Gilles Domartini| Mon Apr 18 2011 CET| Industry insights
Now that we’ve been spending the past months working more closely with publishers, from small bloggers to large publishing powerhouses, the most frequent mistake we have heard is that a paywall should be implemented in order to turn a “free model” into a “paying” one.
Well, in reality, turning a “free model” into a paying one can be very difficult, and it won’t happen overnight. Why?
We forget that what triggers paying content is consumer acceptance. For instance, to gauge typical consumer reactions,see, Twitter comments about the NYT paywall in the last 2h:
We have covered the issues behind the NYT implementation and freemium models, and Stacey Kramer has further analyzed all root causes and options last week,
Overall, poor listening to consumers expectations, and trying to cope with corporate mantras like:
What can we take away from this? As Danny Sullivan aptly summarizes, from a series of tweets: “can we agree? it’s not an NYT paywall, it’s an idiotwall.”
In other words, trying to turn free content into pay content, is likely to make everyone look like fools….
If consumers like what you do (and are able to see it), you’ll be able to generate far more business opportunities than the few dollars you can charge for your content. Take for example MysteryGuitarMan who became a huge star just based on his Youtube video (250M views, and counting!).
Imagine you have a restaurant review blog. You cover the story of a new opening, and you want to make people pay for some of the content. See the 2 sentence below – which one do you prefer?
Our test shows 50% more conversion on the right column. Why? You don’t think you buy content. You buy a service, you buy exclusivity, you buy a unique piece of information, you buy something you care about.
So what you sell is not the access to content, but rather you sell value-added services.
To avoid of the complexity of metered paywalls, one solution is to utilize in-page monetization. To ensure that all the navigation flow remains intact, you can generate SEO, keep your advertising revenue flowing in, and just select the right part of the content to sell such as text, video or images. How does this work? For an example of in-page monetization, see one we recently created here.
There are certainly many more methods you can think about, and you’ll need further tests to gauge what will work for you.
What are your other ideas? Or what are your experiences so far?
in the coming weeks, we’ll continue to share best practices. If interested, follow us here.