Seth Godin talks about the buffet problem where things arranged with “all you can eat” buffet pricing tend towards mediocrity. This is a real issue for a business that is seriously looking at flat rate pricing as an option. After all, the cost for running each individual Citizen Intelligence report is not going to be very large. On the surface it looks like flat rate is the way to go. But Seth has a point that without care, mediocrity will be your destination so how can CI combine flat rate pricing with an embedded commitment to excellence?
I believe that the answer is to co-brand. Both the individual(s) writing the report/curating it will have their identity attached as well as those who you trust who recommend the report. By attaching these identities and creating a community where the reputation of the maker and the recommender remain attached to the report, the system will build in stakeholders who care about quality because the quality of the report will affect their personal reputation. They either win or lose reputation based on the quality of the report and will be less likely to fall to the temptation of mediocrity. For them, reports are not free and thus they need to have the power to improve matters.