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Google To Offer Micropayments To News Sites

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the much-much-nicer-than-a-horse-head dept.

Google 155

CWmike writes "Google is promoting a payment system to the newspaper industry that would let Web surfers pay a small amount for individual news stories, an idea that could help publishers struggling with the impact of the Internet. The plans were revealed in a document Google submitted to the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), which had solicited ideas for how to monetize content online, a task some publishers have had difficulty with. 'The idea is to allow viable payments of a penny to several dollars by aggregating purchases across merchants,' Google said in the document. Google said it had no specific products to announce yet."

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Great idea! (4, Insightful)

Stuarticus (1205322) | about 5 years ago | (#29388039)

Let me start by paying nothing for this one, I'll gladly give Murdoch even less.

Re:Great idea! (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#29388265)

If there is no advertising, I'll pay. But if there are ads, let the advertisers pay. I'm paying for content by looking at ads, if you want me to pay cash for your content you're going to have to give me a clean, ad-free page that doesn't blink and flash.

Funny, the Illinois Times [illinoistimes.com] , a weekly Springfield paper, doesn't even charge for its print version. If they can make money from advertising alone, why can't other papers? It's ludicrous that anyone wants me to pay for a web page that blinks and flashes.

And as long as there are online papers that don't charge, good luck charging. As long as there are free sources for news, why would anyone pay?

Re:Great idea! (5, Interesting)

fredrik70 (161208) | about 5 years ago | (#29388523)

If it were only that simple, I always thought I should support the sites I look at byt not disabling the ads with an ad blocker, but lately it's been pretty much impossible to look at most news sites I go to as all those flash ads causes my browser and computer to crawl. Yes, bit old computer (Athlon - 64 3000+) but I shouldn't have to update my bloody computer just to be able to read some web pages!
So, in the end, I installed Adblock and everythiong jsut works! fantastic! I am still allowing ads on slashdot to show though as it's not enough of them to cause too much harm.
Anyway, if they made flash less intrusive when it comes to CPU hogging I'd appily live with it, but now it's pretty much a joke

Re:Great idea! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29388621)

It's even worse on site which actually use flash. The company I rent DVDs from recently launched a streaming service using flash. Unfortunately, they also show flash adverts which, on the 1.5GHz G4 I have plugged in to my projector, means that I can only watch the video without frames dropping if none of the ads are visible. Or if I use a click-to-flash plugin, of course, then the whole thing becomes sane again. I don't use an ad blocker, but if you are going to use flash for your ads then all I will see is a grey rectangle with a little flash logo in the middle of it unless I choose to click.

Re:Great idea! (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 5 years ago | (#29388723)

I am still allowing ads on slashdot to show though as it's not enough of them to cause too much harm.

I tried using slashdot without the ads - I use the web site daily and have no problem giving some mindshare to discrete textual ads at a place like this. Unfortunately, every time I try to uncheck the 'ads disabled' checkbox, within two-three page hits I see something in Flash that is either blinking, flashing, or moving at me. It seems that "discrete" simply isn't good enough any more.

Re:Great idea! (1)

cpghost (719344) | about 5 years ago | (#29389425)

Unfortunately, every time I try to uncheck the 'ads disabled' checkbox, within two-three page hits I see something in Flash that is either blinking, flashing, or moving at me.

On my Flash-unsupported FreeBSD/amd64 box, it just shows as a blanked out rectangle for which a non-existent plug-in is missing. Sometimes, being unsupported by Adobe can be a bliss.

Re:Great idea! (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 5 years ago | (#29390029)

Unfortunately, every time I try to uncheck the 'ads disabled' checkbox, within two-three page hits I see something in Flash that is either blinking, flashing, or moving at me.

On my Flash-unsupported FreeBSD/amd64 box, it just shows as a blanked out rectangle for which a non-existent plug-in is missing. Sometimes, being unsupported by Adobe can be a bliss.

True, but not really the point - I mean, it's easy to turn them off in any case. But I'd much rather sites started to buy a clue and stop accepting that kind of content. Until they do, I keep blocking.

Re:Great idea! (1)

Stepnsteph (1326437) | about 5 years ago | (#29389181)

I have to agree with fred here about selectively displaying ads. There was a time in the somewhat distant past that I publicly denounced Ad Block Plus as "evil" and stated that it was not a big deal to show certain types of advertisements (eg; Google text ads). As I'm sure you already know, I now run ABP and I have for quite some time.

It's like Fred here is saying. The ads simply became worse and worse. This lead to installing ABP, which I know is a primary reason why the ads became worse in the first place. Vicious cycle there. Originally I selectively allowed certain types of ads, but you know, I got sick of baby sitting. I became cynical, "Why should I have to baby sit these websites when all they have to do is stop using the trashy ads?" Now it's just "on" and stays that way.

Re:Great idea! (3, Insightful)

mejogid (1575619) | about 5 years ago | (#29388541)

I don't believe it's reasonable to expect all papers to be funded by advertisers. Things like investigative journalism, sending journalists to press conferences, researched opinion pieces and the like *are* expensive, and somebody needs to fund them. Free (gratis not libre) press only exists because of the paid press and the likes of the AP/Reuters who do the initial research. People definitely pay for a higher quality of news coverage online - look at Bloomberg. Granted that's a niche, but I personally would be willing to pay a reasonable amount (less than the cost of a daily newspaper) for better, more up to date news coverage with more insightful editorials.

Re:Great idea! (1)

stabiesoft (733417) | about 5 years ago | (#29389667)

I don't see why AP doesn't do this instead of google. Then allow AP to agregate news from the locals and pay them the micro-payment. Essentially, my subscription to AP (which I'm more likely to do than a subscription to google) also accesses the local news. I don't see why the news industry would want to give google probably half or more of the money that they are doing the work for. This also helps prevent google from becoming another evil microsoft. We need to discourage mega-corp's, too big to fail syndrome.

Re:Great idea! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29388589)

If there is no advertising, I'll pay. But if there are ads, let the advertisers pay. I'm paying for content by looking at ads, if you want me to pay cash for your content you're going to have to give me a clean, ad-free page that doesn't blink and flash.

The problem with this is: you won't be willing to pay the equivalent of what that site is making right now by displaying ads.

Or, put in other words: you take the income they get from ads now and divide by average unique visitors per article, and you'll get a figure which you, the visitor, will consider too big.

Of course, the problem with THAT is that the stats are based on a world which, so far, hasn't seen a viable micropayment mechanism other than perhaps PayPal, which is hated for all kinds of secondary reasons.

Perhaps Google will manage to get micropayments right.

Re:Great idea! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29388619)

I've never really understood this reasoning, people pay for magazines, newspapers, movies,... with a lot of ads in them. But all of the sudden when it's on the internet it has to be either pay, or ads.

I find it completely reasonable that ads make something cheaper, but not necessarily free.

Re:Great idea! (0, Redundant)

lxs (131946) | about 5 years ago | (#29388737)

Even worse: Most magazines are pay and ads.

