Readers respond to David Talbot's Letter From the Editor.

Published February 4, 2003 10:39PM (EST)

[Read "Salon's New Deal."]

OK, I might very well be in the minority here, but I love the new "view ad to read Salon" feature.

Before other readers start throwing stones, listen to why.

I sometimes forget to come read Salon for weeks if work is being particularly hairy or the weight of the world is pressing particularly heavily on me. So I've always had a hard time justifying paying for a Salon Premium subscription. I would feel a vague sort of anxiety for paying for something I wasn't using.

At the same time, I always come back to Salon. Always. Love the content, love the style, love the feel. There's always been a vague feeling of guilt for not buying a subscription, knowing that great products need to be supported.

Enter the "View an Ad" program! When I want to read, I view an ad. When I'm not reading, no ad. How very clever. And no guilt -- not for spending money on something I'm not using regularly (irrational, I know!) and not for reading your wonderful articles and giving nothing back.

Thanks again Salon, for giving us exactly what we need!

-- Avonelle Wing

Hey guys, I've been on the verge of taking or leaving Salon.com for a long time, and this new scam you're pulling to try to attract more subscribers isn't cutting the mustard. Maybe if you presented a more consistent level of quality I'd be more inclined to put money in your pocket. As it is, though, no way.

-- Jacob

OK, David.

I can only use the one subscription, so I will pass on buying myself another until it expires. But I will purchase several for friends! Like the credit card ads say ... having informed friends ... priceless.

This is one of the best online investments one can make. I would hate to talk about Salon in the past tense. It's one of the few places I can find relative sanity.

Except of course, for that idiot Sullivan you keep letting spew what passes for conservative thought.

Keep up the good work. This magazine is a bargain at any price.

-- Forrest MacGregor

It's certainly understandable that you need to keep your head above water, financially speaking. However, your content has recently been so timid and bland so as to make it less than "essential."

I'll continue to check you out occasionally, but I hope, for the sake of your business, that you provide a little more hard news and insightful commentary.

Good luck.

-- Matthew Hale

As I read your letter to the readers this morning, I was stunned to see that there are "readers who, even at this post-boom stage of the Web, still believe that information should be free." Who could still think this way? Some former Soviet Union dinosaur, oblivious to the natural laws of the universe? A confused muckraker from a sophomore philosophy class trying to impress a crush with some pseudo-liberal mumbo-jumbo? It's 2003, people. There is no free lunch! You either pay in time (to sift though ads), taxes (government-subsidized media), or straight from your wallet. I never understood how something as rich and dimensional as Salon could ever have been free in the first place. When it comes to choosing the stuff I'm gonna put in my head, I'd rather pay for it myself: upfront, with no corporate genetics and no puppet strings attached. I wish we as a society could get over the tired "Should we have to pay for this or that" question and move on to the more relevant one: "What is important enough to me to pay for?"

To me, Salon is worth it.

-- Michael D. Starcevich

I just wanted to commend you on your decision to offer full access to Salon in exchange for viewing an ad. I really liked it when you ran this experiment with the Mercedes ad a couple of months ago, and I'm really glad that experiment proved successful. As I wrote at the time, this is an innovative approach that should benefit everyone. Readers who hate ads can subscribe, readers who choose not to subscribe can still access Salon, advertisers get solid numbers on the reach of their ads, and Salon can stay in business and charge more for those "guaranteed-seen" ads. I hope other content providers take note of this move and emulate it. The heck with Amazon's "One-Click" patent; let's see Salon's "One-View" one!

-- Fred Holliss

I love the new "Premium Day Pass" feature! The ads are actually interesting (so far) and not annoying, and actually do a decent job of raising my interest in the product. Today's ad was for the Mercedes E class, and I am now far better informed about some of its features that I was previously unaware of.

More important, I had to let my premium subscription lapse because I was out of work for some time. I keenly missed Salon's excellent articles. Now I have the opportunity to support Salon and read your articles until I have the opportunity to renew my premium membership.

Thank you for your innovation. I hope it is a smashing success and that your plan is widely copied by content providers around the Web.

-- David Krieger

Please accept a simpering sycophant's letter. I think the new funding options for Salon are great. I am sure there are a lot of complaints, but there shouldn't be. Your editorial was well written and did a very good job of laying out why funding was necessary (which should be obvious) and the rationale behind this win-win setup.

I have not subscribed to Salon although I have been on the edge. I don't have time to read very frequently and therefore haven't justified the subscription cost. I have felt that I should because I do use the service and want to support its continuance. This seems like the perfect balance. Those who use the site frequently enough to justify the costs don't have to see the ads. Those less frequent users, like myself, have an alternative way to cover their burden of the costs, and no longer have to face the annoyance of reading a brilliant story opening (or "hook") only to be told we have to pay to read the rest.

