Pay-Only For Web 2.0 Entertainment? Zivity Thinks So

Zivity is the social network for independent professional artists to broadcast their work in a very web 2.0ish way. I met the Founder Cyan Banister a few months ago for a video interview, and wrote about the company in a post called: Will Zivity become the HBO of the Internet?

I received an email yesterday from the company – called Don’t make artists cry – announcing that Zivity will turn into a pay-only Website starting March 14th:

Zivity has come a long way from our humble beginnings when you first joined our Beta. After recruiting hundreds of artists and making countless improvements to the website (thanks for the feedback!), we are proud to announce that Zivity is now a fully subscription-based service (woo!). Consequently, our trial program will end March 14, 2009, and we will no longer be offering free accounts (boo…).

Fortunately, for those beta users who want to stick around, you get 50% off the first year of subscription (valid throughout the month of February). The email is also announcing that instant messaging is coming to Zivity very soon.

Zivity started to grow a community around professionally-produced photographs of barely-naked chicks. By designing an enriched UI and offering a revenue stream for artists, Zivity took off. Then video was added to the mix to open up the spectrum of possibilities on Zivity. Putting a toll at the Website’s entrance is yet another step towards Zivity self-accomplishment.

From the email, it is not clear how things will be working from now on: If I pay $120 a year to access Zivity, will I still have to buy votes? If yes, it’s starting to be quite an expensive leisure to check out chicks on Zivity. If not, how will artists be remunerated? Will it work on a pay-per-view basis or something? It would be nice if we had more info here. Unfortunately, the company’s blog doesn’t talk about this, and I couldn’t find an answer via a quick blog search.

I personally won’t subscribe to Zivity’s new model because I live on a tight budget. But beyond that, Zivity’s move is a bit ahead of the inevitable curve, the one where the Web 2.0 services we got used to access for free will not be free anymore, and become profitable businesses, instead of fun venture-backed new-tech experiments. I can already feel the nostalgia!