Re:Great idea! (1)

Crayon Kid (700279) | about 5 years ago | (#29388645)

If there is no advertising, I'll pay.

Then why are we still paying for copies of classic newspapers and magazines even though they have ads in them? Why am I paying for the TV channels I get on cable even though they come with advertising? Why pay admission to a concert AND see ads to various brands everywhere on the grounds?

I like the idea, but are customer pay-per-item and ads really mutually exclusive? And if there's some kind of revolution in the making, what is it? Are we finally saying 'no' to advertising? Really? Really really?

Re:Great idea! (5, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | about 5 years ago | (#29388689)

Wow, an indie weekly that is ad supported? How imaginative! It's certainly different from every other ad supported indie weekly!

The problem is, indie weeklies have crap news. If you want to know what band is playing at what club, you can check the weekly. If you want free personal ads, you can check the weekly. If you want well researched news articles about the place where you live, you're outta luck. They may have a couple of op-ed pieces, with-- maybe--one source, and, if you're lucky, the source will actually be a reliable source.

I actually used to run an indie weekly, so I know that of which I speak. Tiny staff, constant pressure to get ads, no ability to tell off an advertiser...I mean, if you were getting ads from the Religious Right, you couldn't write op eds about them, because the money was more important than your integrity. Having to do your own collections; getting paid in fricking barter from small advertisers. It's not a great business.

Your argument is like something I'd imagine hearing when cable companies were starting up. "Who's going to pay for TV?" Answer: people who want more than what you can get in a model that is completely reliant on ad revenue. If your customer is the advertiser, then you are beholden to the advertiser. If your customer is an individual who pays then you have some independence.

Re:Great idea! (1)

Nerdposeur (910128) | about 5 years ago | (#29388853)

If your customer is the advertiser, then you are beholden to the advertiser. If your customer is an individual who pays then you have some independence.

Mod parent up! This is a truth that is too frequently overlooked in Slashdot conversations.

Re:Great idea! (4, Insightful)

cornicefire (610241) | about 5 years ago | (#29389199)

"Who's going to pay for TV?" Answer: people who want more than what you can get in a model that is completely reliant on ad revenue. If your customer is the advertiser, then you are beholden to the advertiser. If your customer is an individual who pays then you have some independence.
Peter Wayner gave a talk at Google about helping to pay for shoe leather several years ago:

http://www.wayner.org/talks/gtalk.html [wayner.org]

This is the major problem with the free-only ecology. A friend of mine sat me down when I first started writing a book and explained that it was a very different process than writing a long, long magazine article. The newspapers and magazines, he explained, have two loyalties: the subscribers and the advertisers. Both pay the bills. The job for a newspaper or magazine writer is to attract the kind of audience that will make the advertisers happy.
A book, however, is sold directly to the reader. The writer's loyalty is to the audience first and last. There's no complicated dance with an advertiser. That's why books continue to be the preferred ways for someone who really has a strong message to deliver. It's a medium built for Anne Coulters, the Dan Browns and the Popes. There's no editorial hand wringing or demands for "balance" to get in the way. There's a very tight feedback loop.
The free information ecology is the exact opposite. The same picky consumer who could make book authors dance has very little leverage over the free ecology. The free economy can only be dominated by those who get their rent money from other sources. Sometimes this won't affect their writing, but many times it will. The problem is that the free ecology doesn't have the feedback loop. The reader doesn't have the same leverage with the creator. Sometimes it may work out well, but in most cases, the creator will take care of the one who pays the bills first. It's just how the world has to work.

Re:Great idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29389957)

If the newpapers and news sites actually gave insightful reports and did real investigation, then I'd consider paying them. As it is, very few articles any real analysis at all. And lots of "news" focusses on secondary topics, like all the "health care" news that's more about politics than, y'know, the actual plan. The only "investigative reporting" I've heard of in the last couple years is FOX pretending to be a pimp to get ACORN in a bad spot.

Re:Great idea! (1)

2obvious4u (871996) | about 5 years ago | (#29390221)

What if your customer was both?

Why not get rid of newspapers and just have the journalists. The journalists write the stories where their market is. So the journalist writes for the customer. Then an aggrigator, like Google hosts the articles. Google is responsible for getting advertisers. They know exactly how many people are viewing the page and they know where they are viewing the page from so they can target the advertising. They then split the ad revenue with the journalist based on views and ad revenue from that location. They could even put up a subscriber base to support your journalists. No more newspapers screwing the journalists, advertisers and patrons. Its just a direct market.

I hope all newspapers die out, we don't need them anymore. We have the technology to support independent journalists directly. We don't need the buracracy of a newspaper anymore. We don't even need cable networks or cable news stations anymore either. We can directly support the programming and news we want now. There are enough fans of firefly that had it been produced independantly of the studio it could still be on air. There just needed to be a direct way for the fans to support the show. I.E. broadcast it over the internet tracking the number of users and adding directed advertising, if the fans wanted the show and it wasn't earning enough from ad revenue then they could add subscription fees to the show to support it. If the demand was there there would be no reason to cancel it, it would have been self supporting. We really don't need studios anymore. Studios could operate like venture capitalists and develop pilot shows for a percentage of the return. The show then supports itself, not all shows would succeed, but those that do would be enough to support the VCs. This would free us from the corporate bias and let the users have a direct control over their content.

Re:Great idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29389211)

That's funny, you hypocrites will gladly buy dead-tree news with ads all over the damn page, but the instant it comes to the web, "OH MY GOD FUCKING KILL THEM, THEY ARE FORCING ME TO MOVE MY EYES TO THE ADVERTS, DEMONS!!"

Re:Great idea! (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | about 5 years ago | (#29389319)

When you come up with a way to make type flash yellow and blue on a piece of paper, come back and let us know, hippie.

Re:Great idea! (1)

TMarvelous (928161) | about 5 years ago | (#29389355)

So you never dropped fifty cents for your local daily because of those adds too? And you're comparing a weekly to the instantaneous web? Good luck staying informed. At least you can stay up on tech news by not reading the articles posted here.

Re:Great idea! (3, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | about 5 years ago | (#29389575)

Yeah, remember how there weren't going to have to be any ads on cable television, because we were already going to be paying for it once?

Re:Great idea! (1)

camionbleu (1633937) | about 5 years ago | (#29389643)

If we do not start paying for our online news, we will no longer have newspapers that offer independent coverage of international news stories, with their own foreign correspondents. Instead, we will only have coverage that republishes newswire articles. I value independent news stories and I'm willing to pay for them. I like the idea of micropayments because it will allow people to read multiple newspapers without paying a costly subscription to each. For example, one of the newspapers whose international reporting I most enjoy, The Independent (of London), is in financial trouble and needs precisely this type of cash injection. I used to have a subscription (for premium content) several years ago but that model did not work for the newspaper and now all their content is free. As others have noted, it would be very difficult for just a handful of newspapers to introduce this. However, the news business is somewhat atypical in the sense that most readers do not regard newspapers as interchangeable because they usually have their own editorial line. For that reason, it would not be necessary for ALL newspapers to do this. I try to read politically diverse newspapers, and if one of my main news sources folded I would not be able to arbitrarily plug in another newspaper to replace it. And some of the less mainstream ones are truly unique. Finally, I would be prepared to tolerate some advertising even if I pay. Some print newspapers have advertising now and one can regard advertising as a way to keep down the price of the paper. The challenge is getting the balance right (both in terms of price and ad intrusiveness).

