Free ride vs. 'pay-wall' 2005-03-14

Dan Gillmor and Doc Searls have both commented on the New York Times article
Can Papers End the Free Ride Online?

Both comment on how putting the content behind a "pay-wall" or "costwall" reduces their visibility on the net, thereby reducing their visibility to people who increasingly stick to online sources.

I'm one of them. I don't buy newspapers anymore. I used to read the paper cover to cover when I was a kid. Once I got online, my number of sources massively broadened, and my total news consumption increase, but at the same time I stopped reading paper copies of the newspaper.

However I'm probably spending more time looking at pages with advertising now than I did then.

I've long stayed away from New York Times because of their annoying registration. It's not that I mind registration in general - I registered at Slashdot and many other sites I frequent regularly. However keeping track of usernames and passwords at sites I visit only every once in a while, is annoying, especially when it's only to read content, as opposed to participate in a discussion.

The New York Times simply isn't compelling enough, so instead I'll happily use

The New York Times is perhaps the best example for this, to the extent where it's even presented as an example on's main page.

The moment they require payment, I'll stay away permanently - the number of news sources available to me makes news a cheap commodity, and I don't value their opinion pieces and other unique content enough to pay.

Fewer eyeballs for their ads, less presence in search engines, less relevance, in a time where staying relevant and visible makes the difference between setting agenda and being ignored.

It's bizarre then, that this comes at a time when New York Times has become blog friendly, letting anyone
create a registration free link
to refer to them from their blogs.

Suddenly they became more palatable to blogs that previously have shunned links to their site, and it seemed they'd started to get it.

Let's hope the current article is just talk.

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Free ride vs. 'pay-wall':

ยป Free News from Don Singleton
If they do begin charging, I suspect blogs will increase in popularity as a place to go for free news. [Read More]

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