Dr Drew raises spectre of paid-for content

It'll never work people say (but we wish it would)

Sex and health site Dr Drew has announced the results of its own survey that says users will happily pay for personalised content. Of the 15,000 people that responded, 74 per cent said they would like a personal service and 56 per cent said they would pay for it.

Dr Drew's CEO, Curtis Giesen, claimed folk wanted an anonymous and individual service and would be willing to cough up for just that. However, a whole swathe of analysts have poured cold water on the idea, saying that people will not pay for the information when they can get it for free elsewhere. It would have to offer something pretty unique and Dr Drew's content is not all that different to anybody else's, said one.

It's the old argument reborn - people happily pay a premium in most industries if they feel they are getting a better service. But then overriding the Internet's culture of everything-for-free will not be an easy job. The early dreams of charging for content dissolved fairly quickly, forcing Web companies to find new ways of getting hold of some cash - selling visitor information and going for an IPO are two of the most popular.

But are we rapidly reaching a point where enough people are online and where the sheer quantity of information available makes premium charged-for products a possibility? Perhaps. And healthcare is certainly one area where people are very interested in a closely defined area of information. If a relative has a particular medical concern, it's not inconceivable that you would pay for automatically sent information on that condition.

However, it would take a brave company to write such a personalisation scheme into its business plan. We're not too sure that Dr Drew is the best example either. That is unless you were dying to find out "why guys fart so much" or wanted to know the soul-searching a model had to go through when considering plastic surgery. ®

Disclaimer We would like to point out that Dr Drew has no connection whatsoever with Reg head honcho Drew Cullen. While Dr Drew is a doctor, Mr Cullen is a Bachelor (of Arts). Any accusations that he is a "witch" or "head" doctor will be dealt with at the usual Thursday-night voodoo ceremony.

Our own Doctor Spinola and his wise words can be found (among other things) here.

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