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Author Topic: End of the Free Internet? - Christian Science Monitor  (Read 8484 times)
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3catkidneyfailure
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« on: July 05, 2010, 08:34:35 AM »


End of the Free Internet? - Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/Tech/2010/0705/The-end-of-the-free-Internet?sp_rid=NTU1Nzc2MjQ4OQS2&sp_mid=4496291

I'm hating this thought. But you have to remember, I won't pay for cable TV. So subscription services
I won't take to easily. My main phone service is a land line with an answer phone, and I have cell service
for emergencies that never goes over $20.
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3catkidneyfailure
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2010, 08:57:23 AM »

http://www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/Horizons/2010/0629/Hulu-Plus-brings-paid-subscription-plan-to-online-TV-service

Hulu Plus brings paid subscription plan to online TV service
Hulu Plus will begin charging $10 a month for unlimited access to back episodes of popular television programs. But how does the new Hulu plan stack up to current streaming services such as Netflix?

ETA: They're going to have to kill off the information should be free generation that remembers decent commercial TV. Good luck,
all. And remember every time you pay a subscription fee, you're killing off the "free."

Funny how commercial TV networks sustained themselves quite profitably for over 50 years, from the late 1930's until 2005 on advertising revenues. And newspapers, for several hundred years. And now you're being asked to pay a subscription fee and put up
with the ads, too?  Don't buy into this latest Madison Avenue cell-phone model.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2010, 09:02:52 AM by 3catkidneyfailure » Logged
caylee
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2010, 10:02:50 AM »

When you start charging for something that was free, you will see a drop in visitors. In the town that I live in there is a festival of food and music every year over the weekend of the 4th. Many people attended for the free concerts and paid the vendors for food. But as the economy dipped, so did the food sales, but attendance remained steady. Vendors started crying 'foul'. So they started making them pay an entrance fee which gave them tickets to the vendors booths. Then this year they just started charging an entrance fee without giving the tickets for food. So guess what? The attendance dropped a lot - vendors again are crying 'foul' because there are less crowds of people to buy their wares.

Moral of this saga - I think they should have left it alone when it was all free and people bought what they wanted from the vendors. BTW the festival organizers have realized their mistake this year and said there will again be changes for next years festival - but they declined to say what changes will be made.

Just my 2 cents worth on how making people pay for internet sites will only kill those sites in time.

« Last Edit: July 05, 2010, 10:07:50 AM by caylee » Logged
catmom5
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2010, 10:16:54 AM »

I agree completely! Around here they have both home shows and RV shows. Both used to be free admittance and lots of folks went. Now that they charge, attendance is way down. Not sure how this will work with the internet since it is such a huge part of how people live now . . .
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babysweet
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2010, 12:28:24 PM »

Sorry, I have to disagree.

Quote
•Google now is experimenting with YouTube Rentals. The new service allows companies to charge users to view certain videos, such as TV shows or movies. Content originators can also try out different pricing schemes to see how they affect sales.

YouTube is never going to be a pay site.  However, they are a site that puts forth tremendous effort to keep copyrighted material off of their site.  By implementing a fee structure, it's quite simple to then allow copyrighted material to be held and purchased.

A great example is "Forever" by Chris Brown.  The video for this track had been showing up all over YouTube, and YT consistently removed the offending content.

Then, one day, this video was posted - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-94JhLEiN0

Because his record label (the copyright holder) decided to allow this use of its material, this song was viewed by over 50 MILLION people as the video went viral.  As a return, the label took over the advertising on this video and offered a link to iTunes to purchase the song, taking the song from relative obscurity to the iTunes best seller list once again.


Quote
•The Times of London, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., is about to erect a "pay wall," requiring online readers to spend about $3 a week or $1.50 a day to read articles. To further fend off freeloaders, search engines such as Google will be banned from linking to The Times's stories.

This is a no brainer.  These companies pay large sums to fund their new organization, and these days print media is all but dead.  If the Times of London wants to continue to operate, they need to find a way to pay their people - to stay in business.

Which is worse, me paying a measly $3 a week for full access to all of the Times' content, or the Times going out of business entirely and putting a few hundred people out of work - into a job market that has no need for their skill set.  There is NO reason why ANY news organization should be expected to provide free content.  That is not their job.  Their job is to report on important matters, and this costs a substantial amount of money.

