Neil Thackray’s Business Media Blog

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A Mantra for Giving Up on Pay Walls

Solving the b2b conundrum is partly about how you think as well as being about what you do. It struck me today that we too easily use vocabulary that fixes us in a mode of being defensive. All the talk about paywalls is perhaps the best example. Our failure to innovate in online advertising solutions, the crippling impact of the decline in print advertising has led us to think defensively about our brands rather than thinking about how to better serve our readers or users. What is a wall? A barrier. It is a solid and impregnable way to stop users and readers reaching your content. That seems perverse. Of course I not saying we should not find ways of charging users for services we provide but if we build a wall, and we think like wall builders (think of Hadrian) we will end up in a battle with our users which they will win.

The answer is to think differently. Lets stop talking about walls and talk about access. Lets not pretend that we can charge for that which we gave away for free and think about how we can devise new content and services that will complement our free offering. Lets stop putting the old model and the defence of the old model at the centre of what we do and instead put our users at the centre. Lets think about how we can expose our users to more; for that way we may be able to charge. To offer users less than we used to by building a wall, and then expecting them to pay to climb over the top to get to what they used to have by right runs against the norm of human nature

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February 2, 2010 - Posted by | business media strategy, Paid content

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