There’s no doubt about it. The number one reason why people come to the Internet is to get information.
They come to read the latest news, comparison shop, find answers to questions, communicate with friends and associates via email or voice, share valuable or informational tidbits, seek out entertainment, or play games.
Early on, the Internet was mostly a collection of free sites and information that anyone could access. Sometimes registration was required, but in most cases, paid access was not even a thought of the web site owner. Why?
I suppose there are several reasons.
The mechanism for charging customers was not generally available, people didn’t understand that financial transactions could be done securely, and a range of software enablers were not yet available for things like secure shopping carts, real time authentication, and digital delivery.
But slowly the Internet seemed to be heading toward a “pay to play” model where users were required to purchase access to the information they desired.
It will take some time for this transition to develop fully and I expect that some information online will always remain free to the public. In fact, public domain material is everywhere and I imagine some form of it will always be free for public use – that’s what it’s dedicated for.
But the proliferation of payment processors, secure software for financial transactions, greater acceptance of online purchasing by the public, and the need for companies to charge for their products and time all suggest that specialized information in the future will have to be purchased in some way.
Information has intrinsic value. Information leads each of us to better and more profitable decisions.
More and more it seems that those with the best information are the ones that advance, that prosper, and lead out in the business and educational worlds.
Business owners know that they can create information in a niche and that “commodity” can have an assigned value that others are willing to purchase.
If the information is unique, relevant, well researched and it leads to practical application in our lives, chances are good that those who want this information will pay to gain access to it.
Most people don’t have the inclination, the background, and the time to do the necessary research they seek in particular niches and are more than happy to pay someone else to do it for them.
On the business side (the information producers), it takes time, experience, and a certain amount of skill and niche knowledge to produce valuable, unique information and present it in a way that is pertinent and relevant to consumers or other businesses.
Those who produce information do it because it becomes a source of revenue that reimburses them for their time and skill.
Once information is found and packaged, it can be sold over and over again which means the seller does the research and work once . . . and then benefits from multiple continuing sales of the same information.
Often, a researcher will do his work because he personally wants or needs the information he seeks.
If that information has wider application and others desire the same knowledge, the researcher can monetize his findings by selling access to it to those that show an interest.
Many online businesses are started by entrepreneurs that already possess education, training, skills, and knowledge in certain subjects.
They believe others would like to know what they know and share in their experience, so a decision is made to write a book about the subject, create a web site and offer related products, or host a community of like-minded individuals.
The paid subscription model is simply one that offers access to specialized information in a particular niche, but only to those that pay a recurring fee to get the latest news and offerings of the site.
There are a number of different subscription models including paid newsletters, paid subscriber web sites, paid teleconferences, insider meetings and video sessions, trade associations, “book of the month” type clubs, etc. All of them are set up on the premise that members will pay for the right to access the information and/or interactivity of the host.
This model will continue to be a profitable alternative to simply writing a book because often the buyer is seeking to be part of a community of like-minded people that share the same interests.
To your online business success!