> what happens to your public service when someone
> opens up a competing list that includes advertising? Do you just shut down
> your list and go your merry way?
This assumes that advertising revenue will support better "content" for
a list. Most copy only makes compelling content when one is actually
in the market. As someone has pointed out, how many people do you know
who subscribe to Computer Shopper?
Given that there *are* trade rags which I read mainly for the ads, and
others which I find have useful content (guess which ones I pay for), I don't
see why an advertising-supported list would drive out the non-advertising one.
Judging from 10 years of watching people interact with the net, I find that
topics tend to migrate to the most hospitable environments.
As an example: email@example.com would probably have a much more
positive response to these ideas than this list, but the quality of the
discussion might suffer due to lack of debate.
> If an enterprising person on
> the net could find a way to make a list on the same subject as yours more
> attractive in spite of advertising (and let's face it, if he's being paid by
> someone for the ads, he's going to expend a lot more brain power on this than
> you), you could find your list out in the cold. Is that a disaster? Probably
> not, since you don't spend much time maintaining the lists anyway.
How much control does such an enterprising person have over the attractiveness
of their offering? America Online likes to think that their tie-ins are
what makes them attractive (the editor-journalist model), yet it seems that
people stay subscribed for the connectivity/interactivity -- commodities which
traditional media cannot substitute.
The basic disconnect here may be that it is quality of discussion which
keeps a list attractive, and ad copy is not intended to provoke discussion,
it is intended to produce one response: "yes"