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Pay-per TBTF survey responses
from TBTF for 1997-06-30

In TBTF for 1997-06-23 I asked readers to react to the idea of paying, in some fashion, for access to TBTF material on the Web. Twenty-six readers responded to this informal survey on micropayments. Here are summarized extracts from all of the responses. Follow the "details" link for each reader's entire response.

Stirling Westrup [details]
I am in favor of pay-as-you-go schemes, provided that the charges are commensurate with the cost of providing the service. I almost never visit the web site, since I prefer the news to arrive in my mailbox without me having to go hunt for it. But, I could easily see paying an e-mail subscription on the order of $2.50 or so per year.

Davis Ray Sickmon, Jr. [details]
Paying a 10th of a cent wouldn't bug me, however, the service that you offer is too convenient. I'd be much more interested in paying a 10th of a cent for the email version rather than the web site. While I would prefer a totally free resource such as this (and thank God you are keeping the mail version free) I rarely have a problem paying a low price for a good service.

Hendrik Levsen [details]
I've never touched the TBTF Web Site, so I wouldn't do it either when Millicent comes. Or maybe I would just to demonstrate that I support micropayments. I'm not thinking of the hundreds of sources of information that are now free and will become pay-per-view once micropayments are available. I'm thinking of the thousands of sources of information that will become available only because of micropayments.

Bill Cheswick [details]
The real cost of trying the millicent system for your newsletter is not the small cent amounts you are discussing, but the overhead of setting up the payment system and (for me) the research to figure out if I think it is secure. For the service you provide, I already spend much more than a few cents: I spend precious time reading it, and it is worth it for the tasty bits I find mixed in with the gristle.

Anonymous [details]
I don't access the TBTF Web page much. If I did, I might pay if:
  1. I needed or was very interested in the information.
  2. I knew the information I was interested in was in that site.
  3. there was nowhere else on the Net I knew of, from which I could get comparable information cheaper (free).

Bill Scanlon [details]
Heck, yes, I would pay a nickel for it. In fact, I'd pay a lot more than that. I learn a lot more about the Web from TBTF than I learn from the several newpapers I read everyday and the several technical journals I read every week. These newspapers and journals together cost at least $20 per week. I have been amazed, but happy, that you are not already charging for your excellent work in providing TBTF.

John Asbacher [details]
I would not pay a cent. Why? I would not pay a cent because someone else somewhere out there will probably do the same thing that your doing for free... I have no idea why I'd refuse to really pay for something like your TBTF, but I'd refuse. ... The reason I read TBTF is that it is NOT COMMERCIAL, it's sorta real.

Chris Moore [details]
Generally I would pay for access to more information on specific topics. I would pay, without thinking, less than a dollar per topic. You have a pretty high hit ratio on what is interesting to me.

John Sidlo [details]
I can imagine paying micro-amounts for browsing information that might be of value to me... [with] two pre-conditions: the dimin- ution of so much "free" stuff; and the prior creation of value in my mind for the product. Unfortunately, in an expanding universe like the web, the second condition fights against the first.

Thomas Leber [details]
Sorry, but nope. I appreciate the info, but I probably would not pay for anything on the net/web beyond the cost of my ISP subscription. Web users treat for-fee sites as damage and route around them.

Anonymous [details]
People object to being "nickeled and dimed" or knowing that "the meter is running" to the extent that they're willing to pay for the privilege of not paying per use (i.e., will pay more for unlimited access). As to the TBTF web site, I don't use it much, so your immediate proposal has no effect on me.

Andrew Hilborne [details]
The more such [micropayment] services I pay for, the less I know at any one time about my outgoings. I would be *very* happy to pay, say, $10 per year for unlimited access rights.

Mark Hewitt [details]
TBTF is valuable to me, and I'm willing to pay for it just as I pay for other things I value. Please consider me a willing participant in the experiment if it materializes.

Ed Blachman [details]
What I want is the email version at a nickel per week, plus the TBTF archives where I pay a penny per search, plus 4 cents to look at the first thing the search turns up.

Anonymous [details]
I'm afraid I _HATE_ the concept of what I call "suckered baby payments." ...So I can't condone this action. Sorry.

Bernard J. Hughes [details]
Yep, I'd pay a nickel, even for the email edition!

George Davies [details]
With a slow net connection, I prefer the e-mail format regardless of cost. [If cable modems ever became available here, which they won't] I would be happy to be debited fractions of, or ever whole, pennies in exchange for tasty bits. That there are very few sites I would say this about. I'm surely one of the many people who will reflexively proscribe their own net activities in response to micropayments.

Alessandro Giorgio Togna [details]
I'm a happy Italian reader of that marvel of the Net which is TBTF. I'd hate to have to pay it for... I mean, you have spoiled us writing it for free for some time now. I've found that the best things [on the Net] are free. If you stay away from the tendency to "do something to earn something", you'll probably end up with a "no compromise/love me or hate me" product which is more likely to be genuine, free from external pressures and loved by who uses it. ... The only answer I can give is: if you need to (or if you feel like to), or if it's the only way to keep TBTF alive, then let's pay for it!

Alice Phalen [details]
I would pay many pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, half dollars, dollars, milles, crowns, pounds, guineas, and thruppenny bits for TBTF.

[ Full disclosure: this kind reader and I are married. To each other. -- kad ]

Daniel Thumim [details]
I read every issue of your email publication... but I've never visited the web site. I would certainly be willing to pay a nickel per issue to read TBTF if it was as simple as that.

Dave Gatliff [details]
I'll unsubscribe and get the info elsewhere -- or go without.

Alejandro Gomez [details]
I could agree of paying for your great service, but the problem will be for us who live outside of United States and don't have a credit card....

Taru Goel [details]
I noticed your posting in TBTF, and thought I should also offer you a payment method that is perfect for the type of service you are offering. The payment service is Ecash (from DigiCash)... [ My request for followup information went unanswered. -- kad ]

Mary Ellen Zurko [details]
I never use the web site. I don't like to have to check in; I like to be told when something's new. When they get micropayments for email, given the quality of TBTF, I'd probably be willing to pay a penny a week for it.

Jason P. Hoekstra [details]
TBTF is the only publication that keeps me on edge of what is really happening in the industry, with clear and unbiased information. The effort you set forward for newsletter is greatly appreciated by not only myself, but also many of my colleagues within the industry. However if the newsletter was only available via pay per view, I would stop reading it immediately. This is not a monetary factor, the concept of paying for every word I read is bothersome. I come from the old school: information wants to be free. Thank you for the effort into the magazine. Please keep it free.

Keith M. Rettig [details]
I think you can make a fair amount of money charging a penny a link taken. I would make no noise about this. A penny for [the original message] or a dollar a year; no problem. I look forward to the time when people realize the "power of the penny." If a whole lot of people give you a penny, you will be able to go to the movies a whole lot.

[ TBTF for 1997-06-23 ]


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