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As a consumer, I think there are far too many sites that fatten their revenues at my expense without delivering any additional value to me.

That's not the situation in my case. But since I operate several websites, I'm curious and would like for you to provide an example. My first thought is why did you pay extra if you weren't going to get any extra value - unless you didn't know that until after you paid?

OTOH, I'm talking about sites whose primary customers are "Joe Six-Pack" and they're selling directly to the end-user.

My customers are "professionals" in a particular industry. I have been disappointed from time to time in that some of them act like Joe Six-Pack. I have to constantly remind myself not to let the few bad apples ruin my impression of the industry.

For example, I may register to attend a professional conference. If I cancel my registration before 30 days before the conference, then I expect to pay a 10% or $100 (or whatever) processing fee. If I cancel my registration less than 30 days before the conference, too bad.

That's what makes this a tough decision. If you didn't attend the conference, you didn't get the information provided at the conference. In my case, the customer has the information and there is no way to get it back. See below

If you were trying to attract me as a personal customer, I'd avoid your site if you charged for returns. If you were trying to attract me as a professional customer, a return charge probably wouldn't affect me.

Take the hypothetical example of the woman who buys an expensive dress, wears it to a party that night, and returns it to the store the next day for a refund - all planned in advance. In that case, at least the woman no longer has use of the dress after she returns it. I'm selling time sensitive information - it can't be returned - it can be used after the refund is collected.

Perhaps one way to address the problem is to provide a free sample of your product on your web site.

It's really not feasible, each piece of information is unique.

A rough analogy would be one of the personal ads websites where you see a picture and short description and have to pay to contact the person. If prospective customer Bill is interested in "Wanda" but is given "Brenda's" contact information as a free sample, Bill is not satisified - maybe even a bit frustrated.

Instead of a free sample, I do offer very limited access to the information for a small fee. Using the analogy above, Bill would pay 80% less than the usual fee to get Wanda's information but no other information.

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