The Emperor's New Paywall

from the that's-not-a-paywall dept

We've already covered just how easy it is to get around the NY Times' $40 million paywall. NYT management is clearly lying when it claims that most people won't bypass the wall, when it's so incredibly easy to bypass... even by accident. With the DailyCaller listing out five more ways to bypass the paywall (not even counting things like the bookmarklet or turning off javascript) such as "removing '?gwh=numbers' from an article's URL," it's finally occurred to me:

This is the Emperor's New Paywall.

The NY Times isn't robed in a paywall at all. It's naked and simply wants people to believe it has a paywall, in the hope that some people will pay and that the masses won't call them on it. Except unlike the Emperor in the fairy tale, you have to believe that the NYT management must recognize this, and is simply playing stupid in its interactions talking about this. It really seems to think that by playing stupid and pretending it really has a paywall, which is truly just a voluntary donation program, it will make people more likely to pay. And I'm sure some people will pay, but I can't believe the numbers will be enough to move the needle. The thing that I still can't understand is how it could spend all this time and money preparing for this and not add a single bit of additional value in this scheme. You would think that during those 14 months someone might have come up with a plan to add more value that was worth paying for, but it seems that they didn't even consider that as a worthwhile option.
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Filed Under: business models, paywall
Companies: ny times


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  1. identicon
    Dave, 29 Mar 2011 @ 3:27pm

    40 Mill!

    Oh Man,
    I knew the paywall was misguided, but they spent that much on it? OMG. I'm a web developer, and I could have set up something that doesn't work for MUCH less than that!

    They are truly clueless. I'm trying to imagine how mental the boardroom meetings must be.

    "hey, my statistics [that I pulled out of some bodypart] tell me that 97% of people won't know how to get around our paywall".

    "great, so that's 5 million bucks per week, and our paper is rescued!".

    "and we have nobody on staff who really understands the web, but this guy I just paid 3 million to said that everything's going to be fine"

    "uh, yeah, but the geezers that don't understand technology or how to get around the paywall might also just want to keep the actual physical paper and not pay for this".

    "we don't like that kind of negativity in our company, Bob"

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