By Robert Imbriale, Internet Marketing Specialist
When I first got involved with the online world back in 1984, paying for
what you did. You had to pay for the phone call (usually a long distance call)
to dial up to
a bulletin board service, and once you got there, you typically had to pay for
membership to be able to access the information on their system.
Then the World Wide Web was born and so was the era of getting almost all
for free. There were companies everywhere jumping onto the
bandwagon. Money was being generated in huge sums from advertisers looking to
in on the massive traffic free information generated.
Yahoo.com lead the ad game by selling billions of dollars in banner
gave away their search engine content to millions of eager web surfers and they
money on each and every ad impression.
Most every other web portal followed right along, opting to sell advertising
their content for free. It was a great concept. People came in huge and
numbers, advertisers paid even more for the additional exposure and the model
to grow like wildfire until somebody stopped and thought about that
bottom-line profits. Was all that exposure producing more sales?
The hype was almost instantly dispelled and that gave way to an abrupt halt in
massive influx of cash into dot-com stocks. The stocks of even the strongest
plummeted. And many dot-com companies went offline forever. The time for
accountability had returned.
This past year, we’ve begun to get a hint at what’s in store for us. You
guessed it; we’re
going back to where we started. You’ll be paying for the information you want
In 2001, Yahoo.com began charging to list web sites in their directory. At
first, there was
the usual uproar and belly aching from those people that think everything on
should be free, forever.
Today legitimate companies pay the price to have their web site listed on
directory and everybody wins. Searches now turn up higher quality results and
find what they want faster without having to wade through pages and pages of
Take the popular search engine, Google for example. You can still list your web
site for free, but forget about being a top listing in any category. Those top
now all paid-for listings, primarily provided by pay-per-click search engine,
which is the largest of the pay-per-click search engines.
Google also has paid listings that appear to the right of your search results
in little boxes.
These listings are increasingly popular for advertisers, and many claim that
they do bring
in a lot of new traffic to their web sites. As these paid services grow in
price per-click also rises, effectively allowing only the strongest companies
to rise to the
The logic used by the search engine companies is easy to see. If advertisers
are paying for
their web site listings, the quality of the information returned from every
dramatically. And this trend is now spilling over into other categories as
Many web site owners have found their efforts in publishing free weekly
building web sites full of free information simply end up as little more than a
ongoing expense that rarely results in any profit.
The immense cost involved in building and maintaining a large web site
steadily each year and today many millions of web site owners have web sites
nothing more than financial liabilities to their company. Yet they can’t simply
down because they’ve invested so much in building the sites in the first place.
for those sites to stay online, they have to find new ways of generating
revenue from the
One way this is happening is seen in web sites such as Rushlimbaugh.com, the
site of the
popular talk radio host by the same name. Arguably, this site is a leader in
subscription-based arena and more and more web site owners are taking notice.
The site offers an annual membership that tens of thousands of people happily
year for access to reams of political commentary, audio archives, video clips,
and a live
feed of the daily radio program.
The success of this web site is the sign of things to come and already there
of web sites turning to paid subscriptions and memberships. This revenue model
is one of
the most promising yet for web site owners.
Paying for services is not all bad news. If web site owners are able to
from their efforts, the quality of the offerings will improve, and there will
be less and less
reliance on advertising dollars. Simply put, once you log on to a paid web
site, you’ll get
solid content, minus the banner ads and pop-up windows.