Another business turns on its free users…we’ve all been warned. If you aren’t paying for it, might as well forget about the free stuff you’re getting. Again, the issue really isn’t the business’ focus on making money, but the poor, opaque communications surrounding the transition from “free services” to “services you now have to pay for.” Why can’t online businesses get the simple message that openness and transparency aren’t just buzzwords, but ways of enhancing any services they may offer?
With inadequate notice to account-holders, Scribd set up a new program where old files on Scribd (it’s unclear how old; their FAQ simply says the conversion happens after ‘an initial period of time on Scribd’) are automatically put behind a paywall where readers have to pay Scribd to access them. [Update: Evil Wylie reports that the files are archived after 2 months.]
…their value proposition always has been open access to the documents–freely shared with everyone and indexed in the search engines. The paywall destroys that value proposition. They’ve taken the documents that I wanted to freely share with the public (many of them public documents like court rulings and filings) and made them inaccessible. If my readers can’t freely get the documents I wanted to share with them, then what’s the point of using Scribd in the first place???
I also feel like Scribd used me. With their implicit promise of open access, they got me to share a lot of high-interest documents and generate lots of link love, then they flipped the default (from free to paywall) as part of a cash grab. I could check out of Scribd, but then I would break a lot of links and it would take a lot of time. So now I feel trapped. It’s a terrible feeling.
– Sent using Google Toolbar”
[Emphasis mine in bold]
As a Scribd user myself, over the last few weeks, I’ve had quite a few people start to follow me. But it’s going to be easier for me to dump Scribd, and instead post my content via GoogleDocs–which I do pay for storage–or consider investing into the increasingly popular Dropbox. With GoogleDocs, you just share the folder with the world and then link to the file. The only issue that TOO many downloads end up with the item being made unavailable temporarily. Yet, for now, that may just work.
ShareMore – http://bit.ly/sharemg
Where you can find copies of PDF documents, and other stuff I want to share with the world…such as the VoiceThread tutorial folks have been downloading recently. Will I be sharing a lot of stuff there? Not really but it’s better than putting it somewhere where it will end up locked up after 2 months!
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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure