Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Paywalls seem obstructionist

Paywalls seem obstructionist

“Everything is free now,
That's what they say.
Everything I ever done,
Gotta give it away.
Someone hit the big score.
They figured it out,
That we're gonna do it anyway,
Even if doesn't pay.”

Gillian Welch

I’m running into paywalls on the internet more and more these days. I’m not trying to, it’s just hard to avoid them. I’m not asking for access mind you, these sites are offering access through google and other aggregators, at least they offer until you click the link to get there, then they pull it away with a blocking notice and say you have to pay to play.

I’m convinced that the problem is Hedge funds in the process of looting big print journalism, but I digress.

Because I’m an American raised with a punishing god, I feel guilty when confronted by a rude message and, in an aggressively outgoing sort of way – think, fuck you, how dare you? I then finger walk away in anger to another news site that has the same information without the hassles – mostly feeling that I just wasted my time whilst nursing a minor grudge against whatever “The man” seems appropriate. I’m not big on grudges, but sometimes I seem to hold onto them longer than I should.

When possible, I block these sites, (The new Google News app allows you to banish some of the sites – but not all, and you kind of have to work at it). It’s annoying, though I do understand the problem. They seem, however, not to understand my problem.

I don’t want to pay for basic news – at least the stuff that should be a loss leader covered by advertisement. I will pay for creative content – editorials, opinions, long investigative pieces and so forth. But, again, I can’t pay for every little thing – it adds up, and the additional return doesn’t equal the investment in money.

I once asked a lover what she would do without me and she said, “I’d find someone else.”

Let that answer serve as a lesson to you as it did for me.

I can’t afford to pay for multiple sites – I’m retired and on a fixed income. I live in San Jose, California, so enough said. I subscribe to the local paper (Mercury News) and the New York Times web addition. I also subscribe to a number of print journals that allow for online access.
I pay for information but can’t pay for every form of information.

Clearly the advertising model is dead for news providers – though it does seem to work for aggregators like Facebook and Google – maybe there’s some information in that fact I’m not sure what the future holds moneywise for journalism but do know that I have limits, and that I hold grudges, so the bastards better get this right pretty soon.

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