The killer app and Holy Grail of web content is not for people to access content but to get them to pay for that access.
It may have been true, as Samuel Johnson is oft quoted as saying, that “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”
But there are a lot of us blockheads out there, writing for reasons other than making money.
BusinessWeek’s Jon Fine discusses the latest attempts to monetize content in the current issue,
“Charging for Online Content Gets Closer, Two startups, Journalism Online and ViewPass, aim to help battered publishers find ways to get paid for their Web offerings.”
ViewPass and Journalism Online are making valiant efforts, but their approaches are still problematic.
Either way, what seems likely is that the business model known as “freemium” will win out. Freemium is a mix of free and premium access.
Free access is better for internal PR functions and their agencies, because it means a wider potential audience for content, and free content is searchable while paid content is often behind a wall so fewer people will access it and the content remains hidden from search engines.
Not much that internal PR functions or their agencies can do right now, but watch and make suggestions how to best understand how to work with whatever the outcome.