May 2012
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BlogPeoria goes behind a pay wall

Billy Dennis is trying something new in the Peoria blogosphere: You won’t be able to read his original content on the BlogPeoria Project ( unless you subscribe. Subscriptions are relatively cheap at $3 per month. His post explaining the new system is here.

In a nutshell, blogging is one of those things that most people do as a hobby, in addition to having a “real” job. Since Billy recently got laid off his “real” job (the company he worked for recently closed their Peoria offices), he wants to make blogging his full-time gig. That means he’s planning to do more freelance, original reporting and is hoping that his readers will be willing to pay for the content. Between subscriptions and ad revenue, he believes the business venture will work.

He’ll have no dearth of challenges.

First, even though the Peoria Journal Star is supposedly behind a pay wall, it’s a weak one that’s easily defeated, so their content is still, for intents and purposes, available for free online. Plus, all the TV/radio stations that do news post their news stories on line. And there are the other blogs that will remain free. Billy is consistently going to have to come up with content that is not available from these other sources if he’s going to convince people to pay him $3/month.

Second, Billy will have to overcome his own reputation to a certain extent. People know that he’s capable of doing original reporting, but they also know that he puts up scads of worthless posts, such as “eye candy” and one-line posts that just link to a Journal Star article. So he’s not only going to have to provide good, original content, he’s going to have to overcome negative perceptions people may have about the kind of posts they will get if they subscribe.

Thirdly, several people on a local forum ( have complained that they are getting a virus downloaded to their computer from Billy’s website. Billy is going to have to make sure his site is secure from these sorts of threats. Not only does it anger your customers when their computers get infected, it can also land you on a real-time blacklist which will block your site to any of their subscribers.

Lastly, he’s going to have to edit his posts. Hideous misspellings and grammatical errors are fine for a free blog. But if you’re paying for content, you expect it to be professional and polished.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I think Billy’s plan can work. One person can do quite a bit of reporting if they have the time to commit to it. I think Billy could do $3/month’s worth of reporting easily. And if he gets more subscribers, he could pay freelancers to submit more original works and really build up the site. Having content behind a pay wall would allow him to offer syndicated comics and puzzles if he gets enough revenue to pay for it.

There are lots of possibilities, and I wish him the best of luck.идея за подарък

31 comments to BlogPeoria goes behind a pay wall

  • No

    There is no way I would pay for this. Thanks for the smile today though! Blogs are supposed to be for the people anyway. Sheesh.

  • “No” — Are you saying you’re fundamentally opposed to paying for any content, or just that you wouldn’t pay for Billy’s content?

    I confess I haven’t subscribed to the BlogPeoria Project either. But if his content gets compelling enough, I will. I’m not opposed to paying for content. If he really puts in the time to report on stories that no one else is covering and that I’m interested in reading, it will be worth it to me to subscribe.

    And then I’ll quote his original content on my free blog and steal all his customers. Bwahahahahahaha!

  • GOPer

    If he wrote the way he used to I might consider it but I would never pay money to read his left wing wacko rants calling everyone a racist if they don’t bow to the almighty Obama.

  • Dan

    I stopped getting his RSS feed when he went on an endless rant against Limbaugh. Not that I agree (or disagree) with everything Limbaugh says… but it was just way too much.

  • GOPer, that rant of YOURS is getting old. If I don’t see it in print from you, I hear it on Hannity.

  • If he does reporting that no one else does (or takes days to get around to doing) or the in-depth investigative work found here on The Chronicle, then it would be worth it. However, I think he put the pay cart before the horse. He should have done everything he is claiming he will do first, piqued interest and THEN went behind a paywall. I may be wrong, but I doubt he gets too many subscriptions based on what he has been doing over the last 6 months as that is what is on people’s minds.

  • AnneC

    PAY for pictures of half-naked women (and girls), grammar and spelling my 6th grade (nun) teacher would fail, and slanderous, biased “news”???? I don’t think so! I gave up reading his trash for free several months ago.

  • Anon E. Mouse

    Chef Kevin is correct.
    Also, CJ’s last point is a tell-tale sign. He never tires of blowing his own horn about being a former newspaper editor and then doesn’t edit his posts. It always just sounded like sour grapes.
    I stopped reading Bill a long time ago. I certainly wouldn’t pay for it – then or ever.

  • Gee, C.J., I’m reading a lot of negativism here, but wondering if it isn’t fueled by something deeper. Like maybe if someone had self-confidence and determination, they might have done it first. Instead of taking a sabbatical and only coming out these days when the city makes a move on his pet peeve or Brother Billy decides to give it a try. But what the hell, you never do know who your friends are, do you?

  • C.J. offers valid criticism.

    I’ll respond:

    1. I plan on expanding coverage of the city. I’ll pick up the school board and county board. I’m already covering the police blotter. I’ll do the extra feature story and follow up on tips from my readers. I’ll leave it to my readers to decide whether my coverage is better than or as good as the Journal Star’s increasingly light coverage.

    2. Peoria Pundit was my blog. The Blog Peoria Project is my NEWS SITE. Big difference. I never intended Peoria Pundit as a new site, although I occasionally published news there. You will find The Blog Peoria Project to be a serious site that can be opinionated, but without a lot of the snark … less snark that you will find here. And no, NO SITE there will be no eye candy. It’s time to but aside childish things.

