Tear Down This Paywall!

by Kerry Martin

With so many people turning to the Internet for their news, it’s understandable that publishers have to change the way they provide content while still generating revenue.

But to me, there’s nothing more frustrating than clicking through to a story and then a second later getting blocked by the dreaded “paywall.”

paywall 1

While we do have a few subscriptions to newspapers, there is no way I’m going to pay for “unlimited access” to some of the online sites that I seldom visit, and it looks like I’m not alone.  In those instances, the paywall becomes a big deterrent, and I just go seek the news from some other source.  If I really need to read the story, I use my work-around solution of split-second screen grabs.

Just recently though, I came across an online newspaper publisher that was doing something very interesting.  Instead of generating more revenue from users, The Post Independent in Colorado was generating more revenue from their advertisers by increasing the value of the online readership.

Its online articles show the first few paragraphs before blocking the content.  But then, the reader can simply answer a few survey questions from a marketer and gain access to the rest of the content.  Or, the online visitor can choose to boost readership by sharing the article through social media.  I can’t think of a more mutually beneficial relationship in online advertising!  (The other forms of paywalls where a video ad pops up before going to the story don’t give the advertiser the same benefit of interaction.)

paywall 2

It could be that lots of other publishers out there are experimenting with these types of limited access to their content.  I couldn’t help but admire this example of online news done right:  generating value for your advertisers and providing hassle-free content for your loyal readers.

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