Part I: Three months into paywall, reader complaints coming in at reduced trickle
We’re just at the three-month anniversary of charging for online subscriptions for virtually all content on ydr.com and our other websites.
So what is the reader reaction 90 days in?
Well, responses averaged about one a day for the first two months and now come in at about two or three a week.
If we ever had a negative reader response, it came in August 2010 when we installed a partial paywall of content that also appeared in print. And that was maybe 50 in the first month, and it trickled off after that to perhaps a couple a month until we put a higher, wider paywall into play three months ago.
Numbers aside, these are readers – our readers – who are troubled enough to write. We treat every complaint we receive with care and respect, responding with emails addressing their particular concerns.
Here is a typical email:
“Do you seriously think that people will pay 60 bucks a year to view you online??? You are just alienating subscribers that want to check for late breaking news that didn’t make the printed edition. Banks are not doing well with adding a fee for everything either. Good Luck! I will view a few more times before I remove YDR from my favorites.”
And my response, after opening with an expression of concern about his frustration and appreciation for his writing:
“The thing is that there’s a cost for us to produce the late breaking news as well as the numerous additional stories and photos that are produced just for the Web. We’ve been producing more and more of these Web-only stories and photos and just can’t keep covering those costs.
“We’re also thinking that many of these stories and photos that you’re addressing can’t be found elsewhere – on other sites. Other media don’t want to bear those costs, so they just don’t do the stories. Part of our thinking with the charges is that we can keep providing that content.
“Here’s a bit more explanation on this: http://media.ydr.com/onlinenews.
“Thanks again for writing. Please keep in touch.”
Readers out there, we’re glad to talk with you about the paywall. Feel free to comment below or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Managing Editor Randy Parker, email@example.com.
Also of interest:
For additional paywall posts including other interaction with readers, please see our online subscription page.