The wrong survey questions

by Jason Preston on July 10, 2009

The New York Times recently loosed a survey on its print subscribers asking how they’d feel about paying for access to the web site. In it, they’re asking questions like:

How likely would you be to pay a $2.50 monthly fee — which would be a 50% discount for home delivery subscribers — for continued, unlimited access to

Nobody really knows the answer to that question. And most people would say “very unlikely,” even if they would pay it, because they might listen and it might stay free.

The NYT should be asking questions like “do you feel any special affinity to other NYT print subscribers?” and “what is your favorite online feature at the web site?” because these are questions that will produce valuable insight for the marketing copy they’ll need to sell their online subscription system.

If what you produce is worth $5/month, then charge it. Focus on selling the benefits of your content — the feeling of community, clarity of information, video and interactive components that make one feel informed.

If they’re looking for a data-backed excuse to start charging for access, they won’t find it. You have to know you have a product worth money, and you have to assert it confidently. Selling your site is a whole different business than giving it away for free.

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A pergunta errada do jornal certo « Webmanario
07.13.09 at 6:01 am


1 Teach_J 07.10.09 at 12:31 pm

I would never be willing to pay to read the NYT online, but I often read articles from the NYT. I don’t live in New York, or even on the east coast. So, the NYT would lose thousands of readers like me, who may only visit once or twice a week, but make up millions of web hits monthly. I can’t justify paying, even a small amount for content at the dozen or so web based news sites I visit. I just don’t visit them often enough to pay. Now, if you could put all those eggs – every newspaper web site in America – in one basket for $5-10 a month. I might find that valuable. And if you gave it to me for free if I subscribed to the local print paper daily, now you’ve really got a deal.

2 Johan Lange 07.11.09 at 6:18 am

There are a lot of things to be said in these areas – paid content as well as questionnaires.
First of all – how can you answer questions on subjects and services not yet tried by the respondent?
Secondly – we tend to answer one thing – and do another – there’s a lot of US research on this
Third – we tend to ask questions from our own perspective, like most quizes say more about its creator than the respondent.

More 2 follow in this matter! 😉

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