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Washington Post To Go Paywall, Along With Buffett-Owned Local Papers 163

Posted by timothy
from the interesting-use-of-the-word-reportedly dept.
McGruber writes "The Washington Post reports that the Washington Post, and local newspapers owned by Warren Buffett, are all planning to follow the New York Times and install metered paywalls." Buffett's got more than 80 papers right now, and hasn't quit buying them. There's some time to read the WaPo sans paywall, but by mid-year it may be up.
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Washington Post To Go Paywall, Along With Buffett-Owned Local Papers

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  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday December 07, 2012 @08:46PM (#42221781)

    You do know that only works because enough people don't care to use it, right?

    Maybe in the "not going out of business" sense that is true. But in the specific sense of "if a lot of other people do that too, they will close the loophole" what you wrote is not true. The reason that it is not true is their "paywall-model" is based on high porosity. They want people to be able to read a limited number of articles with as little friction as possible in order to get them hooked enough to pay for unlimited access.

    The problem is that they can't be both highly porous and completely locked down. If it comes to that, their current business model will fall apart. The highly-locked down paywall model has been shown to fail in most cases, only working for very specific markets and general interest news has not been one of them.

  • Re:I don't get it. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday December 07, 2012 @08:52PM (#42221839)

    What am I missing? Is there separate pages that paid subscribers are seeing that I am not? More articles available? What?

    The NYTimes paywall is intended to let everybody read a limited number of articles per month with no hassle at all - exceed the limit and you run into a paywall on all of their articles. The thing is that it relies on cookies in your browsers to keep track of how many articles you've read. So, if you do things like spoof your referrer to be google and never let their website set a cookie, you are unlikely to ever be hassled by their paywall.

  • by SEE (7681) on Friday December 07, 2012 @10:13PM (#42222423) Homepage

    I suspect it's an attempt to replicate the Wall Street Journal model. The Wall Street Journal business/finance reporting, especially focused on the New York exchanges, is not generally replicated among mass-market newspapers. And it constitutes genuinely valuable work-related information to certain people who also have employer-provided expense accounts, these people go ahead and subscribe, and the subscriptions are paid by their employer as a business expense.

    The Washington Post at least had (I don't know if they currently still do) a reputation for doing detailed nuts-and-bolts political/policy reporting on the US Federal Government in depth that nobody else matched. That is similarly genuinely valuable work-related information to certain people who also have employer-provided expense accounts, who will (presumably) then go ahead and subscribe, the subscriptions are paid by their employer as a business expense.

    The Buffet-owned papers are, according to the article, going to go with "local, local, local stuff." Which is to say, the theory is the subscription will be worth it for the stuff that you can't get from a general-interest international paper. I'm more suspicious of this model; it doesn't have the advantage of the expense accounts. But it does at least try to sell something other than AP wire reports.

  • by SEE (7681) on Friday December 07, 2012 @10:44PM (#42222565) Homepage

    Or to blacklist sites in some way?

    Click on the gear icon in the upper right, look down to "Adjust Sources", then adjust how often you see results from that source down to "Never".

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