Advertising is the past. Reader support is the future. This has implications for journalism and website design. You cannot build a media business annoying the audience. People will not keep paying for things that constantly annoy them. That confrontational contrarian opinion writer? He’s costing you money.
News websites also need to fix the stickiness problem.
Make it hard to subscribe, and people will give up. If someone has decided to give you money, don’t put obstacles in their way. Get the money. You can always circles back later if you really need more information. And before you do, ask yourself if you really do need to know a date of birth, or what they work at.
Worse again, make it hard to cancel a sub, and you kill your future. People unsubscribe for all sorts of reasons. Maybe money is tight, or just need a break. But if you’ve made it a pain to leave, with dark designs, obscure and concealed links, or 45 minute phone calls, they’ll remember that pain, and think twice before coming back.
Smart companies make it as easy to leave as to join. You don’t want Hotel California. You want to be a revolving door.
[Thoughts after reading How Google and Facebook destroyed the value of digital advertising]