Paying to share (a Cranky Post)

I guess it’s becoming a Cranky Post series.

My stuff is stashed in a few main places on the web that aren’t hosted by me: Slideshare, YouTube, and Flickr are the main sites where I “publish”, plus I have stuff at Screencast, Screenr, MindMeister where I create things. I have this blog, and a Posterous blog for ds106 and separate blogs for other classes, etc.

So the big three are places where I am really trying to share. I upload many tutorials to YouTube (if they still look ok when they’re compressed that much). I post all my presentations, often with audio, at Slideshare as slidecasts. And Flickr has lots of my pics. Well, 173 pics. Which brings me to the issue.

Flickr has decided that when I reach 200 pics, they want to charge me $25/year. To get analytics and remove ads, I have to pay Slideshare the educational price of $144/year (certainly an educational price, since it is educating me rapidly). If I want more space on Screencast (they tell me I’m almost full up), I’d have to pay them.

No, I do not think everything on the web is or should be free. But these are not sites where I’m marketing my products, selling my photos, or making my career. Nothing I post there makes me any money, and by posting I am contributing to everyone else. Everything I have up is Creative Commons licensed as Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike.

So, for example, all my photos on Flickr can be used, for free, by anyone. I post them there for that reason.

But these services want me to pay to share. I don’t think that’s right.

The business model for these sites relies on ads, and thus lots of eyeballs coming to their site. Users who post add value to the website – in fact, they are the website. If those of us who shouldn’t pay remove our stuff, then the only stuff will be from people who can afford it or are trying to sell things.

Why not charge the nominal fee to the people who treat their work as copyrighted, who demand that people pay to use it, or who post it to sell it? If the purpose of the content is commercial, charge a bit. If it’s just for free sharing, keep it free.

3 thoughts on “Paying to share (a Cranky Post)

  1. I’m curious how business models will evolve. I’m not optimistic. There’s no precedent or reason to be so. I’ve become interested in what was coined in 2001 as the slow design/technology movement. It’s a related side conversation.

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  2. That is a very reasonable idea, but unfortunately, things seem to be going the other direction – most services are trying to monetize their service in any way they can. Maybe this is part of the bigger trend of taking back content production and distribution from users and locking it in corporations, very 1990’s like :-).

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    1. That was my thought exactly – welcome to 1998! I am preparing another cranky post about going back on the road and taking the other path, away from Web 2.0.

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