On Monday when I wrote about 37signals and other great Web 2.0 acquisition bait one of the general observations that was made was that most of the companies rely on advertising to get by. It seems that everyone is in a rush to add as many users as possible to their applications and services that they don’t bother with a paid model and decide to rely on the advertising route. So the question is how hard can it be to get users to pay if they already find your service valuable?
Could YouTube offer a pro version that provided you with more tools and a greater chance to gain exposure with your videos? Maybe they simply add pro accounts that allow you to upload larger movies ala Flickr.
Looking at a lot of Web 2.0 services it is kind of surprising how none of them provide a pro version for any of their services or basically any special type of service that would entice users to pay. Now some services and applications do very will with the advertising model. Facebook is no slouch with bringing in revenue, but they have groups and communities that target niches that many advertisers are going after.
WordPress.com does an excellent job of this by providing you with some excellent basic services that can become greatly enhanced by paying them a small fee. From last that I heard these services helped push them into profitability, but I can’t say if that is still the case because so many new people have signed up since then.
Do you think that companies fear that users won’t pay for their services? It does require a certain bit of bravado to think that you created a service so good that people are willing to pay for it. If you create a strong enough community though don’t you think many of the members would be willing to pay for something that gives them just a little bit more? This year I am definitely looking for the companies to take that next step and begin to integrate multiple revenue streams into their systems.