Friday, August 26, 2011


The Faster Times: “Why the New York Times Paywall is Working”

by Larry Geller

The New York Times experiment in creating a “porous paywall,” that is, a paywall that doesn’t block readers from viewing its content, has been widely followed. It seems, by most reports, that the experiment has been successful.

Yes, the NYT paywall is porous — but that’s a feature, not a bug. It allows anybody, anywhere, to read any NYT article they like. That makes the NYT open and inviting — and means that I continue to be very happy to link to NYT stories.

[The Faster Times, Why the New York Times Paywall is Working (quoting Felix Salmon, 8/21/2011 ]

If anyone can read stories (up to a certain limit, and there’s a workaround for that, too), how can the NYT be successful with a paywall?

As the article explains, people seem to be willing to pay after the fact. That is, they read articles, see the value of access, and subscribe.

Felix explains that since turning on the “paywall” at the end of March, the New York Times has signed up almost 400,000 paying customers for its online product ...

These 400,000 subscribers have been obtained with seemingly no loss in visitors and traffic to the NY Times’ website since the paywall launched at the end of March this year

The Faster Times article has a graph of the increase revenue with no loss of traffic.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, on the other hand, has gone for a strict lockdown approach. This deprives everyone (inside and outside Hawaii) of information about our state, and has to be detrimental to business interests and any hope of attracting high-tech ventures to the islands. It also deprives residents of all ages (especially children) of the ability to conduct research via Google or other search engines.

I hope Star-Advertiser editors will check out the New York Times approach and, yes, relent.


Black is making a foolish, shortsighted move. The TV station websites, Civil Beat, Nixle updates from HPD, All Hawaii News are making the blacked out SA irrelevant.

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