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December 17, 2009

Post Gazette Plus: A Look Behind The Subscription Veil

Nov.16th: PG-Plus Offers a Free Peak!

This screen capture is what looked like on 11/16/09:

Finally, a look behind the Veil of Subscription! I was pleased they were offering a free visit to PG-Plus, a chance to look around, but I wasn't really impressed at what I saw there.

I think it would be unethical to (re-)present their proprietary content, since that is their value proposition. I was stumped on how to discuss this supposed new business model and I came upon two points I thought were reasonable: (1) wait a month, so as to not steal anybody's thunder, and (2) instead of showing content, let's just check the images from PG+'s first page to analyze the focus - because if a page is designed right, you can look at the pictures and know what it's about.

These are the key images from the first page of PG+ on 11/16/09.

I was surprised at two things: (1) this was all there was, and (2) this was the content on the day they chose to offer a Free Preview - when they should put their best page forward. What I saw in PG-Plus was not hyperlocal media, it was more like 1986 Yinzer-AOL-2.0

Perhaps there's a market for that, but I don't think it's the basis for a subscription website. It would be interesting to see some subscription numbers. I hope they publish them in the non-subscription website.


Bram Reichbaum said...

I am scared by the thick gray and black hashmarks. All of the invitations to view or try out the site come plastered on these vicious gray and black hashmarks, which seems like an *obscuring* concept, like, "Don't Go Beyond This Wall". I'd like to see an inviting and topical visual, or a novel view of Pittsburgh, or a big close-up of Mackenzie Carpenter and Rich Lord deep in conversation. But no. A big gray square with diagonal warning lines.

And when I got in those couple times on a sample invitation (thank you very much, ML!) it was like "Gah!" somehow. I tried to get to the Omnivore but I couldn't, even though I was warned it was tricky.

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