The reason people don't like the paywall, is because the traditional paywall is so bad at embracing the connected world. You can do better than that.
We are starting to see several interesting trends in the world of publishing. For most of the past 15 years, online publishing has been on a bit of a roller coaster ride. First, embracing the concept of making no money (aka the "culture of free"), only to find that it wasn't profitable. Then, within the past five years, reaching the great depression.
No, I'm not talking about the financial crisis. I'm talking about how the publishing world, journalists, and writers alike all started arguing that nothing could be done.
Of course, they put a bit of a spin to it. Instead of saying nothing could be done, they came up with rather silly arguments like, "We just need to embrace the new world. Then making no money would suddenly be profitable."
The pattern here is obvious to anyone who has ever worked with change management. Every change results in eight stages:
It is interesting to see how fast things are changing. It took the publishing world eight years to go from stage one to stage two. But it only took four years to go from stage two to stage three.
The publishing world as a whole is currently at stage 3.5 - somewhere between negotiation and depression. A few have moved on to stage six, and only a handful are at stage seven. More to the point, several publishers are at mixed stages. Many are experimenting with digital, but haven't accepted that the print mentality is the problem. And as a result we see all kinds of fancy media products that don't really change anything.
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