Paid for articles/sites

I’m astounded by how cycling news have gone paid tho yeh CT have been for a while and not sure on others, what are others views on this as I recall the founder of cyclingnews wanting it to remain free, so that went out the window…

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I remember when it was originally called “Bill’s CyclingNews” if I remember correctly?

It used to have our local race results on their too (Caulfield Carnegie).

In the grand scheme of things they are still free to visit just with minor inconvenience (and that inconvenience is mostly for them, not for you).

Well I have an as blocker via Samsung internet…so I don’t see the infernal and rediculous adverts, but yes you can kind of get the articles just not expanded

A journalist’s work product has value…I don’t think it is especially outrageous to expect people to have to help fund that work.

It is a shame because the media world in general has trained the public that they are willing to give away that which has value (their work) in exchange to monetize what has little value (the traffic)…so now everyone expects content to be free.


I’ve been saying for a long time that the online media business model is broken.

It’s akin to a grocery store giving away all the food for free, and relying on somehow monetizing people walking in the door to keep the lights on.


Or maybe the (broken) model is such that You talk about the food, relying somehow on some grocery store to pay you for doing that, while the hungry consumer runs to the grocery. Problem is that we, I mean we here, are keen to value a lot the experience, such as writing reading photographing can render, more than the product itself. I mean, I like all things cycling more than the bicycle in itself, probably. The market is structured the other way around, the product is paramount. The talk (including journalism) is collateral, auxiliary at best. Which is so poor a view of life.
Not easy to express this in english, sorry.

I think you are misunderstanding the point James and I are making…the writing, photography, etc. IS the product

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James, Instead of looking at it from the perspective of how to save the “online media business model,” what if you considered how to give cyclists the info they value and are therefore willing to pay for? Grocery stores don’t give away food. The successful ones stock the selection of food their customers want at prices they are willing to pay for in a range of models from bodegas to Costcos and a lot in between.

The New York Times’s stated business strategy is “making journalism so go it’s worth paying for.” Why doesn’t CT hold itself to the same bar rather than complaining about the model being broken.

I’m pointing exactly THAT as the problem.

  1. For the industry, the product is, say the bike or whatever, and journalism is auxiliary.
  2. For the journalists the product is, rightfully, their online magazine or blog etc.
  3. The user/consumer recognize #1 but less so #2. Bike industry recognize #1 but less so #2.

That’s why online journalism has a problem in convincing it’s selling something to pay for. In other words there’s no implicit consensus over which is the valuable product

Defector seems to be doing okay (from the outside looking in). I am interested in their pending Year 2 annual report (Year 1 here).

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I’m not “complaining” that the model is broken, and what you’re suggesting is exactly what we’ve been trying to do at CT for some time now.

The problem, however, is that readers have grown accustomed to online media being free, and even when we do produce the quality content that people ask for, many are still reluctant to pay for it.


James, you may not be complaining but what you are stating - too many readers not willing to pay for CT content - means CT’s model is broken or not working as well as you and others think it should. As the NYT and other online media and even some other cycling media are showing, there are other models that can deliver quality content in a model that works for readers, staff, and investors. It’s not on you and your fellow content creators but rather on your business model leaders (publisher, editor-in-chief, investors, etc.) to marry up CT’s chosen content with the right model or change CT’s content to work with the model they’ve chosen.


I dunno about that, seems like a lazy analogy. I mean people literally go to a supermarket to buy food so they can survive, that’s a pretty big incentive to pay for a product.

What do media websites produce that is high up there in peoples’ willingness to pay preferences? FWIW, for me for CT it’s primarily Dave Rome’s tech stuff.

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Yep! Dave’s stuff is amazing. Love Cool Tool Tuesday!

Then why are you doing that ? :joy:

I mean maybe you should just do that as a hobby like some of us and find a real job (don’t take that last one litterally). Basically you are stuck in the middle between an old guard of paper magazines that is dying, so called influencers doing the marketing part for free and random people giving their advice/opinion for free on their blog and social medias, some with the hidden agenda or illusion to become said influencers. Race streams are available from everywhere and racing results are easily available for free: the uci publish them, as websites such as procycling stats. Riders/teams interview are becoming less and less interesting because everybody has access to the streams and many riders will vent and/or express their opinions in social medias anyway. Now let’s talk about bike review. They are mostly all rubbish and the actual opinion on the bike will often be dictated more by the actual mood of the writer than the bike itself. Basically if the writer got laid in the morning, the bike was great.

That doesn’t leave a lot of room for real journalism. I spend more time on this very forum than reading cycling tips articles. And I am not even paying for that. You can disable my forum account, I wouldn’t pay to get access to it either. The only part that appeal to me on cycling tips are Ian Treloar’s culture articles but there aren’t enough of them to fill a line in my monthly budget.

The only online cycling publication I am willing to pay for is but this is mostly for the biannual backpacking journal in plain paper than the actual online content and the non profit funding.

So what is your plan?


Personally, I would still pay for CT, but I cancelled my subscription as I have seen a decline in the quality of articles since CT was bought Outside Online

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Like anyone else, I have heaps of opinions about the cycling industry. And I’m wary of media outlets pandering to big business (independent YouTube reviews? c’mon, get real.). In the end, I still like to just ride my bike. It’s fun as hell. But I also like to check out the race results at CyclingNews (don’t really need to know how things unfolded). And I’m happy to pay CT to preserve the opportunity to visit their site and find out what’s going on in the industry. Of course, I can live without it and still enjoy riding my bike. But I like getting CT’s take on the industry and seeing what’s happening. I think the publication still protects at least a modicum of unbiased, uninfluenced coverage (you can argue whether that has changed with the Outside buyout). And I believe CT does a fairly good job at providing what it promises.

So if it’s going to remain in its current form, you have to pay folks to keep the lights on. As long as I continue to enjoy reading the reviews and that opportunity at the end to add my rant, and gaining some insight into what’s happening with all things cycling, I’ll continue to feel at ease paying the subscription. The people at CT probably feel a lot of pressure to kowtow to industry forces – what outlet doesn’t. I hope they figure out a way to keep it honest, which is super refreshing in this business and worth a pretty penny to some of us.

Loving the irony of a thread started to complain about paywalls slowly filling with advice that boils down to “well then make people pay for your content you numpties.”

FWIW, we have the most successful membership/subscription in cycling media, by a fair margin. It underpins the whole business. I don’t expect everyone to want to pay for our work for the same reasons I don’t expect everyone to want to buy the same bike; some will be CyclingNews people, some will be VeloNews people, some will be Bikepacking people, and that is fine. When people say ‘you’re not for me’ like it’s some kind of slight on us or our work I just have to shrug. We know what we are, who we are for, and staying focused on that is why we’ve been successful.


Caley, I started this thread to have a conversation about the fact that to view cycling news you effectively pay. CT has been a paysite for longer. Advertising is obviously not paying enough now in the community of viewing content of your choice/hobby… tho it looks like it provided you with some entertainment eh :crazy_face:

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