What happens first: Team USA wins the World Cup or people start paying for online news?

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Would you pay for access to The Huffington Post? The Guardian? Or, gasp, CrunchGear? People in the news business are trying to figure out how to get by, let alone make a profit, and a recent Pew survey suggests that people have no idea what’s going on. Six in 10 Americans now get at least part of their news online, but the question remains: are people willing to pay?

Just thinking as the everyman, I’d have to say, “Oh, boy…” People are pretty used to reading Reuters and AP and the rest of them online for free, so to all of a sudden ask people to pay for that? Difficult.

Ad revenues declines in 2009 for the first time since 2002, and while that may be partially blamed on the recession, it’s not good news regardless. And that’s when sites can convince advertisers to pay up in the first place! People using ad blockers are ruining sites’ ability to go to advertisers and say, “See, we have X-Amount of readers ready to look at your ads!”

I say: you wanna block ads, be my guest. I’m not gonna tell you how to live your life. But when Ars Technica, which is about as user-friendly as you can ask a site to be, starts saying, “Guys, come on, you’re hurting us…”

The Pew survey basically says nobody has any idea what’s going on. Nobody has figured out how to get people to pay for online news. Remember that Newsday experiment, flawed though it might have been? Yeah.

So, will anybody figure out how to make online news “work” anytime soon? Not bloody likely.

Keep in mind I have no idea how online sales or advertising works—I don’t even know what our traffic is!—, so whatever.

Chanting “USA! USA!” over and over again means you’re a patriot.

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