There’s been some noise of late about paying for Facebook or other social networking services. The reasoning is that advertising revenue on social networking sites continue to disappoint and the industry will have to switch to some kind of pay model. C.G. Lynch argues that the current business model relies on social advertising, and as users become more savvy they will opt out of having big brother watching your networks. For old-timers like me, social advertising means that the social network figures out what your friends are buying and then they try to sell it to you. Lynch goes on explaining that he would gladly pay for Facebook and whatever they charge will surely be less than his economist subscription. Never mind the fact that The Economist is making its content available for free over multiple platforms.
But the Internet just doesn’t work that way. The more you limit your content, the less relevant you are. The web evangelist Jeff Jarvis (Buzzmachine/CUNY J-School) is a long time advocate of free content. He took on the pay advocates in a recent article in the LA Times. More interesting than his article is the debate that surrounds it.
Where Jarvis often fails is that he often lauds the inevitable as the good. But whether or not free content is good is irrelevant. The inevitable price for web content is free. You got that Facebook?