Re:Great idea! (4, Interesting)

siloko (1133863) | about 5 years ago | (#29388279)

Let me start by paying nothing for this one

and I guess your sentiment will be echoed by a lot of people. All we can really do is let the industry die and THEN see if it is so valuable that it needs resurrecting. The fact that newspaper conglomerates keep harping on about how necessary they are for the proper functioning of democracy means nothing to me without evidence and I'm afraid the only evidence that counts is a failed industry followed by a failed democracy. I don't see the later happening any time soon (well no more than is already the case!).

Re:Great idea! (4, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | about 5 years ago | (#29388435)

I am interested in your necromancy approach to dying industries, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
But only if it's free.

Re:Great idea! (5, Insightful)

dnahelicase (1594971) | about 5 years ago | (#29388515)

All we can really do is let the industry die and THEN see if it is so valuable that it needs resurrecting. The fact that newspaper conglomerates keep harping on about how necessary they are for the proper functioning of democracy means nothing to me

I don't think the industry will ever die, just the conglomerates . Before they were around there were hundreds of newspapers that served the very local needs they were in. I just moved to a small town and what is in my newspaper? A bunch of AP crap that I can get from any other newspaper or website in any form I want. I generally don't care about the AP stories anyway. As big newspapers die, new forms of media and journalism will grow to feed the needs of the community. They aren't falling victim to the tyrants of the internet - they are failing to adjust their mindsets to a changing consumer market.

I'm not going to pay to look at national ads that I see everywhere, but I don't mind paying a small subscription to read local news and also get presented with ads for local retailers.

Re:Great idea! (1)

SeeSp0tRun (1270464) | about 5 years ago | (#29388521)

I wouldn't call it a "failed" industry, but an industry which has lived out its life and is reaching the end.
Failed would be an industry like using nuclear weapons to act as steamshovels [forbes.com] .

Re:Great idea! (1)

Nerdposeur (910128) | about 5 years ago | (#29389017)

The fact that newspaper conglomerates keep harping on about how necessary they are for the proper functioning of democracy means nothing to me without evidence and I'm afraid the only evidence that counts is a failed industry followed by a failed democracy.

Newspaper conglomerates aren't necessary for democracy, but objective journalism is. Let me lay it out for you.

  • Democracy relies on people voting
  • To vote well, people need reliable information. (Case in point: how do you even know who's running for Congress, much less who to vote for? You'd better hope you have more sources than the campaigns themselves.)
  • Reliable information is hard to find. This is especially true if people in power want to hide it.
  • Therefore, it takes hard work to find reliable information: research, phone calls, travel, relationships with people who know things. You can't do it well if it's a hobby. In other words, it's a full-time job. It's called reporting.
  • Reporters need to eat. They have to get money from somewhere.
  • As SatanicPuppy pointed out elsewhere, that money either comes from advertisers or readers/viewers. If it's from advertisers, it tends to influence the news. ("This news report is brought to you by the companies who are lobbying Congress against your interests!") Reader-supported news can be more objective.
  • Therefore, reader-supported news is important to democracy

Now, notice I said nothing about print vs video vs web vs piping straight to your brain, or profit vs nonprofit. This is just "people collecting and distilling information." And yes, traditional news has plenty of flaws. But it's better than state-run media or random hearsay.

Maybe we don't value good news right now, and won't pay for it. I don't think democracy will collapse overnight, but I do think corruption will grow. Maybe when that comes to light, people will get mad and demand objective news, and be willing to pay someone to gather it. If your way of thinking wins, I guess we'll find out.

Re:Great idea! (1)

DarKnyht (671407) | about 5 years ago | (#29389799)

Part of the reason that most of us don't value good news is because most of us have never seen "good" news. What we have seen is what you described where papers, magazines, news shows, etc. are beholden to their corporate holders/corporate interests or even their own slanted views.

I and many others like me grew up seeing as news is little more than cheerleading their chosen side with facts that make them look good, while mostly ignoring the facts that don't and/or putting so much spin on the story that the facts get drowned out. Objective, impartial reporting has been dead for a long time and it is currently being replaced with group-think sites that gather the herd of like views that shout out any opposing voice.

I think if we ever managed to see reporting as you describe it again, people would gladly pay for it.

Re:Great idea! (1)

Ster (556540) | about 5 years ago | (#29389949)

All we can really do is let the industry die and THEN see if it is so valuable that it needs resurrecting.

Ah, so you've been reading Girl Genius [girlgeniusonline.com] too?

-Ster

Re:Great idea! (1)

carp3_noct3m (1185697) | about 5 years ago | (#29388715)

Ahh the glory that is bugmenot.com. Only in a handful of cases have I found a pay site without a login on there.

Good luck with that one .... (1, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | about 5 years ago | (#29388047)

That's not going to work in a "cut-n-paste email" world.

Re:Good luck with that one .... (5, Funny)

jimbolauski (882977) | about 5 years ago | (#29388097)

And besides who RTFA anyway.

Re:Good luck with that one .... (1)

digitalgiblet (530309) | about 5 years ago | (#29389205)

That's a plus 5 funny right there with no saving throw.

Re:Good luck with that one .... (4, Insightful)

darthflo (1095225) | about 5 years ago | (#29388131)

Why not? As long as the process is quick and painless and the cost low enough (i.e. a few cents), I wouldn't mind that one click to read the full article with images and everything (and without ads).

It's similar to the model of those boxes containing a stack of newspaper to which you get access by inserting a quarter or two. Of course, one could get the whole stack and distribute it for free; but in reality most people will just get one paper (i.e. read the article) and get on with their lives.

Re:Good luck with that one .... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29388257)

The problem is I don't trust the computer with my money. Even though I might be willing to pay a reasonable small amount for some articles, I do not trust linking my payment information to a mouseclick.

There's been many stories of people running up astronomical phone bills because their phone used costly services in the background with no easy means of knowing what it is doing and what it is costing. I need to be assured that the computer will never run amok with my money - or worse - rack up bills on credit that I then have to pay, whether or not I might have had the money for it.

There is needs to be a built-in stop. In real-life, for example, paying cash, it is very hard to accidentally spend without knowing that you are spending and how much. Even paying by credit card, the bank will call and verify if there's a unusual series of transactions, which serves to limit the financial damage in the event of a "bug". Micropayments needs to solve this problem (for example, by using pre-issued time-time-use cryptographic tokens in lieu of serial-numbered bills) before I am comfortable trusting financial access to a general-purpose web-browsing computer. I suspect I'm not the only one who feels this way.

