“News publishers have such a fraught relationship with the people who comment on their articles that many websites have been removing the comments section altogether (including this one),” Joshua Brustein reports for Bloomberg. “Michael Robertson thinks he has a better idea: start charging the people who hang out there.”
“Robertson, an entrepreneur in San Diego best known for founding MP3.com and fighting a long legal battle with the record industry, argues that the prospect of a new revenue stream will convince a struggling industry to reconsider the value of comments,” Brustein reports. “A self-proclaimed libertarian, he believes his company, SolidOpinion.com, can provide a market solution to trolling. ‘If we can turn this into a revenue producer, then all of a sudden publishers will want it; they can invest time in it; and we can improve comments,’ he said.”
“One big news company is already on board. Tribune Publishing, which owns the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, turned on SolidOpinion’s software for the San Diego Union-Tribune’s website over the weekend,” Brustein reports. “Readers can earn points, which can be used to buy more prominent placement for their comments at the end of news stories, by posting comments, visiting the site regularly, or spending real money. The newspaper sells 800 points for $10. The minimum price of a promoted spot is 15 points… Last year, Tablet Magazine, a New York-based Jewish publication, started charging people to post any comment on its website. Readers can pay $2 a day, $18 a month, or $180 a year. ”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: We live in interesting times.