Argument Against Paywalls: Links
Last week Nassau News Live received more than 3,000 unique visitors, most of them reading two articles by Geoff Smith on the Nassau County elections.
First, congratulations to Geoff. He stayed at Democrat headquarters until 12:30 a.m., interviewed incumbent (and now re-elected) district attorney Kathleen Rice and had video of a media question/answer session with incumbent county executive Thomas Suozzi (his re-election bid is now in the hands of 10,000 absentee ballots).
Second, and by far the most surprising development to come out of last week’s coverage, is Nassau News Live was linked on Politico. From this we received hundreds of hits last week, and more are coming to our site from the Politico article. Now I may be leaping here, but perhaps a reason why Geoff Smith’s coverage was linked is not only because of its vast use of multimedia and its great reporting, but also because the “big boy” in town, Newsday, now demands online viewers be subscribers or pay $5 each week they want access.
Due to the paywall, it’d be smart of other websites looking to include links in their reporting find alternative sources than attempting to send their viewers to a paywall from a major media player, where they’ll only read a couple paragraphs.
With the Web becoming more tangled and intertwined as bloggers and media sites link to each other all over the Internet, there are thousands of hits (and dollars of advertising) at stake.
There is no denying that the business model is broken, but to keep out viewers who may not be returning to that big media site enough in a week to justify paying a fee, and keeping out viewers who have no option to receive a subscription, is broken as well. There is a middle ground and a compromise that needs to be struck between the pay-for-all and the free-for-all models currently at work.