Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Best Things On Line Aren't Always Free

Kos has enjoyed considerable success. Due to being one of the first political blogs, and due to coming up with idea of diaries which keeps people sticking around to comment and read the comments of others more than on the average blog, Kos has a very impressive number of page views.

I think this success has gone to his head.

In looking at the decision of the New York Times to start charging for access to their columnists, Kos says he will stop linking to them. "I think this is the best way they can become irrelevant," wrote Kos of how he believes his move will affect the Times.

While bogging is an interesting phenomenon, end even has some influence, blogs are a far way from competing with media such as the New York Times for influence. Regardless of whether Kos links to them, their columnists will continue to be read by subscribers (both print and internet) as well as in other papers which pick up their articles.

My bet is that opinion leaders will continue to pay far more attention to the views of columnists such as Paul Krugman, Frank Rich, and even David Brooks than they will to the posts of even the largest political blogs.

Kos says he has already decided that he will not pay once the New York Times starts to charge for on line subscriptions. That's fine with me as it will be just another way in which we can offer more of substance here. Unless I can read the same columns for free from other newspapers which carry them, I will most likely pay to subscribe when it becomes necessary.

Sure, we all love to get things for free, but it costs money to gather and publish information. Columnists need to be paid. Sometimes a publication finds it profitable to provide content free on line due to advertising revenue or other benefits from their on line exposure. Whether to charge or provide information for free is the decision of the content provider. Given a choice between Krugman and Kos, I'll chose Krugman any day, even if it costs money.

I believe my posts on Light Up The Darkness, the Unofficial Kerry Blog, and the Kerry Reference Library have benefited from the large number of paid sites I already subscribe to. This often allows me to include material different from that which is discussed on every other blog. Among the sites which totally or partially require paid subscriptions which have been of value include Salon, The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, The Economist, The New Republic, and The Kiplinger Letter.


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