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Announcing Slashdot Subscriptions 2332

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the dropping-a-few-bucks-in-the-guitar-case dept.
For some time now we have been developing a unique subscription system that we hope will make our users and advertisers happy. Please hit the link below to read an explanation about how the system works, and why it works that way. Also you will learn what a subscription will give you, and what our future plans are for it.Update: 03/01 16:38 GMT by Hemos : A lot of people are asking about the only Paypal option. In answer to everyone: Yes, we are aware of the problems with PayPal.. And, yes, we're currently working on other solutions - read the full copy below, as Rob already states that.

To understand why the system works like it does, you need to first understand that Slashdot is about to start accepting new ad formats. The large ads that you see on many other sites are coming here. We really don't have an option: these are what advertisers want, and if we don't provide them, we won't be around much longer. But we want to give you an option to see Slashdot without these ads. Second, you need to understand that Slashdot readers fall into a variety of types, and charging the same flat fee just isn't possible.

Slashdot subscriptions will essentially let you buy a thousand pages to be viewed without banner ads. And you will have some flexibility to decide what types of pages (Comments, Articles, The Homepage) you want ads removed from, and what types of pages you just want to see the ads.

The rates are currently set at $5 per 1000 pages. To put this into perspective, $20 (typical magazine subscription) will be enough pages for 82% of our readers to view Slashdot without ads for a year. Another 15% will need to spend $5 a month to accomplish the same thing. 3% of our readers would need to spend more than $5 a month- but they could choose to see ads on comments and in almost every case, still pay around $5 a month. (As an aside, it's also worth noting that more than half of all comment posters fall into this 3%)

We realize that this system is more complex, but Slashdot has a third of a million readers per day with different reading habits, and this is the best way to accomodate everyone fairly.

Currently we only accept payment via paypal. It was simply easy and fast. We intend to offer other options as time permits and readers request.

Eventually we intend to offer additional features to subscribers. Exactly what those plums are remains to be decided: Access to the rejected submissions bin? A 'Gold Star' in your comments header? Karma? (I think that would be hilarious) We really don't know. We'll decide and implement what makes sense as we have time to do it.

We are doing our best to learn from the mistakes made by other sites that have started charging for subscriptions. We won't create subscriber only features that cost more to maintain than they generate. But we do need support from you if we are to continue. So anyway, here's that link again if you forgot it ;)

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Announcing Slashdot Subscriptions

Comments Filter:
  • Here's an idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SuiteSisterMary (123932) <slebrunNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:19PM (#3090598) Journal
    Just sell low UIDs. That'll raise you lots of money. Seriously, though, go nuts. Just don't be surprised when every signature links to instructions on using webwasher/adbuster/and so on to block out each and every comment. Or when somebody writes a perl script to grab slashdot every hour, parse out all the ads, and post it somewhere else, like freeslashdot.org or something.
  • by horsie (91009) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:19PM (#3090606)
    I'll stick to the ads... as long as there are no pop-ups, pop-unders and anything that pops... and especially NO X-10 ADS!!! :)
  • Micropayment (Score:1, Insightful)

    by DeathB (10047) <adamp@noSpAM.ece.cmu.edu> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:19PM (#3090611) Homepage
    People have been saying forever that someone was going to do a site with some form of a micropayment system. It's interesting to see /. taking the lead here. I really have to wonder though, how many people are bothered by the ads on /. ? Quite a few of the people here read through a junkbuster proxy of one form or another, so such things never even appear. Hopefully there isn't an effort to push people in the way of paying (more annoying ads, etc). Because that would be truly unfortunate.

    Best of luck to you, but I really don't expect to see that you will have much for sales.
  • ads and such (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mrbill (4993) <mrbill@mrbill.net> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:19PM (#3090613) Homepage
    Heck, I've gotten enough enjoyment and such from reading Slashdot over the past few years, thats its worth it to me. Just paid my $20.
  • PayPal? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the phantom (107624) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:20PM (#3090620) Homepage
    I have no problem with a subscription based /. (so long as it can still be got for free). I would pay $5 to see ad-free /. I might even pay more. We'll see how long 1000 pages lasts. However, I do not like doing business with PayPal. Please, ditch PayPal and give me an alternative!
  • Disappointing.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sudog (101964) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:21PM (#3090636) Homepage
    The subscription model is permeating everywhere. It's sad, and disappointing to have to choose to pay a small fee for the hundreds of websites I visit (and fork out literally hundreds upon hundreds of dollars) or to have to sit here and view large obnoxious ads.

    Gee, I wonder what I'll do?

    Let's try browsing with graphics turned off. *click* Ahh.. better.
  • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms.infamous@net> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:22PM (#3090645) Homepage
    But we do need support from you if we are to continue.

    Never forget that all of us who post intelligently are supporting you, by giving you free content. That is, after all, why people read /.

    I can get tech news anywhere. The commentary (yes, you have to filter for trolls, flamebait, and stupidity, but that applies just as much to any major newspaper's op-ed page) is what makes the site worthwhile.

  • by cullenfluffyjennings (138377) <c.jennings@ieee.org> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:22PM (#3090647) Homepage

    What is a page? Each time I load www.slashdot.com? What happens if I load it, go read a link it points too then come back to it again?

    Please provide more detail on how this scheme works
  • by horsie (91009) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:22PM (#3090652)
    Then again, you can always threaten us with X-10 ads...
  • by erasmus_ (119185) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:22PM (#3090654)
    I can already see thousands of "free everything" advocates typing angrily away at their keyboards. Running a popular site costs money, and most sites are realizing that ads are not supported. I have come to accept subscriptions as a normal part of better sites these days, although I only actually subscribe to a few of them. As useful as Slashdot is, it'll probably be well worth the while.

    Also keep in mind that unlike many subscription sites, Slashdot is not talking about premium content for major articles (like Salon or IGN), only little bonuses for subscribers, which is fair enough. I'll wait until the ads actually start appearing to make up my mind, but let's not flame Slashdot for coming in line with the almost defacto practice that today's Internet economy demands.
  • by Prop (4645) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:22PM (#3090663) Homepage

    I can see paying X dollars to surf without ads. A simple flat rate.

    But of I have to start thinking "should I hit reload and waste a page view", it will make using Slashdot very awkward.

    Time to install junkbuster

  • by Craka (230346) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:22PM (#3090664)
    Okay various News services charge for *CONTENT* what exactly is Slashdot charging for? *Links to OTHERS content*. Am I the only one that finds this a little perverse? Slashdot survives on it's users to submit links, and others to create the content.

    So, what we have here is this paradoxal existence: Charge the people that keep your site running and full of content.

    Am I the only one that has a problem with this?
  • PayPal only..? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by antis0c (133550) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:23PM (#3090670)
    After reading about how much PayPal sucks on Slashdot, I don't think I'll be paying for any kind of subscription until there is another option available. PayPal isn't FDIC insured, isn't a real bank, and is being investigated and sued by various states and organizations.. I think I'll wait before handing over my credit card information to a potentially untrustworthy company.

    As for the Subscriptions, well, I hope things work out, this could be really good for Slashdot, or really bad. I biggest concern is since I've read that only a small percent of Slashdot readers post and read articles, that means the majority only uses Slashdot as a proxy for news. If the banner ads start to annoy them, they'll start going straight to the new source.. Oh well, only time will tell, Good luck Slashdot team.
  • stop lyin' (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:23PM (#3090677)
    We have all seen the VA Software annual and quarterly reports.

    Slashdot is in fact profitable, very profitable.

    So don't give us these lies.

    What you mean is Slashdot won't be able to pay Larry Augustins ridiculous CEO salary without mega ads.

    Granted Slashdot was the ONLY profitable part of VA.

    So yes VA is losing money like crazy.

    But Slashdot itself is plenty profitable, to the tune of several mil.

    So stop with the lies.

    Oh and pathetic mod, go look it up on the stock site of your choice before you mod this down.

    Don't worry, the Slashdot staff will mod it down anyways, so save your karma for a butt sex comment or something.
  • by dlek (324832) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:23PM (#3090678)
    Subscriptions are fine, I can face reality, but I have one request: please don't let subscriptions affect posting in any way. If there's anything humanity's learned in the past century, it's that having money doesn't make you smarter. So getting +1 or a gold star on your post just cos you hate ads or love Slashdot enough doesn't make your views more worthwhile, and I don't think I'd stick around in a place where ideas aren't judged purely on their content.

    I think what might come of this is a tighter ship splintering off into smaller, private Slashdot sites. For example, not to slag all the people who put thought into their posts, but a private Slashdot just including my friends and others by introduction would be great for me--less traffic, so I could actually read all the posts, and less noise, so I would bother.

    Just a few random thoughts... I appreciate what Slashdot has been and hope it doesn't lose its shine.

  • by thesolo (131008) <slap@fighttheriaa.org> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:26PM (#3090719) Homepage
    ...is that under this model, those who contribute to slashdot the most, and make the site what it is, are forced to pay the most.

    I think there should possibly be a "positive-discussion" discount, where if you post modded-up comments, you get more allowed page views. After all, you are helping the /. community.

    I see the need for the system, I know you guys need to stay open, and I do understand that people like myself use up a lot of bandwidth on here, but I personally would really like to see some sort of reward for positively contributing to the site.
  • a reason to pay (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spacefem (443435) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:26PM (#3090722) Homepage
    I agree. I think the world need to change it's attitude about paying for online content/software, you don't pay because you can't steal it or they force you to or you get a whole lot more by putting money into it, you pay because you support people who do cool smart things, like Slashdot. Sort of a "put your money where your mouth is" deal.

    IMHO Slashdot deserves a little cash, all. Face it. Open Source doesn't have a whole lot of alliances these days, we need to make the ones we have strong.
  • by Multiple Sanchez (16336) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:26PM (#3090723)
    What kind of customer support will slashdot offer? What happens when there's a DOS attack or a slashbug and I can't access the site when I need it? With traditional publications, I have someone's ear to chew when the periodical isn't delivered as promised. What kind of assurances can slashdot give me that I'll get something for my money?
  • by inaneboy (306740) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:26PM (#3090731)


    Consider that if we all used an effective ad blocker, that'd be the end of adverts as an effective means of funding this site. And that'd mean we all pay, or byebye slash dot.

    Or don't you realize that bandwidth doesnt grow on trees.

  • by Otter (3800) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:27PM (#3090737) Journal
    Look, I understand the realities of business and if I need to pay to read Slashdot, I'll pay to read Slashdot.

    But it's not clear what motivation this plan is meant to appeal to. Get rid of banners? What do I care? I, and probably most readers, simply filter them out mentally unless they're so unbelievably annoying (X10, Shoot The Monkey) that I stop reading the site. Loading time might be an issue for some sites, but for loading even a moderate Slashdot page, the extra time to load a banner is insignificant noise relative to however trolls have mangaed to screw up the rendering that day. I was on a 28k modem connection at home until recently and banners were a non-issue. And the people who really hate them already block them, although I bet the number who really do that is even smaller than the number who actually bothered to write in about the Microsoft settlement.

    If the plan is to get readers to support the site out of altruism they should say that. (Or at least realize it.) But if Rob and Jeff are really trying to provide added value for the price, they need to come up with something better to offer. Or take away something from the free side.

  • Okay guys. If you're really the libertarian, open source, _fair_use_ folks you claim to be, then make Slashdot the most wildly successful, profitable, FOR FEE site on the net.

    You can't tell me you life hasn't been changed (for better or worse) by these guys. $5 a month is a _pittance_. You can't buy LUNCH for $5.

    _MY_ 'checks in the mail'
  • by Vairon (17314) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:28PM (#3090759)
    I for one completely understand and agree with Slashdot for doing this. After all, we all sneer at those other bandwidth/machine-deficient websites who can't handle the slashdot effect, but we rarely think about the fact that Slashdot has to handle the slashdot effect 24x7. That sort of bandwidth and machine-power cost money, a lot of money. The only way a popular website can recoup its costs are through advertising OR subscriptions. We, the users of slashdot are fortunate enough to at least have the OPTION of which we want. Personally, I'll take advertisements, because quite frankly I actually like and sometimes click on them. Unlike other websites, slashdot advertisements are geared toward me and present me with things I'd like to buy or wish I could buy. I probably won't even filter them, unless they start using popups that are really annoying (never seen a good popup ad).
  • Re:Karma (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dstone (191334) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:28PM (#3090760) Homepage
    If this happens with monetary incentives, many people will DEFINITELY pull the old Karma-whoring tricks like a single user using multiple freely registered accounts to alternate posting and modding each other until one of those accounts hits the Karma discount level. There are other techniques. Smart people, these /. readers; they'll rise to the challenge.
  • why paypal? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by afidel (530433) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:29PM (#3090761)
    After This [slashdot.org] aand a few rather horific stories including payapal being sued by like 13 states for running an unregistered banking business I wonder why they chose payapl?
  • by TrollMan 5000 (454685) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:29PM (#3090763)
    The rates are currently set at $5 per 1000 pages. To put this into perspective, $20 (typical magazine subscription) will be enough pages for 82% of our readers to view Slashdot without ads for a year. Another 15% will need to spend $5 a month to accomplish the same thing. 3% of our readers would need to spend more than $5 a month- but they could choose to see ads on comments and in almost every case, still pay around $5 a month. (As an aside, it's also worth noting that more than half of all comment posters fall into this 3%)

    It;s the poster who make Slashdot what it is. Your fee setup essentially penalizes those people. Without the posters, Slashdot would have nothing to read!

    I'd much prefer a monthly fee subscription setup rather than the $5 per 1000 pages.
  • Killing the goose? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:30PM (#3090783) Homepage
    As an aside, it's also worth noting that more than half of all comment posters fall into this 3%

    So you're saying that the very people who make slashdot worth reading are the ones who will have to pay most? Isn't this...backwards?
  • by the_rev_matt (239420) <slashbot@@@revmatt...com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:30PM (#3090786) Homepage
    I've no idea why people are opposed to paying for things. Sure, you can get tons of stuff for free online. But if you want a resource to stay around why would you be against helping that resource stick around? I already click on ad banners on /. when there's something interesting (usually on thinkgeek) and often buy things through those clicks. I buy stuff from copyleft, I buy boxed versions of distros that I like even though I've already downloaded and burned the ISO's.

    People who want something for nothing are usually the first to bitch and moan when the entity providing that something for nothing is no longer able to survive due to lack of cash flow.

  • by FortKnox (169099) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:33PM (#3090826) Homepage Journal
    What about the people from here [slashdot.org], you know, the ones that help Slashdot the most by submitting the stories you publish. We get any bonus for that?

    What about the people that put in a lot of comments, to make the stories have more depth or meaning? Do we get something besides an insult by a slashdot author [slashdot.org] to the people that indirectly line his wallet??

    I've put a lot of time and effort into slashdot, is that gonna matter at all?? I try to help the site become more than a "regurgitated stories" site, but I have to pay to avoid ads?
  • by tomblackwell (6196) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:33PM (#3090831) Homepage
    You can't make money selling a metered resource at a flat rate. Hence, the dot-com crash.
  • Ethical Question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kallahar (227430) <kallahar@quickwired.com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:34PM (#3090836) Homepage
    Now, I am faced with an ethical question. For over a year I have been using WebWasher to filter out all the ads from the internet (it catches over 99% of them, including popups and cnet style big-ass-in-your-face ads).

    Now, slashdot offers a way for me to support their site, but at the same time tells me that their ads are shifting to annoy-ware. So, do I just continue to block the ads, or try a free site or whatever, or do I pay slashdot?

    While people think the internet is free, it isn't. SOMEONE pays. In this case, it's the company that controls slashdot. I value having this site up on the net, and I value all the time and effort that has gone into keeping everything running and happy.

