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ESPN360

15 Websites / Services I'd Actually Pay For

One measure of a service’s utility and stickiness is its ability to charge for usage. Consequently, I regularly find myself asking, “Is this important enough to me that I’d pay for it?”

Here are some of the services / sites where that answer is yes… And what I’d be willing to pay: Gmail: I’d pay to keep my Gmail account more because the switching cost is high than because of the functionality. That switching cost is painful enough that I’d spend $75 to prevent it. I will likely end up paying for increased storage too.

Google Maps: Love Google Maps for my Blackberry. Telenav is $9.99 / mo and offers greater functionality – I’d likely pay $10 to download Google Maps or some nominal monthly fee. If Google Maps added navigational directions, I would pay $10 / month.

Wordpress.org: The benefit of blogging with WP is so significant (SEO, functionality, flexibility) that it’s well worth paying for. I’d probably pay a $200 for an installation… which makes me realize how much I rely on the product.

Google Analytics: If Google analytics weren’t free, I would unhappily pay a monthly fee to install it ($10) because, despite my disdain for the interface and lack of real-time metrics, it really is a necessity.

Google Analytics w/ Real Time Data: I would certainly pay extra for real-time Google Analytics.

Slimstat: Slimstat is a free Wordpress plugin that delivers real-time analytics. I would pay $40 to install it.

Slimstat “Premium”: … And I’d pay a lot more if Slimstat offered a model with unlimited data capturing / storage (the basic one shows the last ‘n’ records). I would pay $100 / domain.

Mint Analytics: I gladly paid $40 to install Mint on my domains. Great data and great interface.

Craigslist: I would pay for premium listings on Craigslist (if they introduced some sort of featured ads format) and I’ve paid the jobs listing fees before (many times).

Amazon Prime: I spend enough on Amazon that they gave me Amazon Prime for free when it first launched. Considering that I buy my groceries, toiletries, electronics, dog food, etc on it – I’d pay for Prime if Amazon forced me to.

iStockPhoto Premium: I love iStockPhoto – but it’s a pain to purchase credits. I’d pay for a premium account that enables power-usage.

MLB.tv: MLB is the only major sport that has truly adopted the web and their radio and video streaming is fantastic. I already pay for the service (estimates: $14.99 for radio broadcast of all games,$99-$179 for video)

Podcasts / On-demand Radio: There are certain podcasts and radio shows that I would pay to be able to download in entirety. For instance, I love The Thundering Herd on ESPN Radio but it streams too early on the west coast for me to catch it – and the Podcast only captures 30 minutes of the broadcast. I would pay $5-$10 a month to listen to it on-demand, in its entirety (price depends on whether or not ads are in the broadcast). The same can be said for Tony Bruno and JT the Brick.

eLance: I love eLance. Use it all the time. They choose to charge the service provider – but if they reversed it, I would pay on a per-listing basis. The price depends on the project, but a nominal amount ($5?).

ESPN360: It’s the only way that I can catch Duke games without leaving work at 3pm pst... I’d pay either per game or per month ($5-10) for the service. I’d pay a whole lot more if they could include MLB, NFL and NBA (would start to challenge my Comcast bill).

ESPN Knows Online – ESPN360 and ESPN Podcasts

I think ESPN and their online efforts go overlooked - mostly because they are so dominant on television and radio. But I have been *very* impressed with their online efforts recently:

Podcasts: The have the best podcasts on iTunes – by quantity and quality. ESPN podcasts are updated daily. Production quality is high. In my queue:

- Pardon the Interruption with Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon - Around the Horn video - The Thundering Herd with Colin Cowherd - The Best of Mike and Mike - ESPN Fantasy Focus - The BS Report with Bill Simmons - Stephen A Smith Show

Notice anything about this list? Most of the content is available on traditional format (television and radio) – yet ESPN is glad to give it away for free online (with ad support and sponsorship). Seems simple - but few other major brands are doing this.

ESPN360.com: Love it. If you haven’t used ESPN360.com – try it out. Streaming, real-time games for all ESPN network games. It’s phenomenal and, on some late work nights, it’s allowed me to watch Duke games. The quality is great and, like their podcasts, it’s groundbreaking in that no other networks stream all of their on-air content…. Live!