This is also not new.  Hundreds of news organizations already charge a subscription fee to access their content.


Quote
•The New York Times announced plans to put most of its content behind what appears to be a fairly porous pay wall. The Times will ask for money only after a reader returns to the site a certain number of times per month. To lure in new readers, the paper says visitors who arrive via a search engine or other intermediary will always get a free pass.

An interesting idea, but it's obvious it can't stay that way.  If visitors from search engines get an automatic free pass, it's not difficult to circumvent the pay-only areas.

I suspect in time they will adopt the Times of London's strategy.


Quote
•The New Yorker magazine plans to offer a "one price pays for all" plan later this year, according to Advertising Age magazine. Subscribers would pay one fee and then be able to read the magazine in all its forms – print, Apple iPad, Amazon Kindle, possibly other e-readers – all for one price, rather than having to buy access to each separately.

Again, this is nothing new, aside from the sheer flexibility this format provides.  If I had to guess I would suggest that this will be the "ideal" that most companies work towards.


Quote
•Wired Magazine charges $4.99 to view an issue on the iPad tablet computer, the same as its newsstand price. The iPad version includes interactive features not available in print.

Now this is truly the way the internet should be used.  This magazine is obviously reaching out to its key demographic (computer junkies) in a way that will bring further enjoyment from their product.  They are not replacing their print version, rather they are providing web users with extra content.


Quote
•The free video website Hulu may soon begin charging viewers to see its popular content, such as TV episodes, and perhaps release Hulu software for the iPad and the Xbox 360 video-game system.

As well they should.  TV isn't free.  It costs money.  And with the advent of downloaded content, particularly the pirated kind, TV is losing a battle.


Quote
They're going to have to kill off the information should be free generation that remembers decent commercial TV. Good luck,
all. And remember every time you pay a subscription fee, you're killing off the "free."

Funny how commercial TV networks sustained themselves quite profitably for over 50 years, from the late 1930's until 2005 on advertising revenues. And newspapers, for several hundred years. And now you're being asked to pay a subscription fee and put up
with the ads, too?  Don't buy into this latest Madison Avenue cell-phone model.

Am I the only one who remembers network TV?   Wink

Do you remember the fuzz, the manual aerials, the six channels (if the weather was good and there wasn't any national news - or god forbid, the president was on).  How exactly are "free" TV channels supposed to operate when DVRs have made commercials all but obsolete (personally, it's been years since I intentionally watched a commercial - everything we watch is recorded and then played back sans commercial).

It should also be noted that (in Canada, at least) "free" network television is provided to cable subscribers for a fee.  This fee for basic cable pays for the equipment, the infrastructure, the technology and the reliability that comes with cable.  However, NONE of this fee goes towards the people who are actually producing the content.

It also needs to be noted that way-back-when we only had a handful of channels, these networks were not competing with such big shots as the Movie Networks, Showtime, HBO, Showcase, The Food Network, Animal Planet, National Geographic, CNN... the list goes on and on, and continues to grow and grow.  "Regular" channels are being left behind.

When a companies advertising revenue fails to top its expenses, other avenues have to be explored.  If this means that I have the option of paying a bit more for certain services in order to have access to the highest quality of said services, then I have no problem with that.


This news release is not telling us anything we didn't know before.  Subscription sites already exist in every arena of the internet.

In fact, the only thing that I believe is free on the internet but isn't are "scholarly" articles.  Scientific studies that have been published should be available in more than abstract form for free.  I don't think we need full access to articles, but information surrounding methodology and more details about every article would certainly make it easier to determine which studies need to be purchased for viewing, and which don't. 

Thousands of sites are pay only - several of them I subscribe to, because I feel the information is of sufficient quality to warrant purchase.  If they provide content worthy of a direct payment from me to them, and I can afford the payment, I hold no ill will towards whoever is asking me to pay.  After all, I am asking them for access to the materials that they have created/compiled, and no one should be expected to work for free.

I will admit that perhaps I am biased slightly - in a previous life I was a dog trainer.  In my last life (up until this summer) I was working at a pet supply store.  I'm willing to give out training tips to anyone who will listen, but frequently this ended with the owner bringing the dog to the store and saying "show me."  Of course, in an effort to prove that my methods were in fact correct, I ended up taking the dog out to the parking lot and displaying exactly what it was that I was describing.