    I've decided, I'll keep blocking with webwasher but I'll also donate my $5. Think about it, $5 for something you check twice a day is worth the cost of a single lunch.

    P.S. I'd love to see some recognition to people who donate though, a little star would be cool and discourage AC's :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:35PM (#3090856)
    I agree, it has to be a flat rate or I'm just not interested.

    When Slashdot originally brought up the idea of a subscription I thought to myself that it would be one of the few sites to get money from me. I read it often and get a lot out of it so I don't have any problem parting with cash. But as soon as there's a meter attached I feel like I'm on the clock, that there's a price to following just one more comment or reading a questionable story.

    A flat rate of $20/year would be fine (even more than that), but anything metered I'm just not interested in. If the large ads begin to annoy me I'll visit less or work around them.
  • by Micah (278) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:35PM (#3090857) Homepage Journal
    mod_gzip works wonders on Slash based sites, so I have no idea why they don't use it here.

    The typical Slash home page is about 50K or more. mod_gzip literally gets it down to less than 6K!

    It would literally cut their bandwidth costs by more than half!

    Of course, they may need another server or two, but it would pay for itself quickly.
  • Re:Had to happen (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JudasBlue (409332) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:38PM (#3090889)
    "...Slashdot, the bastion of free software..."

    To point out the obvious, free as in speech.

    (yeah, whoring for karma...)

  • by fleener (140714) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:38PM (#3090893)
    Exactly. For every piece of information being sold, there is someone in the world willing to give it to you for free. You just have to find that person.

    About 3/4ths of the slashdot articles that interest me I have already seen on blogs 1-7 days earlier. Some of this is due to the review period of submitted links, and part of it is that sometimes a link is submitted multiple times before it is accepted. Regardless, if slashdot closed tomorrow, I would still get my nerd news from other sources. What's special about slashdot is that I can post comments and get modded down. If slashdot dies, blame it on the people who still want information to be free. We will always exist in small groups and keep the information flowing.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:38PM (#3090895)
    Just a question, .com would be better suited!
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:38PM (#3090898) Homepage Journal
    I just tossed $5 into the hat, just to keep /. going, and for now I'm still gonna look at the ads, because some are OK. I'll switch them off when they get annoying. Oh, and Moo, again.
  • by aallan (68633) <alasdair@@@babilim...co...uk> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:39PM (#3090901) Homepage

    Never forget that of the 250,000 Slashdot readers, about 3000 post

    Then if you you post, i.e. contribute content to the site, which is thought to be "good" by your peers (the moderators) you shouldn't have to pay for removing ads, it actually makes having karma worthwhile...

    Al.
  • by irix (22687) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:39PM (#3090904) Journal
    the quality of postings/discussions is much higher than at /.

    Are you on crack? See my previous rant [slashdot.org] about K5. The quality of postings over there are just horrible. For example, see the current front-page story about female curcumcision. Technology and culture from the trenches my ass.

    I have a 3-digit K5 uid, but I am done with that place. I simply don't have the time to go through the submissions bin and give a -1 to all of the crap that is constantly in there.

  • by Rupert (28001) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:41PM (#3090939) Homepage Journal
    "Comments are owned by the Poster."

    And the comments are what make /. worth reading.

    Something feels wrong here. I know it costs a lot of money to run /.. I know we don't have a right to the forum that Taco et al are providing for us. We post our thoughts here freely, and get back more ideas than we give, also for free. And if ads, subscriptions or whatever are needed to cover the costs, so be it.

    I think three main things are behind my unease. One is that my cheese is being moved. Secondly, VA/OSDN are for-profit. If subscriptions are successful, and they get more than they need, will the subscriptions be extended? Or will Taco, Hemos, ESR & Larry Augustin pocket the money? Thirdly, the posters are being asked to pay more than the lurkers. Hello? The people that make the site what it is have to pay more than those who merely use it? That seems wrong. If I could trade in 25 of my 50 karma for a hundred page views I think I would. Then I could keep posting witty and insightful comments, and /. would remain a great site.
  • Re:hypocrites... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CmdrTaco (1) <malda@slas h d o t.org> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:41PM (#3090942) Homepage Journal
    yes we all work for free with donated bandwidth and servers. *cough*
  • Umm, the dot com crash happened because the 'flat rate' was generally '0', not because they had a flat rate for a metered resource. Sorry to *ahem* burst your bubble.

  • by Disoculated (534967) <rob@scy[ ].org ['lla' in gap]> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:43PM (#3090964) Homepage Journal
    I can already see thousands of people who think they're rational typing desperately away at their keyboard in an attempt to stem flames that aren't coming. Sheesh. You're preaching about fire and dousing yourself with gasoline.

    Everybody knows that sites cost money, and most people are more than willing to be inconvenienced in some way. If it's handled reasonably, it'll be fine. If it's not, people will leave.

  • by mikeee (137160) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:43PM (#3090969)
    I dunno about pay-per-page on slashdot, but I'd certainly be willing to pay for sourceforge.

    If you added something to user info showing us how many pages we've viewed recently, it would help us decide. (And yes, I'm not a paypal fan either...)
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:44PM (#3090975) Homepage Journal
    Did it look like this:

    A payment of $5.00 has been sent to Open Source Development Network (OSDN).

    I suggest that for an, ahem, subscriber I could get past some of the following real annoyances:

    Lameness filter

    Posting timer (e.g. Slow down cowboy...)

    Get a bigger submission box, hey, it's the 00's, we have higher res than 640x480, ok? Make this box bigger or at least parameter driven

    Allow 2 and 3 letter words (mostly acronyms) in the Search. Geez, this is tech stuff and it's mostly acronyums anyway: RAM DVD CD HP AMD, etc.

  • by SanLouBlues (245548) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:45PM (#3090988) Journal
    If screen-names can now be tied to genuine paid-for products (page views), maybe the login's should be a bit more secure than plain-text. This means no more "You can automatically login by clicking This Link and Bookmarking the resulting page. This is totally insecure, but very convenient." I wouldn't pay anything until some sort of login encryption gets put into use.
  • by Kombat (93720) <kombat@kombat.org> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:46PM (#3091013) Homepage
    First off, let me say that I don't begrudge the Slashdot folk for trying to make a living. Anyone who posts comments to the effect of "Slashdot is evil!" is an ignorant hypocrite. Things cost money, and there's nothing evil about trying to make a fair living. Slashdot provides a valuable service - valuable enough to keep all you guys coming back.

    That said, let me also add that I think this is yet another example of one of the major flaws of Free software - its utter inability to be self-sufficient and sustainable. Ironically, as Free software (and content, in Slashdot's case) grows more and more popular, it becomes less and less able to remain viable under the "Free" model.

    People will give away their time, as long as they get to control how much, and on what. That's why small projects like Apache succeed, and why toy projects like Mozilla are still kicking around (but not really making any mainstream noise). But, when a project's popularity demands a person's full attention, they're suddenly faced with a decision: abandon the project, or try to make money from it.

    I value Slashdot. Do I value it enough to pay for it? Frankly, yes. However, I won't be forking over any cash until they offer more payment options (I don't/won't use PayPal). $5 a month is peanuts. I spend more than that on far more frivilous things. But that $5 will go a long way towards keeping Rob employed. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a way to request that none of my subscription dollars go toward keeping Jon Katz around. In fact, I'd pay money for him to be FIRED. He's never once posted a single commentary or editorial that has actually made me think. He just states the obvious, exaggerates it, and makes it sound like it'll spell the end of the world. But I digress.

    Presumably, most of you reading this have a job, or will have a job someday. This is Rob's job. We've seen that the "free content" model doesn't work (and a few of us even got burned pretty badly in the dot-bomb fallout on the stock market). This is evolution. This is reality. Suck it up, or take your ball and go home, continuing to live in your fantasy world that there are a wealth of people out there lining up to donate their time to entertain you for free.

  • by _Stryker (15742) <sean AT linuxbox DOT org> on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:46PM (#3091019)
    That's all well and good, except it is us, the users, who actually provide the content of the site. Without the users, there would be no stories submitted, there would be no comments, there would be no Slashdot.

    With that in mind, why should the users, particularly those that contribute to discussions, have to pay?
  • by quantaman (517394) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:47PM (#3091031)
    While the pay per view option is problably fairer it's not very fun, as you can tell not a lot of people here would want to have to feel like they're counting clicks (regardless of how much a single page costs). In addition even fewer people like the idea of paypal (not to mention the story a few day ago on paypal [slashdot.org] (once more I'm not the first one to have mentioned this and you also say you were aware of the problem but you still went ahead with it). People also just don't like to pay when they can view for free, the $5/1000 sounds like a nominal enough sum but people are unsure of how many clicks they actually do. I think it would be an idea to tell a person how many "pages" they've viewed somewhere in the preferences, not only do I think it would be something interesting to look at but if people realize how little they click they may figure that the payment is worth it.

    By the way, anyone wanna bet the comments reach at least a thousand;)

  • by jspaleta (136955) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:47PM (#3091032) Homepage
    Also, since the overall traffic is lower, the quality of postings/discussions is much higher than at /.

    Logic fault....
    if you tell people to ditch slashdot to go to kuro5hin...then you increase the overall traffic to kuro5hin...thus lowering the quality of postings on kuro5hin.

    By telling us to check out kuro5hin you just peed in yer own pool.

    You'd think you want to encourage people to stay on slashdot.....

    -jef
  • by Squirrel Killer (23450) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:49PM (#3091053) Homepage
    Do you nervously watch your electric meter run up as you watch TV or play on the computer? Do you nervously watch your gas meter run up as you cook your soup? Do you nervously watch the water meter as you shower? Certainly there are people who do watch those meters constantly, some for money (my dad), some for the environment (my hippie ex-girlfriend). But at some price point, most people stop caring about those meters.

    Now, at $0.005/pageview, I'm not sure /. has gotten under that price point where people will continue their viewing habits unchanged, I don't really know my own viewing habits that well. But then views with ads probably aren't going to be that much of a burden. I agree with you that the metered rate is more "user-friendly", but it eliminates the problem of the "front-page only/once a day" user and the "Troll/manic poster" user paying the same for vastly different system loading.

    I just hope that this doesn't means people will stop previewing their posts. Personally, I'll try the ads for awhile, and unless they're really annoying, just continue with 'em. I don't mind the ads in my newspaper, why should I mind them on /.?

    -sk

  • by MikeCamel (6264) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:51PM (#3091092) Homepage
    I'd like to suggest that moderation and meta-moderation pages are free. If not, you immediately remove a significant reason for bothering to moderate or meta-moderation. I tend to spend a few minutes a day moderation each day - say 250 days a year. Use up 1/4 of my pages? I don't think so!

    If you keep these two functions free, then we can maintain the value added by the community, and people will continue to contribute, because they fill feel that they are benefiting. We currently avoid the tragedy of the commons, because we can all contribute, and all benefit - let's not lose that.

    If we want to be even more sophisticated, how about allowing people to trade in a certain amount of karma for a certain number of pages? Maybe 10 karma points = $5? That would encourage people to contribute more intelligently, and add more value.
  • Futile (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheLoneCabbage (323135) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:51PM (#3091093) Homepage

    ok:
    Let's say you get past robot security.
    Let's say slashdot leaves you alone.
    Let's say freeslashdot.org is popular.

    Well... freeslashdot is going to get SLAMMED by hits just like slashdot... and not long after freeslashdot is either going to be shut down for not paying their bandwidth fees, or it wont be free for much longer.

    Besides, Slashdot has been good to us. The least you can do is look at some extra ad's to keep them in buisness. (or better yet you COULD subscribe)

  • And so it goes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:56PM (#3091158) Homepage

    Does this sound familiar?

    • Welcome to our free site! We have a zillion readers, and we'll figure out a way to make money soon!
    • Sorry, we had to put adverts on, but the site is still free. We're now on two zillion readers, we must be able to make money soon!
    • Please click on our adverts to help support this free site! With three zillion readers, if only 1% of you do this, we'll be rich!
    • Damn, none of you bastards clicked through. We're going to have to put on huge adverts, because for some bizarre reason, really annoying adverts pay more. But we've got four zillion readers now, so if only 1% of you agree to pay just a tiny amount in lieu of adverts, we'll be insanely rich!
    • Hello? Is anyone out there? (tumbleweed)

    I love Slashdot, I really do, and I know this was inevitable. But it's sad, because it indicates that Slashdot has burned the last of the venture capital and has now slipped into the realms of desparate self delusion.

    Please understand that this isn't a troll. I truly want Slashdot to survive, but I can't help but think that the people who will pay up tomorrow are the same people who are already clicking through today. There's no new revenue stream here, there's just a deparate gamble that the ads can get bigger faster than the readership goes elsewhere. There's no evidence to show that this happens. We're fickle bastards, us net users.

    Before you mod me or retort, please understand one thing: I'm not talking about you. You are one of the good guys, as evidenced by your finger hovering over the "Moderate" or the "Submit" button. You care about Slashdot. You're one of the ones contributing, one of the ones who will stay after the ads (or the missing images from blocked hosts) take up half the screen. But you're not the problem. The problem are the quarter of a million casual viewers who turn up, get served a small banner or two, then wander off to Tom's Hardware or The Register. And I'm not saying bigger ads will drive them away overnight, just that the announcement of bigger ads mean that Slashdot needs to make more money... and they simply won't make it from the vast majority of casual users. They need to make it from a small hardcore minority, from the posters and the responders and the modders, from you and me.

    And much as I love Slashdot, I don't want to end paying for (guesstimate) 0.02% of it. Do you? :(

  • by ergo98 (9391) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:56PM (#3091163) Homepage Journal

    How much do you think it costs to send say 100 gig of data down the pipe? Cmon "Mr.Bandwidth doesn't grow on trees". How much? I'll tell you how much. After the hardware is paid for (which it was in the 90's for the most part) It costs fucking pennies, if that.

    I highly recommend you sign up for "Economics 101". If someone puts $1 billion of hardware out there, they expect a RETURN on that $1 billion worth of hardware (if you believe that is evil then please pony up that billion yourself) that at least equates what they could get if they invested it in the general markets (i.e. at least 6%), and that's ignoring that the internet today is VASTLY changed from the infrastructure put in place in "the 90's for the most part" : Want to back up that?). Don't like it? Build your own friggin' system.

  • Two requests (Score:3, Insightful)

    by petard (117521) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:58PM (#3091189) Homepage

    I can't complain too much about the subscription, and will probably subscribe. I do have two requests before I do:

    1. Please, please don't go to the annoying ads before you have some other means of paying than paypal. I will stop reading your site on a regular basis if you have these ads and no means of getting rid of them. Or I will put your ad servers on my junkbuster list. (They're not there already because your ads are not obnoxious and I like you guys.) I am not comfortable using paypal at this time, though, and I don't believe I am alone in this, so please don't move to the annoying ads just yet. Perhaps you could use ThinkGeek's CC billing system?
    2. Please consider a second model whereby I can block only the big ads. I actually don't mind your current ads and click on them somewhat regularly. Perhaps $5 to chop the big ads out of 2000 pages??


    Anyway, best of luck with the subscription model. I hope you guys can provide enough value that people want to subscribe. Thanks for a great site!

  • by Squirrel Killer (23450) on Friday March 01, 2002 @12:59PM (#3091220) Homepage
    For every piece of information being sold, there is someone in the world willing to give it to you for free.

    You do realize, of course, that /. is willing to give you that same information for free too. So you have to download an ad with that info, big whoop.