Re:Good luck with that one .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29388331)

I should add and clarify: yes I have bought things online. But that's a rather limited exposure currently that I handle in a way that wouldn't scale.

Purchases have been from a small handful of stores, and I use a totally separate user account to do so, with permissions set so that neither account has read or write access to the other, and which I log out of when finished with the transaction. This sandboxing of financial information, so to speak, enforced by conscious 'su-ing' into and out of different user accounts, is unworkable once the granularity decreases to the point where one might conceivably make a micropayment every few pages browsed.

Re:Good luck with that one .... (4, Interesting)

darthflo (1095225) | about 5 years ago | (#29388467)

Well, there could be an easy solution for that: Pay-as-you-Go Micropayments. Charge your Google account with $10, spend that, a penny every few clicks, charge it again.

Now the charging part could turn out to be a bit trickier. Ideally, you'd pay cash for a gift card, use that and be totally safe. Unfortunately, making and selling the physical cards isn't free, so this may or may not happen anytime soon. I'm guessing they'll take credit cards to fill you up. There's always Visa/Mastercard gift cards (non-personal, check with your local Mall) as well as Prepaid credit cards (personal, check with your Bank or credit card institution). Pretty safe, too.

In the end, even if you'd be paying directly from a real credit card, you can always cancel charges.

Re:Good luck with that one .... (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 years ago | (#29389967)

It was tried about a decade ago by webcomics. I think Scott McCloud pioneered the idea. People just didn't go for it - the content wasn't worth the hassle of signing up for the account and topping it up. People don't usually pay for newspapers with credit cards, after all.

Re:Good luck with that one .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29388569)

Posting AC to avoid undoing moderation.

It's not just my computer I don't trust. Google themselves have been fleeced by click-fraud scammers, and know how difficult it is to fight. What makes anyone think that this idea won't generate "news" sites that click-fraud customers?

If people are charged automatically somehow (click -> news outlet bills clicker's ISP who in turn bill them), I would expect that we would see a market for news spam, pop-ups, and click fraud.

If people have to go to a purchase screen for each article they want to view, that barrier to doing business will result in fewer articles being read, and the remaining no-charge sites will get more traffic.

All I see happening here is a lot of failure.

- NotBornYesterday

Speaking of failure, what the hell is will the broken code updates? Why can't I get my preview to show paragraph separation?

Re:Good luck with that one .... (1)

mrdoogee (1179081) | about 5 years ago | (#29389741)

I would trust my money ( Heck, I do trust my money) to a ITMS style micropayment model. Whenever I buy something from the iTunes store it prompts me for my password and then after the fact emails me a reciept. If Apple can do it, Google can do it.

Of course, do I WANT to pay to see news stories on the web? No I don't. But I could see that someone might.

I like it (5, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | about 5 years ago | (#29388071)

Much like the moderation system on Slashdot, I will use my "mod points" sparingly.

Specifically to the non-retarded journalists that can use a fucking spell checker, actually look for glaring grammatical mistakes, and just plain, what-are-you-blind-?-fuck-ups.

If I am going to pay for a news article I want it to be written so well the words feel like "wiping my ass with silk".

Ohhh, and I want to be able to take back money from journalists who write anything about Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and their respective twats.

P.S - A *very* important feature. I want a checkbox that says, "at no time will your money ever go to Rupert Murdoch".

Didn't Biden promise us this wouldn't happen? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29388107)

http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSN1029818020090910 [reuters.com]

Wasn't that one of the talking points that was used to sell this robbery of the American people - that Congress would not allow fraud to happen? Well? What happened? Am I in the fucking Twilight Zone, here? And these are the people who want us to let them create another new massive entitlement program. Because even though the three massive entitlement programs that they already created (MedicAid, MediCare, and Social Security) are riddled with waste, fraud, and are insolvent, they can do better this time! Riiiight.. You've had enough chances. Keep your fucking paws off my money, you mongoloid mouth-breathers. Tell me how the hell it's possible for someone to win a seat in Congress when they don't know that X dollars minus Y dollars is less than zero is a bad thing? Fucking retards. Tar and feather the lot of them!

Re:I like it (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#29388441)

Specifically to the non-retarded journalists that can use a fucking spell checker

Dew knot thrust yore spill chucker.

I don't want to read spell-checked words, I want to read words that have been written by someone literate who knows how to spell in the first place, and checked for typos by professional proofreaders. Your spell checker doesn't know the difference between lose and loose, and if you don't either there's no way in hell I'll pay to read your stuff.

Re:I like it (1)

YourExperiment (1081089) | about 5 years ago | (#29388565)

Dew knot thrust yore spill chucker.

How many spills can a spill chucker chuck, if you put a dew knot in it before thrusting?

Re:I like it (2, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | about 5 years ago | (#29388449)

My only issue is cost. I have no problem with paying for content as long as they're reasonable (i.e. no more than a few cents per story). But I have a funny feeling they won't be reasonable. I suspect the clueless newspapers will try to charge $1 or more for a single story, trying to railroad everyone into an overpriced "all you can eat" subscription.

Re:I like it (2, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 5 years ago | (#29390191)

Nah I doubt it. Considering News sites generate ALOT of traffic (Heard a rumour its second only to pornography, but thats just a rumour) they could charge 1 penny a page and still make a killing.

Re:I like it (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 5 years ago | (#29388457)

P.S - A *very* important feature. I want a checkbox that says, "at no time will your money ever go to Rupert Murdoch".

Rupert Murdoch published Fight Club despite his own personal dislike for the moral of the story (no surprise that he'd dislike the moral since it was aimed squarely at him and his ilk). The guy ain't all bad.

Re:I like it (3, Funny)

the_womble (580291) | about 5 years ago | (#29388483)

Not ALL bad. I would say about 99% bad.

Re:I like it (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 5 years ago | (#29388617)

P.S - A *very* important feature. I want a checkbox that says, "at no time will your money ever go to Rupert Murdoch".

Rupert Murdoch published Fight Club despite his own personal dislike for the moral of the story (no surprise that he'd dislike the moral since it was aimed squarely at him and his ilk). The guy ain't all bad.

And he did that on the general principle of it, rather than "Hm. This calls people like me out for being soulless bastards who'd sell our own mothers for a sawbuck... but I bet it goes best-seller!"

Re:I like it (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 5 years ago | (#29389541)

He's in business. that is the general principle of it.

Re:I like it (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 5 years ago | (#29389619)

Touche.

But the point stands: That was a shitty example of something that suggest the guy's "not all bad," rather than proving the book's point.

Can't you already pay? (1)

SlothDead (1251206) | about 5 years ago | (#29388073)

I don't see how this is needed. I don't know about the USA, but over here, online newspaper already charge for some articles. And since they allow you to read a summary those article can also be found through google.

Of course, I never bought an article. Why would I, when I have access to the internet...

