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Top 10 Reasons Why /. Subscriptions Won't Generate Cash

FortKnox (169099) writes | more than 12 years ago

Slashdot.org 10

OK, the subscriptions won't "fail", because they have money otherwise. Slashdot, itself, won't "fail", because you'll be able to read it WITH ads (well, I guess that idea isn't totally justified until I see the ads).

  1. However, Slashdot will have trouble generating the cash they think they'll get because:
  2. Slashcode Developers See None of the Money: Unless they are employed under Slashdot, looks like they get none of it. I guess a lot of Napster users won't understand it
OK, the subscriptions won't "fail", because they have money otherwise. Slashdot, itself, won't "fail", because you'll be able to read it WITH ads (well, I guess that idea isn't totally justified until I see the ads).
  1. However, Slashdot will have trouble generating the cash they think they'll get because:
  2. Slashcode Developers See None of the Money: Unless they are employed under Slashdot, looks like they get none of it. I guess a lot of Napster users won't understand it, but if they put the time in helping out the system, you'd think they'd get some of the cash?
  3. VA Lin^H^H^HSoftware Conspiracy Theories: I could start some conspiracy theories here, but they all will have some common traits. Is VA in such bad shape that they need to help out slashdot? Sure, it's probably not true, but with the amount of paranoids on slashdot, people will start finding secondary sites in case slashdot gets the boot.
  4. Other Webloggers Will Take Advantage: Yeah, I'm trying to be one of them, but someone can start up another weblog, similar to slashdot, offer only banner ads, and pull users away. Maybe not all of them, but its still a hit to slashdot. Especially, when they offer better features (like more stories, more original content, deleting trolls, etc...)
  5. Angry Submitters: There will always be people that will submit news. But some common submitters (like myself) are a bit angry about the whole subscription thing, and won't submit news anymore. This is more of a minor point, but what about on those slow news days? The days when you count on your trusty sources?
  6. Why Do They Get The Money: Lets face it, their jobs are to be editors, correct? What do they edit? Look at the stories, some have bad links, most have spelling/grammatical errors. They don't seem to be doing a good job, so why pay them?
  7. Metered Pages: Its just an odd way of doing it. It'll make people uncomfortable with reloading stories to see more comments. It'll make people uncomfortable with accidentally hitting "submit" to quickly (and don't even get me started on lameness filter on legit posts). They'd need to add some incredible logic in the whole system to make it work with metered pages, and I don't see it happening.
  8. Nothing But Regurgitated Stories: (And the occasional Jon Katz post) Why would I pay money for stories that users submit? Why not just go to the most common sites where the articles are found? If you say that you like the comments after the article, look at the point about other weblogs taking advantage.
  9. What will the Ad's companies think?: Think about it. Who are you targetting? The geeks with money? But those geeks are already not seeing your ads. The only people seeing your ads are the ones that couldn't even afford a little subscription fee.
  10. Adbuster: Here's an analogy for all you slashdottes: Telling slashdot users to have a subscription to avoid ads, is the same as telling a Linux user to pay to use the "K-Menu" (or whatever the startmenu-like menu is for Gnome & KDE). 99% of Linux users know how to use consoles to do everything, just like 99% of slashdot users know how to avoid ads like the plague.
  11. 2 Words, Jon Katz: What? Every poll against slashdot always ends on Jon Katz! OK, so that's a bad choice. Here's the real choice:
    What do they think of their users: Find out yourself! I really don't point this post out enough. Michael calls a user (me) someone that needs a life. I could directly (now, indirectly at the time) line his wallet. Because of that post, I'll never show Slashdot a dime.

Although, this isn't the best research, this poll says a lot. Now keep in mind that a lot of people that subscribed, did so for slashdot, not to avoid ads. They probably would have been better off with a "Donate to Slashdot" link, instead of a "Subscription to Slashdot" IMHO.

Whatcha think? Have anymore to ad? Should I delete a point?

cancel ×

10 comments

Interesting (1)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 12 years ago | (#3106524)

You would have to agree that for the most part, we're paying these guys to maintain a huge gathering place to discuss the days top stories if we subscribe. They're not editors, never have been really. I can cut them some slack for their horrid misspellings and poor 'customer service' towards their users, but I'm not paying to discuss today's top stories. Even Yahoo! News has those kinds of capabilities for free...

Relax. (2)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#3106923)

Everyone is getting WAY too hot and bothered about subscriptions and ads. Four words please: CALM THE FUCK DOWN!

Slashdot is NOT adding popups. They are just adding normal ads [osdn.com] like the skyscraper [doubleclick.net] and the big square display ad [doubleclick.net] . Normal ads you see everywhere else, and that already run on Newsforge [osdn.com] and other OSDN sites.

These ads run from $90 per thousand (megabanner [osdn.com] , one month) and $24 per thousand (below the fold [osdn.com] , 1 year). Of course these are list prices, minus potentially deep discounts.

But what of subscriptions?

The slashdot subscription service can be viewed another way: you're buying ad banners for $5 per thousand! (Actually, it's more like $5 per 2000 or 3000, since most pages have several ads.) You're just buying blank space, or absence of ad banners, not actual banners.