    3. I hashed out the virus problem the day before yesterday, with help from the community. It wasn’t a virus, it was a poorly written WordPress plugin that tricked several anti-virus programs into thinking it was downloading a virus. It wasn’t. I disabled the plugin. THERE ARE NO THIRD PARTY ADDITIONS to my site could cause any virus to be downloaded.

    4. Yep. I am editing my posts much more closely.

    And subscribe already.

    Love ya, brother.

    P.S. The Journal Star’s pay wall only helps my site. I plan to offer step-by-step instructions on how to get past it, in hopes the powers-that-be at GateHouse fix it.

  • tls1995

    I agree with you completely CJ – if he does start writing more objective original content like he used to do AND when my virus software stops telling me his site is infected I would gladly pay the $3 per month. What I will not pay for is his “eye candy” and links to PJSTAR articles I have already read. The problem now is how do we know when he starts writing like the old Billy since we can’t see his content.

  • @tls, you do have facebook, right. Billy posts new stories there regularly.

  • tls1995: You can sign up for the first month for $1 … and cancel the subscription is you are not satisfied.

  • AnneC

    LOL! Billy, you say you are editing your posts much more carefully. Just as you did in paragraph 2. above? Sr. Catherine Henrietta would have held you back a grade just for that!!!!

  • Anonymous

    @frederick – he only posts links to his articles on FB, she would still have to go through the paywall but nice try. Also Frederick, people can offer constructive criticism and still be friends, as is the relationship between CJ and Billy. Shallow, narrow-minded people wouldn’t understand that. Finally, with the history of malware and vulnerabilities on PP I would never allow my Paypal or credit card information to remain “on file” with his site.

  • AnneC

    “And no, NO SITE there will be no eye candy. It’s time to but aside childish things.” Where’s my red marker when I need it???

  • C.J.: “Since Billy recently got laid off his “real” job (the company he worked for recently closed their Peoria offices) …”

    Actually, we close down on June 11.

  • frederick who? Sorry I might pay for Time mag. online, maybe Newsweek. Anyone could outdo the Journal Star on coverage. Hell I knew about the arrest of our star athletes from PHS a day before the PJS and even Billy. Chef Kevin is right. Open up and show us the content, hook us with your great editing and lack of syntax and or spelling errors like “No this” which should read; “Know this” and “I here a Who” as opposed to; “I hear a Who” Once I am sure I can read a post and understand it and think it was some news I might not have seen elsewhere for days, then and only then would I part ways with a buck. Until then, Good luck with that.

  • Emert, you doth protest too much. How about a 1,000-word essay on how you would never, ever waste your time subscribing to my site?

    OK, so were going to make a list:

    Blog Peoria; No. never.
    Newsweek: Maybe.

    Any others?

  • Never say never. Just saying…

  • DaisyChain

    Based on the Peoria Anti-Pundit, which is the ugliest, name calling, juvenile glasshouse in the local blogosphere, Emtronics should really stop throwing so many stones.

  • Ummm … Emtronics and I actually get along on most days.

  • Emtronics doesn’t charge either and you can always click to some porn site of your choosing Daisy.

  • No

    In response to your question, no I would not pay for content on that specific site. Truthfully I probably wouldn’t do so just about anywhere else either, but for reasons AnneC cited in her post, that is why I would not pay for that site. Clean up the filth, the grammar (seriously, that is unacceptable) and start scooping everyone else on big stories, then I will consider it. I wish the author well in his endeavors, regardless of my subscription status.

  • Anonymous

    Wasn’t Billy the guy who constantly blasted the PJS and other media sites for trying to use paywalls. Wasn’t he the guy who said the Web should be free and open?

  • Why yes Billy was that guy. I think he ranted on and on about how the internet should be free and there should be free wifi everywhere. I also think he went batshit when the PJS went to a pay system saying that no one would pay for local news when all one had to do is go online. Now he wants pay. Huh.

  • Anon E. Mouse

    Mu-Ni, Wi-Fi
    Clap, Clap

    Mu-Ni, Wi-Fi
    Clap, Clap

  • Tony

    Way to go Anon E Mouse! The old muni wifi cheer is good enough to get me to come out of local blog retirement for one post. Okay back to hiding before Dr. Crazy tries to get me fired by turning me in to my employer again…

  • District 150 observer

    It is different when somebody is going to pay YOU.

  • Ranger Dace

    Yup, Billy Dennis sure was against that PJStar paywall. Read what he wrote about it here:

    “My two cents; This is not surprising. Nor is the newspaper chain being greedy or out of line. It is entirely appropriate that people pay to enjoy the results of the labor of Journal Star’s trained and talented reporters. People who read this same reporting on print pay for the privilege, why not online? After all, even the New York Times is doing it.”

    Man, just listen to him rail against that paywall! What a hypocrite that guy is!

  • Ranger Dace: Much love to you. Emtronics, what i would rail against was what the Journal Star decided to NOT not on its Web site in a lame attempt to make me buy the PAPER edition.