Permanent link to archive for 4/30/05. Saturday, April 30, 2005

Jason Calcanis on ads in RSS feeds

Jason posts here on the Really Simple Syndication weblog:

"Very simple question: If you're not willing to have ads in your RSS feed are you going to be willing to pay for the content you get? If not , how will the writers get paid? (and don't give me that nonsense about writers don't need to get paid because for some of us writing is our trade--not scripting).

"I know Dave's position was that he wouldn't pay for a feed and that he would get if for free somewhere else, but clearly that's not going to happen. The best content out there will be either ad-supported or subscription.

"Since the world has voted for ad-supported content over subscriptions you're going to need to one or the other: deal with the ads or click on the paypal button.

"There ain't no such thing as a free lunch Dave... RSS was just a temporary free lunch just like the web was in 1994. However, both those parties are over (thank God!) and now we have great free content available to everyone around the world.

"You can cry about it all you want, but this train has left the station and you're still at the ticket counter bitching about why you even need a ticket."

My response...

Okay, that's kind of rude, but let's look beyond that to see where the disagreement is, if there actually is any.

How the writers get paid is a problem you created not me. It's not up to me to solve it Jason, that's your job. This is part of what I was saying today about media guys arriving, camping out, and then trying to get us to help them pay for their supposed business model. Go to Congress, see if they'll pass a law requiring us to pay a tax so you can stay in business. Or better yet, think more creatively.

Most of the feeds I read today don't have ads, so it's hard to see how the train has left the station. I have a ticket, there's an over-supply of feeds, and when I link to one of their stories I send thousands of people to their sites, so I think they should be competing for my attention, not making me think twice about continuing to subscribe.

I could easily unsub from Engadget. It's most definitely not a must-have feed for me. The only other of your feeds I'm subscribed to is your personal weblog. I don't think you've created nearly as much value as you think you have. Chasing a guy like me away now isn't good business, or so it seems to me.

BTW, what exactly is wrong with the way the BBC and NY Times do it? They write good one or two sentence summaries and link to the full story from the feed, and the ad is there, not in the feed. Jason, think about it -- RSS itself is an advertising medium, if you use it correctly.

Also the analogies to 1994 are pretty self-serving, don't you think? Maybe this is 2005 and it's acxtually different from any years that's come before? I tend to think it is. Maybe I'm wrong, but maybe I'm not.

# Posted by Dave Winer on 4/30/05; 10:33:13 PM - --



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