I know of many people who start a "subscribe list" and then think they're going to be wealthy based on a subscription service. Well, that's easier said than done. Netflix is offering unlimited streaming of their movies plus four hard DVD rentals per month for eight dollars. And consider that Netflix offers and at the price. Now, what are you offering and at what price?
Advertising and giveaways kind of work, in the sense that ad money stimulates growth to your list, but are people buying? People in the subscription business have to justify their products / services value, especially in today's economy. Charging to a newsletter is not going to make you any type of a profit. I knew someone who started a subscription service to receive his "insight" newsletters on today's business world. The cost? $14.99 per month.
Well, no one was buying. He lowered the cost to $1.99 a month with the thought that once he showed value, he could raise prices in six months. And, hey, some money was better than no money. He thought five hundred subscribers at $1.99 a month was still a great profit. The problem was there were no subscribers.
His "insight" wasn't as valuable as he thought, especially since people can read business news online for free or subscribe to their favorite online publication through an assortment of other, cheaper resources.
My point is don't put all your eggs into the subscription business until you have a demand that is growing. If you have to prove your value to people, you don't have the demand.