TechDirt, which is not a news industry trade Web site, is astounded that the Chronicle would consider raising prices on a product that, by its own admission, is not as good as it used to be:

    David Lazarus, the LA Times columnist who a couple of years ago suggested newspapers should sue anyone sending them traffic, kicks things off by insisting that newspapers absolutely should charge for content online. Once again, as with almost everyone else who has suggested the same thing, this is a business model based on wishful thinking. Nowhere does he explain how the newspapers would add enough value to make people want to pay for news online. Instead, they all seem to assume (incorrectly) that people will suddenly flock to paying for news online. …

    And now, it appears that the Hearst Company is looking to go down the same route, trying to charge for content, but again ignoring any reasons why people might want to pay. On top of this, Hearst has the bizarre idea of building its own digital reading gadget. Why do that when more and more people already own perfectly good digital reading gadgets: computers and smartphones. These newspapers aren’t looking to add value. They’re looking to lock things up in a ridiculous belief that there really is some scarcity they can “protect.”

SF Press Club News

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