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Why People Will Pay For the Content That They Could Find For Free on the Internet

People won't pay if they find something for free. It's a good question that people usually ask. Nobody will pay for the information which they can easily find for free. It revolves around the exceptions for which people are ready to pay. It can be any research content, may be some report, business content or data from some unique resource.

It is a human tendency that people go for free content, however, it might be the case that people won't find the exact content that they are looking for, and end up in indirect losses.

There are many reasons why people are ready to pay for the content that they could find probably for free on the web.

Some of the most common reasons that people will pay are:

Time is money

In this context, another question arises is: How much is your time worth? If people start searching for the information on the internet they need to devote their time and these days time is money. It takes lot of time to search for the exact thing out of the bunch on web. Therefore, people will often prefer to pay someone else to do this work and compile the results in a comprehensive and easy to consume format.

Exclusivity & Uniqueness

People pay for exclusivity and get pleasure & value out of having access to information and people that other people don't. Content that is not available elsewhere is very valuable. Generally, the information available in subscription websites is not available elsewhere and people are fond of accessing the unique content.

Getting to the truth

You will get what you pay! On web, a lot of free content is available that is rubbish, deliberately misleading and even inaccurate. Paid-for sites are perceived as having greater integrity.


Convenience is a great point for a solid brand to become part of it. People pay for convenience. And, despite the power of Google and search engines, the internet is not as convenient as one tends to think. Instead of spending 1 hour to search for any subject and after that if they didn't come up with anything that wowed them - so stuff but not fabulous, then they might prefer to pay for that content. Rather than searching for information scattered across multiple sites, people would like to have consolidated and relevant information at one sole source.

Association with a 'Celebrity'

People have passion about the gurus in their subject. They enjoy being associated with, and having access to, celebrities in their field of interest. Subscription websites often allow direct access and even live events with the site owner or those gurus.

Becoming part of a community

If you are passionate about a subject and like to mix and talk with other people who have the same level of passion, then it's an opportunity for them to make a living and lifestyle from it. They will pay to be part of a community where they will find the people with similar passion & thoughts.

Feeling of exclusion

People who are not within a community often feel excluded. They want to know what they are missing and are often prepared to pay to get rid of the 'pain' of exclusion. So, they start joining paid membership websites.

Community Pressure

Community pressure is the pressure from your peers and can cause people to do things they would not normally do. The subscription websites often grow through word of mouth. People put pressure on their friends and colleagues to join the community and to enter in the league.

Online Publishing

This time, you may be asking how this online publishing is different from offline publishing. Isn't a subscription website just a magazine or newsletter online?

Subscription websites are specialist sources of information aimed at niche groups of subscribers. This is the same as a newsletter or magazine. In the US, UK & worldwide there are over 78,000 print newsletters, magazines and local newspapers. Many are barely making any money. The internet can revolutionize many of these businesses because there are so many advantages of publishing on the web compared with traditional printing and distribution methods. Provide news and information in real time. For some websites this will be absolutely critical. For example, share and betting tips. No print publication can compete with this. Members can interact with each other through discussion groups, forums, online seminars and classified ads. This creates a community that greatly increases loyalty. Such interaction is not possible with a print publication.

Print publications usually need to have 5,000 or more subscribers to make them commercially viable. Online publications need 500 or more subscribers to make them viable.

The US market always leads the world in adopting internet technology and the way the web is used. The increasing willingness of people to pay for access to content is borne out by the growth in the market. Whatever happens in America on the web, the rest of the world follows... and that is certainly what is happening in this market. 80% of online publishers will be charging a subscription for their web content by the end of 2006. In 2004 the figure was 54%. 90% of all online content sales are subscriptions; the remaining 10% are one-off sales, e.g. digital books and music. Paying for online content via subscription is growing 11% faster than the growth in ecommerce, i.e. buying physical goods from online stores such as Amazon.

The greatest barrier to this emerging business opportunity was the perception that content on the internet should be free. All the indicators suggest that this perception is quickly fading into the distant past. 

But what I find most exciting is the fact that this market is only just beginning to take off. It has been established long enough to know it is not a fad, but not long enough to enable the large players to dominate it. 

Source: Free Articles from


Shafali Bansal is an IT expert with more than 7 years of experience in the Industry and presently working with one of the leading Internet Marketing company offering expert website services, software development, web development and website designing. She is an SEO and membership website expert and implemented many optimization techniques. Check out the membership website

Her current passion is membership website software. With this article, she intends to share her wisdom and experience with people who want to create their own membership website. So, if you are a webmaster or an entrepreneur who wants to create his/her own membership website then keep tuned in

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