    -sk

  • by FooKuff (562303) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:01PM (#3091242) Homepage Journal
    Why not? Simply add up the cost to provide the whole metered service, divide by the number of people who will pay for the service, add in your 12% for a return on your assets/investment, and there you go.

    And yes, that's simplifying it, but it's not fookin' rocket science.

    While I haven't studied the dot-coms intensely, I suspect most of the "crash" is related to them having overvalued stocks and the fact that most of them generated little in the way of actual sales (advertising or otherwise) revenue. That and the fact that most dot-coms seemed to have little in the way of products, true value-adds in the service category, and no real effective way to place advertizing (to draw in ad revenues). I don't see selling a "metered service" as the hard part here.
  • by Alan (347) <arcterexNO@SPAMufies.org> on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:01PM (#3091246) Homepage
    I realize that this is most likely just going to get lost in the noise, but....

    I don't have a problem with ads (much). They are a PITA, but a needed evil for the sites on the net to stay around until "free" bandwidth becomes a reality. My problem is not that /. is going along with the ad companies and their new methods, but with the methods themselves. Is it just me or does "new advertising technology" seem synonymous with "more annoying to the consumer"?

    I'm not going to pay, just out of principle (yea, I'm a bastard), but I'm not going to block either... yet. When ads start becoming flash animations, or javascript images that float over top of the web page, well, that's the point where I'll either stop reading or start turning on junkbuster, turning off javascript, and disabling plugins. I'm not really going to loose a whole lot am I?

    Why don't advertising companies realize that they are just annoying people more and more. I don't like ads and don't click on them simply out of principle, the exception being the thinkgeek ads that get served on /. Every once and a while there will be something that looks interesting, and it's targetted right at me. And I much prefer *effective* ads than the "lets make it more annoying and in their face to annoy them until the love us and buy shit" ads that are becoming more and more popular. I guess when you can get the 1% return via spam or banner or flash ads, you don't give a fuck right?

    So in conclusion, /., Rob, Jeff... please try to make sure that as you fill up your page(s) with more and more ads, that you are doing something good, not just bending over and spreading your cheeks for the brainless suits at the ad companies.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:02PM (#3091258)
    Realize where the true value lies at Slashdot. Its not with the web address, servers and storage but with the community that it has spawned. Slashdot itself is a commodity. If the community as a whole or in part decided to move itself to another site, your $20 investment would be worthless.
  • by Sloppy (14984) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:03PM (#3091270) Homepage Journal

    those who contribute to slashdot the most, and make the site what it is, are forced to pay the most.

    Two points:

    1. You aren't "forced" to do anything. You can completely ignore this, not subscribe, and face no direct consequences.
    2. Those who contribute the most, are also costing the servers the most.
  • by klieber (124032) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:03PM (#3091272) Homepage
    Let me first say that there's a lot of belly-aching that has always occured on /. That's a fact of any popular web site.

    However, there are also some very good issues and questions that get raised regarding /. that the editors never bother to respond to. There's the whole moderation suppression conspiracy, questions about mysterious stability problems and other honest issues that people have questions on. However, when people raise them via the only method they can; in a story, they get modded off-topic (and, if you believe what quite a few folks have been saying, occasionally banned from being moderators)

    The only problem is there is no place to post these questions and comments and, even if there was, the editors have shown little to no interest in participating or interacting with the user community at all. Sure, Taco created some obscure discussion thread that few people know about, but I haven't seen any editors participating there.

    So, what's our avenue for interactive discussion with the editors? Or are we not worthy of their attention? Sure, they're busy -- we're all busy. That's not an excuse. You could argue that most of the crap that gets posted is nothing more than FUD. OK, fine, but how about some editors telling us, at least once in a while, that it is, in fact, FUD. INTERACT with us, for christ sake. Isn't that what the web is all about?

    So, you want me to pony up my $5 per month, start showing more of an interest in the user community. Start some sort of active, weekly "About /." post where folks can post questions/comments/concerns and editors will ACTIVELY participate. I know there's a /. topic for this already, but it's been so long since anyone has used it that I plum forgot what it's called.

    Otherwise, I really don't care whether /. survives or not. As several other folks have pointed out, they've ceased being unique and innovative -- I can get the same information from any number of other web sites who *do* actively interact with their user community.
  • by Squirrel Killer (23450) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:04PM (#3091282) Homepage
    Serisouly, something as fantastic as slashdot.org can't exist for free.

    Yet something as fantastic as ABC, CBS, and NBC and radio stations can exist for free? Even your newspaper is based more on a advertising model than a subscription model. The bottom line is this: The advertising model does work. That it hasn't worked on the internet is proof that amatuers are trying to sell ads to professionals, and the pros know it.

    -sk

  • Re:Here's an idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Score Whore (32328) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:04PM (#3091288)
    Look around. Nobody here cares if it's illegal. I mean for fucks sake, how many times has Taco posted about how "computers have changed the way content is distributed and the recording/television/movie industry has to learn to deal with it." It would be funny as hell to see a large group of people get together to dupe slashdot content elsewhere.
  • by Bullschmidt (69408) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:06PM (#3091302)
    I see the necessity for this, but at the same time, the most positive contributers will end up payong the most. This seems counter productive. Why not do something like reward positive moderation. So, for example, at the end of the month, add up all the moderation points on my comments. If I have a positive balance, credit me with banner-less page views. You'd have to figure out a good "pricing" system, but I think this would be beneficial in (at least) two ways:

    1. Positive contributers get rewarded.
    2. Everyday users may work towards more positive contribution for reward, resulting in even better content!

    Seems like there is no reason not to try this!

  • Nah, the open sourcers are libertarians, not communists; obsessed with money and competition, and justifying open source in those terms.

    The free software people are the communists, seeing a moral problem with the private ownership of something that should belong to everyone (now this isn't an insult, I'm in their camp).

    Let's see how many people don't sense the tongue-in-cheek tone of this post, and get all angry.
  • Caveats (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ChaoticCoyote (195677) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:06PM (#3091312) Homepage

    Real magazines pay their contributors -- but somehow, I don't expect to see a check from VA Systems if one of my comments is highly rated by the moderators. ;)

    You might consider some sort of karma-based subscription service, where you lower prices for those who provide "good" content (as moderated). That way, people have an incentive to post quality material, and they don't feel cheated by paying Taco's web bills. ;) Everybody wins (except the trolls, of course).

    I also expect professional journalistic standards from a site I'm paying for. If I'm giving away content, I'm not that concerned about spelling and punctuation -- but if I'm charging people to read what I write, I have editors and such who make sure the content is clean and readable. If Slashdot wants to move beyond amateur status, it needs to act professional.

    I have no problem with Slashdot trying to recoup its costs -- but I (and lots of other people) expect value for thier money. Getting rid of ads isn't enough incentive to make me pay for Slashdot.

    Good luck guys.

  • by Ozx (529611) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:07PM (#3091325) Homepage
    If you want to look at ads be my guest, but if you think I'll have moral qualms with neutering their obnoxious and ineffective business strategy, you're mistaken... If I had a TiVo or a ReplayTV, I'd neuter those, too...
    Advertising has become absolutely absurd on the 'net, to the point where every site pops up twenty pages that pop up another twenty pages, each using images of Windows dialogs in hopes of confusing the user into clicking them... Wtf?

    If Slashdot wants to go all-subscription and thinks that's going to work, I hope you enjoy using it along with the other 40 people... I'm sorry, but Slashdot made the mistake of trying to move from a community-commented Chips and Dips to a business with no viable strategy for making wealth... They have almost zero value-added repackaging of other peoples' content... With the exception of movie/book reviews (which I find banal), Katz (who everyone despises), and these forums (dime a dozen) Slashdot is nothing more than links to various other news sources that provide their services for free... I'm sorry, but I have no desire to give Slashdot even a penny for the service of slashdotting, without permission, Doug's Shootout... Or to allow them to profit off of organizations like Reuters that actually pay employees to go out and write articles in exchange for money...

    Rob Malda got to get in on that destroy-the-pentions-of-the-near-elderly dotbomb explosion, and I'm supposed to continue to pay for his life in exchange for the right to make no editorial decisions, sift through 9000 pages of trolls, and see articles I've already read because I'm not so lazy as to rely on Rob Malda to provide the world's news to me? No thanks. When Slashdot contains as much unique content as a real magazine, I'll consider looking at its obnoxious ads, or pay it $20 a year...
  • by Chocobo219 (105615) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:07PM (#3091335)
    I'll pay for a comic I enjoy reading. I'll pay for access to IGN, maybe. But paying for a site that's effectively a news filter? Why? Slashdot produces Zero content I'm interested in. You can read book reviews elsewhere. Slashdot doesn't provide quality content. It provides tech-oriented filtration. That's a fine thing, but it doesn't warrant cash. I acknowledge that it needs it to survive, but the idea of paying for a service that's fairly mediocre, rankles. If you want Slashdot for the commenting, there are tons of fora out there. (Of course SA does charge now.) Sorry, no dice. Funny how I was just saying yesterday that I need to find another website to be my home page. Well, not like any of you guys care. Adios guys. It's been a nice lurker run (3 years).
  • by AnotherSteve (447030) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:11PM (#3091366)
    All of the arguments that the announcers on PBS or public radio pound into your head during pledge week apply to Slashdot as well. It costs money to provide the service. They have some sponsors but that doesn't cover the entire cost of providing the service. You enjoy using the service. How much more do you spend on things that provide less value each month? Once you get past the idea that anything made of electrons should be free, which is pretty ridiculous if you think about it, twenty bucks a year is a laughably small amount for the service provided.

    It adds value to your life, or else you'd go do something else, so why not kick in a little something?
  • by ballsbot (122144) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:13PM (#3091383)

    To post a message, it requires at least 3 page views. At the very least, they must view the story page, then the reply page, then submit it. If they're good little posters, they'll read the other comments (as I did, though the signal-to-noise ratio is rather low on this topic) which may require viewing multiple pages, and they'll preview their posting before actually submitting. It probably takes between 5-7 page views to post most comments. Many posters will then check back for replies, possibly replying again.

    It again requires several page views to moderate. They must click on the story, then submit their moderations. If they're good moderators, they'll probably view more. Meta moderation also requires extra page views.

    Since the above actions are all necessary to the vitality of slashdot, it would seem unfair to count them as page views. I'd rather see one of two alternatives:

    The pages that contribute to the site(comment|moderate|story submit) don't count as page views for paying people, possibly still containing the small (unobtrusive) banner ad slashdot currently uses. Keeping this for all users, or just the paying users, or paying users getting no ad at all as a bonus for paying and contributing, would all make sense.

    Or going to a flat monthly rate. I understand that you want to those that use slashdot more to pay more. But your frequent users are your frequent posters - those that make slashdot what it is.

    Charles

  • by susano_otter (123650) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:14PM (#3091396) Homepage
    If that's how you feel, why are you even here?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:14PM (#3091399)
    I've been targeted right out of the market.

    I've had it. I can't take any more advertising. Television, radio, magazines, billboards, even the Internet for Christ's sake. Everywhere. Why do they keep targeting me? I never did anything to them. I don't even buy anything! They're wasting their time! Fast food makes me feel like shit, soft drinks make me dizzy, candy is disgusting, chips make my stomach hurt, I don't smoke, and any band that has ever been advertised anywhere sucks unequivocally. I eat tortillas and vegetables, I drink tap water. I ride my $40 bike for entertainment. I buy a new pair of Dickies at the army navy store every year and I get all my other clothes at Costco in 3-packs. My car works fine, I use my Internet connection for long distance, I've had the same boots for three years and re-sole them when they wear out. As far as booze goes, well, as long as it's wet.......

    So why do they keep attacking me? Why are they filling every square inch of every available space in my life? Above urinals, on concert tickets, underneath the ice at hockey games, on blimps, in video games, as props in movies, plugs in rap songs, on shitty Web Sites (No, I will not visit your motherfucking sponsor. If you're not in it for the love, and you can't figure out any better way to pay for your site than by slapping some ugly, corrupted banner across the top of your pathetic work, then fucking close up shop, kill yourself, and leave the Web to non-polluters). They'd advertise on the backs of my eyelids if they could get away with it, and I can't hack it anymore. They win. I lose. They succeeded. I failed. Like Brian Wilson, I just wasn't built for these times. I fold. Here are all my cards. Keep the pot, keep my ante, keep the goddamn jacket on the back of my chair for all I care, I can get another at Costco. I'll be out in the parking lot getting drunk and yelling at cute girls because I can no longer stand the taste of tentacles. Marketing has poisoned everything worthwhile under the sun, so I'm giving it all up. Everything.

    But the way I figure it, there's no real loss. I've seen all of the episodes of the Simpsons 200 times each. Most of the good writing was done 100 years ago. I haven't listened to FM radio in years. I could play all my records beginning to end alphabetically and I'd be 76 years old when I got to the Zeni Geva. Online culture is a fucking yawn, only good for buying stuffed goats on Ebay and getting cracked copies of $1000 software. Movies always end up at the 99 cent video store across the street eventually, and you can fast forward through those commercials. My girlie's cute and the corner bar has Pabst on tap. What else matters?

    True, by shutting myself off to everything, I'm probably limiting my future potential as a 'community building' or 'bleeding edge' cog in someone's nightmarish vision of Internet profitability, but fuck, a simple read through my writing should've cured that anyway (Note to potential employers: The bidding starts at $120,000 a year with full dental).

    So I'm out. No more.

    I just feel bad for those of you I'm leaving behind. You'll be wearing your Slave Labor Nikes, sweating under a Third World Vest, listening to Everqueer or Fratboy Slim, your hair styled stupidly with gasoline and aborted pig placentas, trying to choke down a Double Meat Fuck Splattered Cow Testicles On The Slaughterhouse Floor Pus Coagulated Lactacious Secretion Yellow Dye #2 Deluxe. Man, will you be looking dumb. It makes me want to cry. You poor, oversugared demographic you. You're filling your apartments, your bodies, and your minds with useless junk. You stagger under your own weight, throwing money in random directions until you collapse and die, buried by a bunch of people who you failed to create meaningful human bonds with, who forget about you on the way home from the funeral.

    Maybe I'm just oversensitive, but I actually feel those fingers reaching out at me - cute little girl fingers, feeling at my face like a bind man, pulling at the loose threads all over my brain, trying to find a sensitive one, one that tweaks me. Desires to be successful, attractive to the opposite sex, spiritually satiated, or conversely, the fears of disease, dismemberment, of being outcast, of repressed homosexual desires. Herd mentality as dictated by herd mentality. A gas mask of soiled wool, worn in a steaming shower of chlorinated pond water. A lumbering culture created by profit motive, existing as window dressing to disguise the brutal cynicism of the architects, the brassy checks and balances of accountants bleating commands to the flunky tastemakers on the production line. The subversion of anything subverting. The conversion of something dangerous into something profitable. The gutting of the lion and the championing of the taxidermist. And the puffy vests, my god, the puffy vests........

    I give it one more shot.

