Coulda bought a Sunbeam grill for cheap, or a Char-Broil. Instead I splurged and bought a Vermont Castings. That was 5 years ago; so far it has required zero maintenance and zero replacement parts, other than a new AA battery in the ignition.
As the sayings go, “A cheap product is an expensive product”, and “You get what you pay for.”
Analogous stuff going on in the publishing world. There’s lots of debate about whether you can “charge for content” instead of giving it away.
The answer seems obvious to me. If you want to charge a premium, you have to make a premium product.
You can’t charge for any old information. You *can* charge for a service that isn’t duplicated elsewhere for free.
An interesting case in point, apparently, is Cook’s Illustrated. With a zillion recipe and cooking sites out there, how can Cook’s charge for memberships? The answer is that Cook’s invests tons of research (= money) into their information product. You can’t afford to re-create all their tests in your home kitchen. In essence, it’s a testing service.
Now lots of newspapers & magazines & websites are probably going to try charging for their content online. But that’s after spending the last several years stripping every possible expense out of their operations.
So the attempt to charge is going to fail.
Not because you can’t charge, but because people won’t pay a premium price for low-end goods.
You can’t build crappy grills and then ask for Vermont Castings prices.