Low tech solutions to paywall problems

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

I confess: for all my “meh” about paywalls, I currently have paid access to The Times’ new websites. There are a couple of bloggers I actively miss, and think *might *be worth the money. Yesterday, I spotted this on Ruth Gledhill’s blog [paid subscription required, rather obviously]:

A note from Ruth Gledhill 
Thank you for subscribing to The Times and reading this far. I have decided to become a human ‘RSS feed’. I will send out at least one daily email, sent blind to all recipients so no email addresses of other subscribers or commenters are revealed, of updates to the blog.

If I may be a little “internetty” for a moment: WTF?

This actually worries me more than anything else about the Great Paywall of Wapping. Not that Ruth is doing this – that shows a fabulous respect for her readers and understanding that a blog is a community –  but the fact that there isn’t and RSS feed. It can’t be beyond the wit of their technical team to publish a feed that either was free to air, but only contained the link, a headline and perhaps an excerpt, or a full text feed that required authentication (and RSS readers have supported authentication for years).
With RSS apps starting to get some traction on mobile devices, this really betrays a deep lack of understanding somewhere in their organisation about how their most engaged – and therefore the most likely to pay – actually find their way to the content. 
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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.