After I came in, the girls would all get a shot in about my "free training classes." 

Now, after you've read my experiences, what would your reaction be if you came into my store with your dog and I agreed to work with your dog - and the next time you came in I told you there would be a fee of $10.

The fee is reasonable.  You're receiving a service.  I'm providing a service.  And yet we NEVER attempted to charge for these sessions, because we knew what the reaction was going to be.  But it wasn't fair - I was being taken advantage of.

Another example is when other stores (sometimes not even related to us) would call for nutritional advice, or recall details, or diet recommendations, or, or, or...

I don't mind helping someone out.  Particularly if it's for the good of an animal.  But my knowledge was being used to make them money, and in an ideal world, I would have been paid for it.

I realize the two situations are very different, but the original idea is the same.  Someone has gathered, created, organized, analyzed this content, and they deserve to be paid for their efforts.  If you don't want to pay, go somewhere else.  There will ALWAYS be free sources of content - it's a matter of whether that particular content is worth your hard earned dollars.
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JustMe
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« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2010, 12:45:46 PM »

Most internet sites aren't really free. The casual observer/visitor may have the impression that they are free to look at, but somebody down the line is paying to have these sites kept on the internet via hosting services, unless they are hosting from their own computers.  The people running the sites either have to run ads or pay out of their own pockets, otherwise the sites would not exist.  Also, many sites are actually businesses in disguise.  Tongue

I remember pre-cable.  When cable came to our town, one of their marketing sales points was that it would"free" of advertising.  LOL.  That didn't last long.  Once we got snookered (not sure how that is spelled), suddenly there were advertisements.

I still subscribe to a print newspaper. egads
« Last Edit: July 05, 2010, 01:06:20 PM by JustMe » Logged

Eventually they will understand,
Replied the glorious cat
For I will whisper into their hearts
That I am always with them
I just am....forever and ever and ever.
Poem for Cats, author unknown

"A kitten in the animal kingdom is like a rosebud in a garden", author unknown
caylee
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« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2010, 01:05:42 PM »

There will ALWAYS be free sources of content - it's a matter of whether that particular content is worth your hard earned dollars.

But did you know that those who are pushing for paid internet access - the ones at the top with the mega bucks - also want to eliminate all free access sites through a plan that would allow them to have first tier access to the fastest bandwidth and the free sites the lowest, slowest bandwidth speed? In other words, all free sites will download very, very slowly, whereas paid sites will load fast.

People who have limited funds will be forced to wait maybe 5 or more minutes for one free page to down-load. Many will just not bother anymore. That will, in effect kill the free internet access for all.


« Last Edit: July 05, 2010, 01:07:33 PM by caylee » Logged
babysweet
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« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2010, 02:33:34 PM »

Caylee, do you have anything to back this up?

I'm just curious how pay-for sites will be any faster than not-pay-for sites unless the pay sites come out with faster uploading speeds.

The site being free will not alter your download speeds.  The site being free is not likely to slow down existing speeds (these sites, as JustMe said, are still "paid" sites, just the site owner is responsible for paying - or finding advertising that will make the site run in the black.

I currently host three websites, all of which I pay my cable provider for.  Because I pay my monthly fees, my sites are held on a server with a minimum upload/download speed.  If I am not happy with this provider, I can go elsewhere.

The VAST majority of "free sites" are either paid for using advertising or simply out of someone's pocket.  I think it's about time that the big site owners who are providing regular fresh content that comes at a high price (ie reporters) begin to charge a fee for their content.

I no longer subscribe to print media for several reasons.  However, I do pay for several publications I access online.  Not only are the online services cheaper (less overhead than producing a three dimensional product) but if I want a European Magazine, I no longer have to pay four times the local price because of the shipping costs.  I can actually pay LESS than even locals who purchase the print version.

What I'm trying to say is that not only is this trend inevitable, it's going to eventually equate to better content, as the pay sites compete with the "free" sites.


Edited to add:

What would the response be if Itchmo became a pay site tomorrow.  Would you pay a few dollars every month for continued access to this forum and it's incredible wealth of knowledge - not to mention lightening fast recall notices?

