by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
dilbert, paywall

Dilbert Takes On The Paywall

from the destroying-revenue dept

As a few of you have sent in, it looks like Scott Adams isn't a huge fan of paywalls, and has expressed that with his latest Dilbert strip:
It's a nice way to put things succinctly: setting up a paywall equals destroying revenue... I think this is actually a point that gets ignored by many defenders of the paywall. They think that any revenue earned from a paywall is incremental, as if implementing (and then managing) a paywall doesn't have tremendous costs. The maintenance side is one thing, but the real cost is opportunity cost in ceding the future to other publications.

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  1. icon
    Andrew Aversa (profile), 12 May 2011 @ 8:52am

    Does anybody argue that paywalls are valuable to the user? Isn't the idea just to provide revenue for the business so they can keep producing content? I agree, I don't think there is a paywall model that could be "valuable to the user", but then again, you could say the same thing about any subscription model (the consumer prefers to get all the content for free, as opposed to paying for it.)

    Most paywalls seem to have been failures. What about Consumer Reports, though? I think they're in a somewhat unique situation. You can't access most of their content without paying a subscription fee, which I believe would be considered a paywall. On the other hand, the nature of what they do (reviewing consumer products) means if they were to have any advertising, it would be a conflict of interest. They pride themselves on avoiding such conflicts by instead charging a subscription fee for access to their reviews. It works quite well for them. But again, maybe this is because of their unique situation. The same wouldn't apply to, say, a news site.

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