    I hit that little "on" button, and immediately this little red dot appears on my forehead. I feel the barrel rising on the other side of the glass as some powersuited executive attempts to get me in his sights. His scope is the best money can buy, but my nausea and skittishness mark me as difficult prey. I make a sprawling leap over a pile of books, spilling a glass of wine and sending my cats scattering. The TV takes a shot at me. It misses, but after the smoke clears, there's a shimmering can of Pepsi on the coffee table, seductively held by a well manicured (but severed) hand. Then the Taco Bell dog is outside, scratching at my window, singing "That's Amore", the secret code that alerts Col. Sanders and Ronald McDonald to get their tumor inducing grease guns at the ready. "We have a resistor! Alert Cap'n Crunch and Mrs. Butterworth. Tell Hogan to pull that Subaru around!" And then, as the entire posse of 1-800-COLLECT goons attempt to joke their way through the front door, a helmeted uberyouth does a backflip on rollerblades against the window, almost crushing the Taco dog, thankfully getting tangled in the iron jungle of security bars designed for such a moment. The severed Pepsi hand launches itself across the room onto the stereo, turns it to HOTROCK 99.5 FM and starts dancing suggestively on the turntable. Warm, gooey songs ooze from the speakers, blurring the lines between commercial and product, product and art. The walls are running with honey, blood, and Gatorade. Limp Bizkit tries to sign me up for the Rap Metal MasterCard, but is outvolumed by a chorus of creepy NY Gap models, dead eyed and Children of the Damned style, singing nostalgic 80s songs with cool detachment, trying to sell me vests. Close inspection reveals UPC codes on the backs of their beautiful necks and a legion of bulimic girls behind them, mascara mixing with puke on ten thousand toilet bowls. Budweiser frogs are crawling out of the toilet bowls. A one-eyed, mutilated Asian girl holds a pair of new Levi's against the window with a thin, purple arm and starts screeching "It's a Small World After All" at the top of her lungs. Magic, The Old Navy dog, is sniffing butts with the Taco Bell dog, who had since bit the Asian girl on the leg and now yelling something about Gordidas. A waifish beauty suddenly appears on my bed, vying for my attention, trying to talk me into a new car, her hand slowly unbuttoning her blouse, batting her doe-ishly brown eyes, "C'mon Mark. It's only a test drive. No one ever has to know."

    Realizing my one escape, I yank my battered wallet out of my back pocket and pull out a twenty dollar bill. The entire scene freezes. All eyes are transfixed to the damp, smelly piece of paper. Andrew Jackson snickers and you can almost smell the cannibalized Indian on his breath. A miraculous cross breeze flows through my apartment, and I let the money go. It catches an upward draft, a hot air thermal, and is gone out the window.

    And then, something even stranger happens. The spokespeople, animals, models, body parts, and corporate whores all disappear in a anti-climactic 'puff' of yellow smoke, leaving a slight smell of perfumed intestine twisting through the air. My twenty freezes in mid flight about thirty feet above the ground. A helicopter drops out of the sky, and lowers a rope down to the cash. A man in a business suit slides down the rope, commando style, and captures the money in his mouth, gives a contemptuous snort, mumbling something like "sucker" under his breath. And then the helicopter is gone, vanishing somewhere behind the radio towers spiking the top of Queen Anne Hill. Everything is quiet again.

    I didn't just turn that TV off. I unplugged the motherfucker.
  • by Sc00ter (99550) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:15PM (#3091410) Homepage
    I worked for an online advertising place. They usually don't do click-thru.. they do number of impressions (or views). Click-thru pays shit. They're trying to market online ads like billboards.. you can't really measure click-thru on billboards, but it's the impression, or exposure that they're looking for.

    Sure, if they got NO clickthrus it would be odd, but sales, and stats are done mostly by impressions.

  • Trolls (Score:2, Insightful)

    by awills (315114) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:16PM (#3091425)
    Why not require a subscription for anonymous coward posts? Seems a good way to make sure the trolls are paying their fair share.
  • by nellardo (68657) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:17PM (#3091436) Homepage Journal
    In the interest of not selling us a "pig in a poke," why not let users see their own usage statistics? Before they risk their money with PayPal? Even a simple "You view X pages a month/week/day" would be helpful for people to know how much they're going to have to dish out.
  • by bokmann (323771) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:20PM (#3091474) Homepage
    In the article you say
    "As an aside, it's also worth noting that more than half of all comment posters fall into this 3% (that will have to pay more than $5 a month)"

    Lets look at what this means...

    The people that produce comments worth reading ARE your content... So, you will be charging those people that PRODUCE for you... This seems backwards to me, and if the people that normally comment are turned off, the quality of slashdot will suffer.

    I fear that you will just become "another example of how websites can't make money". Noone will ever anlize the fact that you turned away the people that actually made your website worth reading... I certainly am not going to PAY you for the privledge of posting to your website so you can make money off of it.

    Turn the concept around the way it SHOULD be. Do something like, "the top 20% highest moderated posters get free access" or something like this. This will, in effect, almost become like a payment to your authors.

    But it is probably too late for anyone to read this... There are hundreds of posts already by upset people, and this will just get lost in the noise.

    -db

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:22PM (#3091501)
    Excellent point. You're killing what gets you legitimate advertisers, leaving you the spam equivalent as your advertising base. People new to /. will see a rag top-heavy with invasive advertizing for crap. Less people will join. Even fewer of worth.

    Guys.. I understand the rock you're on but you're starting down a path that guarantees you will lose.

    This stick method just isn't going to work. ['Pay us and we we'll stop hitting you.']

    You're also going to lose submissions. Better at least think of a karma whoring system where your trap line gets a free ride.
  • by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79@@@gmail...com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:22PM (#3091502) Homepage
    Think about it, all but the most seriously compulsive trolls won't pony up and pay for a subscription.

    I support a subscription-based site if only to achieve a better concentration of quality posts and fewer trolls.

    I await the abuse from the trolling community.

  • by prototype (242023) <bsimser@shaw.ca> on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:26PM (#3091557) Homepage
    This is typical of having a large site, offering it for free, yada, yada, yada. Always happens and we've been seeing it happen for a few months now. Seeing it happen on Slashdot is just something that was going to happen as it will everywhere.

    However there are two problems to the subscription gig. First there's a huge issue with page views vs page count vs whatever. I can configure my threshold and viewing preferences so that any story I want to read, and complete comments, shows in one pass saving me a page hit but we all know that by the time you get to the bottom of the page and reload it, they'll be 10-100 new comments added and this can go on for several hours (depending on how popular the subject is). Also pages like this one where I'm entering my comment and will preview it and then it gets added, do all those count? I think you guys clearly need to define what is and what isn't counted.

    However I don't believe that charging by the page is reasonable for a site like this. You get 300,000+ users so asking for even 10% of them to pay means a return of about $600,000 a year. You've been spinning along for quite some time now without having anyone foot the bill so why is now any different? The gravy train has run out. OSDN execs are saying "We want to make some ROI on this Slashdot thing". And 600K a year can't pay for the hardware? I'm no expert and I don't have the numbers for this site, but I seriously doubt 600K a year wouldn't cover the hardware, bandwidth and staff costs.

    liB
  • by flez (463418) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:45PM (#3091769) Homepage
    So you'll "donate" your time to code around the ads, but you can't pay $5 to get rid of them completely?

    Your time must not be worth much.
  • by Mr Jekler (520288) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:46PM (#3091781)
    Honestly, ads, no ads, subscription. It's all the same to me. I read slashdot because it's convenient, as soon as it stops being convenient, I'll move on. That's the way the internet works. I'm sure everyone remembers won.net, ten.net, heat.net for gaming sites. They were convenient at the time they were conceived. Enter, play games. Then they start making things complex, you need to download our ad-driven client first, you need to find the link to the program in the sea of ad banners, you need to subscribe to our newsletter to be a member and get spam along with our newsletter...

    And then they die. It's simple really, people follow the path of least resistance. Slashdot, for the most part, doesn't create the articles, they just collect links to them. The announcement makes it sound like you have two options "Pony up the dough or be hassled with full-page ads", there's a third hidden option not mentioned "Go elsewhere." Everyone will default to option three.

    The ad-driven internet isn't a viable model for information delivery anyway. The paltry 40 years that commercials have run TV makes it seem like selling your time and space is the best option. That's simply not true, it's channels like HBO that grew vastly beyond the other stations. It's because their model is pay-only, but you're not paying for a compilation of what's already available on every other station. You're paying for exclusive content, HBO Original Series and Movies that are box-office quality (The Jack Bull anyone? The Sopranos?) and unavailable to you if you don't fork out the cash.

    If I'm going to pay for it as if it were a magazine, I would expect the same quality of articles, reviews, and applications that I'd find in National Geographic, rather than trickled-down, patchwork, mentions of articles I could find if I subscribed to another magazine.

    Harsh? Maybe, but when you put a price tag on crap, you don't get gold, it just gets renamed as "fertilizer".
  • by FooKuff (562303) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:46PM (#3091783) Homepage Journal
    It is not limited in theory maybe, but in practice Slashdot traffic is going to be fairly predictable (except on days like 2001-09-11). Everyday Slashdot gets x number of page views. Because the traffic levels and overall growth/decline patterns are likely to be stable, forecasting future page view levels should not be overly difficult.

    That is, until you throw monkey-wrenches into the pattern that fook it all up, like suddenly charging for a previously free service. That's where some market research would be handy. In this case: Slashdot asks 1000 random users to fill out a survey and among the questions are some related to subscriptions and pricing. Then based on those users' habits (obtained from the logs) and their answers, assumptions can be drawn about the level of subscription that would be obtained at various price points. Presumably the price points which allow for the greatest maximization of profit would be chosen for the first roll-out.

    And in a way, rolling out pricing the way they are achieves some of this. They will quickly get data on how much people are willing to pay and in what amounts.
  • by MrEfficient (82395) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:48PM (#3091803)
    What would be so bad about slashdot ending? Sure I like slashdot, but if it weren't here it wouldn't be a big deal. In fact, it might be a good thing. There are lots of other sites around to take up the slack. Slashdot is really too big as it is anyway. There's far too much overhead (hardware, people, etc.) for a community site and the size of the community is too big, individual comments get lost in the deluge.

    I really think that there is a maximum number of users for a website like this to be practical and slashdot exceeded that a long time ago.

  • by jargon (75774) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:49PM (#3091816) Homepage
    It is unfortunate you chose to post this as AC. I would have liked to have an email dialogue. For the record, I don't think this is a troll, flamebait or offtopic.

    One of the powerful things about culture is that it influences itself. I'm tempted to use the word "metaculture" to describe some of the "net" culture because of the way it is so self referential and self propagating, except that all culture is that way. It is turtles all the way down.

    Where net culture differs is its unusually loose ties with Life and the Real World. This only makes sense, given the nature of the internet, computers. People who thrive in an information society tend to be people living in their heads. Information is very real to us.

    I'm a programmer, among other things, and to me, information is very real. I build worlds and tools out of information. A hammer out of sand. It seems real to me - people use it, it can effect themselves and others.

    I feel the same way as this poster about the advertising saturation in our culture. Making information so real makes us vulnerable to it - and the ad companies are paid money to find our vulnerabilities and exploit them.

    The only thing naive about this post is that it is in response to slashdot's commercializating.
    It would seem that /. is trying to provide a reasonable option out of being inundated with ads.
    You can debate the usefullness of /. - I look at it as two things. It is a distillery of computer news and topics, and it is a community for discussing said news and topics. I think this is the intent of its creators and maintainers. Fiscal reality is that for the service to exist, salaries need be paid, overhead must be payed, and some profit must be made. That's okay. That is what services are for, and frankly, $5 a year isn't a big deal for that.

    Paypal on the other hand...well...maybe I can send a check.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:50PM (#3091831)
    Do you mean the stupid advertisers didn't realize that ad size is not the problem?

    Case in point: right now most news sites have them, but none is making more money because of them. And I visit some of them less and less because those flashy ads give me headaches.

    I'm waiting for the first seizure victim lawsuit related to a blinking ad on a web page. Which, ironically, will be a news piece on web sites with other blinking ads in them. The first self-replicating lawsuit! :-)

    About the subscription model, I'd like to say I'm all for it. However, I don't know what 1000 pages would mean. Before you implement subscriptions, please put a cookie and a note on the page showing me some sort of page meter so I can have an idea of how many pages I see per day.
  • by kendor (525262) <kennethfine@hotmail.com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:51PM (#3091841)

    So another high-profile "community-based" site implements a subscription system. The Motley Fool [fool.com] also moved to a subscription model recently. There's is an interesting twist: the editorial content continues to be free, but if you want access to the boards, you have to pay the money.

    I didn't pay the money, even though I frequented the Motley Fool for almost three years, (and speculated endlessly about who the brilliant and mysterious HowardRoark might be on the AMZN board.)

    The problem I have with the Fool's approach, and Slashdot's apparent decision is that it violates an implied ethic between the business and the community. TMF touted its "free" boards for years. Slashdot reminds you that all comments belong the the poster. Both sites encouraged people to give freely of their time and mental energy, and both appear ready to hold access to "the community" hostage in exchange for money.

    It's only a matter of time until Slashdot blocks all access to non-subscribers. Is the issue really "survival", in the sense of paying for bandwidth and salaries? If that were the case, Slashdot could put up an itemized target number, and the community could match it. But that isn't the case. The "survival" argument is a facade. Slashdot is a business, Andover/VA is a business, and all of these entities seek to monetize the community.

  • Sooo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tomblackwell (6196) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:52PM (#3091847) Homepage
    You can take as many newspapers as you like?

    The "flat rate" refers to the concept of paying a certain amount for something that you can take without limits. Note: Phone companies would looooove to switch away from flat rate. They started making noise about this when people got modems and started using their resources for much, much longer than they used to...

    "Metered" means something that has a fixed per-unit cost. Cable tv doesn't count because they aren't giving away things that have a certain cost, they are giving away access to content whose cost has is (relatively speaking) limited. Look at it this way. The cable company doesn't care if you watch TV 24 hours a day, because it doesn't cost them more if you do. They are selling something that doesn't cost them more if you use more. So it's not metered. If you ride in a taxi, it costs them more (gas, etc) to go further, so there's a meter in the cab. Your ride is metered.
  • by MisterBlister (539957) on Friday March 01, 2002 @01:55PM (#3091894) Homepage
    An important thing to consider is that most of these experiments with ad-blocking "subscription" services soon evolve into situations where only subscribers can see the 'good' content. Witness Salon.com for an example.

    At any rate, I won't be paying for Slashdot because it seems silly for me to pay for a site that is just link aggregation and user comments. I know Slashdot has high bandwidth costs they need to offset but I don't really feel compelled to help them.

    Anyway lets place bets...I'm betting Slashdot will up the annoyance factor for non-subscribers through the roof within 6 months.. A vast vast minority of the people who surf here will pay with the current system. It is well documented how often (or not) Linux users (Slashdot's bread & butter) are willing to pay for anything other than physical goods.

    And lastly, this sure makes a lot of the old Slashdot stories about the joys of adblocking technology seem silly in retrospect!

  • by Squirrel Killer (23450) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:07PM (#3092040) Homepage
    Your statistical inference is invalid.

    How so? Just saying it's invalid doesn't make it so.

    Television, radio, newspapers, and magazines are all costly to produce, and so is bandwidth, programming, and servers. But how is it that Friends, Don Imus, USA Today, and Vogue make money? Advertising is sold professionally, that how. Ads in other media are more intrusive and capture the eyes and ears more effectively. They also have real advertising sales people, not a bunch of web developers looking for just any return on their site.

    What should content sites do? Do what other media does to make money, it's a proven model. And this applies to all content sites, not just /.

    • Larger ads in conjunction with content, full screen won't work. The media real estate devoted to advertising on /. is miniscule, it's barely a blip. It's like a 1 second TV ad. I'm not saying /. should go all Vogue, with nothing but ads, but they can (and apparently are about to) increase the amount of space devoted to ads.
    • No ads that annoy the user. That means, no pop-ups, no pop-unders, no browser-crashing Java crap, no full screen ads, and stop the friggin' blinking "you've won" and "click this drop down menu" ads. NBC doesn't take ads that mislead the viewer, why should a web site? Have some advertising standards.
    • Get real sales reps in. Sales reps with experience really selling ad inventory, not technology. They should know how to sell their product, their reader's time and attention. Web sites have the most highly targetable audience, but that information is wasted because current internet sales reps are more concerned about the "hows" and not the "whos" and "whys".
    I am convinced, and phantom, you haven't proven otherwise, that proper advertising sales on the internet can be successful.