Now this is a deep discount by any measure. Is it above the marginal cost of serving the pages? Yes. But is it also lower margin than serving ads? ABSOLUTELY. So the economics are interesting: now, in a period of crappy ad sales, $5 per thousand is a hell of a lot better than $0 (which they get for the Sourceforge ads); but if ad sales pick up, the opportunity cost of giving members such a cheap way to avoid ads could be substantial.

So I actually think slashdot is doing us a favor by setting up the subscription system. And if they tell us fuck you in the process, who cares? It's still a better deal than the alternative. (And you know you post the occasional fuck-you as AC or via a troll account, FortKnox.)

Re:Relax. (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#3106988)

And you know you post the occasional fuck-you as AC or via a troll account, FortKnox

I own zero troll accounts, and only use AC to fool around on stuff like trolltalk, or to carry on a conversation with trolls at -1. If I make an occasional "FU" post, I do it at no +1 bonus.

I see your points, but think this is more of a troll (maybe a flamebait) that I'm responding to, so I'm not adding gas to the fire.

BTW - I find it humorous that you title your post "relax", yet argue so aggresively (enough for me to think that you may of been the AC that was crapflooding my journal) to get your point across.

No, I'm serious. (1)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#3107131)

I'm not trolling - I'm serious. Look at the economics! Slashdot's subscription system may not be the best user interface (I certainly think all you can eat is better, even if it's not the best financial deal for the buyer, because you can set it and forget it) but it is the fairest I have ever seen. Don't like an ad? Pay not to see it, at a discounted price. I don't see how much fairer it could be.

And it's a smart move for the Slashboys because they need the revenue from bigger ads, and if even a few subscribe, it's another revenue stream, which is better than X10 and Casino-On-Net.

Of course people can run junkbuster. And people can take slashdot .rdf's and make alternate sites. Let 'em! They cut down on bandwidth utilization anyway.

The point of this is to allow big ads on the front page, like skyscrapers and square displays. That's what ad buyers want (newspapers and magazines have had display ads of even larger proportions for over a century). And remember what CT said: 82% of readers don't comment - many don't even click through to the stories! So front page ads reach these users.

Without subscriptions, the hue and cry would have been even louder. So by doing it this way, they gave people an alternative; sent pageviews through the roof on a HOF story; and will get some revenue out of it. Makes sense to me.

Re:No, I'm serious. (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#3107296)

I'm not disagreeing with you.
Its almost like this is backfiring, though. Its giving the users a 'heads up' on big ads coming. That'll prepare them to get stuff to avoid it before it comes. Plus it gives all the users (like me) to stir around peeved until I see what the new ads actually look like. The way its being presented makes it seem like the ads are just gonna be bad.
Maybe a better strategy woulda been putting up that story the day the ads came?

I still think its a better idea to just have a 'slashdot donation' instead of subscriptions. Maybe even just changing the name (so you are a 'donator' instead of a 'subscriber', but you get everything that the 'subscriber' gets). That'd calm down quite a few people (lets face it, "subscriptions" mean something bad to the free software people, but donations are a good way to keep free software moving, right?). People know slashdot isn't free and would be willing to donate money. What, I don't have to see ads if I donate? GREAT!
But, "you have to donate to not see the new annoying ads we are putting up" isn't the greatest way to approach this audience.

20/20 hindsight, I guess...

Re:No, I'm serious. (2)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 12 years ago | (#3108557)

Donations vs Subscriptions might be a tax issue. Dunno enough to comment intelligibly on it.

Since comments are owned by the poster... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3108797)

I'ma make a site that sucks all the comments down from Slashdot and presents 'em for free.

Eat that bitches

Yah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3112818)

Pay for it too, dumbass

Reason #11 (-1)

The Turd Report (527733) | more than 12 years ago | (#3119058)

look here [slashdot.org]

One hit wonder (2)

Perdo (151843) | more than 12 years ago | (#3161674)

1177 out of 40764 votes on the subscription poll said they had subsribed. $36,091 a month worth of subscriptions assuming 250,000 regular readers at $5.00 a month and the numbers scale. I doubt the numbers scale because if you do not care enough to subscribe, you would probably not answer the poll either. So, the top figure is 36,091 double that once they get another option besides paypal. 70,000 tops but 6-10 tousand more likely.

What they don't understand is that slashdot is in its entirety a walking, talking, evangelizing advertisement for Linux. If slashdot costs 100 million a year, It would still be considered the cheapest advertising campaign EVER, considering the impact it has had on spreading the Linux gospel.

Redhat, IBM, VA, SGI, Sun, Apple - every company to ever benefit from open source software of any flavor owes Slashdot for bringing in the willing users and developers. Slashdot is a gateway to the product. Linux is rarely cited in the mainstream press without a mention of slashdot. Every tech news section in local papers across the nation use slashdot's stories and readers comments three days after posting.

Slashdot is the heart of the Linux zealot community. Go ahead and destroy it for fucking a million dollars a month cash but you would be dropping hundreds of millions in free advertisement for Linux itself. I hope it is worth the Fucking five dollars a month from the 1177 readers that they accidentally didn't piss off. Dropping a fistful of dollars to steal a penny from your EMPLOYER.

If you don't advertise to the masses, the masses do not buy your shit. You just lost the masses. Find a new job Malda. You just gave up the position of herald of the king to become beggar on the street. Slashdot reminds me of a one hit wonder band.
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