The New York Times reportedly spent $40 million to create a paywall in an effort to earn revenue from its online content. Through the new business model, visitors to the New York Times website can only view a certain number of articles for free each month. If they want to view more, they have to pay for a subscription.
However, dissatisfied readers have already found a variety of ways to bypass the paywall and view more content on the New York Times website. In fact, it’s not hard to get around the paywall at all!
As Mashable (which is syndicated by Newstex) reported earlier this week, bypassing the New York Times paywall can be as easy as clearing your browser’s cache. Lauren Indvik wrote on Mashable:
“Readers need only remove “?gwh=numbers” from the URL. They can also clear their browser caches, or switch browsers as soon as they see the subscription prompt. All three of these simple fixes will let them continue reading.”
Immediately, a debate began related to whether or not the New York Times intended to make it that easy to bypass the paywall in an effort to reduce widespread dissatisfaction. However, with subscription rates ranging from $15-$35 per month, customers who subscribed already are understandably outraged by the news that they didn’t really have to pay at all to get New York Times content.
A second debate is happening related to the viability of paid content. One side believes that people are willing to pay for useful content while the other side believes there is no reason to pay because the same information is always available elsewhere for free. Which side of the debate are you on?
There is no doubt that traditional news organizations moved too slowly when the world of information sharing started to change with the increased accessibility of the Internet. It remains to be seen if these traditional news organizations can make the necessary changes to their business models to stay afloat for the next 10 years. Is erecting an online paywall the answer? It seems doubtful. What do you think? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.