Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Entertainment fuels paid online content - OPA

While the debate on paid online content will continue,the Online Publishers Association has released data on the revenues from paid content for the last year: $2b spent by consumers in buying online content. Not only that, the average revenue per user has also witnessed an increase.

Full details of the release can be found on the OPA website.

Entertainment tops the list of content type that users are willing to pay for; followed by sports/games.

An indication that users are willing to pay to be entertained, and not so inclined to pay to keep themselves informed.

It is probably a reflection of present-day information overload. If I read into the OPA stats, users seem to think that news & information are most likely available elsewhere for free while entertainment content is more likely to be unique.

Obviously, something for online publishers to think about when considering charging people for content.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Don't want to pay for content? Watch an ad...

Online publishers face the perennial dilemma- to charge or not to charge for their content. Decision either way is also dictated by questions on whether users would be willing to pay.

There have been a few models tried out with varying degrees of success. The model from Ultramercial is interesting. Publishers give users the option to either pay for their premium content or view ads before reaching the premium content.

It's great from a content user's perspective--- they have the opportunity to get 'premium content' without having to pay 'hard cash' (if we ignore the time=money consideration). And may be, if the ads are indeed targeted and interesting, the user may in fact find that ad content more useful than the buried premium content.

From a publisher's perspective, they are able to ensure that their content is getting monetized one way or the other; though I suspect they would prefer that users go for the "view ads" option rather than the content-subscription option.

How's it from an advertiser's perspective? Well, they get the impressions; but will they be able to make an impression on the user, who'd rather be keen to get on to the 'premium content'? That's the advertiser's dilemma....

The new kind of 'content' writer..

A new kind of writer is on the prowl.. and beware. This specialist goes with several names... SEO copywriter, SEO content writer, SEO writer....

Before the genuine writers pounce on me, let me make it clear that my disgust is reserved for the type that churns out something like the one below for for a toy site.

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Toys are good to play with. Many toys are available in our store. Toys from Toy r us is preferred by most kids these days. Our store has all kinds of toys- mechanical toys, electrical toys, electronic toys.

Amazon & Toys R Us is discontinuing their sales relationship. Have you bought toys from Toys R US? Toy lovers say that these toys are made in China.

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And so on... So, what's new? The problem of keyword stuffing is as old as the 'science' of search engine optimization. Fair enough. My grouse is not just with the keyword stuffing (in fact, I'd go so far as to say that a truly gifted writer could make the prose read like beautiful poetry...). It's more to do with the gruesome murder of the language, with absolutely no respect for grammar and consideration for beauty of the written word. Forget beauty-- that might be too much to ask for. The least that this new breed could do is to give a thought to the message that is being delivered?

It's probably an identity crisis that is causing the problem here---- may be these folks should begin to think either like a marketer or a writer. Trying to be both
is making SEO copywriting seem like a joke..