10 is a scary number when it comes to paywalls

With all of the discussion in the last year or so about them, you could probably write a blog just on paywalls.

It’s already been a year since The New York Times instated its paywall on online readers, limiting readers to 20 articles a month unless they paid up for home delivery or a digital subscription. Or if they just found a way to circumvent the paid journalism guards, which proved pretty easy to do if you follow the Times on Twitter or Facebook.

But I finally caved in a few months ago and bought a digital subscription, mostly because I’d go on to NYTimes.com looking for a specific story and then get distracted and click-happy when I saw other stories I hadn’t seen on Twitter. In one sitting, 10 clicks could be gone.

Ten clicks is all non-subscribers are going to get from now on, since the NY Times has made it just that more difficult for cheapskates to scale the paywall. And 10 really isn’t that many, especially if they get any smarter about making clicks from social media count.

In just 10 days, I slammed into the Los Angeles Times’ new paywall. It felt like I hit it head first and I might have let out a few choice expletives in the middle of a Starbucks. I read the LA Times frequently for California-centric stories the NY Times doesn’t do well, or at all. And their paywall counts what you click on through social media. If they cut their free article limit to 10, I’ll be out of free clicks in a couple of days.

Twenty clicks got me through most of the month on the NY Times. Fifteen clearly wasn’t enough at the LA Times. Now 10? That’s going to make scaling the paywall tricky. Looks like I need to get some extra jobs to pay for online subscriptions.

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One thought on “10 is a scary number when it comes to paywalls

  1. Didn’t even know this was happening until today when the LA Times informed me via a pop-up that I have reached my monthly limit of articles I may read online. I like both the LA Time and the NY Times and I understand their need to generate revenue as newspaper sales decline. But I am not inclined to pay for news that can be obtained from other sources for free.Thanks for a great write-up.

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