This piece by Felix Salmon is the smartest post on paywalls I’ve read in a long time. In it, he talks about how the porousness of the NY Times paywall is a feature, not a bug:
“It allows anybody, anywhere, to read any NYT article they like. That makes the NYT open and inviting — and means that I continue to be very happy to link to NYT stories.”
The NYT paywall of-course, does not attempt to be an impermeable barrier in the way those of the WSJ or the Times of London do. People who don’t subscribe can still read a certain number of articles before the wall comes up. If you arrive via a link shared on Facebook, Twitter or a blog you won’t hit a paywall. And as many quickly worked out, there seems to be plenty of none-too-complex ways to work around it.
Salmon compares it to a polite “Keep Off The Grass’ notice, rather than a tall fence with razor wire on the top. It is, as Dan Gillmor puts it, more of a ‘suggestion wall’ than a paywall. Yet the early signs indicate that it appears to be working.
So in this, and in many other ways (as is so often the case with … read on.