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In memoriam of free online content

December 31, 2012

Home Blog In memoriam of free online content

As yet another year winds down, the number of news wrap-ups and “Best Of” lists exponentially expands. While I am all for a little reflection at this time of year, I am noticing a concerning trend when I click to view these stories.

I can’t open them.

This past year saw a number of publications put up paywalls on their websites, which is a prompt asking you to subscribe to the publication in order to view its content. As an avid social media user who loves to click on shared links, I am getting tripped up on this at an alarmingly increasing rate.

Most notably, the New York Times established a paywall method in 2012 that is gaining popularity. It allows 10 free visits per month. If you wish to view articles more than 10 times in that month, you need to pay for a subscription.

As a researcher and news lover, this is frustrating. But at the same time, understandable. Newspapers need to make up for lost print subscriber revenue somehow, so the obvious solution is to require online subscriptions.

But as someone who has also blogged professionally, I know that options for online revenue go beyond the traditional scope of what newspapers are used to. It is not about adapting old standards to new mediums, but thinking outside of the box to create new ways to monetize these new mediums.

I wish I could offer a solution to this problem, and I am more than willing to pay for the content I read. There was a time when all we needed was one newspaper to tell us what we need to know, so that one subscription was enough. But in this new world of endless information, paying for multiple subscriptions to get everything that is out there is not always feasible.

Looking forward into 2013, I fear it will be the year of the paywall. So here’s hoping we come up with a better solution to this problem, so we can all reasonably afford to read those silly “Best Of” stories this time next year.


This article was originally published on ShiftCentral, now part of LAC Group.

Mario Thériault

Mario Thériault

Mario Thériault is Chief Business Development Officer and oversees all aspects of LAC Group’s growth strategy, partnership and alliance programs. Prior to LAC’s acquisition of ShiftCentral, Mario served as CEO and continuously evolved the company to emphasize the importance of strategic, curated intelligence to solve clients validated business needs.
Mario Thériault
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