Re:Can't you already pay? (1)

darthflo (1095225) | about 5 years ago | (#29388159)

The idea (I'm guessing) is to make the whole deal easier and quicker. Right now you'll need to be signed up with every paper (or enter your credit card details for every article); with this Google thingie it might be enough to simply stay signed in to your Google account. Browse at Google News, see a paywalled article you're interested, click once or twice, paying a penny or ten, go on reading.

Not sure if I like the "Google knowing what articles I read and when I read them" aspect of this, but the "easy payment for insightful articles" seems ok.

Re:Can't you already pay? (2, Interesting)

RMH101 (636144) | about 5 years ago | (#29388355)

It (should be) smarter than that. The thing that's traditionally stopped this working is the overhead of micropayments. It takes time/money to process each transaction and below a certain value: it's not worth doing.
What I'm presuming Google is proposing is the papers sign up for the service, that the user "pays" via a google account, and that google provide the smarts to say "OK newspaper, we've received a few micro payments for you, and when we've got a critical mass of a few thousand we'll put through a single transaction and reimburse you". Google will take a cut, the paper will get micropayments which traditionally has been too hard a nut for them to crack, and we get either nickel and dimed to death or we get to pay a fair price for our reporting.
Ultimately I assume the market will decide, and poor reporting will result in poor sales, but I'm in an optimistic mood today.

Re:Can't you already pay? (1)

darthflo (1095225) | about 5 years ago | (#29388579)

What have we to lose anyhow? If no form of micropayment makes it through, many newspaper may not survive that much longer.

Throw a working way of monetizing in the mix, not only might we get rid of useless reporting ("useless" as in "nobody will pay to read it") but strengthen interesting reporting. Less dependency on ads means less nonsense spread over 15 ad-riddled pages.

Then, there'll be the whole Analytics tie-in (it's Google, it'll be there). Popular topics and journalists can be identified and given more weight.

I'm way too optimistic, but hey, it might work out. :)

Re:Can't you already pay? (1)

digitalgiblet (530309) | about 5 years ago | (#29389735)

No way will they give up ad money. Newspapers started depending on advertising in the late 1700s. They have traditionally made virtually all their profits from ads.

The problem with micropayments is not a technical one. The problem is that users hate them and the websites that implement them (really any form of payment-for-content). I work for a newspaper (in the IT dept) and we had to drop the requirement for free registration because people would rather go elsewhere than even register for free. Ask them to pay and I think you are setting up your own demise.

Absolutely will people pay for access to the Wall Street Journal. Because they have news? Heck no. Because they contain information useful to running a business and investing.

I have to be optimistic about the future of newspapers (job requirement number 7), but I do not think it will involve micropayments in any large scale way.

Re:Can't you already pay? (1)

digitalgiblet (530309) | about 5 years ago | (#29389241)

Well truth be told the idea from Google's perspective is to say to the newspaper industry, "See? We're your friend! You wouldn't sue a friend, would you??"

Re:Can't you already pay? (1)

Mashiara (5631) | about 5 years ago | (#29388371)

The interesting thing about micropayments is the micro-part, I've consulted for website that sells subscriptions and ala carte access to articles, but these cost 8EUR minimum (they're also well researched articles on international politics by known and respected analysts and thus well worth the money to those who buy them...), micropayments by definition are very small.

The problem is that there is a limit where transaction costs make the exercise worthless to the publisher and that means it's simply not possible to pay say 10eurocents for an X (let alone single cents or fractions of cents). thus either X must be ad-funded, free, or much higher value for the user.

Yay! No more ads! (4, Insightful)

Joe U (443617) | about 5 years ago | (#29388077)

Since they're getting paid already, that means the banner and intrusive flash ads on news sites will stop, right?

(Sure it will)

Re:Yay! No more ads! (1)

base3 (539820) | about 5 years ago | (#29388169)

Exactly--just like there are no ads on cable because subscribers pay for it. Oh, wait :(.

Re:Yay! No more ads! (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | about 5 years ago | (#29388807)

The most annoying to me is at the movies. I pay $10 to see a movie, and still I have to watch 15 minutes of car ads and Coke commercials before I can even get to the movie trailers (which are also ads). I could come 30 minutes late and not miss a minute of the actual movie that I *paid* to see (and I would if it didn't cost me a decent seat).

Re:Yay! No more ads! (1, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 5 years ago | (#29389137)

What's wiiiiith those warning tags on mattresses? Hey... airline food! (holds for laughter)

Re:Yay! No more ads! (1)

Wildclaw (15718) | about 5 years ago | (#29389583)

and I would if it didn't cost me a decent seat

Here in Sweden, seats are numbered and reserved on the ticket. Is it different in the US?

Re:Yay! No more ads! (1)

mrdoogee (1179081) | about 5 years ago | (#29389897)

Yep. The major US chains (Regal, AMC, Ultrastar) all have unassigned seating. Basically first-come first-pick. So if you want to get a seat in the middle that is a reasonable distance from the screen you had best arrive 30-40 minutes before showtime and camp out in those seats until the movie starts.

Maybe I'm the Only One (5, Interesting)

techsoldaten (309296) | about 5 years ago | (#29388117)

Maybe I am the only one, but I subscribe to the paper version of the NY Times and read the paper online. What I pay to them for the subscription covers the cost of my online access to their editorial writers. I read different things from the paper and the online version, it's a different experience. Something that occured to me is that the semantic web may be a way to effectively monetize online news. People come to news sites for different reasons. The casual user needs access to the latest news, and that should always be free. The researcher, the people who want more detailed information are the ones who have the most incentive to pay for news content. Presenting them with related content that goes beyond stories, that dives into databases and other forms of content would be an interesting model to work with. It would be great to actually view source material that was annotated in some way, get access to related video, pull up figures and statistics cited in the article, and more. Again, a different experience. I don't care to pay to read an editorial by some jerk I don't agree with, I would pay for in-depth coverage that is free from partisan slant and gives me access to source data so I can make up my own mind. Call it news plus. M

Re:Maybe I'm the Only One (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 5 years ago | (#29389195)

I would pay for in-depth coverage that is free from partisan slant

Uh... the NYT? You're already choosing to pay for slanted partisan coverage, so why should I believe you when you claim otherwise? It's far easier and safer for me to sell you tables of inflated Iraq body count figures and "it's teh OIL stupid!!!" exposes and just label it "fair and balanced".

You know, business as usual.

Re:Maybe I'm the Only One (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 years ago | (#29389707)

That reminds me of how the US court documents public access system works, where the indexing information is essentially free, and the cost of maintaining the extensive parts of the archive is offset by a $0.02/page (or thereabouts) document viewing fee which is charged $10-at-a-time to your credit card.

Re:Maybe I'm the Only One (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 5 years ago | (#29390113)

Maybe I am the only one, but I subscribe to the paper version of the NY Times and read the paper online. What I pay to them for the subscription covers the cost of my online access to their editorial writers. I read different things from the paper and the online version, it's a different experience.

