Highest Rated Comments

tomatoswoop133 karma

Are you sure you're real? Because that right there sounds like the perfect video game and I refuse to believe it.

tomatoswoop70 karma

browsers with ad blockers and reader mode already exist, you're probably using one.

The difference is, they are actually offering a model where content creators still get some money from that, whereas most browsers don't.

Do you ask for permission before you visit a newspaper's website on Chrome/Firefox with Ublock Origin? I doubt it. I wouldn't let the perfect be the enemy of the good, the only way to try and get something like this working is to go for it and try and make a splash. At least they're offering content creators money up front.

tomatoswoop63 karma

to be fair starting first and hashing out the complaints and legalities later is how most of the online media services we use today started out, the "shoot first ask questions later" approach is hardly unprecedented here haha.

And since they're offering a new revenue stream up front here I wouldn't be surprised if very few publications try to pull their articles. I mean, it's not like people can't use a reader app on the free version of their website if they want anyway, and the demographic this app is aimed at, namely people willing to put effort and money into avoiding ads, are hardly likely to be otherwise bringing unpaywalled newspapers money; they probably have adblockers installed.

I'm sure some publications will get annoyed and try to pull their content, but my guess is it'll be the minority.

tomatoswoop24 karma

I don't think it really makes a difference to this argument, but I could have said adblock, which is for-profit, and the point would be moot.

Also, Google is for profit, and chrome allows UBlock on its store, so, yes, google is profiting from articles that it did not write; they offer a product which allows you to read those articles without ads. They could take UBlock off the store but they don't because it would make Chrome less popular (and they profit indirectly off chrome's market share). Readup does the same thing, it allows you to browse these free-to-view websites without ads, except it then gives money to the content creator. Seems like a better model to me.

As for asking permission, in an ideal world I agree with you that would be better, but unfortunately that's just not how the ecosystem works. If you have to get permission from everyone in advance, without serious $$ backing you, you'd never get off the ground.

Why do you think youtube launched on a freebooting model and then later brought record companies to the table. Because that's the only way they ever could have done.

I'm sure if they get a C&D from any publication or author, they'll comply. But generally speaking, I'd imagine most people are going to be on board with the idea, since ads bring such little revenue per reader (less than pennies), and they are offering real money for each reader.

edit: grammar, apostrophes, shit like that

tomatoswoop12 karma

You're vastly underestimating how much strain journalism is under. Many publications that rely on advertising revenues can barely keep the doors open, the new model of online advertising brings in such little revenue that most journalistic organisations have cut right back to the bare bones. Large newspapers that used to have bureaus all over the world have closed them all down and just pay someone to churn out articles from reuters and AP feeds. Small newspapers have mostly closed down. This means that, for any given world event, where there used to be a number of on the ground reporters reporting on events directly, and then a downstream of smaller publications aggregating those reports and offering their perspective on events, now there is basically a feed that gets piped into the offices of the few remaining major outlets, and a couple of overworked underpaid writers who hurriedly write it up into an article.

When it comes to investigative reporting, it's even worse. Basic, boring, local journalism is dead. Town hall meetings, city council meetings, public consultations, local events, stuff like that used to have a team of local reporters from various outlets at the scene, chronicling what's going on (and, occasionally, noticing patterns and digging, and finding corruption stories or other public interest stories). That's all gone; those reporters don't exist any more. Sure, the event might still appear somewhere if its a big enough deal, but it'll be more often than not just typed up from a press pack, which is taken completely at face value.

There are exceptions of course, but "most journalists" aren't paid by number of reads, "most journalists" are unemployed. The industry is in a dire state, there is hardly any true reporting any more, it's all just regurgitated from a couple of centralised feeds, and churned out in a hurry. This is toxic for the political discourse.

Many of the organisations that you would point to as a "success" are in fact lossmaking. Newspapers generally run at a loss. A few (such as the guardian) are sustained by an independent endowment, some new media (substack, magazines like jacobin) are funded by direct subscribers (like a patreon type model), but a large chunk of the print press is essentially sustained by wealthy donors who fund it; the ad revenue isn't even enough to cover costs, they require external funding to be viable, even after having cut back to the bare bones. The few success stories (places like Vox) do little if any real direct reporting, they're more of a media company than a journalistic organisation in the traditional sense; they package up and commentate on what's already been reported elsewhere, in a way that will generate clicks. And even they are only viable because of massive VC cash injections, which again, is not healthy if that's the only way to be viable. Even the largest print media outlets aren't serious revenue drawers any more, which means what value they do have is as a lever to influence society, not as a business.

This is downright dangerous to the media ecosystem.