Free Don’t Come For Free

Blogging has turned over another page. Thanks to Piers Fawkes of PSFK, we now have the subscription model to consider. Piers and cronies have debuted a new blog, IF, or Idea Forge, and they intend to charge for the content.

IF is a daily digest of inspiration for brand planners and creative marketers. IF is an Idea Forge. Whether you work in a marketing department, a communications agency or are just involved in the success of your business – we hope IF provides its members with fresh, effective stimulus.
IF is provided by PSFK, a web publisher who also publishes PSFK.COM. IF is a dedicated service to provide members with suggestions that fuel the rest of their day. We won’t be one of those sites pointing out all the great ads around the world, but we may just be the site that will inspire the next set of great ads.
Come join us. We will be holding twice yearly events in the USA, Europe and Asia. The site has RSS, regular newsletters and IF will evolve to hold news of other events, breaking news, forums and a business directory.
The site is in public beta until June 20 2005. Current membership is $20 per month but we’re pleased to also offer these introductory and license deals.

Discussing the launch via e-mail, Piers said, “Well you have to try to make this blog stuff pay, no?” Yes. If that’s where you’re coming from. And that’s where AdPulp is coming from. So far, our idea is to find more advertising sponsors for this site and give the content away for free. It’ll be interesting to watch this develop and see how many other blogs are willing/ready to jump on the subscription-based model.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Hello David, I agree with you, the subscription-based model is risky, not only because people love free content, but also because a blog is something free by definition.
    Furthermore, it’s not easy (at least to me) to blog everyday and everyday to come up with good content (content people would be willing to pay for, I mean). Quality blogging takes time, and you have to make it your job to produce 10-12 good posts per day.
    Anyway, this is just my opinion, I certainly wish good luck to Piers! As a first mover we all want him to be successful.

  2. Actually, coming up with content is easy so long as the number of free blogs continues to proliferate. Then the job becomes one of aggregation, simplification and pulling out relevant insights. Think Boardroom Reports.

  3. I’d have to disagree with Tom. Blogs and bloggers are in danger because they are increasingly watching each other / chasing their own tales. We all seem to be reproducing each other’s content. It’s important that we strive to create fresh original content – whether that’s reporting of good POV.
    We have been given a state of grace because the newspapers missed the boat (they jumped on the tanker, not the speed boat actually). But now they’ve worked out what’s going on – they’re going to come back and do a lot of what we do bigger and better. Or that’s what I think.

  4. Is it chasing tails or merely the shape community discussion takes?
    As far as producing original content goes, I’m not so sure it’s as important as one might think. Part of what we do here is act as a clipping service. That’s also a model people find valuable and will pay for. Plus, there are no new ideas, as any creative in this business will attest.
    In reading IF’s launch announcement, it seems the main point is to help grease the idea wheels of agency types, or thought workers, not to just report on cool ad campaigns and so on (like we do). I chafe at that concept a bit, because by reporting on what’s going on in the branded universe, we do contribute to idea generation. You have to know what’s been done in order to think of something new, or something you think is new.

  5. While I agree people love free content, I think a subscription-based blog can work and work very well depending on who’s running the blog. I mean, there’s a difference between if Jeff Goodby is doing the blog a sopposed to, say, some guy working in an agency in northern Michigan. No offense to Michigan. I actually don’t agree with Tom’s assessment. I don’t care who’s running the thing, if all a blog is is more aggregated news, nobody’s going to pay for that. The difference is going to be in the insights of the blogger and how much we value those insights.

  6. Aggregation, to my mind at least, is not mere regurgitation. Tom mentions simplification and pulling out relevant insights. The condensed piece can actually become a new piece, sometimes a much better piece, with an entirely different meaning.