There's actually a reason for this, and it's probably why the broadsheet isn't going to go away.

A broadsheet covers many articles on a page, while most news websites are one-article-per-page, with headlines (and maybe a blurb) on the front page.

When you read a broadsheet, you scan the headlines, and once you find an interesting one on that page, you read it. But as you read, your eye might be drawn to an interesting photo/art/drawing/words of another article, that you'll soon find yourself reading. You'll probably find yourself reading articles whose headlines don't interest you, but something else about the article did, and you read it anyways. Plus, you already scanned the headlines so you get a rough idea what's happening. A broadsheet simply has more time to "grab" a reader into reading an article.

When you read online, you click on the article (new tab/window/whatever), read the article, go back to the main page, find something else, etc. But you're hunting for more specific stuff - not interested in world news? skip the entire section and head onto the entertainment or what have you. People read online news for specific news. Because all headlines are shown the same way, unless you really read every one, you'll skim it like a block of text, and ignore the rest.

Media has different purposes. Broadsheets inform on a global level - what happened yesterday? You may not care about wars going on, but you'll probably have read the headline, and have some idea what's going on.

Online is great for late breaking news that you're interested in. Apple released new iPods? Microsoft released new Windows? Major bug in Mac OS X?

Twitter/social networks/etc, are great for very up to date coverage on events that might be important.

Take Wednesday's Apple keynote. Those keenly interested in Apple news would've either gone there, or read the live blogs. Those mildly interested in technology would read the online blogs about the new products announced, but this may be dribbled out over the course of a day. Those who don't care about technology would read about it in Thursday's broadsheet (they wouldn't get it from the online newspaper - as they're more likely to skip that headline, while a broadsheet can attract the reader who may catch words like Steve Jobs standing up, or see a photo of Jobs, or have a headline like "Jobs returns to Apple".

Someone like me, I don't really care what happens in the US, but it's good to skim the International News section of the broadsheet to find out if anything interesting happened (like Obama's speech to schoolchildren was interesting). I don't care for the details, but was curious enough to see what was so offensive it would cause people to take their kids out of school (this was prior to the speech, a little article about it). I don't bother with online because I don't care about it and would've missed it ("Meh, typical partisan politicking, next!"), and I sure don't care to read the twits (it's TWITter. Not TWEETer) about the speech live.

Different media is consumed in different ways. Media needs ot understand this.

Slashdot trolls have polluted my mind (3, Funny)

daybot (911557) | about 5 years ago | (#29388119)

When I saw "Google submitted to the Newspaper Association of America (NAA)", my immediate thought was that Slashdot had been hacked by a certain troll organisation [wikitruth.info] . I guess that serves me for browsing at -1.

Figures (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 5 years ago | (#29388127)

Basically, news media is where it is at because of bad management. The idiots view is as a decrease of paper, and nothing else. They have not adjusted their approach to news. Yet, there are loads of ways for them to make money and increase web readership. This idea will simply continue to support bad management of news.

Re:Figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29388161)

It must be nice to be able to trot out the same analysis for every business/economic situation.

Information Wants To Be Free (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about 5 years ago | (#29388177)

I never read NYT Online when it was paid-only, I never read WSJ online, I don't subscribe to any printed media.

Why should I?? All the news I need/want I get for free elsewhere.

There's no value added in news stories to warrant my paying for them, as everyone is reporting the same news (most getting it from AP and Reuters). If I have to pay for news, I'd rather pay AP and Reuters directly than some middleman.

Re:Information Wants To Be Free (2, Insightful)

jarocho (1617799) | about 5 years ago | (#29388451)

This is one of the more interesting aspects of the coming pay vs. free online news content issue. On the web, is it ethical for a newspaper to charge for reposted/reprinted AP and Reuters articles, while those original sources continue to offer their articles for free? Because at that point, are you paying the newspaper for the content, or the hosting of the content?

Another aspect is advertising. Since - despite all appearances to the contrary - newspapers are still in business to make money, are they going to expect paying online subscribers to click-through and suffer with various ads, and justify it by saying that they have ads in their print editions as well, and that it "keeps costs down"?

We keep hearing that the papers can't survive on web ads. Yet they persist, and grow more annoying and absurd in their iterations. Perhaps it's the papers' plan is for us to pay them just to make the ads go away. :)

Bottom line, though, I think the papers are going to want to have it both ways.

Re:Information Wants To Be Free (4, Informative)

natehoy (1608657) | about 5 years ago | (#29388567)

Gathering news at its source tends to be expensive. Gathering it from people willing to go into dangerous and/or inconvenient areas doubly so. Getting someone to gather the news then report it without some form of hidden agenda is rare even in the paid media, and in an ad-supported world there's the constant pressure to bias your news in favor of your benefactors - those who buy ads. So if MegaCorp's CEO is found buggering badgers in Soho, and MegaCorp's ad revenue is your bread and butter, there's a serious temptation to bury that story as deeply as possible, preferably somewhere that never hits print at all. If it is covered, it would be spun as hard and creatively as possible to cast badger buggering in the best possible light.

Ads can pay for some of it, but not nearly all. Newspapers that have their own news-gathering resources are finding that their articles are being reprinted on free media, and are forced in large part to put a lot of their content online for free and hope that ad revenues make up for some of that. Meanwhile, a lot of their loyal readers are discovering that a lot of the content they want is available for free, and are canceling their subscriptions for the dead tree editions.

Many local newspapers now survive on their remaining dead tree subscribers, and struggle to remain relevant in an online world where they can't make enough money to continue gathering news effectively. So a lot of them are dying off as a result, and the concept of "local news" in more rural areas is starting to fade slowly.

My home town still has a larger town next door that has a decent local paper. It's still got a small staff of newsgatherers, and has fresh and relevant local articles. But it's a shadow of the paper it used to be, and is under constant threat of closing down. Print subscriptions are continually dwindling, and that's their major source of income.

Re:buggering badgers is bad??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29389743)

well there goes my weekend plans!

It'll be interesting to see how they respond (3, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | about 5 years ago | (#29388201)

The media is very biased and pisses off a lot of center-right potential customers because it is often so one-sided. It also does a terrible, terrible job as a "watchdog" as it often just parrots whatever a defense attorney or prosecutor say. It rarely has people follow local corruption cases and really dig down and write hard-hitting stories.

Now, what'll the media do if the few real journalists become the money-making rock stars of their field? How will it respond if more conservative writers start bringing in big bucks.

My guess is that it won't make a difference at many outlets like the NYT. It'll be a cold day in hell before they get actual conservatives and libertarians writing for them, do serious journalism again, etc.

Re:It'll be interesting to see how they respond (3, Insightful)

HikingStick (878216) | about 5 years ago | (#29388327)

Far worse, IMO, is that most major media outlets simply re-release Associated Press (AP) content. Very little original news reporting really goes on anymore, except in the largest stories (e.g., wars, disasters) where the topic being covered can easily be covered from multiple angles without overlap.

