With media moguls like Rupert Murdoch clamoring to charge for his newspaper websites will it be the precursor to other websites charging for their content?
Murdoch is finding out it is not easy to implement charges for what has been free content for years. It was 2009 when he first mentioned charging for content but it is now 2011 and as far as I know it hasn’t been instituted in the United States.
However his News Corporation is charging for the online editions of Times of London and News of the World newspapers in the UK.
Murdoch hopes to start charging .99 cents a week for his new digital paper The Daily which is targeted at I Pad users. Latest plans are for the paper to go online in the next two weeks.
As much as internet users may like Facebook and My Space they would likely desert the social network websites in droves if they began charging to enter their websites.
It may be financial suicide for the owners of these sites to begin charging since their current advertisers would surely ask for a reduction in their advertising rates since there would be millions of less visitors to those sites plus there would be a huge reduction in sales for the advertisers.
Free email service providers would be the most likely to lose the least if they start charging since so many consumers are so accustomed to having the convenience of email that they would agree to pay a nominal fee to avoid going back to sending letters via the postal service for almost 50 cents a letter.
Only the most ardent and more affluent sports fans would pay for sports websites like MLB.com, NFL.com and NBA.com.
The only other website that may be able to survive charging user fees is a search engine like Google.
Hopefully owners of most websites will understand that the economics of the internet does not bode well for the websites that charge for their services.
Personally the only service I would pay for is for email service as long as there are no free email services still available.