Paying for website use

User Forum Topic
Submitted by lostkitty on January 9, 2007 - 7:30am

This topic has been debated between myself and a few friends ad nauseum. I just dont pay for any sites, and a mentor is suggesting I start a site regarding a topic of interest of mine (not realestate or investment related). Just wanted to take a little informal poll and ask you all whether you ever pay for website use, like realtytrac, etc.

If your answer is "yes", then how many sites do you pay $$s to subscribe to?

I'll start:


Submitted by balasr on January 9, 2007 - 7:35am.

The only web-site I pay for is WSJ. 3-4 years back the only pay sites making money were the porn sites. Even wasn't breaking even. I don't know what the situation is now. It's very difficult getting people to pay for web-sites.

Submitted by lostkitty on January 9, 2007 - 8:35am.


Submitted by FormerSanDiegan on January 9, 2007 - 10:08am.

lostkitty - I have to agree with you that it is a mistake to pay for about 99% of web services.

I have paid for ConsumerReports web content in the past, though.

Submitted by Doofrat on January 9, 2007 - 11:29am.

I don't pay. Once paid for a message board, but with so much free stuff out there, I don't see a need to pay. With the message boards, there was an advantage and disadvantage to the pay part. The advantage was that since it was pay to post, there weren't alot of yahoo's spouting off or spam, but since it was pay, there isn't alot of content either. People had great advice and comments to your questions though, but in the end, it wasn't worth it.
I think an information site is very difficult to get people to pay for because they are relatively easy to set up and there are alot of them out there. The professor had a premium section to this site that was pay for awhile, maybe ask him for his thought's/advice directly.

Submitted by BikeRider on January 9, 2007 - 11:57am.

YES. Consumer Reports is the only place I pay to have extra website access. Anywhere else I go on the web, if there is a fee (and LOTS of ads), I just look elsewhere.

Actually, if a website had information that I really needed, and I felt the cost was reasonable, I have no problem paying to access the site. It just ends up that all my hobbies and interests have plenty of free sites with good info.

Submitted by SD Realtor on January 9, 2007 - 12:29pm.

Hi Lost Kitty -

I have paid for a couple of different foreclosure sites. On the other thread that Eagleeye queried you about where you got your foreclosure information I incorrectly implied that paying was the only way to get the data. That was VERY incorrect as you pointed out and many other sites give you the information for free. I incorrectly was assuming that the information sought was contact information for the distressed homeowner who had a lein or NOD.

Sorry about that incorrect post Eagleeye.

In general I have found that the contact information that some of the foreclosure sites have provided is pretty much hit and miss. Lots of times it is outdated or old or the person has already been contacted by alot of other people already. In general it is not been a worthwhile investment but I keep trying them out.

SD Realtor

Submitted by PerryChase on January 9, 2007 - 12:45pm.

Certain magazines I subscribe to provide web access to their subscribers. But that's about all I indirectly pay for.

I'm not against paying... but there're so much distractions out there, so many unexplored content that you can easily find an alternative. For example, I use to read the NYT opinion pages. Since they went pay, I switched to Piggington. I guess I have a short attention span and low loyalty.

I never had cable TV and but I had high speed Internet access at home since the beginning. Perhaps one day I'll pay for Internet content but I haven't found anything compelling yet.

Submitted by lostkitty on January 9, 2007 - 1:09pm.

Thanks for all the responses! Keep 'em coming...

I am in agreement PC, there is just SO much out there, and so much that i am interested in, I made it a policy not to pay for anything. I'd be broke with my long list of hobbies and interests.

I considered subcribing to the magazine Consumer Reports so i could have the free access to their site, but in the end did neither. Decided I could get any issue off the shelf at the library or at the drugstore when/if I really was interested (which turned out to be never).

Submitted by lostkitty on January 9, 2007 - 1:13pm.

Hi SD Realtor:

Let's just say we are both right...! I think there is probably extended information you can get by paying, but there is also more than enough that is free.

How much info does one really need anyway?

Submitted by sdrealtor on January 9, 2007 - 2:00pm.

Thats what title reps are for. you can get all that information for free.


Submitted by poorgradstudent on January 9, 2007 - 2:12pm.

I've occasionally paid for sites for a month or so in the past, but I loathe renewing costs. I am a member of a couple sites that simply charge one time or modest, <$30, annual fees.

For larger sites free content with advertising seems to be the model that works best. Smaller ones often get by with merchandising and asking for donations.

Another model that sometimes works is providing decent, free, advertising driven content, with extra premium content that requires a subscription fee.

It depends a lot on the site, but the ones that seem to work are those that are labors of love or recreation by the site creators who manage to attract enough traffic to break even or turn a small profit through advertising.

Submitted by bubble_contagion on January 9, 2007 - 7:52pm.

Succesful websites have two things in common: they work and they are free. Two examples: Google, no advertising and it's fast and accurate. Youtube, great video plug-in and bandwith, free service. The question is: are these two websites going to make money to the expected levels? Google stock trades at 4x it's 2003 IPO and youtube just got bought by them for $1.6 billion.

No, it's a hassle to maintain the accounts (usernames, passwords, the issue of using a credit card on-line)

Submitted by barnaby33 on January 9, 2007 - 10:52pm.

Once along time ago, I paid for this dumb real estate website called piggington. The proprietor got all persnickety and threw the money back at me. He was mumbling something at the time, but I never quite figured out what he was saying.

Oh and I subscribed to the CS Monitor and the Economist.


Submitted by Critter on January 10, 2007 - 6:57am.

Google does have advertising - all the "sponsored links" off to the right-hand side. What makes these blend in is that they are not in loud colors or banner ads. What I despise is those "interstituals" which are the ads that crop up between pages - common on the NYTimes website.

I would pay for premium business info such as or LexisNexis but usually the boss picks up the tab for these services. I also pay to list items on eBay and accept payments via PayPal but these are not info sites.

What holds me back from other sites is their efforts to shoehorn me into a subscription service - ie, hanging onto my credit card number and charging me every month whether I go on the site or not. This is definitely a barrier to entry that companies should offer a choice about rather than forcing on their readers.

One last site that offers good paid content - Morningstar for stock and mutual fund info.

Submitted by PerryChase on January 10, 2007 - 11:33am.

How about a prepaid type web service? Like a prepaid phone card? You pay for what you use until you need to recharge.

Submitted by NeetaT on January 10, 2007 - 3:38pm.


Submitted by noone on January 12, 2007 - 3:08pm.

There are a few sites that I pay for. It will depend on various things including how much I value the service they offer, how much they charge, whether the same service is available anywhere else, how often I will use the service, and how else they are making money (ads, etc.).
Why? This is the most popular site for geocachers. They are the de facto official geocaching site, and have caches that players do not list on other sites. They offer a free membership, but paid members can take advantage of some extra services that I think are worth $30 a year. I visit the site several times a week
Why? They offer online electronic versions of technical books. You can also print chapters for offline reading. The basic membership is $15 a month. Since most tech books are in the $30-$70 range at a bookstore, I find this to be a reasonable alternative. I visit the site several times a month.

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