The main word in that last sentence is "easily". As I see it, too many media outlets want an easy way to fill their content containers (e.g., print press, websites, TV newscasts) without encouraging the kind of in-depth coverage that was once the mainstay of reporting. We need more news hounds who will go beyond the breaking headlines, the quips from public officials, and what they can quickly Google on the topic to doing real investigative journalism.

Think of it in the context of the recent kidnap recovery in California. Did any member of the press break the story that the perp was groundskeeper next door, of a lot that overlooked his little prison camp? No. That information came out after the police investigated and made the discovery.

I'm not suggesting that journalists should interfere with police investigations, or that they should have beat the police to that bit of information, but I wonder how many newspeople actually were out there trying to conduct their own investigations of this perp, and how many were just trying to be the first back to the office (or studio) with the most recent quip from an official investigator or a family member. To me, it seems as if journalism has become more like the paparazzi--simply haning out and hoping they get the best shot, or that they are first to press with some juicy new tidbit.

Okay. Enough of my ranting and raving. The post was about Google promoting micropayments for news items served up through Google News. If they can make it work, it will be a good thing, but unless news outlets go back to some old-fashioned, pavement-pounding journalism, it will soon be like a respirator on a brain dead body. No matter how much air you pump into a dead thing, it is still dead.

Re:It'll be interesting to see how they respond (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29388691)

Too bad I don't have mod points today, this is a large part of what is wrong with the newspaper industry.

Re:It'll be interesting to see how they respond (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 years ago | (#29389829)

The media is very biased and pisses off a lot of center-right potential customers

I'm sure there are plenty of self-described centre-left potential customers who believe exactly the same thing about exactly the same media. I think the more informative view is that the media as a whole is a bunch of crap that either tritely reinforces your pre-existing biases or tritely contradicts them, the only distinction being which specific outlet is doing the reinforcement or contradiction.

The right price (4, Insightful)

pmontra (738736) | about 5 years ago | (#29388251)

Considering the price of a paper copy of a newspaper and the number of articles in it, the right price of a single piece of news could be 0.01 cents or less (EUR or USD, it's about the same if we look at the order of magnitude). However if we think that the same piece of news can be replicated infinite times with zero marginal costs of production, the price of a single copy goes down quickly to zero. Surprisingly, the more interesting is the piece of news (and so more read/replicated), the less it should cost. Basically newspapers are facing the problems of the music industry: they found themselves selling a product with suddenly no costs of reproduction and they are resisting the urge of finding a new business model or disinvest and move to another market (I mean the labels/editors, the artists/writers are locked into doing what they can do).

Re:The right price (2, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | about 5 years ago | (#29388659)

But what is the cost that went into that article?

The individual-copy cost might APPROACH zero, but it never reaches it. However, the consumed costs for the vast majority of readers for the vast majority of articles is now zero.

And for smaller papers that cover more local-interest news, it's even worse because their costs are nowhere near zero, but the number of people willing to pay for it is dwindling, not increasing. So the cost-per-subscriber goes up, and at the same time a lot of their news is covered very shallowly by free media. So you can read an in-depth analysis of a local fire, with pictures, reasons why the fire happened, etc, but you have to pay for it. Or you can read a headline with a brief summary on Reuters for free.

For most people, the brief summary is appropriate. But that Reuters story is a summary of an article that (a) cost money to gather, and (b) is of deep interest to a percentage of the population. 10 years ago, free wasn't available so everyone bought the detailed story and skimmed it. Now free IS available and only a few people buy the detailed story, so to recoup the costs of gathering the story, the original source has to charge more (or invest less) to make a profit.

Result: Newsgathering-in-depth is slowly waning. Eventually, as the local papers close, a larger news outlet might get a user submission of a picture and post a one-liner that a fire happened in East Noob that no one cares about.

Re:The right price (2, Insightful)

proslack (797189) | about 5 years ago | (#29388663)

The problem is that "zero" won't pay for the journalist and his/her expenses, the editors, the IT team, the marketing department, the building they work in, the administrative staff, the attorney, or the hardware that serves up the news. There's a basic infrastructural cost that can't be eliminated regardless of the media format.

Re:The right price (1)

pmontra (738736) | about 5 years ago | (#29388987)

I agree with you but we're confronted with this fact that people are not willing to pay for news. I understand the concern of everybody working in the news industry but they can't make a living out of something that has free competitors that people thinks are good enough. I'm thinking about blogs, search.twitter.com, youtube and even the TV. The news industry will get downsized. Some newspaper will survive (paper or web based) but a lot of people will have to find a new job.

The music and news industries as we know them are quite new. When I think at how the world will be after all those new industries will be downsized by the digitalization I think at how music and news were transmitted centuries ago. We'll end up with artists making a living out of their live performances (and maybe out of some other jobs) and news will travel freely on blogs or tweets. Search engines will find them. There will be very few middlemen which is good for everybody as they'll have to contribute to the human kind with something really useful or starve to death.

Re:The right price (3, Insightful)

proslack (797189) | about 5 years ago | (#29389147)

Well...the news industry is at least two hundred years old, considering it is specifically mentioned in the US 1st Amendment, so it isn't all that new, at least compared to the Industrial Age.

The catch is that bloggers and twitter scavenge quite a bit of their factual content from "professional" news sources. An additional problem with twitter (which I don't use) and TV are the problems with archiving content; its quite a bit easier to search for a text article than video (granted that some programs have associated text subtitles).

Another problem with blogs and tweets is that there is no accountability. With a larger news organization there is editorial oversight and at least some pretense that the content is factual (if for no other reason than to avoid litigation).

The solution to this might be some sort of accrediting agency for "amateur journalists", which grants some sort of credential and does random quality/fact checks of member's articles. Heck, for all I know that actually exists; I'm a scientist, so this is all a bit beyond my specific skill sets. I seem to recall that HP Lovecraft was a member of some sort of amateur press association.

Google needs news sites to be profitable (2, Interesting)

vxvxvxvx (745287) | about 5 years ago | (#29388305)

A lot of what google does is control the data and information produced by others. Google news for example, which I check daily, does not really generate it's own news. It's just a listing of top stories over a bunch of different news sites. If those news sites run into real fiscal issues and are at risk of ceasing operations Google would be harmed. So I see Google's stance here as nothing more than a "If you guys start going bankrupt we've got ideas." In the mean time I don't expect anything to change.

This would have been a great idea 10 years ago (1)

MooseDontBounce (989375) | about 5 years ago | (#29388399)

So now they are asking us to pay for something that is now free. I'm sorry you didn't realize your business model was f'ed up 10 years ago when you decided to give your product away for free. The horse is already out of the barn on this one. Nice try. Now go back into your office and think of something else.

Forget the publishers (1)

ImOnlySleeping (1135393) | about 5 years ago | (#29388829)

I was actually thinking about this problem this morning. Pay the journalists directly. Shit, if a good journalist (say Hersh) could get a tenth of the New York times over one million subscribers to pay him a dollar a year, that's a livable income, even if he's paying for travel and an editor. Publishers are only required to amalgamate payments and cut cheques.

