I am skeptical of the success of their paywall but the activation fee does make some sense. If their goal is to avoid people subscribing only when needed, the $5 fee may be enough to convince people to stay subscribed month to month.
Isn't surge pricing based on when demand outpaces supply? Uber uses surge pricing to encourage more drivers. In the middle of the night, demand may be low but supply could be even lower. This could create a situation where travelers coming in may still need to pay higher rates to encourage enough supply at off-peak times.
I have always respected Techdirt's policy of anonymous commenters and wish more more sites offered such functionality.
One feature request:
Would it be possible to identify anonymous commenters per story? For example, the 1st anonymous commenter to a story would be labeled as "Anonymous Coward #1" for all posts relating to the that story. The 2nd anonymous commenter would labeled as "Anonymous Coward #2", etc.
It is frustrating to read the commentary and not know if the anonymous comments are coming from one person or from 20.
What is really funny is that this is in a trade publication that gives away its printed version. Maybe the editor should have talked to the publishing/advertising side first to understand his own companies business model.