform journalism for a new age."
Full draft of Jarvis article is here

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