    -sk

  • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:08PM (#3092047) Homepage
    Maybe he enjoys the banter on the topics at hand. That's what Slashdot has to offer: as a clipping service, it is unreliable, often late, incomplete, and usually without a lot of depth. As a place to chat about news stories with a geek slant, and often get more background in the process, it's fun.

    And things being fun are not correlated with how much one is willing to pay for them. I enjoy playing frisbee in the park. A lot. I go often to the park to play frisbee - I could do it for hours. But the fact that I do it for hours doesn't translate into my willingness to pay, say, a dollar an hour for the "right" to play frisbee, or a willingness to "pay" for my frisbee rights by playing in a field lined with billboards if I can help it.

    I frankly think I have every right to block ads if they become to invasive (I don't block Slashdot banner ads, because 1. they often are for products that are at least interesting and 2. they aren't invasive), just as I have a right to browse with a text-browser, a browser that kills pop-ups or doesn't enable them, or to use a braille- or voice- browser if I'm blind. Slashdot's - or anyone's - business model is *not my responsibility.*

    Incidentally, I *did* pay for a premier service at Salon because I wanted the added content, not to get rid of the ads. I am very much *not* interested in a rate-based fee based on how many pages I load - this way lies madness.

  • by Dr. Awktagon (233360) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:11PM (#3092090) Homepage

    That's crap. There is absolutely NO REASON, moral or otherwise, why you should force yourself to look at ads. The value of advertising is based on the statistics of how many people see them. We absolutely should NOT tailor our behavior to please their statistics. That's their problem.

    I get up from television ads or mute them all the time. I block most ads on the internet through a proxy. Even when I don't, I have learned to mentally ignore them, hasn't everyone at this point? I see the ad, but not what it's for. This isn't television or a magazine, and it's much easier to scroll the add off the screen or focus only on one part of the screen.

    Choosing to point your eyeballs toward the ad doesn't actually generate any revenue for anyone, and pointing your eyeballs elsewhere doesn't take anything from anyone. It's a little game the corps have invented that works well for TV and print, but is unproven for the internet. In fact for some people, I bet all advertising is ineffective.

    Maintain your preferred behavior and let THEM figure out how to profit from it.

    I much prefer to pay for access to sites, than to see ads, anyway, and I'm glad /. is doing this, it makes a hell of a lot of sense.

    This is just a pet peeve, people always popping up in these discussions claiming that by not looking at ads, you are somehow depriving someone of something, and it drives me nuts!

  • by rnd() (118781) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:11PM (#3092092) Homepage
    Why not just scale /. back down to a reasonable level of complexity, so that less of the following is required to keep it operational:

    sysadmin skill

    server power

    storage space

    code upkeep cost

    bandwidth cost


    I remember back when /. was a simple site hosted on a simple box. Why not go back to SlashLite?

  • by cheinonen (318646) <cheinonen@NOspam.hotmail.com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:12PM (#3092102)
    Well, we all know the answer to that one now, don't we? It seems everyone seems to be forgetting that Slashdot has ads right now. They're just going to get a little bigger, but content and the free nature of Slashdot isn't changing. However, if you REALLY hate ads, you can pay $5 and get rid of 1,000 of them. Everyone that keeps suggesting $5 for a year seems to forget that they would probably be losing money on that (I'm guessing $5 is the going rate for 1,000 ads on Slashdot, so you guys break even on the deal), which doesn't help anyone out.

    I'm not going to pay the money for removing the ads, since after growing up reading newspapers, magazines, watching TV, and seeing billboards everywhere, I'm used to them, and don't pay attention to them anymore. If they start to run popup or pop-under ads, however, then I stop visiting. Don't complain about them giving you the option (not forcing it like Salon) to pay to get rid of ads, though, it's a nice option to have.

    Can someone answer me a simple question, though: If ads are blackholed thru my OpenBSD NAT, do those still count as hits for Slashdot? I'm pretty sure they do, but I've never gotten a real answer from someone.
  • by spike_gran (219938) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:13PM (#3092103)
    To maximize benefit for the advertisers, this is what I would suggest.

    1) Ask users to supply basic demographic information, like age, sex, and general job description. Users could lie, of course, but, it would help establish an overall profile.

    2) Require that users log in to view the site (like the NY times site does). This would chop bandwidth by a fair margin, get rid of annoying Anonymous comments, and allow better statistics to be gathered so that advertisers know who their target market is.

    3) Precede the current front page (which is the list of articles) with a big ad page which must be clicked through before the list of articles is reached.

    4) Reward good content providers (posters and submitters) somehow. They are your "authors" after all. Enter them into drawings for swag, or give them ad-free page views, or something.

    In the end, its all about survival. Slashdot must change or die. There is no use whining about why it can't stay the same. If it is to survive, it must be beholden to its advertisers by providing them a good platform to sell their products.
  • by Rupert (28001) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:15PM (#3092120) Homepage Journal
    Of course they should reap the fruits of their labours. I just have misgivings about them reaping the fruits of my labours too.
  • by Triv (181010) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:15PM (#3092128) Journal
    Till I see how annoying these new ads are. As it is, I'll probably fork over the cash, but if I don't notice the change...

    Ok, I'll STILL fork over the cash. When I get paid in two weeks. :)

    Triv
  • Flat Rate? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by KarmaBitch (562896) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:18PM (#3092147)
    I'm not sure about this -- not that I refuse to pay, since I understand the web won't survive on a free-for-all basis forever. What I don't like is the fact that you pay for a number of pageviews, not for a period of time or some other flat rate.

    Flat rate pricing has two advantages: simplicity, and comfort. It's simple to say 'Okay, no ads for a year for $x.' No need to count the pages you visit, or wonder if reloads count, or if changing the threshold settings to go from 500 posts to 15 is going to count as an add-free counter item.

    Comfort, because I hate nervously watching a meter deplete and trying to optimize my web viewing habits in order to make sure I don't run out. When you say 82% of folks are covered... don't forget that this site caters to the hardcore sorts that participate the most and are likely to fall into the 18% that have to worry. I've never counted my page views, so I can't even tell if I fit that 18%.

    And all things considered, I'd rather browse with javascript off and image loading off than worry about depleting my ad-free views. It's less hassle. Which means less profit for you, but that's free market in action... maybe when you add those value-added feature you're thinking about we'll be getting somewhere.

  • by RalphSlate (128202) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:18PM (#3092148) Homepage
    I can see the point in your rant, but you offer no solutions.

    Let's dissect your complaints. You don't like advertising. You want websites, but you only want people who are in it "for the love of it". You don't think that advertising should pay for those websites, but you offer no other method for support because it's not your problem.

    You also seem to despise commercialism, but it's something more than that... I bet you're the type who loves the new indie release that you hear on a college radio station, but when the same album is picked up by the big stations you curse the band as "selling out" even though they're the exact same band as 2 weeks ago.

    Try looking at things from the other side for once. Websites consume both time and money of the people that run them. Are you saying that you don't care about that, and those sites should be provided to you because... , well, why should they again?

    I just can't stand the people who want all the rewards but don't want to pay the price, and when asked what the new model should be, say "anything but this one". I'd use a model different from advertising if one existed that enabled the information to be as available to all, but no other models have stepped forward.

    Ralph
  • Jumped The Shark (Score:3, Insightful)

    by UberOogie (464002) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:20PM (#3092175)
    Slashdot.org officially jumped the shark [jumptheshark.com] with the Valentine's Day marriage proposal.

  • by opus (543) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:21PM (#3092180)
    For example, in the US, the rich pay more taxes than the poor. It doesn't matter that rich people use the roads as much as the poor people because the increased taxes the rich pay help pay the less-than-std taxes the poor pay. (I for one think that we should have flat taxes in the US).

    On the other hand, it's arguable that the rich get a lot more value out of the primary service government provides: protection of private property through law enforcement, the courts, and the military.

    If you're rich, you have a lot more to lose from a general increase in lawlessness, and you'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.

    I'm not making this argument seriously, but I think it has just as much merit as your "the poor use the roads as much as the rich". The point is, when you try to allocate costs based on "fairness", you don't have good standards to go by, once the size of the group gets much bigger than a group of friends ordering pizza.

    As far as the roads go, I kinda like the idea mentioned in a recent slashdot story of making all roads toll roads, using GPS. (Weight of the vehicle should be factored in as well.)

  • Google's model? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DThorne (21879) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:21PM (#3092182)
    Well folks, it's only a few bucks. In the end, I'll probably just leave things as they are, and if the big ads drive me nuts I'll make a decision then whether to cough up, or make another site my homepage. That's life in the big city.

    However, what about Google? Assuming I'll always be online, they're something I cannot live without, yet the ads are absurdly small and never interfere with it's usage. It's free. Is it because so many more people use Google than Slashdot that the advertisers don't give them as much flack? Perhaps the answer is to broaden the demographic - perhaps Brittany vs Linus online voting? :)

    DT
  • Garbage Bin? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KarmaBitch (562896) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:23PM (#3092222)
    Access to the rejected submissions bin? Yes, please -- with the opportunity to moderate or rank them, so the most interesting rejected submissions float to the top. If a story gets a very positive ranking, maybe the editorial staff can give it a second thought. And if it goes the way of the troll, nobody is the worse for it
  • Re:Karma (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dillon_rinker (17944) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:23PM (#3092223) Homepage
    Let's flip this on its head...paying customers should have no karma cap.
  • by Anml4ixoye (264762) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:26PM (#3092248) Homepage
    I don't think anywhere in there they said that they are going to make this complex. On the contrary, I think they are trying to make it as easy as possible. Think this is a great community worth supporting? Subscribe. Think this is a great community, but don't want to pay? Don't subscribe. Hate all this MF crap? Leave. We'll be better off without you.


    Rob and the Slashdot crew are smart. They support people running all *SORTS* of platforms, and to develop some ad-driven client, or propose that they are going to force us to accept spam just to watch this is absurd. Granted, I could be wrong about that, but I don't think so. Too many economics at work.


    I'm sure they are prepared for a downdrop in stats, but I don't think it will be that drastic. Why? Because people who don't run high-traffic sites have NO IDEA the costs involved. And those are the ones on here complaining about $5-$20 a year to help keep this community up and running. But as soon as it switches over, I bet they are still going to come back. Oh sure, some are going to say they are going to leave, and some even may. But I'm not abandoning this community, so don't call me stupid for that.


    Off I go to help [slashdot.org]

  • Re:Sooo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jht (5006) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:27PM (#3092262) Homepage Journal
    You can't take as many newspapers as you like, but there's no specific limit to how big the newspaper gets. Though there are costs, the big cost is producing the paper (which, of course, is mainly underwritten by the advertisers) itself - page count is a minor factor in determining cost (if it weren't, the price of your newspaper would fluctuate daily).

    Cable TV is a pretty good example, though - you pay a tiered rate depending on how much information (number of channels) you wish to consume. Besides that, there are "bonus" features or extras, and that's analogous to pay-per-view programming.

    Bandwidth, though, is best suited to flat-rate cost for two reasons - firstly, you do not entirely control how much data is pumped through the pipe, and secondly the system (meaning the Internet) is designed without an infrastructure to handle metered pricing (some individual services/servers can, but not the whole backbone per se). If I provide a pipe of a certain width to a customer, it doesn't inherently cost me any more for the customer to saturate the pipe versus if they just used it occasionally at peak speeds. I just need to make sure my infrastructure is designed in such a way that I can service the customers well enough to retain them and recover my costs if they actually dare to use the resource (bandwidth) they purchase from me.

    Slashdot isn't in that kind of position since they are a server/service (they aren't infrastructure, despite what some of us may believe!), and they are in a position to be metered by their ISP as a result.

    With taxicabs, the biggest thing you pay for is time, not gas (that's less of a cost). When the taxi drives you 5 miles, during that time they can't go drive anyone else - you are the only income. Though some places do have flat-rate cabs (rides to certain locations are fixed cost).

    In a way, a good thing would be comparing the economics of a cab to a bus. The cab takes one person directly where they want to go, at a metered variable price. A city bus also takes you where you want to go, but you share the bus with other people and make stops to pick up and drop off those people on the way - at a fixed price.

    Slashdot's economics are more like a cab's, while we surfers are mainly bus riders. If you want to ride in the cab, you have to pay one way or another for how much you use the cab.

  • by DG (989) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:28PM (#3092269) Homepage Journal
    Well, gee, thanks Slashdot.

    The single thing that has kept Slashdot interesting (especially in the face of its constant editorial decline over the past couple of years) has been the quality of the user comments.

    Hello! That's me. When I moderate, I follow the rules. When I meta-mod, I also follow the rules. And most importantly, whenever I comment, I do so on-topic and in as interesting and insightful a manner as I can manage - and if my would-be comment is neither, then I keep my peace.

    In short, I'm what a proper Slashdot "citizen" should be. I'm one of the many (but it seems, increasingly few) people who keep this site from falling into the swamp of the trolls, crapflooders, and other kiddies.

    By rights, Rob should be *paying* me. I'm practically a Slashdot employee, and I (and people like me) are what brings Slashdot its value. No good citizens, no Slashdot.

    So how am I rewarded for my good behaviour? Extortion. Pay money or get exposed to more and bigger ads so I can continue to have the privilage of contributing content to someone else's site.

    Yes, I can certainly sympathise with Slashdot's bandwidth costs, but that is not my problem to solve. I'm already providing content; I'm supposed to pay for the bandwidth too?

    This smacks heavily of something Jack Valenti would come up with. How Slashdot has changed!

    So no Rob, I'm not paying your subscription fee. And furthermore, I'm going to assume that every advertiser who uses the new "large format" ads is one of the entities who held a gun to your head to force you to accept these new large ads. Not only will I NOT make use of their products/services, and not only will I advise my friends to do the same, but I will be writing these advertisers to TELL them that I am boycotting their products SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE they are forcing their way into my Slashdot experience - and I urge other people who feel similarily to do the same.

    If Slashdot was having trouble with the bandwidth bills, there's about a thousand different ways this could have been addressed without pissing off the core people who make the site work Rob. Hell, you could have done an "Ask Slashdot" on it even.

    I suppose it's too late now.

    DG
  • by lblack (124294) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:35PM (#3092353)
    You've just equalled "Those who profess to hate us the most" with "those who provide us with free content". Pause a moment, and wonder if those 3% are "those who actually care". Then, wonder if maybe their ranting against you would, in a kinder environment, have taken the form of suggestions for improvement. You can only suggest something so many times and be ignored / discarded before you start getting all jiggy with it.

    You're running a site where 3% of your users provide content to the other 97%. You've just said that you doubt the 3% will ever pay. Do you think they're going to not pay, and continue to provide you with free content? Particularly taking into account the "venom posted in this discussion"?

    Taco, you're running a magazine of sorts. 75% of your writers and researchers are screaming their heads off at you, and your response is that you doubt they'll pay you at all. You should probably be wondering who, exactly, is going to pay you at all if those 3% leave.

    It's strange that of the 3% who make this site worth visitng, probably 20% of them are no longer allowed to moderate, and 75% of them are yelling at you right now, and you're so blase about the entire affair. Aren't you just a little bit worried? Particularly if your ads are large enough to screw page formatting and make everything ugly when filtered by proxomitron or junkbuster, those 3% might not be around for much longer.

    I respect what you've done with this place (aside from $rtbl'ing me and a couple thousand others), and I know this decision is driven by your advertisers, and your corporate parent, but I can't believe that what I'm saying here passed under your radar. I assume these concerns were raised, addressed, and resolved -- so tell me, what was the resolution?