I have a bad feeling about this (1)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | about 5 years ago | (#29388839)

I really don't want news stories to be democratized. The people on the internet who are the loudest are also the craziest [xkcd.com] , the most obsessed and probably the ones that are most likely to spend money to push their world view.

Who is more likely to fund a news story? An average reader or a crackpot who thinks that UFOs destroyed the Twin Towers?

Well, lets see how this pans out.

Slashdot Is The Only News You Need (1)

aoheno (645574) | about 5 years ago | (#29388869)

/. is free.
/. is all you need to know.
/. is god, 'er 42.

Disconnecting developing countries from the mesh (1)

cpghost (719344) | about 5 years ago | (#29389029)

Pay walls (even just micropayments) would lock out a lot of people living in developing countries without convertible currency. In those countries, even if you wanted to pay in your local currency, Google or anyone else wouldn't bother collecting. Is that good or bad? We're complaining that many people in the world don't understand us. Installing pay walls that they can't bypass would make this situation even worse, as it would restrict their news sources to the usual propaganda stuff promoted by their governments. Is that the idea and intention behind monetizing news?

One Word, 3 letters. (1)

UberMunchkin (1106101) | about 5 years ago | (#29389219)

BBC. The TV license in the UK pays for the BBC news service, including its web site. I already pay for my primary news source and certainly wouldn't be paying more for additional sites. Especially not if they are run by Murdoch.

Re:One Word, 3 letters. (1)

sircastor (1051070) | about 5 years ago | (#29389915)

Thanks, but we don't need any more socialism. Don't get me wrong, I love Doctor Who as much as the next guy, but compulsory payment for a service/product you may or may not use is absurd.

Re:One Word, 3 letters. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29389997)

Wow, you really need to get over yourself. Its not enforced socialism its a sensible plan for a well funded objective reporting institution.

Would you rather that all news services were handed over to someone with a massive political agenda and no interest in the truth. Oh wait, you're probably an american which means you already have done that.

"Google must pay us!" with Google ads (1)

David Gerard (12369) | about 5 years ago | (#29389375)

This [news.com.au] is an impassioned plea on news.com.au for Google to give Murdoch money. It's one Murdoch paper reporting on something in another Murdoch paper. Note the Google ads.

Illustration: Rupert Murdoch saying "My preciousssssss" [today.com] .

News and profits (1)

zogger (617870) | about 5 years ago | (#29389385)

News organizations today are becoming unprofitable because they not only have to support the actual journalists, but a BIG overhead of managers and "investors". Is there a real need anymore for this huge expensive middleman layer between the originator of the news article and the reader? This is just like record labels and musicians, it's in a big transition period and it's fairly obvious that a lot of those jobs in that industry are now technically obsolete and should and are going to go away eventually.

We already have the next gen news model, still in the baby crawling stage in a long term historical timeframe, it just needs more shaking out and tweaking,and that is regular bloggers who do a good job, and their "pay" is mostly the same thing they like, news and views from other people. This is called economically an "in kind" payment.

    It is the primary source of wealth transference in the open source software world right now, you get paid "in kind" by getting to use other's open source code contributions, which you then tweak and modify to be used in your regular non software business to "make money".

    There's still room for "cash" payments, but we really need to eliminate as much as possible all the unnecessary middle man skimming that goes on to make it affordable enough to be self sustaining. Digital products are *cheap* to make copies of, practically zero, so it is inevitable that this will have to be reflected in the "price".

Various jobs and industries have disappeared or been changed radically over human history, you just have to adapt and move on if you find one business model is unsustainable, and do something else, and that's just that.

    I know I had to do it, after *several* factory jobs I had, as a much younger guy, got outsourced, I just gave up, admitted reality, moved on to something completely different, then I had to do that again, then again. I've had to change major careers now three times and am on my fourth, which is totally unrelated to the previous three types of work to "make money". Stuff just freakin' changes, and *that's it*, you do not have an exclusive right to always make the same money you used to make doing the same job, and trying to legislate this into existence or come up with some lame wild ass scheme to try and perpetuate it is just slap dumb, it just borks things all up and you'll fail anyway.

    That goes for individuals, as well as entire huge industries. (that's why they should have let those casino gambling banks fail and go normally bankrupt, then society and the real market would have sorted out what those involved 'quant' derived paper financial pseudo products were really worth....which ain't near what they claim they are worth on paper)

    Digital products of all kinds are our first true ubiquitous "star trek" level replicator technology. If we screw this up with restrictions or trying to maintain completely stupid and obsolete jobs, what will happen when we have tangible goods cheap replicators?

  Maintaining a hideously convoluted and stupid artificial scarcity of any sort of products will cause people to route around these restrictions, and that is just that. It doesn't work with "illegal" tangible products, it didn't work with alcohol restrictions, it isn't working with other dry or leafy products restrictions, despite a huge effort and laws and draconian penalties, and it is *not* going to work with mostly intangible digital products either.

If they make "news" too expensive or restricted in order to maintain some huge middleman distribution model from the last previous few centuries, it will get routed around. They are beating their heads against the wall on this one. All that will happen with their expensive news is that a sort of "News-peg-legger bay" will show up.

People say "well, it costs money to go send some reporter over to warzoneistan to report on the news" and similar to that, I'll counter that with saying there are ALREADY a lot of humans who can write a good enough news piece LIVING in warzoneistan right now. They don't need to be sent there.

    That's what will take over from the old model of journalism eventually for the most part, and those local folks sure as heck would have an even easier time in getting some data out there from the "local to them" perspective than any other flown in dude. And they'll be doing it for free, because they *want to*, or incredibly cheap compared to today's prices.

    Look at the popularity of just people wanting to write on forums like this! There's just millions of people who will write every day, for free, and give it away for free, *because they in turn get to read what other writers come up with*. We are already doing this and getting paid "in kind".

    It's really a good deal for all concerned, it's fun, and it can and often is informative and educational or at least amusing and entertaining, which petty much covers "writing". This "in kind" payment is one of the larger endgames for digital products that aren't custom ordered for very specific and detailed and only of interest to a realtively few people purposes.

why do this? (1)

Dan667 (564390) | about 5 years ago | (#29389613)

Let them just update their robots.txt files to prevent google from indexing them if they have such a problem with millions finding their content.

Now make it worth paying for... (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | about 5 years ago | (#29390155)

The problem isn't that most print news isn't being paid for. The problem is that most of it isn't worth paying for. My college offers the NYTimes and USAToday for free and it is rare that a story in either of them is interesting enough to make me read past the headline or the first paragraph. There's maybe one article a day I'm interested in. Sorry, at that rate of return on time invested I don't see much point in buying newspapers.

This is a terrible idea (1)

s0l1dsnak3123 (1244796) | about 5 years ago | (#29390157)

This will make the news extremely sensationalist in order to "shock" you into buying. So yeah, it's terrible.
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