Upkeep of this forum costs money.  Hosting costs money.  And doing it WITHOUT the use of advertisers (my only complaint about PetConnection is its tie to questionable companies) costs even more money.

Who here feels the content isn't worth paying for?
« Last Edit: July 05, 2010, 02:36:53 PM by babysweet » Logged
JustMe
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My RB Angels Elvis, 1991-2010, and Twit, 2001-2010


« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2010, 03:19:44 PM »

Here is an old discussion we had going here.

http://itchmoforums.com/off-topic-no-politics/new-internet-fees-for-heavy-users-t5114.0.html;msg67890#msg67890

Ben actually tried to add google ads here and at the Itchmo blog at one point to help pay the bills and some members objected.


http://www.itchmo.com/an-interview-with-nermal-4903
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Eventually they will understand,
Replied the glorious cat
For I will whisper into their hearts
That I am always with them
I just am....forever and ever and ever.
Poem for Cats, author unknown

"A kitten in the animal kingdom is like a rosebud in a garden", author unknown
3catkidneyfailure
Guest
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2010, 03:20:37 PM »

 
Quote
TV isn't free.
What you don't remember is all radio and television were free to the viewers at one time, babysweet. They were supported by sponsor paid ads, the infrastructure, staff, and the programming and they were high quality.

How do you slow down internet reception? By denying needed bandwidth to the "free" services so they're so congested that in effect
there is no download speed. Cell phone carriers and broadband ISP's are already starting to use this path. If you use over 5GB a month,
some ISP broadband carriers make your service correspondingly slow the next month to punish you for it. You pay the same amount;
you just get a slower connection. Cell phone networks are adopting 4G speeds versus 3G call speeds to accomplish the same thing.

If you're of a generation that can't remember when TV wasn't paid cable, you're being lead down a primrose path. If you march down
it, you're going to end up limiting access to information to those that can afford it. You're being hoodwinked rapidly into thinking this
is the way it has to be; program creators getting funding from advertising sponsors and viewers, just like cell phone companies make
both callers and the folks who receive the calls pay for the same call. It's wrong, period, and dangerous. And accomplished by limiting
bandwidth access and download speeds.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2010, 03:22:55 PM by 3catkidneyfailure » Logged
JustMe
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My RB Angels Elvis, 1991-2010, and Twit, 2001-2010


« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2010, 03:43:52 PM »


Yes, television was free to viewers and radio was free for listeners.  I don't need a link or reference for that, I lived it, too!   Tongue  All we paid for was electricity and the radio or television and rabbit ears or roof antenna. 

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Eventually they will understand,
Replied the glorious cat
For I will whisper into their hearts
That I am always with them
I just am....forever and ever and ever.
Poem for Cats, author unknown

"A kitten in the animal kingdom is like a rosebud in a garden", author unknown
catwoods
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« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2010, 03:46:02 PM »

 Grin Still using antennae at both Mom's house and ours, JustMe.
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caylee
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« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2010, 03:55:12 PM »

I still have only over the air TV because I cannot afford the basic cable costs.

Another way that free TV is being limited is that the new digital channels do not come near the quality of the old analog channels had. I've lost several programs that I had set up to tape while away for the day because something interfered with the digital signal to my TV. It was fine when I turned the TV off the night before and no one was here to move the rabbit ears either.

The government sold the consumers a bad deal, just because there was an opportunity for the mega companies to make more money with the bandwidth that the analog signal occupied.  Sad
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catwoods
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« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2010, 04:01:27 PM »

I agree it's a quality downturn, Caylee. A storm used to fuzz up the old analog signal, but you could still figure it out through careful watching and listening - important during storms in my area. Now a storm can knock out parts of the dialogue and picture, or just take out the entire signal. That leaves you with a blue rectangle saying "No program" or "No signal".
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caylee
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« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2010, 04:14:59 PM »

I agree it's a quality downturn, Caylee. 

Then there was the night that Super Nanny had a special 2 hr program on. About 20 min into the program, I got the 'no signal' screen on both TV's - the old analog TV using converter box, and my new $145 digital TV - It was something very local because I called my mom and she could get it just a few miles away. I tried moving the rabbit ears all over the place - but alas, still no signal. After about 40 min the signal returned just like it went away.
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