    I'm worried Slashdot is going to die. Assure me that this is not the case, that these new measures are not going to cause all of your unpaid content providers to scatter [kuro5hin.org] on the [metafilter.com] wind [plastic.com].

    -l

  • Great (Score:2, Insightful)

    by IRNI (5906) <irni.irni@net> on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:36PM (#3092358) Homepage
    You fire my friend cxreg then you start charging for the site. Did you guys hold a "How can we suck total shit" meeting this week? Fuck yeh.
  • that's bullshit (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:42PM (#3092439)
    Advertising counts against companies when I make purchasing

    You have no idea how much advertising influences your life. It is in so many different forms, we don't even pick up on it a good part of the time. A more correct statement would be:

    Intrusive Advertising counts against companies when I make purchasing
  • by petgiraffe (539721) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:43PM (#3092445)
    I've never understood why ad-supported content providers (particularly radio stations, and now, perhaps, Slashdot) always follow this model:

    1) Start out providing good content and very few ads thus becoming popular.

    2) Once popular, start playing - or inserting - many more ads, to the point of extreme annoyance.

    3) Drive listeners - or readers - away and fade into oblivion.

    Why can't these guys just charge MORE for the small number of ads? Why not auction them off to the highest bidder?
  • by danielrose (460523) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:45PM (#3092475) Homepage Journal
    You can't find anything good in Slashdot (instead, you provide a rather comprehensive catalog of its faults), but hey, it's free, so you'll condescend to stick around.
    Wrong. He can find things of enough value to stick around so long as the ads are not too intrusive. He cannot find good enough content to justify looking at large, crappy ads, or paying $5 per month.

    Have a nice day.
  • Except, Slashdot is not becoming a pay site. You're just paying to have ads removed. Only if your comments ended up in a 'subscriber-only' section would your statement be true. Also, by merely posting on Slashdot, you have granted them a limited-use license to store and display your comments as they see fit. (They had a story about it awhile back, when they were wanting to use comments in a book that I don't think every actually came out.)

    Just like usenet. If you ever post on a newsgroup, guess what, someone's making money off your post. There are companies that charge for usenet access, so you'd have to send a letter to each and every one of them, as well.
  • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:48PM (#3092501) Homepage
    Yes, it's funny how the TANSTAAFL crowd ignores advertising costs. Advertising is the hemoragging wound of capitalism: the only way to compete with advertising is to advertise in response. The net result is higher prices without value, a completely useless sector of the economy, and a lot of cultural pollution.
  • by Smack (977) on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:52PM (#3092556) Homepage
    All those examples you list are paid after-the-fact, at the actual usage. You don't have to plan ahead and worry about hitting your limit, because there is no limit.

    A better analogy would be cell-phone bills. And people certainly do worry about hitting their limit there.
  • by gmhowell (26755) <gmhowell@gmail.com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:54PM (#3092576) Homepage Journal
    No, the 'people' who run this are corporate drones of VA. Just because Larry and Rob at one time pretended to support open source, Open Source, free and Free software, doesn't mean that they aren't greedy, evil, and stupid. (Of course, accepting ads doesn't mean they ARE greedy, evil, and stupid).

    My biggest problem with this is that everyone sucks Rob's dick about what he has done and how much he has given. First, Rob already got paid for the work he did when he sold out. Second, he does not seem to have done as much since then. Certainly his editing skills have not improved. And there are more duplicate stories lately than I ever remember.

    But most important is that the people who *truly* make /. what it is have been ignored and sidelined, yet again. Those people are the readers. Even if JK, CT, michael, and everyone else posted and wrote each and every single front page article, that in no way compares to the number of comments written by people like you and I. WE are the content providers on /., and we get nothing for that. I'm not asking for money. Or ad-free viewings. I'm not even asking for myself.

    I'm asking for Rob and the gang to once, just once, say "you readers are a great bunch of people. You've made /. what it is today. Without it, we'd be no better than any of the portal sites."

    But we won't get it. Because they still think and act as if they are the ones who made /. what it is.
  • by Ewan (5533) <ewanNO@SPAMlongwords.org> on Friday March 01, 2002 @02:59PM (#3092629) Homepage Journal
    So the people who made the site worth reading (the people who comment lots), are now going to be charged more than the people who don't give anything of value to the site?



    If half of that 1.5% who will have to pay over $60 a year to access /. without reading huge ads stop posting to the site as much, then the amount of content (and thus the sites value to the more passive readers) will fall dramatically. As the number of passive readers falls, the money /. will receive from the adverts will fall, and the charges will have to go up to make up the shortfall, making the "expensive" users use the site less, making the site less popular with the passive readers, reducing the income from the adverts...



    Sorry but I just don't see how charging people who are content producers as well as the heavy content consumers is going to help the site? Perhaps people should now be paid for each submission posted to the site, after all a good story will increase the views, and thus the revenues incoming to ./

  • by TechnoLust (528463) <kai.technolust@gm a i l . com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @03:00PM (#3092632) Homepage Journal
    This is really ironic timing considering the journal I wrote yesterday called Roll your own ad remover [slashdot.org]. Everyone take a look. I don't agree with ANY subscription based site, simply because I can't afford to pay for all the sites I frequent. I already pay $45/month for high speed internet access. That really is all I can afford to spend on something that is as much entertainment as tool. I don't blame them for doing it, and I'm glad these guys can make a living doing what they enjoy, but it seems to me that /. is doing well. This is (and I'm just speculating) corporate greed, brought about by VA Whatever's desire to increase the bottom line. I doubt Taco had much of a choice. He probably had to fight to get the subscription set up in this way. I know how corporations work, and I've been the brunt of these type desicions before. I just hope /. doesn't suffer because of a management dscision. Then again, I could be wrong, it has happened on occasion. ;-)
  • by 1155 (538047) on Friday March 01, 2002 @03:04PM (#3092685) Homepage
    Bandwidth is actually more expensive than you think. A full t1 loop can cost up to 900 dollars. With the bandwidth that slashdot pulls, I would expect that you would realize that they probably have a ds3 or the like. Those are not cheap. So hence, your bandwidth=pennies theory is disproven, and my karma will go down most likely, just because I wanted to point out the obvious.

    For many years we have surfed the internet with ads. The fact that the obviously annoying one at the top is there proves that it can be eventually annoyed. Another website, www.opendiary.com went to a paid format such as slashdot is proposing, and it turned out that they had 16000 people subscribe the first week. Of course, the people who subscribed recieved no ads. It is everyones own opinion, but I would rather be bombarded with advertisements the size of Cowboy Neals resume than have to pay for something that was free at one point. Others do not, and are annoyed constantly by them. So this allows for another solution for those people. So why would anyone have a complaint after this is all resolved, except for cheapskates like myself who will not be paying, but get these larger banners.. (maybe the ones that move, I love em :)
  • by Keith Mickunas (460655) on Friday March 01, 2002 @03:09PM (#3092729) Homepage
    If Kuro5hin tries to sustain what /. does, they'll probably end up with bigger adds or subscriptions.

    Bandwidth and server space isn't free, nor is it even cheap. Lots of people come here daily, and many actually like it, unlike a bunch of whiners that complain about every little change, or lack there of, just because it isn't the way they'd do it.

    Is this place perfect? No. But the only place that will be perfect to a person is one that is run by them. I don't have the time or resources to do something similar, and this one does pretty damn good in providing me with what I want.

    Rob and Jeff have put a lot into this site, and they are justified in trying to make some money off it. If you don't like it, go elsewhere.
  • Before I subscribe (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionaryNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @03:29PM (#3092906) Journal
    How much do Taco, Katz, Hemos, et. al. make per year? How much is their stock worth?

    And what, pray tell, do they actually do to deserve this money?

    The content on this site is provided by the READERS and the editors don't know an adverb from a participle. Any news story on this site can be had for FREE elsewhere, EARLIER! The software is open source, undoubtedly most of the people who wrote it never got payed for their efforts.

    I like the comments. Many are informative. If there were some way to pay the people who actually provide me with information, I would.

    If I were actually buying into a cooperative community, where I had a vote on things, could elect a board of directors, editors, etc. then I would not hesitate. Why should I pay some nerd to do a job they aren't even doing well.

    Let me reiterate, it is the community here at slashdot that I appreciate. The editors have been getting more and more on my nerves for years.

    I know that it takes money to provide bandwidth. If I had a say in things here, I would pay to be part of this community. But for the same amount of money, I can get a subscription to a print magazine with articles actually written by staff writers as well as pretty pictures and diagrams. Part of slashdot's appeal has always been it's amatuerishness. I think certain geeks heads have gotten too swelled to realize that this isn't a professional operation, it's not a real magazine, it's not even a real web-magazine. It's a discussion forum with links to other news sources. As such, it's not worth paying money for.

    If this money went to paying for a professional editor, if some of it went to pay the people who submit stories and comments, if some of it went to pay back people who donated hardware in slashdot's infancy, then I might reconsider. Until then, this is my last post. I won't moderate, I won't metamoderate. I will read slashdot with graphics turned off (not like I'd miss an actual picture or diagram, anyway.) Goodbye, chumps. Sad to be leaving, it's been fun.

    But not $5 a month worth.
  • by Unknown Bovine Group (462144) on Friday March 01, 2002 @03:35PM (#3092950) Homepage
    (Note to potential employers: The bidding starts at $120,000 a year with full dental).

    So, Mr. Nuveau Bohemian, if all you need is your $40 bike and your 3 pack Costco clothing, why do you need to be pulling in 6 figures?

    Do you NOT see the utter and complete irony that you expect a CORPORATION to generate $120,000+ a year to give to you when when you eschew seemingly any capitalistic activity?

    Unless you're running the bagging machine for those Costco 3 packs, you're a hypocrite.
  • by *weasel (174362) on Friday March 01, 2002 @03:53PM (#3093141)
    /. without ads doesn't help me.

    /. is a collection of links to stories on -other- websites who -will- have ads.

    i don't read /. for it's own content. i visit it because it's a convenient dumping ground for links to many things i find interesting.

    the forums? hah! those are mind-numbing.

    if the ads were intrusive (the page-top banner is thoroughly tuned out on just about every site) then i'd just stop visiting.

    try a different model.
    subscription didn't work for PCXL and it -had- redeeming self-generated content.
  • by John Murdoch (102085) on Friday March 01, 2002 @04:00PM (#3093226) Homepage Journal
    The rates are currently set at $5 per 1000 pages. To put this into perspective, $20 (typical magazine subscription) will be enough pages for 82% of our readers to view Slashdot without ads for a year. Another 15% will need to spend $5 a month to accomplish the same thing. 3% of our readers would need to spend more than $5 a month- but they could choose to see ads on comments and in almost every case, still pay around $5 a month. (As an aside, it's also worth noting that more than half of all comment posters fall into this 3%) {Emphasis mine]

    Other people have faced this problem
    Before the advent of the World Wide Web, everybody who was anybody in the computer world was on CompuServe. And each CompuServe forum competed for members (and the connection time revenue that the member paid) based on the help, support, community, files, or messaging that it provided. It was--explicitly--pay-for-content. It was precisely the business model that you guys want to adopt.

    Savvy forum operators knew the statistics: only 5% of forum members ever posted a comment. And roughly 1% of forum members posted 90% of the comments. The more commments (particularly the more substantive comments), the more forum members there were--95% of whom were "read-only" lurkers. Thus, it paid to encourage people to post comments.

    This policy discourages people from posting comments
    Think of what you have to do to post a comment:

    • Link to the "Post Comment" page (1 hit)
    • Click on the Preview button to check formatting (1 hit)
    • Submit the page (1 hit)

    Are you done? Nope. You'd better hope your comment doesn't get mod'd up--because you'll get "messages" telling you that. Link to that page? (1 hit). You'd better hope you haven't contributed something provocative that produces replies--because you'll have to read each reply (1 hit apiece), and possibly post a response (3 hits per response, see above).

    In short, contributing to SlashDot, writing interesting comments, getting mod'd up, and responding to replies now will cost you money. That is, all the things that you (SlashDot) want people to do (desperately need people to do) you are going to charge money for. You're creating disincentives to provide you with content--and that content is what you're trying to sell to subscribers.

    What smart forum operators did was to issue "free flags". Each forum contractor got a certain amount of free forum time to award to forum users who helped out in one way or another. There were sysop accounts for people who did administrative things--but there were a lot more free flags for regular forum members who just participated in a lot of conversations. It would make a *lot* of sense for you to do the same thing.

    In the ultimate geek world you'd be able to automate a process to identify people making significant contributions. That's what moderation is, after all. But automated processes can be manipulated (i.e. karma whoring)--this probably requires some individual discretion. Identify significant contributors (you can start with high-karma users, but I'm sure you can identify other factors to consider) and grant them free access. You want them posting comments all the time--those are the people whose peers have voted to indicate that their voices should be heard. The very last thing you want to do is get those people contributing less, because each contribution now costs them at least 3 page hits.

    Oh, yeah--Paypal?
    Be serious. If OSDN and VA Software is on such shaky ground that you can't get a merchant account through CyberCash [cybercash.com] or someone else, you have serious problems.

  • > (As an aside, it's also worth noting that more than
    > half of all comment posters fall into this 3%)

    Stop and think about that, fellow posters. That means comment posters comprise *less than 6%* of slashdot viewers [according to some means of measurement].

    What are those other 19 outta 20 people doing? Just reading the articles and surfing to the links? Are they bothering with comments? If so, why are they so interested in reading things but not saying anything?

    Seems like you could charge the silent majority, if they're truly surfing the site for content and not merely curious homepage clickers that don't care enough to pay, and still make plenty without bothering to levvy a fee on the people who make the content come proverbially alive.
  • by ONOIML8 (23262) on Friday March 01, 2002 @04:04PM (#3093272) Homepage
    This is evidence to me that the following is possible:

    Imagine a BOD meeting (21st century style with bottled water, not in a smoke filled room). In this BOD meeting sit those who own, and those in control of slashdot.

    "Rob, you've got to change the script to remove any anti-microsoft content as it as posting. And the goat.cx stuff has got to go too"

    "Uh, yeah. Well, um.....but slashdot is about freedom of speech, power to the people, communication of the masses"

    "Sorry Rob, I know how you feel. But Microsoft is buying a lot of advertising with us lately and, quite frankly, they spend enough here to have earned our respect"

    "But what about our subscriber base?"

    "Look at the numbers guys. Subscriber revenue is one millionth of what advertiser revenue is. And Microsoft is now paying eighty percent of that advertiser revenue. And all that revenue is what's keeping your new bride living in luxury"

    "It doesn't make it RIGHT"

    "But it's what they want. And if they don't get what they want then they are pulling their account with us. We'll all be looking for jobs and the dot com thing is over. Your next job will consist of asking the customer if they want fries with their lunch"

    "Oh. Well, um......will this afternoon be soon enough for those script changes then?"

  • by sunset (182117) on Friday March 01, 2002 @04:04PM (#3093277) Homepage
    Seems to me that /. is missing the boat here. There is such a thing as advertising that readers want to see.

    I remember when PC Magazine first came out (in the 80's), it was mostly advertising and that was its primary value. Everyone wanted to know all about the latest hardware and software that you could add on to your PC, and the respective vendors were best qualified to talk about them.

    I think the main reason most people despise today's web advertising is that it sucks. It's all about making an impression, and contains little interesting content. These "in your face" ads are also created with the assumption that you really don't want to see them, so they have to force you to look.

    This, and Slashdot's new approach, are all horribly misguided. What /. needs to do is play a major role in the production, appearance and categorization of the ads. Make them a resource, not a nuisance. Make them informative, browseable and searchable. Reject products with no real value.

