Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

According to this article, The Onion is working on a "pay section" of their website. Not that The Onion's not worth it (sometimes), but given the number of things on the Internet that are free... and given that The Onion's really just got about ten minutes worth of new content to read per week (at least the current stuff... and the article says that the current stuff'll still be free, it'll just be extra stuff... but still).... I don't know how the economics end up working out for websites that charge money, but given how much is out there for free on the Internet, and even just given that it sounds more expensive to say $12.50 for a year of access than "a quarter a week at your local newsstand," and given that if I was paying for a website, I'd have much more rigorous demands that its content be consistently awesome... I don't see how it makes tons of sense for them to put at risk the 5 million visitors they get a month (according to the article) -- and the mindshare that has given them; everyone's heard of The Onion -- in the hopes of converting some money out of it... although if they could even get a penny from each visitor (and that I suppose even I'd pay), they'd be doing pretty nicely.... It would seem to make more sense to do what they've done with books of content that cost money, and to branch out into more arenas -- charge for a monthly magazine, perhaps; maybe theme restaurants (huh?), TV... I don't know. I'm just skeptical that when there's too much to read on the Internet anyway, a website could actually keep a good chunk of its audience while charging money.