More than fair in my opinion.

-- Chris Petty


-- K. Roberts


It has been some time coming.

Give me all the ads that you can, but don't make it compulsory to pay.

Not because I believe that content should be free on the Web, but because I stay in India. And the foreign exchange regulations here are so complicated that I would probably be committed for even bothering to try subscribing to an American webzine (collective laughter and incredulous looks!!!).

To cut this long (and by now boring) story short: I have reason once again to tell everyone that the best American publication does not even exist on paper. And that there still is such a thing as an American media independent.

Given the rabid right-wing proclivities of the present Indian government, boy, could we do with something like Salon here.

Thanks. Lay on the adverts ...

-- Santanu Chakrabarti, Mumbai, India

I became a Salon subscriber almost a year ago and am very glad I did. Despite an economic crisis in my country that also negatively affected my salary, I decided I should get Salon to get political coverage, latest news, books, movie coverage ...

The reason I am very happy with my Salon subscription is twofold. The first reason is that after I became a subscriber I discovered much more of Salon. As I wanted to get the most out of my money I checked more of your features and found out that the Technology articles were very interesting, informative and accessible, the interviews are brilliant and straight to the point, the sex features and satires are extremely funny. Even the reviews of the movies I didn't watch are intriguing.

The second reason is the bias of other media sources. I am a frequent reader of other international news sources like the Economist. Especially this year, I am very disturbed of their biased to the right-wing coverage. I said more than once "Thank God there is Salon." Your articles are so refreshing and help me keep a balanced and a more objective point of view. Although as a non-American I wish Salon had more international news, I still don't complain about your extensive America coverage, as whatever goes on there eventually affects all of us.

I hope Salon gets more subscribers. And here I am calling out other readers: If I can spare my hard-earned, scarce salary as a non-American, I am sure you can do the same.

-- Aytul Ozbakir

As far as I am concerned, you can double my yearly fee and I will gladly pay it. There isn't another publication, electronic or print, that I would say that about.

Salon provides me with thoughtful commentary throughout the week and it is the first "newspaper" I peruse every day. The range of topics, and the diversity of opinions, that you explore are not duplicated anywhere, and I am a news junkie.

I am sure that I am not in a minority when I write that I would pay more to continue this service and, if that is what it comes to, please let me know, and please do not apologize.

Thank you for the wonderful work that you do.

-- Robert Nash

I am a longtime reader of Salon and was a reluctant subscriber to Salon Premium. However, once I saw what I was getting with Salon Premium, all my hesitations were assuaged and eventually eliminated.

I am constantly impressed by the caliber of journalism within Salon's electronic pages. As a former journalist myself, I've become disenchanted with the media in general. I can hardly watch the news or read a newspaper anymore without cringing at the lack of meaty substance, and the egocentric focus of the American press.

Salon is like a safe haven for the forward-thinking, liberally minded public, and it seems more than fair to pay a few dollars (less than you'd pay for a newspaper) to support that effort. As long as you're around, I will continue to subscribe and urge others to subscribe. We can't let Salon slip into oblivion. Where would we be without your incisive articles, bleeding edge behind-the-scenes coverage of U.S. and world events, and entertaining reads like Cary Tennis and others?

I implore your readers to help pay the rent, to help keep Salon around, and to contribute, even in a small way, to making people more aware so they can help make the world a better place.

-- Erin Johansen

Just wanted to drop a line to let you know that I'm a Premium subscriber and loyal reader (I have my home page set to Salon.com, actually), and that you guys are doing a spectacular job of turning up important stories that are neglected in many other outlets. I find that I can get more detailed and incisive analysis here of a broader range of issues than I can in any other single place.

Particularly effective recently has been your coverage of Bush (and GOP) foreign and domestic policy initiatives, finding the facts beyond the spin, and the burgeoning antiwar movement. I congratulate you.

Good luck on the breaking-even thing. I would hate to lose you.

-- Sal Bednarz

I'm a struggling college student with very little money to throw around. I've enjoyed your Web site for over two years, but last year the addition of premium services made me miss out on a lot of your content. I bitched and moaned and even wrote a letter to the editor at how disappointed I was with the new system. I was blown away when I received not one but three letters in response giving advice and understanding from your editors. Regardless, I missed out on some great articles in the last year. But now the addition of the mandatory advertisement has changed that. I will gladly sit through a little car commercial or a movie flash trailer if I can get my hands on that hard-to-find commodity, independently driven, high-quality journalism. I never could have afforded your service to pay. Please thank the Mercedes company for spotting me.

You rule.

-- Peter Hassett

By Salon Staff

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