    Slashdot should raise the bar for web advertising, not wallow in the mud of its current state.

  • by pjrc (134994) <paul@pjrc.com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @04:11PM (#3093347) Homepage Journal
    If you're not in it for the love, and you can't figure out any better way to pay for your site than by slapping some ugly, corrupted banner across the top of your pathetic work, then fucking close up shop, kill yourself, and leave the Web to non-polluters

    In 1991 (just before I finished my undergrad study) I wrote a little program that I gave away for free. In 1994, another student was fiddling with hypertext and made a page out of the docs I wrote for it (with my permission). By mid-95, I was getting an email every week from people who saw it. By September '95, I got around to trying Mosiac (and then Netscape 1.1), and I decided to make a nice little web site, with a variety of other info to support people using it. I think I can pretty honestly call that "in it for the love".

    Though I was no longer a student since '92, and I moved away from the college town in '96, they kept hosting the site until '98. For many years, it was the vast majority of that department's external web traffic. Eventually, there was some liability scare (some university somewhere got sued, or was threatened, or there was at least a rumor of such) and the university informed me they had to pull the plug. Also, very uncommon for a university... they gave me a few months of advanced notice and kept it up for many months as I tracked down webmasters for hundreds of sites that had created links. Even to this day there are dozens of links pointing to the old site, and they have been gracious to leave a redirect in their server config.

    Fortunately by that time I was making a reasonable income and I decided to pay to keep the site instead of abandon it (and nearly all sites created by students end up). By this point I was certainly "in it for the love", and I was determined to work on the site again after neglecting to do updates from '96 to '98. I really needed it hosted on a box where I had some admin control, and I needed a low-latency connection to it to really accomplish anything creative in my spare time (after working full time plus unpaid overtime). Co-lo and low speed frame relay were about the same cost, so I went with frame so I could have it locally. Being "in it for the love", I began paying about $270/month (just slightly more than my car payment at the time).

    Eventually, the local ISP upstream of the frame PVC was sold, and after the original owner bowed out, it all fell apart (previously their uptime was close to 100%) The site has also had been running into bandwidth problems on the frame circuit, as it became more popular and the number of pages increased.

    All the while, I resisted banner ads and other annoyances. I've always been "in it for the love", even when I had to pay hundreds of dollars each month. Being a site about hobbist electronics, I got requests for sources for the parts, and for custom-made circuit boards there was no good answer. I guy I worked with wanted to try a little e-commerce and I agreed to send all those requests to him when he made a batch of custom boards. His prices were outrageous and the service wasn't great... but at least there was a source and it was obvious (to most people) that it was another site. After about 18 months, he finally sold all the boards and I decided to take over the e-commerce part. I immediately cut the prices in half (remember, I'm "in it for the love", money be damned). My girlfriend pitched in and together we had many little learning experiences about UPS, packaging, etc. I poured thousands of dollars of savings into buying parts, expecting that someday in half a million years I might get my money back out of it (not). Thus began the e-commerce.

    A funny thing happened. The site's traffic went up even higher, and we sold more than triple the number of boards that my co-worker had. It's funny how that works... offer a good product at a fair price and work hard to satify customers. I wouldn't go so far as to say it "paid off", as I have not yet ever received any money out it for the long hours I constantly put into the project... but after a little over a year the website paid me back all the money I "invested" into it from my personal savings.

    Luckily, the dot-com bust happened and a number of datacenters had space available on dedicated servers, and we managed to move the site to one of these at a great discount. We get a monthly quote of 50 Gbyte, and currently the site is running somewhere between 15-20. The website now pays for its own hosting, which we got at a steal for $175/month (their regular rate is $400/month, and similar services have similar prices when I've compared).

    I'm still "in it for the love".... I still spend long hours working on existing and new projects for the site.... I still try to answer every single email (eventually).... the site makes a tiny profit "on paper", but that money always goes into buying more parts or set-up costs to get new boards made.

    Slashdot was "in it for the love"... and maybe they still are, at least partially. But I can tell you from experience that my tiny site, it's bandwidth needs above $25/50/100 per month hosting, it costs real money to serve up web pages in large volume.

    Perhaps if you're already insanely rich, you could continue to host a site like slashdot, paying all the expenses out of your own pocket. Saddly, there's only a tiny number of people that rich... for everyone else, no matter how much you are "in it for the love", you're just not going to be able to sustain the expense of slashdot's bandwidth without some sort of revenue.

  • by sterno (16320) on Friday March 01, 2002 @04:23PM (#3093461) Homepage
    I suspect if you did the same study today you'd find that advertising actually does more to bring up prices. Companies realized that competing on price was detrimental to them, so they switched to branding as the primary form of advertising.

    To see this in it's most obvious form, look at Nike. Their ads don't even mention their shoes. Heck, they don't mention the name. It's just a sort of video art piece with a nike swoosh and maybe "just do it" at the end.

    The thing is, people buy Nike, not because the quality is better but because of branding. Thus prices can be raised because people will pay more for what may in fact be an inferior product. That's on top of the fact that price is raised anyhow because they need to spend so much on building their brand through various advertising channels.

    When was the last time you saw an ad banner adverising a product being cheaper than the competition? It's rather infrequent, non?
  • Distributed /.? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pongo000 (97357) on Friday March 01, 2002 @04:30PM (#3093539)
    This will probably get lost in the noise, but something I've been thinking about is a "distributed /." Think of it as /. over Freenet. Hell, even use Freenet as a way to distribute bandwidth costs across an entire spectrum of users. This would help the Freenet folks, as well as keep /. alive.

    Of course, this would have to be an independent movement, because I'm sure VA Linux (or whatever the hell they're named now) wouldn't want to lose out on a cash cow like /.
  • by Sophacles (24240) on Friday March 01, 2002 @04:33PM (#3093563)
    Something that you two have been overlooking for this thread is the nested option. I personally hate clicking for comments, so I put it on nested and just read down, scrolling past the threads im not interested in. Im sure it saves on alot of page views.

    I also barely notice the slashdot ads. As long as they aren't pop-ups, they're not a big deal. The way its set up, I barely look at the sidebar and area that has all the story categories on the top. Those make a good enough buffer that even the most annoying ads (like the open projects one thats changing colors) are mentally filterable.

    As soon as I get a paycheck im sure ill be putting down some money. I like slashdot. Im willing to pay $5 for it. Hell whats the difference? next week ill buy a couple of cases of presidents choice cola instead of coke and break even.

  • by cheeserd00d (87522) on Friday March 01, 2002 @04:38PM (#3093604)
    Seriously though, what is the big deal? All I hear is people bitching about how awful this is and how slashdot isn't good enough to pay for. If you don't like the ads, then pay to get rid of them. If you don't want to pay, then quit complaining and live with it. It's not like a couple ads is really going to kill you. Personally, I think ads are annoying, and I also love reading slashdot (even with the supposed grammatical errors and lack of original stories which some people seem think is some huge deal), but I also do not have the money/want to spend my money on getting rid of the ads...so instead I'll just live with it. It's not that big of a fucking deal. Quit complaining and get over it, slashdot needs to generate some profit and this is one way to achieve it. Can you blame them?!?
  • by deadtreerus (557720) on Friday March 01, 2002 @04:51PM (#3093713)
    I will pay $20/year for this site to remain like it is. The economics breaks down for me very simple.I get to read about a wide variety of subjects in a timely and presorted wheat from chaff manner.I get the unbiased opinion of a large variety of generally intelligent and hip geeks. I get to read uncensored information unlike any other filtered media outlet. I get a true sense of what freedom really is (in the first admendment sense). I get real timely and sometimes well thought out criticism if my posts are stupid. I can actually learn about what my peers are thinking without getting shot at. In short I can get to the heart of understanding human nature. Naww... I still want a free subscription cause I named my s*&t a$$ cat Slashdot. Flame me or blame me, but I'm too big fer ya to tame me.
  • by kubla2000 (218039) on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:00PM (#3093805) Homepage

    I can see the point in your rant, but you offer no solutions.

    Yes he does!

    I didn't just turn that TV off. I unplugged the motherfucker.

    You can't more clear than that!

  • Re:That's nice. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sarah Thustra (318792) on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:12PM (#3093942)
    That's really nice, and really nice to read, and really nice to for once not be the only person pointing out said acid-trippy ugliness of our culture. People can say what they want about your rant--and they always do, with rants--but you make an undeniable point: We are part of a period in human history that will go down in history (if the race survives it) as Ugly, Selfish, Wasteful, Demeaning and all in all A Really Incredibly Bad Idea.

    But people complained because you didn't address the ever-throbbing unspoken question: What to *DO* about it? Is there even another way to live, anywhere? Isn't this--as our upbringing has so stolidly taught us--just the natural result of people living the way people were bound to live?

    No.

    It isn't.

    It's just as sick and wrong as it seems on the nights when the irony begins to wear thin, and you wonder if we really are neck-deep in shit. Because we are.

    Are there answers? Are there ways out? Yes. There are. Have I found them all and made myself a private utopia? No; don't be silly. For one thing, the only way we'll ever make them work is by doing it together; the few of us who don't watch tv or drink BrownSugarWater(tm) or eat things that a geigercounter wouldn't pass off as food are just trying to keep our necks above water.

    Places to look for answers, off the top of my head: The books of Daniel Quinn (start with Ishmael). The magazine UTNE Reader. The delightfully mind-blowing spiritual teachings of Eckhart Tolle. Your grandparents ('specially if they're from "the old country"). Native Americans (well, some of them). But most of all, look for answers from your own peers, on your own streets. Look around and wonder how it would be if we did it differently. If that billboard was gone. If that street was a bike path. If that parking lot was a garden. If that WalMart was...oh, anything. A bomb crater. Just THINK about it -- what you have is not the end. The hippies fell for the "things are just that way" line, after all the fighting they did--will you? Can you look at the stuff in your house and wonder if it wouldn't be better to own things that were made by your neighbors and family, instead of mass marketed-pressed-canned-shipped-and-bought? Would you rather, if you're sick, go through your HMO or to a guy your family knows and trusts?

    Think about all these things, please. Get mad--and don't stop there.

    Peace and apocalypse:

    S Thustra
  • Re:Great (Score:1, Insightful)

    by IndustrialCowgirl (563036) on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:27PM (#3094092)
    Lets boycott on behalf of CXREG !!!!!!!
  • by fmaxwell (249001) on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:34PM (#3094157) Homepage Journal
    Slashdot is *not* "selling access" to these comments.

    Then what is Slashdot selling? What is it on here that is of so much value that readers flock here and advertisers pay to run their ads here?

    buying a subscription will only keep you from seeing the ads.

    So will not visiting the site, so why would you pay to visit? Because you want read the comments and stories? So what is valuable is the content and paying to remove the ads is only so that you have easier access to the content.

    If people could make money by charging a subscription fee to avoid ads, then I'll put up a blank web page and charge people to not get banner ads on it.

    You think karma-whoring is bad now, wait until you get "$1 off for 25+ karma!"

    No, I don't think it's "bad". Karma is something you get when Slashdot members feel that you've given something of value to the community. You can come up with negative terms, but if those posts weren't of value, they would not garner Karma points for the poster.

    It was a joke, get over it.

    I didn't think it was funny. Get over it.

    You come up with a scheme that can *actually* implement your idea, *without* the drawbacks I mentioned, and send it on to Rob.

    The only "drawback" that you mentioned was that people would try to post things that others found valuable (and for which the poster would get Karma points).

    Simple answer: Take the over-50 rollover karma points and put them towards a lower subscription price.

  • by triptolemeus (538604) on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:37PM (#3094183)
    My first post, what will this do to my karma, can you go negative?

    There was a day slashdot was about open source, free (as in speach and in beer) and getting to know the way around the web... stuff that matters.

    Today, they (there's a lot of them) announced the end of all this. Today it got announced that I have to pay to see slashdot the way I want to. Today I got told that filtering advertisement is bad. The next thing will be, they tell me not to skip the commercials on my taped tv programs.

    I sit in my little web enabled corner and cry.

    It is not that I am not willing to pay for good services. It is not that I am not able to pay about $30 a year. It's about my loss of faith. It's about an announcement that almost makes me not to believe in free (as in freedom 'cause I don't care about the beer).

    It's about a mentality getting lost

    It's about using old-fashioned management tactics in new uncontrolled environments.

    It's about the loss of what we believe in.

    I know there is a need for money, bandwidth and costs. But from a recent mail about some marriage I read there is also a 250.000 readers on slashdot. Multiply that with $20 and I think you can buy all the bandwidth you need + get yourself a nice honeymoon (which I wish Rob will have).

    If this is going to be the goal slashdot wants to reach, I would like to cancel my subscribtion now.

    Trip

  • by Bryan Ischo (893) on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:46PM (#3094256) Homepage
    That makes no sense.

    If you pay per page view, then it is impossible to pay for more views than you use, unless you stop reading Slashdot and don't use up some of the views you paid for. But the same thing would happen if you stopped reading Slashdot before your yearly subscription were up.

    It's simplest to think about this with some concrete examples:

    Let's imagine that Slashdot charged $20/year instead of $5 per 1000 views.

    For any individual user who pays the $20 yearly subscription, one of three things could happen:

    1) You view the site less than 4000 times, say 200 times. In this case, you would have only paid $10 under the pay-per-view scheme. You are cheated.

    2) You view the site exactly 4000 times. You paid for exactly what you viewed. Congratulations!

    3) You view the site more than 4000 times, say 8000 times. In this case, you would have paid $40 under the pay-per-view scheme. You paid less than Slashdot thought that the views were worth. Slashdot was cheated.

    So in the pay-per-time-period scheme, except in the highly unlikely second case, someone ends up cheated, either you, or Slashdot.

    Wouldn't you rather just pay for exactly what you use, and feel confident that you are not being cheated and that Slashdot isn't being cheated either?

    BTW, you don't have to think about how many times you have viewed Slashdot in the current payment scheme. You pay once, then forget about it. If you don't like to keep track of such things, then don't - some day, ads will start reappearing and you will realize that you need to pay some more. The exact same thing happens if you ignore your time-period-based subscription - eventually it runs out and you have to pay again.

    You don't have to pay per view of Slashdot, anyway - if you have some kind of cache, then you can just view the already-downloaded Slashdot story from the cache should you want to look at it again. You end up only paying Slashdot for the views that you made which required their servers to service your request. So in the end, you only pay Slashdot when they're actually working, anyway.

    So aside from being uncomfortable with having to embrace a new payment paradigm, I simply cannot see what you base your complaints on.

    As an aside, I bought 10000 views today, and I'm happy as could be. I've been enjoying Slashdot for years now (check out my UID, which would be lower had I bothered to sign up for one when I first saw that accounts were available), and this is the first time I've given something back (not sure my previous comments count :) ... and it feels really good.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:53PM (#3094318)
    Okay, first of all, let me just say that I've been reading /. since 1997. The value of /. to me can be seen in the fact that I'm still AC'ing my posts, even though I've got a user ... somewhere ... with an ID ~1000. (When I set up that user, we didn't care so much about what number we got ;-) ).

    There are a great many sites out there that I would be willing to give donations to. (This begs the question as to why more sites aren't set up as nonprofits.) Currently, Slashdot is not one of those, because what it provides -- a sometimes valuable filter; lots of discussion, most of which is unreadable; Jon Katz and his weird my-so-called-life angst -- has very little cash value to me.

