Personally I wouldn't donate to a website because I liked a certain article, donationware works best for 'tools'. I don't think I can get paid for putting legitimate search results underneath a post, which would be a benefit to readers, which is a shame. Subscription services go against the nature of the web (hiding content from public). I wouldn't buy a mug just because i read a website. Maybe that means that it's just too hard for an individual to recoup their costs?
FWIW I don't see subscriptions as going against the "nature" of the web. The web was based on a technology developed primarily to to provide for reliable military communications in the event of a nuclear attack. Hardly a lofty humanitarian goal. It was designed to be a tool (and toy) for academicians, military planners, and defense industry engineers. It was not originally intended to become a public communication utility. And despite what many people want to think, it isn't, nor was it ever, "free." All that infrastructure, all that code - all that everything
was bought and paid for by somebody.
And we're lucky most of us can get access to it for nowhere near what it cost to build it. The web is human history's finest example of squatter sovereignty. One day The People showed up and settled in - and nobody came along and kicked them out. Talk about a land grab!
But just because we can access the web for next to nothing doesn't mean that it is free. Not does it follow that everything that is up on the web should also be free. If somebody chooses to make their work available at no charge, more power to them. I've done a lot of that myself. And the rewards I received were worth it even though they wouldn't buy me a cup of coffee. But if somebody wants to sell what they produce, I have no problem with that either.
I believe a subscription model works. But only if a website is providing real information value
Now if bloggers just want to discuss, there are plenty of places that will give them free space to park a soapbox. But I would suspect many, if not most, want a bit more than that.
I've never had a problem with paying for information. But I do object to being asked to pay for personal opinions, regurgitations of scraped content, snide comments, hipster jive, and jokes. For that I can go to the local pub. At least there I can get a Guinness while I'm listening to drivel. And I doubt I'm alone in that.
The sad truth is: talk is cheap
. Always was. But information, that "difference that makes a difference," is worth something. And I'll gladly pay for it if I need it. Preferably by some sort of subscription since paying for info "by the slice" is more of a hassle than it's worth.
Unfortunately, "monetizing your blog" has become one of those memes
that crops up with dismal regularity in all books with titles like: 101 Part-Time Careers that Can Net You a Cool Million in 30 Days
. It's the stepchild of all those 900-number and newsletter marketing schemes we suffered through back in the 90's. And the public has gotten both wise and weary of that game.
So why don't people want to pay (via watching ads) for what the average blog has to say? I think the answer is fairly obvious: Most blogs aren't worth anything other than the time it takes to skim them. And IMHO, three quarters of them probably aren't even worth that.
However that leaves millions of bloggers without a possible revenue stream to support their writing so I am thinking what it can be replaced with.
Three words: original quality content
. And a subscription option. If they truly like what you're doing, they will pay for you to continue. And if they won't, then the blog in question is just a classic case of vanity publishing - except now it's decked out in cyber drag!
Because despite what we like to think about how different the web is from everything else we've ever experienced, the same old rules for business still apply.
And Darwin is inescapable.