A study by USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism confirms what anyone who uses the Internet already know: Internet users want everything for free.
Millions of Americans use Twitter — just don’t ask any of them to pay for it.
The annual study of the impact of the Internet on Americans by the Center for the Digital Future found that 49 percent of Internet users said they have used free micro-blogs such as Twitter.
But when asked if they would be willing to pay for Twitter, zero percent said yes.
“Such an extreme finding that produced a zero response underscores the difficulty of getting Internet users to pay for anything that they already receive for free,” said Jeffrey I. Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.
The only people who still haven’t figured out that people won’t pay for anyone online is venture capitalists. You can get them to cough up millions of dollars for a money-losing idea on the supposition that they’ll eventually find a “business model” that brings in revenue. But as Cole notes, there is only one model:
“Internet users can obtain content in three ways: they can steal it, or pay for it, or accept advertising on the Web pages they view,” said Cole. “Users express strong negative views about online advertising, but they still prefer seeing ads as an alternative to paying for content. Consumers really want free content without advertising, but ultimately they understand that content has to be paid for — one way or another.”
By the way, if you use Twitter it is your duty as a ROFTER to follow us—you can find us at @ROFTERS—and tell your friends about First Things. We’ll keep you updated about all the content we give away for free, you tightwad.