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November 13, 2003

Free or is it Fee?

Have you ever stepped back and thought about what your cable TV bill, those loooong Blockbuster video receipts hanging from your car's center consule, your newspaper bill, movie ticket stubs, concert ticket stubs and your magazine bills have in common? So many of us have paid for these things for so long we have forgotten what we are actually buying.

We are buying content.

Yesterday I announced to my weekly - well, more like whenver-I-get-around-to-it - newsletter subscribers the birth of the new Ask the Builder website. For perhaps six years the look, feel and under-the-hood mechanics of had stayed the same. But that all changed radically with the launch of the new website.

All of my archived weekly syndicated newspaper columns as well as all new columns are available for free at In fact, finding these columns is now much easier thanks to sophisticated software that powers the new site.

But I had to warn my subscribers that some of the things they were used to seeing were simply not going to be at the new website. They were told about the upcoming Premium website that will contain all of my past Builder Bulletin resource guides, my New Home Construction weekly tips, my radio show archives, my :90 second TV vignettes, and more. But they were also told they would have to *pay* to see all of those goodies.

Well some people went nuts. I got very angry emails from people telling me I was a slug. The emails were so fantastic that I am using them, and my responses, as fodder for next week's newsletter. The best part is that some of the things brought up are powerful tools that will show people that paying for content is the best thing they could possibly do.

The point: The Internet is changing. The old business models where websites survived on advertising income are not working. Websites that have vast amounts of high-quality content are discovering a certain percentage of the population is willing to pay for such content. People do so because they can rely on the source and they know they will find what they need most of the time.

The Internet as most of us have experienced it is just ten years old. Can you imagine what it is going to be like in the year 2015? Personally, I can't wait!

Posted by Tim Carter at November 13, 2003 2:00 PM

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