Ouch. Collis from PSDTuts (a Photoshop tutorial site) mentioned a while back that there was going to be a premium subscriber area to the site. I don’t think anybody batted an eyelid at the time.
However, today a post appeared in the RSS feed advertising a premium tutorial. I think like a lot of people, I didn’t mind the premium area when I could ignore it. But to dangle it in our faces like that? That’s a different story.
PSDTuts stands today with some 16,000 RSS subscribers and has gained massive popularity on social media sites like StumbleUpon and del.icio.us. Like a lot of loyal readers, I’ve probably ‘thumbed up’ about 70% of PSDTuts’ tutorials and reviewed about a third of that again.
The comments on Collis’ post are mostly from annoyed readers who previously ignored the premium section of the site. However, as someone who makes money via blogs and websites, I can appreciate the difficulty of trying to find new ways of making money.
Now, PSDTuts already has a micropayment system for people who want to download the source Photoshop documents from their free tutorials. I’d be interested to know how much that’s returning if Collis still needs to run a premium section. Plus, surely it’s a lot more work to come up with two separate lots of tutorials?
Me? I’m in two minds. I’ve learned some amazing Photoshop techniques through PSDTuts. But on the other hand, I’ve helped contribute to their social media success on a number of occasions. One of the posts I stumbled the other day got on the Stumble Buzz page. That’s a lot of traffic and a lot of exposure.
I thought the whole deal with blogging was passing value back to the community and getting traffic and popularity in return. If you’re going to keep your best content behind locked doors then rub it in the faces of your readers, what sort of message does that send?