8 Mar 2010 12 pm eastern

Future of Online News

Many website designers run their own niche blog, and if the content is unique enough, a designer might be able to sell subscriptions to it. The content has to be very high quality, though, and few design blogs meet that standard.

A List Apart is one that does, and it could potentially turn a profit selling subscriptions. But the subscription route is a risky move because it alienates many users and shrinks ad revenue substantially.

Jeffrey Zeldman, publisher, founder and executive creative director of A List Apart, gives two reasons why A List Apart does not put its content behind a paywall:

  • It’s against our belief in free online content.
  • It wouldn’t work unless our competitors also put their content behind a paywall. We appeal to a discerning base of web designers, but if we went behind a paywall, it would be as if we had stopped publishing. Our readers would turn elsewhere.”

More at What Is the Future of Online News? | Webdesigner Depot.

Filed under: A List Apart, data, Publications, Publishing

5 Responses to “Future of Online News”

  1. Joe said on

    Who are the competitors of A List Apart? I am not aware of any site that could be considered a peer to A List Apart.

    (funny typo: A Lust Apart)

  2. Theo said on

    Agree with Joe, A List Apart is unique.Free and incredibly good content. Behind a paywall it would not be “Apart” anymore.

  3. Neal G said on

    The funny thing is, the Financial Times website that limits users to viewing only 10 articles per month doesn’t do a very good job at blocking us from viewing the content. Its as simple as using Firefox+Stylish to hide the annoying overlay and display: block the content they are trying to hide.

  4. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    Who are the competitors of A List Apart?

    http://www.smashingmagazine.com/ might be considered a competitor.

    Webmonkey and Think Vitamin were, but both appear to have relaunched as ordinary blogs.

  5. Evan Skuthorpe said on

    I wouldn’t visit if you charged. Quite frankly the internet is a free source of information and entertainment (mostly) that we all use and value.

    If a given web site started to charge, another free one covering exactly the same content would popup in it’s place.

    A case in point: Here in London, a newspaper called The Evening Standard which started way back in 1827 recently became a freesheet. It’s a London based paper that many hundreds of thousands of people read on the way home from work. It became free due to competition from other freesheets. It’s paid for by advertising.

    Old media is adopting the way of the new.

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