    What will I pay for? Reporting. Editing. Proofreading, for God's sake. I give money to my NPR affiliate because I find Diane Rehm to be thought-provoking, "All Things Considered" to be trustworthy, and "Marketplace" to be infomative. Slashdot, which has become infamous for posting articles without doing any sort of backgrounding on them ("Hell, we'll just print a retraction in the next Slashback") doesn't offer me any of those things.

    Slashdot has a large, loyal readership, and the potential to become a respectable news source, not just a content filter. If it starts looking at article submissions as jumping-off points for research, interviews, and reporting, then I'll gladly pay for the service, on a click or flat basis. But until then, don't expect my check to be in the mail. I'll just be waiting for my "Fresh Air" coffee mug.

    -Baka!
  • Two words (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MoxCamel (20484) on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:59PM (#3094362)
    Use lynx.

    Let me get this straight. You want me to pay for the priveledge of not having advertisements being crammed down my throat in an obtrusive way?

    What happens when subscriptions don't make enough money? Will you then have "premium" subscriptions? Normal subscriptions will now bypass all but the smaller ads, and premium bypasses them all. But wait, eventually that won't work either. You'll have to have "Gold" subscriptions. *sigh*

    The internet is a means to an end, not the end itself. There's a reason the dot-com economy went bust. This plan reflects a lack of imagination, and a basic misunderstanding of the *new* new economy.

    Okay, that was more than two words. If you want the two-word version, you'll need to subscribe to my new "Rant subscription service." Currently we accept cash.
  • by Teancom (13486) <david&gnuconsulting,com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @06:20PM (#3094532) Homepage

    If you do not give money to slashdot, you still have access to the stories and comments. There is no barrier, no gate, no password, *nothing*. All that changes is if you see ads or not. "Selling access" implys that if you don't buy, you don't get access. That's not true. Plain and simple. It really isn't that tough.

    Whether or not you think it is bad now, I think you would not like where it would end up. The slashdot herd has demonstrated time and again that it regards karma as a game, from "karma suicides", to "karma whores", to the infamous moderation experiment. Having there be a monetary reward for high karma just raises the stakes, and puts even more value into a stat that is already over-blown and over-used (according to myself, the /. crew, and many others). I think you 1) underestimate how much karma whoring is going on now (ie, comments made not because you have something to add, but because it will impress the moderators) and 2) overestimate your fellow /.'ers, and the abuse any system like this will get.

    Whatever

    No, the drawbacks I mentioned also included a general dampening of the comments, as people try desperately not to offend moderators and lose their discount. And people getting pissed off and leaving because of down-mods, degrading (even further) the whole reason to post or contribute. Friends mod'ing friends, to get the discount. I can even see "clans", that is, groups of people using the friends and foes system to "attack" each other and bolster their own karma points. The fact that I can think of these almost as fast as I can type should tell you that there are definite problems with your solution. That isn't a personal attack. That isn't a reflection on you. It's just a simple fact: any karma-based plan that would affect how much you paid would be a horrible mess, and drag the quality of /. down even further.

    This is the point in this post that I pull rank, and say that I've been reading /. since it ran on a multia, and while I'm obviously still here, I can see the problems that karma has introduced, and the thought of basing even more on such a crappy metric is repulsive. Luckily, if I know Rob, there's no way he will ever implement such a plan. Ask him someday (not today, he's prolly getting 5x the normal amount of mail he gets, which is plenty) about how much stock he puts into karma, and using it as a measure of the "quality" of a poster. But prepare to be laughed at...

  • Ya know... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by talks_to_birds (2488) on Friday March 01, 2002 @06:23PM (#3094549) Homepage Journal
    ...the more I read the posts here, and the more I put up posts of my own, the more I realize the outrageous nature of just what the hell's going on here.

    Here's why:

    /. is *not* -- I repeat *not* -- the goddam cheesy little snippets that Taco and Hemos and the other people put up to lure us into posting comments.

    /. is, and has always been, posts.

    Our posts!

    We, the readers, are what has made /. into what it is.

    We should be charging *them* for our contributions.

    Without us, the readers, /. is nothing.

    Got it, guys?

    Nothing.

    Zero, zip, nada, zilch...

    Without us, there is no /.

    Pay for a subscription to what *we* are creating?

    Hell no!

    t_t_b

  • by talks_to_birds (2488) on Friday March 01, 2002 @06:45PM (#3094756) Homepage Journal
    You're entirely missing one tremendously significant point:

    We the readers/posters are what has created /. -- not Taco and Hemos and the rest.

    99.99% of the content of /. is what's posted by the readers.

    The little that Taco and Hemos do is to write poorly-formed snippets that headline each article.

    The entire substance of /. is written entirely by us, its readers.

    And now we get to pay for the privilege of continuing to provide /. with its lifeblood?

    I think not.

    t_t_b

  • Re:PayPal? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zsmooth (12005) on Friday March 01, 2002 @06:48PM (#3094772)
    Nice logic. Does knowing that millions of people who don't wear seatbelts aren't killed in horrible car crashes mean you don't wear yours either?
  • by talks_to_birds (2488) on Friday March 01, 2002 @07:01PM (#3094865) Homepage Journal
    Right on!

    t_t_b

  • by rakerman (409507) on Friday March 01, 2002 @07:20PM (#3095006) Homepage Journal
    People say "it's like a magazine", well sure, except most magazines I pay for don't include content that I submit and edit (moderate) and enhance (comment on).

    There's something that just doesn't seem right about having to PAY to read a story that I've submitted, or a thread that I've moderated or submitted useful comments to.

    Here is my suggestion:

    - Viewing Slashdot should be ad free when you have moderator access
    - Viewing a story that you have submitted should be ad free
    - If you have a +5 rated comment on a story, that story should be ad free
  • by sohp (22984) <.moc.oi. .ta. .notwens.> on Friday March 01, 2002 @07:55PM (#3095281) Homepage
    I just don't see myself paying /. to put up content I create. There are many publishers out there that will happily take your money to finance their publishing your book -- it's called self-publishing and as any author will tell you, a self-published book is rarely anything more than an ego stroke for a wealthy writer wanna-be. Now the idea sending someone my words, who aggregates them with a bunch of words written by other people who have paid or not, and then paying them to see what I wrote sounds ludicrous. There just isn't enough value added by the intermediate party (slashdot) to justify my dime. If, on the other hand, contributors get paid, like magazine writers, out of the revenues generated in part by their contributions, that's another story.
  • by talks_to_birds (2488) on Friday March 01, 2002 @08:14PM (#3095386) Homepage Journal
    You, as a poster, create this place.

    Why are you willing to *pay* to produce a product that *others* are selling to the advertisers?

    Taco and Hemos don't *make* this place happen, you do, as do all posters.

    Without us, they're nothing.

    Other sites create their content; here, the content is created by the very people who are now going to be charged for the privilege of doing so..

    t_t_b

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2002 @08:23PM (#3095438)
    You are wrong.

    I control the copyright to this comment, as Slashdot happily acknowledges in order to protect themselves from liability. "Comments are owned by the Poster."

    If I request it, Slashdot must remove every last comment I've made on this website, including those made as an AC (for which I would specifically have to reference and prove ownership, perhaps a difficult task depending on how extensive their and/or my ISPs' logs are). I am not certain that Slashdot would be quick to oblige, but if necessary, I could have a lawyer pursue it, and as with the Church of Scientology, Slashdot would be forced to relent.

    Those of us with a clue said the exact same thing back when the silly Katz book was revealed, and I'm quite certain that we are the reason it was never published. Hell, I'm the individual mentioned in the 'we're putting it on hold' story who mailed them specifically saying that I did not and would not explicitly or implicitly give my permission for any of my contents to be reproduced in any form but the one you're reading them in, though in that one case I hadn't made any comments on the Hellmouth stories.

    I seem to recall that they made the text available online, anyway. If anything of mine had been in it, I *would* have taken action. As to assumed hypocrisy, I don't break copyright law when I download music, either (thanks to a convenient loophole in my country's copyright laws).

    Posted anonymously because every time I make one of these comments on any forum, there's always some kook who goes back and archives anything I even hint that I might remove. Everything2 is terrible for that. I saw it happen to a dozen people if not more.
  • by Skapare (16644) on Friday March 01, 2002 @10:15PM (#3095903) Homepage

    I'm all for paying to have a slashdot free of obese ads. I'll probably pay more than average because I do read quite a lot regularly. I think I can live with that. Of course this will only happen once there's a way for me to pay giving my CC number or sending my check to someone I trust (see my sig if you want to know what I mean).

    Anyway, I'm a bit concerned about the moderation process. Periodically I do get some moderation points. Sometimes I don't have the time to do anything with them (fortunately they last a few days, so usually I eventually do). But when I do, I pick some current topic I don't really have any need to post on, and start reading to see who's on topic with real contributions. By picking a topic of less interest to me, I think I can be less biased than I would be for some other topic that interests me greatly. But by so doing, I'm reading a lot of comments that I otherwise would never have seen ... page views I otherwise would never have made.

    CmdrTaco ... I recommend that moderation be changed slightly as follows. When a user is logged in and has moderation points, it gives them the option to make an election to moderate whatever thread they want to, much like it does now, but via a separate link. Confirm they really want to, and really understand they won't be able to post there. Then that thread can be viewed without ads, without cost, for the first 100 pages viewed. When a moderation point is used, add 100 again to the number that can be viewed on that thread. When all moderation points are used up, let the moderator keep their free ad-free views for that thread so as not to discourage delaying moderation (the moderating should be done because a comment is worthy, not avoided because it might mean the ads come back or the pages have to be paid for again). In other words, up to 500 free views on threads elected for moderating.

    While I would pay to access /. ad-free, I would end up not doing any moderating any more if I had to also pay for the moderated pages. I'm not interested in paying to moderate just like I'm not interested in paying to vote for politicians.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2002 @10:55PM (#3096032)
    All the sites are adding to add the larger ads that advertisers demand, but clickthrough rates keep falling. In the meantime, Google has small, text-only ads, and they get way better clickthrough rates than anyone - because the ads aren't obnoxious, and are well targeted. How about trying text ads on slashdot instead?
  • by Saint Aardvark (159009) on Saturday March 02, 2002 @12:43AM (#3096381) Homepage Journal
    Grow the fuck up.

    a) First of all, you're paying for ad-free page views. If you can't load a page, seems to me that...surprise!...you wouldn't be charged for one of your ad-free page views.

    b) Grow the fuck up. Do you think bandwidth is free? Do you think those really hibby rack-mount servers are free? Do you think that when one of those two fail, CmdrTaco is just gonna sit around, thumb up his ass, waiting for someone else to fix it?

    Read CT's above comments: this is like a pledge drive for PBS. Instead of a tote-bag, you get ad-free pages. And remember: if you don't like it -- or Slashdot -- you're always free to fuck the fuck off.

    Goddamn, but your comment has made me angry. I'll get modded down for sure, if anyone sees this in this field of 2000+ comments, but I don't care. I'm signing up because I like this goddamned site and I want to know it's going to stay around. I want to know that /. isn't going to sink beneath the waves because of apathy and "Where's my five-nines uptime guarantee?" clueless whining from idiots like yourself. I am honestly quite unable to understand what the fuck why your idiotic demands should seem important to you.

    (I'll probably wake up tomorrow and regret how angrily I replied. But I won't regret that $20 [slashdot.org].

  • Hah! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by autopr0n (534291) on Saturday March 02, 2002 @01:09AM (#3096475) Homepage Journal
    What? Rob? Listen to the slashdot userbase? What blasphimy is this?!

    Rob never listens to the people who make slashdot work, if he did, or at least pretended to care slashdot might be a different place. All he seems to do is get pissed off.

    A while ago someone posted on k5 saying that we should be able to see who voted, what the vote count was on a story after it was posted. Within a few hours it was done, because rusty actually pays attention to the site and what's happening with it. He even posts regularly! Yet here... well, once CmdrTaco's Fiancé said she would "never, ever" post on /. Obviously rob must not be too excited about the site, or even happy with it.

    If anything CT seems bitter, and considers slashdot, or at least the 'community' a Burdon
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 02, 2002 @02:11AM (#3096687)
    HE IS A VILE SHELL OF A MAN TWISTED BY GREED SO MUCH SO THAT HE WILL PILLAGE HIS OWN COMMUNITY FOR A FEW DOLLARS.

    WHAT A SWINE.

    TUNA TACO IS A SICKENING EXCUSE FOR A MAN.

    topic.
    * Try to reply to other people comments instead of starting new threads.
    * Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said.
    * Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about.
    * Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page)

    Problems regarding accounts or comment posting should be sent to CowboyNeal.

  • by Kris_J (10111) on Saturday March 02, 2002 @04:59AM (#3097033) Journal
    If you don't charge based on what actually costs you money then it won't take long before some sort of abuse puts you back at square one. If the problem is traffic costs, then the way you charge customers has to be proportional to traffic costs.

    If you only have 1000 page views per $5 are you going to use a view format that forces you to click on links to see nested or long comments or are you just going to setup the comments to display in one huge page? Are you going to have a brief front page with just the stuff that interests you or are you going to double the number of stories and uncheck all of your excluded topics, just so you don't have to click on "older stuff" to see all the stories?

    Slashdot has to charge based on how much traffic you cause and it needs to have a nice way of helping you optimise your viewing.

  • by gotan (60103) on Saturday March 02, 2002 @12:29PM (#3097822) Homepage
    It occurs to me, that most activity on /. falls into different categories:

    1 simple reading: scan the frontpage for articles of interest and click on those of interest
    2 thorough metamoderating: sometimes scan context in metamoderation if the comment can not be evaluated on itself
    3 thorough moderating: switch to flat/newest first/threshold 0 to give new comments a chance, reload page (automatically) when moderating
    4 writing comments: prewiew your comment at least once, maybe reference older slashdot articles or context of the current article, maybe also write multiple comments per article, especially when discussing.
    5 submitting articles: although you only need one or two pages to submit, you will probably be very interested in the subject and comment a lot.

    The order is not choosen arbitraryly by me. It is (at least i believe so) ordered according to the number of page accesses needed for these actions per item of interest (article). It is notable that those who contribute the most to /. (proper moderating and commenting) will access more pages than those who simply scan over some articles and grab a few opinions.
    As an aside, it's also worth noting that more than half of all comment posters fall into this 3% [that would have to pay more than $5/month]

    To my understanding the comments are what makes slashdot interesting, to grab the latest news it is sufficient to go to the frontpage and thus view only one page or stand through just one annoying ad, or just go to other sites. Your system makes those activities most expensive (either in adverts the user is exposed to, or in pages he has to pay) that contribute the most to /. and it's uniqueness. To avoid costs/adverts they will most likely do some of the following (to more or lesser extent):

    - do less thorough or no metamoderating
    - do less thorough or no moderating
    - write less comments and not preview/edit them properly

    This will make slashdot a poorer place, moderation will be worse, there will be less comments and less opinions. This will probably happen to some extent anyway, because of people leaving who neither want to pay, nor view adverts. But to charge those most who contribute for their contributions (in moderation and commenting) makes it even worse. I don't think it's far fetched, that manny moderators and commenters will revert to above methods to avoid costs/adverts, and that this will make slashdot less interesting (and thus also drive people away who were interested in the comments, and a well functioning comment system).

    So if you must have adverts/subscriptions maybe you shoud try to avoid that effect (maybe by making those pages, that are needed for metamoderation, and especially commenting/previewing free (of fees and of overlarge adverts), maybe also introduce a special free moderation page (one page of newest/threshold zero/flat for an article)). I don't know how much a percentage those accesses make, and how much difference it would make to exclude them from ads/costs. But i think a well functioning comment/moderation system is vital to /. and hurting it by demotivating people (with ads/costs) to moderate/comment would hurt /. more than neccessary.
    --

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