Free and Brooding or Premium and Light?


Speaking at the Selling Subscriptions to Internet Content summit today in NYC, Vince Broady, SVP, CNET Networks revealed an interesting trick they are using for its GameSpot subscription gaming information service: “If you get the free service, you have a dark, brooding, back (and slightly unreadable) background to the website, but people who subscribe have a light, white, more readable background.” Huh!

More: “As soon as we reached 50,000 subscribers figure, the advertisers who never listened to us before, came back. Subscribers, who basically paid not to get ads, were suddenly becoming desirable to advertisers…”

But change in track for us later this year: we will make our advertising-driven and subscription service compatible. Give free access to services that are essential to user growth. Make paid services focus on proprietary content, and have “built-in” loyalty enhancement…

Lessons learned: In the end, you can’t fool people on the Internet. Internet customers are the smartest in history. Search engines mean that you have no place to hide. Services need to be build in retention, not resentment. Don’t give up on the idea of high level of free access. Eliminate opportunites for competitors.

The coverage is sponsored by Javien Digital Payment Solutions.

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