Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

Online Pricing

Grr. Yet again, I get frustrated by bad pricing on the Internet.

Today's example is New Scientist magazine. This is, I have to admit, rather a lot of fun, and I subscribe to a couple of their RSS feeds. The problem is, many of the linked articles turn out to be subscriber-only.

Now, I do not want to subscribe to the paper magazine. I don't have time to read it properly, and the fact is that, if I had a paper copy it would just add to my magazine backlog. (If you think it's comical how far behind I am on reading LJ, that is nothing compared to how backlogged I am on The Economist.) Besides, (repeat the mantra) "I Am Not Their Archivist", and I neither need to be holding onto the paper nor contributing it to landfill.

So the obvious thing to do is to subscribe to the online edition, and in principle I'm willing to do that. But in practice it is damned expensive: over $50/year for the online edition, most of the price of the paper one. I'm quite reluctant to pay that much for a magazine that I'm going to read only sporadic articles out of, based on their RSS feed.

I think they've got the pricing just plain wrong here. I'm probably not alone in being willing to pay, say, $20/year for the online edition, so that I can read the feeds. Indeed, I would guess that there are a large number of people in the same boat. By equating the online edition's price with the paper one, I believe they're getting the scale of the thing wrong -- cutting out a vast number of potential subscribers with too high a price.

Admittedly, it's hard to be sure. I might yet relent and pay the extortionate price, and it's possible that enough others will do so as well to make their pricing model make sense. But from where I sit, that's a lot of money to casually skim some electrons...
Tags: technology

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