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If you insist on charging for content, 3 simple rules to follow

August 20, 2002
Steve Outing's latest column on the trend toward paid-for content is wordy, but makes 3 excellent points that small publishers should take to heart:

1. Keep enough free content on the site so that search engines have something to index. Otherwise, all of today's search engine visitors will vanish - even before they were asked to pay.

2. Small publishers should form content networks - with a single subscription buying content on several sites, which would allow them to better compete for online funds: "With only so much money available (and willingness) to pay for online content and a wildly growing pool of content costing money, we're setting ourselves up for a serious supply and demand imbalance."

3. Payment needs to be painless - so offer various methods and make the process easy for readers who are arriving via a search engine or other referrer and NOT via the home page of the site.


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