After the New York Times announcement recently, one could be forgiven for assuming that paywalls are finally beginning to come down. The FT announced today that they’ve changed the model for access to FT.com. It would appear that the first five articles are free to all; a further twenty-five, or thirty in all, are to be made available every month free of charge, but only to “light-touch” registrants. Beyond the 30, people will need to subscribe.
My initial reaction? Bemused, maybe even confused. How would someone police the first five articles being free to all? I assume free to all means no registration. Sure, you could store IP addresses and grant each address up to five articles per month without registration, but what a nightmare. What a palaver. For no value. So I must be wrong. Some sort of registration must be in place for the 5 free. In which case I don’t understand the difference between the first five free and the next 25 free, unless there’s a second stage of registration. Whatever it is, there would need to be some form of reset every month-end as well. It all seems so pointless.
Content is not king. The customer is. Scarcity is not king. Abundance is.
Paywalls will come down. More later.