We Don't Like To Pay For Tutorials

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?

2 comments

  1. And how are they supposed to pay for the artists creating the more advanced tutorials if they don’t charge people for reading them? And besides, your site is TINY – Do you realize how much exposure you’d have to give to a site to make it worthwhile for them? Please, seriously, get in touch with reality. A link from you does not mean that you have a right to view people’s work (which they spend days and days on) for free. That’s just greedy.
    I don’t pay for a premium account on Tutsplus but I’m very happy for all the stuff I get for free. Sure. I WANT the premium tutorials as well, but I certainly won’t nag about not getting everything for free. Instead I try to be supportive and encourage the site and I hope I’ll be able to afford the premum accounts later on 🙂
    And yeah, I don’t think I deserve people to work for free for me just because I clicked on StumbleUpon. For christ sakes, how greedy are you?

  2. The post you’ve commented on is more than three years old and at the time there was a major kick-back about premium content on PSDTuts.In the intervening years, I’ve learned a lot about monetising websites. I’m still not a fan of paywalls, however, but I understand how drastically the PSDTuts business models differs from my own. Their premium service definitely offers value added content that’s probably worth paying for if you work purely with design and want access to the source PSD files and can afford it!You’re right, voting for a site on StumbleUpon or any other social media site certainly doesn’t compare to hard cash for a value-added product. However, speaking as a web publisher myself, I’m eternally grateful to anyone who helps promote my writing online – via the bookmarking sites or the social media powerhouses of Twitter and Facebook!

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