Why paywalls are counter productive #fail
There are many reasons why paywalls are a bad idea - here's one that happened to me. A reporter for a specialty magazine interviewed me recently about some pending legislation. The article was to be published now - so I checked the website. The site shows an image of the front page of the current edition - which has the article at the very top of the page. Beside that image is a list of articles from the publication.
But when I click on it - it just gives me a message saying I need to be a subscriber or registered as a guest. Normally, I would stop there and not bother - but since I was interviewed for the article, I decide its worth the pain of registering as a guest. So I answer all their questions (none of them were privacy invasive - but a pain to do) and get signed up.
So I log on and click on the article link - only to get a message saying:
"You do not have sufficient permission to view the article requested. To gain full access to all articles please click here to take advantage of our low introductory offer."
I guess they don't want people to actually read their publication. How many people that find them online are actually going to buy a subscription?
By insisting that people buy subscriptions to see even a small part of their publication, they prevent casual readers from seeing it at all. Assuming I liked the article, I would have mentioned it on my blog and linked to it, bringing more attention to their publication.
And yes, I realize that the attention I would bring is not in itself significant (I'm not Techdirt or Boing Boing), but every bit helps, and every bit adds up.