Friday, June 04, 2010


A peek over the high fence—Civil Beat is free (for a day)

by Larry Geller

Here’s our chance. The gates are open for one day. Hurry through and check out Civil Beat before they slam shut again. But it seems that you still have to pay if you want to enter a comment (I was just asked for $1.49).

I guess they don’t want us leaving any footprints on the website while we look around..

Civil Beat is, of course, the long-awaited project funded by Pierre Omidyar that turned out to be restricted only to those willing to pay. Instead of the new journalism venture that many of us assumed it would be, given its original working name of Peer News, it turned out to be a gated community guarded by a PayPal paywall.

Today is our chance to check it out. Presumably we’ll be kicked out tomorrow. But with comments still subject to the paywall, it’s clear that we’re not really welcome. Perhaps it is just a promotional effort (nothing wrong with that).

So I’m going to sit down later with a cup of coffee and check them out.

Oh, speaking of  coffee and “free,” today is actually National Donut Day, and you can get a “free” Dunkin Donut by RSVPing here. But you have to purchase a beverage. Just like Peer News’ free day, it’s free but it isn’t.

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