Will Content Ever be Profitable? - It would seem...
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It would seem that users will not pay for content unless it is unavailable elsewhere or qualitatively rare or made rare. One way to "rarefy" content is to review and rate it.
2. Quality-Rated Content
There is a long term trend of clutter-breaking website-rating and critique. It may have a limited influence on the consumption decisions of some users and on their willingness to pay for content. Browsers already sport "What's New" and "What's Hot" buttons. Most Search Engines and directories recommend specific sites. But users are still cautious. Studies discovered that no user, no matter how heavy, has consistently re-visited more than 200 sites, a minuscule number. Some recommendation services often produce random - at times, wrong - selections for their users. There are also concerns regarding privacy issues. The backlash against Amazon's "readers circles" is an example. Web Critics, who work today mainly for the printed press, publish their wares on the net and collaborate with intelligent software which hyperlinks to web sites, recommends them and refers users to them. Some web critics (guides) became identified with specific applications - really, expert systems -which incorporate their knowledge and experience. Most volunteer-based directories (such as the "Open Directory" and the late "Go" directory) work this way.
The flip side of the coin of content consumption is investment in content creation, marketing, distribution and maintenance.
3. The Money
Where is the capital needed to finance content likely to come from?
Again, there are two schools:
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