There has been so much talk about paywalls in the Newspaper industry lately, for the most part they aren’t needed there, but they do have there place in that industry. The issue of paywalls today is not about money, it’s more about control, or the fact of that industry is losing what control it felt it had over you & I.
I preach an Open & Free Business Model, this model does have paywalls, and they are well throughout in placement. As I have said before, Open & Free does not always mean Open & Free.
I would suggest that industries that are trying to maintain control by forcing users to pay first, they consider better less friction type mechanisms. The paywall isn’t going away, it is however going to feel like you’re not paying because it will be seamless in your interaction with that product or service.
Rupert Murdoch is a man born & raised at the beginning of the industrial age, he’s 79 years old, and we shouldn’t be shocked at his narrow view of how newspapers should function on the Internet. It’s not his fault really, he has been conditioned into believing something that is no longer true. The Independent website released an article called, “Has Rupert Murdoch’s paywall gamble paid off?”, yesterday. It’s very well written, and it raises the question again about paywalls and the stand many are taking. Rupert is almost viewed as a criminal for his stand on paywalls, and I don’t see him backing down any time soon. The move to prevent content from being found through search engines has to be suicide. This is not the kind of attention he should want to have, it’s negative, and it eventually will not make money.
Two months ago, he had paywalls erected on The Times & The Sunday Times, which prevents search engines from accessing that content. One of the first things to happen, traffic to the site dropped through the floor. You & I both know that traffic is paramount for any website trying to make a buck. Rupert’s primary concern appears to be about muscle, he stated that newspapers will have less muscle in Internet advertising campaigns than they do in print. That statement alone screams control over what you & I can have access to, and he wants to force you & I to pay for his control. But is it control he wants, or is it meta-data? It is suggested this paywall move is more about gathering consumer information than selling content, what do you think?
In the new business environment of the future, being open & free will bring about better results than Rupert Murdoch is suggesting. There are countless number’s of sites using paywalls, and there even more moving to a open & free business model, and having great success. As I have said before, Open & Free is not a skill set, it’s a paradigm shift, a new way of thinking, a new way of doing business.
The best paywall, one that doesn’t make you work hard to make payment, one that is seamless, and one that doesn’t give you that uneasy feeling of throwing your money away. One of the biggest concerns about open & free, it will raise the level of bad content, that’s going to happen anyway when the other 3 Billion get here online, so get over it.
What are your thoughts on this topic?