Slashdot's Subscription Model

by David Sims

Related link:

Slashdot says it's being forced to accept the mega banners you see on so many sites these days (O'Reilly Network included). But if they really gall you, you can pay to live without them, starting at $5 for 1,000 page views.

Its model is a bit more complex than subscription models at sites like The Wall Street Journal (where you pay to read any articles) or Salon (where you pay just to read the good ones) -- and that's fitting for a site tailored to readers used to dealing with complexity. Subscribers will be able to choose which pages they don't see maga banner ads on, and which they do.

Being in the same business of online publishing, I sympathize with their dilemma -- having to accept the increasing demands of advertisers for more screen real estate, more animation, more ATTENTION PLEASE, or stop publishing. We've had to make the same trade-offs at O'Reilly Network, serving ads we might rather have passed on, and waiting for the outcry. (We've said no to ads, too -- some of the stuff they're asking for just makes too great a demand on our readers.) But we've felt that if the content is still readable, and it's clear what's editorial and what's an ad, then the trade-off is worth it. Those ads, after all, pay the freight on the good articles we publish.

By and large, I'm happy to report that our readers get it. Where I expected a torrent of objection, I've received a few emails -- most from readers with legitimate complaints that their platform/browser/screen-resolution combination turned the ad into a roadblock. And, sure, we've received just a few from readers who object to ads on principle and don't really understand the online publishing business model. All along, our traffic has grown, and we're making it through a pretty tough recession, publishing more articles than we were a year ago.

So from the team at O'Reilly Network, thanks for weathering the ads and sticking with us. We appreciate it. (And, by the way, if you've stuck with me this far, here's a tip: when ads get you down, there's always the Print page.)

Hate our ads? Don't mind them? Let me know.


2007-01-17 14:11:18
Honestly, after browsing the web for so long, I hardly register ads consciously anymore. My subconscious, I can't say, but at least the ads don't bother me.