Web Writing Business Models

This week The Brooks Review (TBR) announced a [new writing business model][bmod] in the form of a paywall and [memberships][mem]. The basics of it are similar to the New York Times paywall, but TBR will be releasing all content on time delay. Since most of the content is not time sensitive (opinion pieces) it doesn’t really matter if you read them 7 days after they’re written.

I’ve been a member of [shawnblanc.net][sb] since the beginning and in truth that is the only site I’m a member of but I do have to wonder when I’ll get ‘membered out’. I do 100% understand that writers need to put food on the table, heck I’d love to turn writing into a larger portion of my income. I’m just not sure that there are enough people willing to pay for memberships to support all the sites that want to drop ads.

For me it’s easy to pay for something that will give me a direct business benefit. Like subscribing to a tutorial site so I learn more about my field. It gets harder to justify when there is no direct business benefit though, which is where TBR and Shawn Blanc fall.

In truth, I’ve been questioning why I’m still a member of shawnblanc.net lately. Not because of a change in the writing, just because I’m very careful about getting “dollar’d to death”. Pay for enough inexpensive monthly services and you’ve got a huge bill on your hands. I do like reading what Shawn writes (as well as TBR) though so I stay a member.

The next question for me is, do I drop $4/month for TBR?

Anyone else have monetization ideas for web writers (or blogging if you prefer)?

[bmod]: http://brooksreview.net/2012/07/new-tbr/ “The New TBR Business Model”
[mem]: http://brooksreview.net/members/ “TBR Memberships”
[sb]: http://shawnblanc.net/

4 thoughts on “Web Writing Business Models

  1. I guess my first question is: why pay $3/mo? I don’t know who he is…he may be famous, he may have a wealth of information, but knowledge should be free. Surely if he’s that interesting he could find revenue via other methods, instead of charging his readers, no?

    Furthermore, “Shawn Today” doesn’t seem like it’s worth the extra money…really, the more I look through this site, the more I’m frustrated that people are paying him. I fully believe in donations, not memberships, but to each their own.

    1. If you don’t know him or read the site then don’t pay. I read the site already.

      In addition to the Shawn Today episodes there is an email newsletter for members only. I forgot about that because I choose not to get it.

      Yes there might be other ways to get cash for the site, but having a site plastered with ads looks terrible and he (and myself) don’t want to do that. After ads what business models are there? Memberships, selling products, and???

      If you have a better idea the share it. Knocking others idea who tout providing an alternative solution is an easy way out.

  2. I’m not knocking it, I just don’t like people trying to charge what knowledge and information that can be obtained for free elsewhere, especially writing online. He could have text sponsors, a corner sponsor that is out of the way, he could ask for donations which is my personal favorite.

    1. I don’t view it as charging for the content, it’s still free in both cases. For Shawn Blanc all the main content is just plain free, members get perks. For TBR it’s free if you want to wait 7 days. I view it as donating to help the author.

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