So today the Los Angeles Times followed the New York Times behind a paywall. I had previously been a regular reader of the New York Times. I first found the little pop-ups telling me that I had viewed # of the 20 free stories I was allowed this month annoying. After a couple of months of reading most of my free allowance, I stopped visiting the New York Times web site at all. Indeed, when New York put up the paywall, I started using the Los Angeles Times more often. El Lay’s paywall implementation was quite different than New York’s. On the day it became effective, visiting the site brought you to a sign up screen. None of the annoying pop ups warning that you are reading up your allowance. And honestly, the 99 cents they demanded is far from a prohibitive price point, even for people whose budgets are as limited as mine is.
What stopped me from signing up and forking over my credit card number is the fact that nowhere did I see any mention whatsoever about what the regular price would be after the 99 cent month is over. Having worked in an industry that was built around recurring monthly charges to consumer credit cards, I am all too well aware of horror stories from folks who signed up to pay a small fee for something and ended up getting billed for months or years for something else they had not intended to buy and pay for. For the moment, I am getting my news from newspapers that don’t have pay walls. Here is a list of some of my favorites. Do you read newspapers online? Which ones? Leave a comment and let me know and I will add it to this list.