My Site Will Remain Open for All to Read, Even as More Sites Put Up Paywalls.
By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.
The latest example of a big website putting up a paywall is Reuters. Bloomberg did so some time ago. Business Insider put much of their content behind a paywall. Zero Hedge also put some content behind a paywall. The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and myriad other sites have put their content behind paywalls. The reason is simple: it makes financial sense. And for many, it’s a matter of survival.
Running a website on advertising revenues alone – the model of the “free internet” – is becoming more and more precarious, thanks to the internet advertising industry that has inserted itself in dense and opaque layers between the advertiser and the publisher. Google is the top dog, and its far-reaching domination of internet advertising and the many billions of dollars it extracts every year from it have done more damage to publishers than just about anything else.
Yet, even behind the paywall, readers still encounter the darn ads. It’s not a subscription instead of ads; it’s a subscription plus ads.
Reuters, which is a division of Thomson Reuters, announced on Thursday that it would charge $34.99 a month for a subscription, same as Bloomberg, but lower than the Wall Street Journal. At the moment, Reuters is still free, and a date hasn’t been announced yet when the paywall will go up.
And then there are the ad-blocker blockers that an increasing number of sites use. If you use an ad blocker or a browser that is set to block ads, those sites will not work.
I totally get why readers block ads – they’re a big distraction. And I totally get why websites block readers that use ad blockers because sites cannot make any revenues when readers block the ads.
Let me reassure you, Dear Readers, that I will not hide any of my content behind a paywall, and that I will not use ad blocker blockers.
I’m just the little guy between the boots of giants, but I’m having a blast. From the outset, my site was designed to be free for everyone. I like it that way. It gives WOLF STREET much more traction. It widens the community of regular and not so regular readers and commenters. And it’s a lot more fun.
This is my last gig, and I’ll keep doing it until my brain freezes over because it’s the most exciting thing I’ve ever done professionally, and part of the excitement is having a site that is open to all.
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I still have some of these “Nothing Goes to Heck in a Straight Line” 15-oz glass mugs at my media mogul empire headquarters. They sport a wrap-around design with a hilarious wolf on one side (that would be me), howling, “Nothing Goes to Heck in a Straight Line”:
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