Open Thread: Paying for Web 2.0


Don’t worry: no one is going to send you an invoice for the time you spend using dozens of random web sites to do your work. But a blog post from Ryan Spoon got me wondering: what’s out there that you would pay for if you had to? Ryan says he’d be willing to pony up money for GMail, Mint, Craigslist, and various podcasts, among other things. I know I’d be ready to pull out my credit card for Twitter Prime, with traffic prioritization and advanced filtering and grouping features.

So far, of course, Web 2.0 is largely running on business theories ranging from “let’s get the eyeballs and then figure out what to do with them” to “get enough Google ads on enough pages and our troubles are over.” Despite our worries about Bust 2.0, there doesn’t seem any end in sight to the proliferation of free services. But sooner or later, the money will run out (or the patience of investors will), and some of these sites will need to figure out better ways to collect revenue.So, if and when that happens: which sites and services on the new web (defined however you like) are important enough that you’d pay for them? And how much? Or are you dedicated to always finding ways to do things online for free, no matter what the entrepreneurs might like to hear?



Thanks for this posting. Our company has recently posted a blog entry entitled “Are you ready for online project collaboration?” which addresses some of the drawbacks of using free Web 2.0 tools.

Although we haven’t done any detailed analysis I would have to say that the age old saying of “you get what you pay for” applies to Web 2.0 as well many other aspects of our economy. People who use social networking sites don’t seem to tolerate paying for these services, while people who use online tools (to help them run their businesses) like Joint Contact are willing to pay a small fee for the use of the service.

I certainly don’t have anything against using social networking applications, but it’s obvious that people would pay for them if it meant that it would have measurable impact on the daily activities – either for use at home or in the workplace.

Jim Wolff

I pay for Basecamp (this seems to be a theme – they must’ve cracked something) but nothing much else. I’d probably pay for access to sustainable web work tho – anyone else?


We used to pay for Basecamp when we were doing more client work. Would pay for gmail (google apps for my domain) and google analytics.


I’m paying for pop3 access to Yahoo now & I’m getting ready to pay for online storage.

As far as news info is concerned (including podcasts), I’m more interested in more relevant ads than subscribing to paid services.


The only thing I would pay for is stock photos and gmail. I think free things in life are always appreciated. Sure, sooner or later some free services may be gone or have a small fee for us to use.

Marcin Grodzicki

Google Apps (Currently too expensive in the pay-for option in my opinion), RememberTheMilk (I will, even if there’s no bonus in it for me right now)


Grand Central with some added features like scheduling the receiving of calls to different phone numbers or to voicemail based on the time of day and days of the week.

Amie Gillingham

I already pay for Flickr, have a permanent paid account on Live Journal for my private personal blog that’s just for fun, and I’d pay for the for-fee service (online art sharing and artist networking)we run for a living if it was someone else’s company. As to what’s currently totally free but for which I’d pony up cash, I’d say a pro-version of Twitter in a heartbeat.

Dennis G

Funny thing is that I was thinking about what I actually am paying for.
Complete list here: Link



Jon Moss

Good post! I would pay for:

– Gmail
– Google Reader

Already paying for Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack, Shopify and a couple of others.

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