(BLOOMBERG) — News publishers have such a fraught relationship with the people who comment on their articles that many websites have been removing the comments section altogether (including this one). Michael Robertson thinks he has a better idea: start charging the people who hang out there.
Robertson, an entrepreneur in San Diego best known for founding MP3.com and fighting a long legal battle with the record industry, argues that the prospect of a new revenue stream will convince a struggling industry to reconsider the value of comments. A self-proclaimed libertarian, he believes his company, SolidOpinion.com, can provide a market solution to trolling. “If we can turn this into a revenue producer, then all of a sudden publishers will want it; they can invest time in it; and we can improve comments,” he said.
One big news company is already on board. Tribune Publishing, which owns the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, turned on SolidOpinion’s software for the San Diego Union-Tribune’s website over the weekend.
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