I was startled to see this discussion on The Union’s Facebook page:
“So much for being able to share news with our Facebook friends,” The Union wrote. “Posts from business pages aren’t shown any more to friends who have ‘liked’ the page. It doesn’t make sense for us to pay $30 for each post shown to our friends. In other words, FB is no different than any other commercial media now.”
1. Ironic comment, since The Union initiated building a big Facebook fan base, inviting subscribers to “like” them, rather than just grow it from grassroots. Then it bragged about its fan base. Now it is being critical of social media.
2. No, the pages still are shared with some of your Facebook fans, without charging. The fee service just allows you to reach more of them. Facebook still largely is a free service.
We have used the “promote” feature for our business — to promote Music in the Mountains this morning, in fact. And no, it’s not $30; it’s for as little as $5. It makes sense for our business to do this!
3. The Union’s misinformed post generated 70 comments from readers, many of them critical. One example: “Can’t believe that for such a small town, The Union wants us to pay to read online local news, and now at the local stores you guys want a 1.00 for a paper, Very disappointed. Guess I will just get my news from kcra 3 because it IS free.”
Or “I wonder if I will read about this post in tomorrow’s Auburn Journal…..no charge!”
4. A new publisher who “makes nice” with the community rather than alienating some of it will no doubt begin to make a “paywall” model more successful. At least it’s a first step. Improving the quality of the content will help justify a “paywall” too. There’s just too much competition, even in a small town.
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