I wish him well with it, but I also hope no one else tries too hard. (Note by the way that Sullivan will allow a free RSS feed, with complete posts, and free links from other blogs, so this is hardly a full gate.) In the limiting case, imagine a blogosphere where everything is gated for some price. What could we at [Marginal Revolution] link to?
Razib Khan has similar concerns:
$19.99 is a pittance. But if I give Andrew Sullivan his due, who else should I “tip.” How about Tyler Cowen? Or Maria Popova? I consume more of Tyler’s content directly than Andrew’s, and Maria’s even more indirectly and in a diffuse fashion. In terms of media consumption I’m currently a subscriber to The New York Times, contribute to Wikipedia, try and support bloggers who I read and have fund drives, and also have a Netflix account. This isn’t much. But it starts to add up. The content universe of the internet is vast for the infovore, especially for one who relies a great deal on intermediating technologies to sift and filter the stream of content.
But this was always the case with old media. You paid for your New Yorker and New Republic and Wired and the Economist. And we paid more, relatively speaking, for each – because we were also paying for paper, print and physical distribution. Dan Gilmor proposes one possible solution:
One thing I'd bet on is alliances among bloggers where we can pay a lot less for a grab-bag of sites, on the theory that many more people will be willing to join that way, creating win-win-win situations. Again – and I can't use this word enough – the more experimenting and innovation the better.
Yglesias thinks along the same lines:
[I]f subscription models succeed, I'd expect them to evolve in the direction of big bundles. That might be because there are eight or nine giant content conglomerates selling subscriptions. Or it might be because of cross-marketing deals. Either way you'd get something that looks less like "the Internet" as we know it today and more like the adjacent series of walled gardens that CompuServe, Prodigy, AOL, etc. originally promoted as the vision of online existence.
At the Dish, we are not so much proud of our agnosticism as resigned to it. We do not know what the future will bring. What I do know is that this medium is still very young, in the grand scheme of things, and that the only way to survive is to experiment in line with what the web seems to be telling us it wants. That last thing is a little hard to gauge precisely: it's hitting a moving target as you are in transit as well. Which is why innovating this medium is as much art as science – and full of wrong turns and surprises. After a while, you relax and enjoy the ride. But I have to admit I was really anxious this past week; last night, as some of it sunk in, I couldn't sleep at all. One hour in the end. So I may be crashing soon …