Puzzlement regarding internet publications, especially News & Opinion

Discussion in 'Present & Current Events' started by wwkirk, Apr 4, 2022.

  1. wwkirk

    wwkirk Celestial

    Messages:
    4,139
    Almost daily I'll read something interesting which in turn links to a news and/or opinion site, which, more often than not, is behind a paywall. This is irrelevant if you still have limited free access for the month. But after that, one has to jump through hoops to get access to the material. Most of the time, switching on VPN while utilizing a different browser will work. But not for the NY Times.

    Even by switching to a different laptop I was unable to spoof the NY Times! But I think I've figured out their secret. If you're ever denied limited access to their content, don't reuse a link that failed in another browser. I think they embed identifiers in their URLs, so it is necessary to retrieve a fresh URL using a new browser operating under VPN.

    Obviously, none of this will work if the site in question is 100% paid access. But that leads to my puzzlement: When it comes to getting messages out, or expressing opinions, isn't it best to make them easy to access? What good is expressing an opinion only a limited number will get to hear it?

    A related irritation involves sites with a mix of free and pay-only access. That's not a problem in and of itself, but certain sites think it clever to not label the pay-only content, so you wind up futilely clicking on it, over and over again. They may imagine this will seduce people into subscribing, but it my case I almost never go those sites anymore!

    To me, a better strategy would be to make your online product so appealing that people will want to support you by subscribing. Especially, when it comes to opinions, a generous free access policy might be the best way to entice people who respect your opinions to subscribe.
     
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  2. AD1184

    AD1184 Celestial

    Messages:
    1,077
    25 years ago, you had to buy the newspaper or the magazine to read the news story, or the opinion piece. So, in a sense, it was behind a paywall back then. They were then, as they are now, businesses whose wares are the stories headlined on the front page, or cover. They seek to tempt you with these to get you to make a purchase.

    In the interim, news sites started putting their content on the web for free, but this led to revenues for newspapers dropping dramatically as the circulation of their paper editions evaporated. A lot of the possible web revenue was being syphoned by news aggregators like Google and Facebook, and most readers began to use ad-blockers.

    Most news websites with a paywall went through a period where their content was freely available, but had to change in order to make ends meet. I believe the first British newspaper to go behind a paywall was the Times in 2010. Their annual editorial costs were £100million, and advertising revenues on freely available content were not cutting it. Their paywall has been a success for them:

    Ten years of the Times digital paywall: How Murdoch's 'big gamble' paid off

    Occasionally, if a story is of overwhelming public interest, then it might be made freely available. The Guardian newspaper has steadfastly refused to go behind a paywall, but it has a begging bowl at the bottom of every page on its website.

    Many websites attempt to support themselves through advertising on freely-available content alone, but this is increasingly of a low quality. A lot of it is written in a 'click bait' style, that asks a question in the headline, implying that the answer is in the story, whereas in the old days, the headline would contain the main fact, and you would simply read the article for an elaboration on the information in the headline. The body of the article contains multiple paragraphs of needless filler designed to get you to scroll further and further down the page, past more adverts (or at least, where the blocked adverts would have been), before finally giving you the simple fact that was concealed by the wording of the headline.
     
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  3. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

    Messages:
    30,252
    I agree with what @AD1184 says to a certain degree, newspapers before the internet were not given out freely, but must be purchased daily...The price was low, some newspapers cost half a dollar or less for the daily edition whilst the Sunday paper cost a bit more...The difference now is besides the mere cost is that online news outlets don't offer a daily rate, they want you to purchase an annual subscription at a higher rate...Some people like myself did not read the news nor purchase the newspaper daily in the past before the internet and prefer having an option to purchase a newspaper as a one-off daily purchase...I think the news outlets should add a daily purchase to their offering portfolio and allow someone to randomly purchase the daily news at a daily cost with no obligation for further purchases and stop with the insistence of an annual subscription or nothing...

    ...
     
  4. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

    Messages:
    30,252
    There's another element to this which should be pointed out...In the past newspapers were shared, whether at home or at work, between work associates and friends or family members...Besides physical newspapers, magazines were also shared but this was all localized and commonly accepted...Sharing digital content of any kind is severely frowned upon these days whether the content is purchased or not, so its seems there's also a behaviour that these news providers are attempting to change, perhaps a natural behaviour, to be friendly and share things with others...

    ...
     
  5. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

    Messages:
    30,252
    Mysterious Universe has changed their site and now allows limited free access to their articles and is offering a subscription fee to access the site uninhibited...I'm assuming that their podcast access is set up the same way...

    Screenshot_20220405-130544.jpg
     

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