Social Loopholes for Paid Content

This is an interesting switch.

The Google Loophole Has Become The Facebook/Twitter Loophole

I hadn’t ever noticed a Google loophole for WSJ articles, but that’s probably because very little published by the WSJ interests me and any blog linking to WSJ content either went through or didn’t, meaning I didn’t spend any additional effort.

The fact that readers originating from Facebook and Twitter will be able to use a loophole signal an interesting switch. Even more interesting, the Google loophole will be closed after a set number of uses.

One further bit that TechCrunch doesn’t mention is that the person sharing the content, e.g. someone retweeting an NYT link or sharing from the NYT page, will garner social karma from their content.

That boost may convert casual free readers into subscribers, and if nothing else, it helps establish the NYT as an authoritative news source.

Of course, this shift is bad for Google as they’re finding their search dominance increasingly tested by social search.

Find the comments.





  1. Twitter and facebook the only dependable free way in? Aw crap.

    What will they do when someone tweets all the content? This policy appears unsustainable on its face.

    Backlash is a short term PR problem. Paywalls are a long term fiscal problem. Think about that the next time you pay a phone bill.

  2. Saw that, inevitable. What’s interesting is that they asked for the shutdown for trademark reasons, not specifically for paywall circumventing.

    The response was interesting too. They’re obviously aware that cheaters will cheat, but they’re not changing the strategy. I think it’s smart. They might eventually convert heavy abusers by reminding (shaming) them, i.e. the guilt factor. A tactic that takes time, but could work.

    You figure of the cheaters, some will convert organically, while others will never pay. So, you want to nudge the organic conversions (I should find time to do that, I can’t decide if it’s worth it, I know I’m abusing the freebies, etc.) over the guilty edge.

    Add a little reminder for visitors from loophole sources, JIC they’re ignorant, and there you go. It could work.

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