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Honolulu Civil Beat Now Free… There is a Sucker Born Every Minute

This is the story of the online paper that got in over there heads here in Hawaii… or in other words, there is a sucker born every minute.

I just read that the Civil Beat is now free to the “occasional reader” over at Got Windmills as Andy Parx writes:

…But we heard from Mike yesterday that there are going to be “some changes to civilbeat.com” and that “(e)verything we’ve been working on is now free for occasional readers…

…We wonder what those who paid for a year are thinking… probably much the same thing we did when we got to Woodstock after having paid 18, 1969 dollars for tickets and found the fences on the ground…”

I have never been a fan of the Civil Beat and I did mention that this was not the first time that Omidyar has tried to set something like this up that has failed.

In May of last year I wrote:

Well we can’t say that Pierre Omidyar hasn’t tried something similar to the Honolulu Civil Beat before and it appears that it wasn’t as successful as he may have thought it could be.

I just checked out Bayosphere and it’s pretty bland.

Bayosphere, launched in June last year, has close to 100,000 unique visitors a month, but Gillmor has acknowledged the experiment hasn’t turned out the way he had hoped. Gillmor, a former Mercury News columnist, received funding from the Omidyar Network, an investment group founded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and from tech entrepreneur Mitch Kapor.

I guess in April 2006, Omidyar also helped finance Backfence which also looks pretty barren.

Backfence’s Susan DeFife has said that the startup planned to expand and now we see how they plan to proceed, at least in the San Francisco Bay area. Both Backfence and Bayosphere were funded initially by the Omidyar Network. (Bayosphere raised about $200,000 in total, part of it from Mitch Kapor.)

But like I’ve said… I’ll be patient of this venture… and just wish that I had a billionaire financing my blog.

Of course, from the results of the poll that I posted  on would you be willing to fork out $240 per year for online news, where more then 50.75 % of the folks said “Your Kidding”, 41.79% flat out said “No” and only %7.46 percent said they would be willing to pay for online news pretty much reflects what I think Civil Beat is learning!

I’m wondering if the Civil Beat is now offering refunds to those that did pay into their format of providing news?  There’s a sucker born every minute… and you know what they say about a fool and his money!

Of course… all of this could be for nothing… and they might just put up that wall again for us folks that won’t pay for their subscription… but until then… check it out The Honolulu Civil Beat.

3 Responses

  1. Hi Damon – Thank you for sharing our announcement that our content will be more accessible to folks who are interested in reading.

    I did want to clear up the fact that our model hasn’t changed – and that full access to our site will still require membership. Now that we’ve established credibility and a following we’re able to offer our content to those who are interested in seeing how Civil beat is different.

    Sorry you’re not a fan, but a lot of great folks visit and engage on our site every day. I’m super grateful for each and everyone of them.

  2. it reminds one of the paper,newspaper business. some folks paying up to 180.00 yr for daily delivery and some paying 00.50 wk for daily minus Monday, and some paying 00.00, and upon cancellation, being called up and offered a deep discount to not pay at all again- 82% of East Bay subscribers to Media News Group pubs fell into the never paid one red cent column.

    online news doesn’t have to play three card monty and which-shell-is-the-pea-under with the Audit Bureau Of Circulation. at least that was a way to have fun while the ship slipped under the waves.

  3. I never found anything posted on there that I couldn’t find elsewhere.

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