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Is it a winning strategy to charge for the Internet?

Di Antonio Caneva English translation Paola Pr, 16 Marzo 2001

Wednesday, the 28th of February, reading the Corriere della Sera as usual, I was struck by a headline I saw: “Yahoo! charges for its auctions and sales go up!”. The article explained that in order to ensure greater transparency in its auctions, Yahoo! had charged a small fee on every transaction, causing a drop in the number of products put up for sale, but also a 550% increase in the number of successful transactions, and a 400% increase in the number of raises on the bids. Going on reading, Alessandro Pegoraro, the head of Yahoo! in Italy, said “…even a small amount to pay may be a deterrent for those who – for example – do not want to be identified. In order to make a payment you have to supply your particulars. That is why the average quality of the products and sellers has grown.”. A few days before I had received an e-mail from France which harshly criticised Job for requesting a subscription in order to allow the consultation of classified ads on the site and, even more, for entering a position-wanted ad. The motives underlying our choice find a clear confirmation in the Yahoo! case now described. Charging a small fee allows to preliminarily screen incoming requests, and to only involve professionals who truly belong to the tourist sector. Job in Tourism is not necessarily interested in having a huge number of visitors to its site, or in including classifieds from self-styled professionals. Our commitment is towards favouring the encounter of the best professional resources with the best job opportunities (according to the various types of businesses), and if this requires charging a small amount, we believe it is an inescapable step, which our regular readers appear to appreciate, and which rewards them with the possibility to have a complete and detailed survey of the labour market.

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