Bob Gretz of BobGretz.com has decided to go to a premium website -- basically he'll be charging for content. Not all of his content will be behind a paywall, but the "breadth and depth of the coverage" that we've been seeing will be.
I understand the need to monetize blogging but charging for content, for any website, limits your traffic (especially because we won't/can't link to his pay stuff) and thus limits your relevance. It's not a long-term formula, unfortunately, and that's why only a handful of sites have been successful doing it (the Wall Street Journal comes to mind, the NY Times is coming soon).
Then there's Newsday, the Long Island-based magazine. A few months ago, a report came out that they had sold 35 online subscriptions over a three-month period. 35. For Long Island. Wow.
That said, with Gretz, it's an interesting situation. He and Josh Looney of KCChiefs.com are the only two who will report daily on practice during training camp. I'll be up there but not every day like Gretz and Looney. So really he's half of the daily camp reports. He's among the most reliable reporters/bloggers in the business (if not the most reliable). Is that worth $25? It's up to you.
For me, it's less about Gretz and more about the idea of paying for news. Charging for content is something that I am not a fan of. News should be free. You can get your news for free in plenty of places. If real news were breaking, people wouldn't put it behind a pay wall. They would want as many people as possible to read it. Evidence of this can be seen from Chip Brown and Orangebloods.com. The Rivals' site, normally subscription only, took away the pay wall during this Big 12 mess because Brown was breaking so much news they wanted as many people as possible to see (i.e. relevance) their reports.
Since we do a lot of news aggregation here, I'll be watching Gretz's site with plenty of curiosity over these next few months to see if the pay-to-read model works for him.
We've said before you'll never be charged to read AP and we'll stick to that.