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About Paywalls
Old 02-19-2016, 05:07 PM   #1
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About Paywalls

There have been numerous posts that include complaints about paywalls from websites and suggestion on "how to" get around them. The problems are growing, and the number of "free" news sites is shrinking. Financial Times, New York Times and Washington Post are but a few of the more restrictive paywalls.

Google News... does not discriminate, and today, the first three links that came up were all to websites with paywalls. Some sites allow one view, some the first few words of the news article, and some allow a limited number of views.

Here is a link from March of last year that discussed this growing problem, and explains some of the ways the paywall are constructed.
Is It Time For Google To Rank News Content Behind Paywalls Better?

The problem is not confined to the national newspapers but most local papers also restrict viewership.

Everyone is entitled to make a profit, so it is not likely that things will get better. Given that, though, despite the enormity of the internet, access to information... especially to legitimate and well founded reportage, is gradually becoming less available. This opens the door to less responsible information and even worse... disinformation.

Not looking for workarounds, but hoping to narrow down my own searches to trusted sites. Google News does not filter paywall sites, and even Drudge is linking to restricted articles.

Just venting, and wondering if others are feeling the same frustration. We have to wonder if the increasing number of blind sound and video pop-up ads that are supporting the "free" websites, will be able to continue to support the content that we're receiving for "free".

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Old 02-19-2016, 06:45 PM   #2
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It's definitely an issue - I am now more careful about clicking on links here and on FB because I don't want to run out of my 10 free articles from NYT too early in the month. But the news organizations also have to find a way to support their journalism, and there is no doubt that investigative journalism helps to hold those in power accountable (think Spotlight). So we subscribe to both our local paper and the WSJ to do our part (although I guess WSJ doesn't do much on the investigative front these days).

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Old 02-19-2016, 10:44 PM   #3
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It's an issue. In some cases, just a free registration will provide access.

One of our local papers gives a limited # of reads/month - but then (and I've seen this other places as well), they pop up a little survey, and they say if you take the survey, you can continue reading the next two weeks (or whatever).

The survey is usually pretty short and direct (are you planning to buy a car in the next year? If so, which brands have you considered <check boxes of 6 brands>?), or something similar. I like that better than some obnoxious video ad. Yep, they need to make money, so I'm fine with some non-obtrusive method to get the content.

Sometimes I've just passed - the content wasn't worth 10 seconds, I was just curious about the headline or something.

Business has to adapt to this new world, and so do we.

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Old 02-20-2016, 09:44 AM   #4
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Not sure if this is worth another post, but after the original OP, this happened:

I subscribe to the Chicago Tribune, daily delivery of the actual newspaper. Up until now, the ability to read the paper on-line, was contingent on my buying an additional digital subscription. Yesterday, I received an email from the Trib, telling me that I would now be able (for free) to access the paper, online.

There IS a difference... Now the paper is shown in the actual page version including the ads. Now you can click on an article, which will resize on the screen, or you can click on an ad. Neither goes into the "digital-word only" format, but shows the page as it was printed.

So... here's what I think is behind this "new" approach. Newspapers like the Trib, The Orlando Sentinel and the Boston Globe, rely on revenue from their advertisers much more so than from their subscription charges. The number of "delivered papers" is the measure of the advertiser's cost. When the number of subscribers goes down, so does the cost of the ads. My guess is that the digital subscribers do not offer any value to the advertisers, so the paper's revenue is not changed. Since the digital subscriber base is relatively low, it seems logical to suggest that as people are online anyway, why not keep the exposure to the advertising. As a matter of course, if I just see a regular newspaper ad, without automatic links to the advertiser, I can skim it... or not... and in general, am more apt to look at the ad.

The digital subscription can continue with the no-ad options, but it seems that advertisers would be happier with the extra exposure.

IMHO, a move that should work for other print advertisers, and a way to keep both print and digital businesses in the mix.

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Old 02-20-2016, 10:49 AM   #5
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I'm willing to pay for good, ad-free content. A news source that provides that would get me to subscribe.
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Old 02-20-2016, 11:45 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by GrayHare View Post
I'm willing to pay for good, ad-free content. A news source that provides that would get me to subscribe.
I am willing to pay for in depth news and analysis too. We cannot expect journalists to deliver high quality reporting for free. Many newspapers have disappeared, and many journalists cannot make a living because much of the free content online is superficial and is marketed to multiple sites.

The question in economic terms is Utility. What price am I willing to pay? I did sign up for The Globe and Mail Unlimited online when they had an offer of 6 months at $9.99, but in the seventh month, the price went up to $19.99, which is more than I was willing to pay. But it was definitely worth $9.99 to me. I contacted them to see if I could negotiate a continuation of that rate, but no.
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Old 02-20-2016, 03:29 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by MBAustin View Post
It's definitely an issue - I am now more careful about clicking on links here and on FB because I don't want to run out of my 10 free articles from NYT too early in the month.
There's an easy workaround for that, at least it works for some, including Washington Post. Just delete the cookies for NYT or Wash. Post and the "counter" is reset to zero.

You don't have to delete all cookies, just the ones for the newspaper.

The other well-known workaround is to Google some text from the article and get to it that way. It doesn't work all the time but more often than not it works for me.

I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
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