We not only respect Mike Arrington, we enjoy reading his blog. But we’re not paying $2 a month to read it.
Yet that’s what Amazon thinks we’ll pony up for a subscription to TechCrunch on its new Kindle reader. Mike’s blog is one of 300 web pubs that Amazon is selling via its new e-book; other pay-for-play pubs include Rafat Ali’s Paidcontent (99 cents per month), Om Malik’s GigaOm ($1.99) and Robert Scoble’s Scobelizer ($1.99). Amazon wouldn’t tell us how much of the putative revenue the bloggers get, but we guesstimate it’s in the 35% to 50% range…
Promoting blogs on the Kindle is a good move on Amazon’s part; it’s a smart way to highlight the device’s free wireless feature. But we’ve got no idea why Amazon (AMZN) thinks anyone is going to pay to read content that’s delivered free over the Web.
Jeff Bezos tried taking a stab at this at his press event today, rationalizing that Kindle blog subscriptions were better than RSS feeds, since RSS feeds only give you partial content. But as team SAI learned within two weeks of our launch, that’s not true: The blog standard, particularly for the tech set that Mike and his cohorts target, is to offer full feeds. More to the point: Anyone who wants to can already read TechCrunch, GigaOm or any other blog they want on their Kindle, for free, via the machine’s crude Web browser. It’s not an ideal way to browse the Web, but it’s not awful, particularly for reading short blog snippets.
And it’s the way almost any Kindle owner will end up reading Mike, Om or any other blog. At the Amazon event this morning, we talked to two different bloggers whose pubs are part of the Kindle launch. Their consensus: No one’s going to pay read their copy, and this pay-to-play experiment will be over in less than six months.