We can’t decide if TechDirt’s expansion of its online store is brilliant or satirical.TechDirt is an outspoken blog founded by editor Mike Masnick that covers a lot of tech trends, with a heavy focus on copyright, patent reform and privacy issues. It’s had a store that sells T-shirts and mugs for a while, but the site just expanded its paid options to includes some pretty strange things. For instance, you can shut the site down for a day. That will cost $ million. Or you can shut the site down forever, that will cost $100 million — and counting.
Masnick is also selling himself for a meal. That is you can buy “Lunch with Mike” in San Francisco for $250 or for $1,500 you can buy an “Awesome Day With TechDirt” where you can not only eat lunch with Mike but also eat breakfast and lunch with the whole team and then do some blogging for the site. (Yes, you pay them for this, not the other way around.)
It will cost you $5,000 to get your business model reviewed by TechDirt, $10,000 to get Masnick to speak at your event or $30,000 to get the TechDirt team to plan an event for you.
On a more serious note, the site is experimenting with getting its readers to pay for various subscriptions to the site, including a $15/month fee to get things like first crack at blog posts, a thing called “Insider Chat” that lets them talk to the writers, and a new feature that gives them the power to upvote comments in a way that really highlights them.
News sites have been trying to get readers to pay for content forever and only a few have been able to pull that off. LWN.net, a Linux blog, is 100% subscription supported. For the money, subscribers get early access to its articles — often highly technical insights written by Linux engineers — and an ad-free site.
But it’s very rare for an ad-supported tech site to be able to generate much subscription revenue. So, if you see Masnick eating multiple lunches a day at various San Francisco restaurants, you’ll know that TechDirt is onto something.
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