The future of the internet excludes free content
At least according to some corporate moguls, internet content will cease to be completely free soon. Rather than having users pay for internet access and then browsing freely, sites will likely require subscription fees for access. I’m sure that some people might have problems with this, but that’s fine. These are business, and providing ad space is not enough. It was not enough to make magazine and newspaper subscriptions free, so why should we look at the internet the same way?
In my perfect world’s internet, local newspapers would come back stronger thanks to ad space and paid subscriptions. Residents would have the instantaneous news they’ve come to love over the past few years but with an emphasis on their city and their favorite locales. A low monthly subscription of $3-5 wouldn’t be a bother. Meanwhile, world news still remains free because it gets more than enough hits to compensate with ads alone. Specialty magazines will become specialty sites require a similarly low subscription. If you liked Wired enough to hold a subscription or pay the newsstand price every month, then you can pay $3 a month for access to such great content.
The rest of the internet can remain free. Blogs will always remain free. Who the hell would pay me to access my thoughts? I’m sure people would pay to access Kotaku, but they really shouldn’t. Web comics receive compensation by offering additional services, like anthologies and t-shirts/memorabilia. And if Wikipedia switches over to pay service, it will die.
[Link c/o /.]