Pay wall

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A pay wall (or paywall) blocks access to a webpage with a window requiring payment. Web sites that use them include some owned by periodical publications.[1]

In 2002 the Financial Times started charging for Web access to published stories. [2]

The Wall Street Journal is the last major newspaper in the USA to still have its website behind a pay wall. The Journal has almost one million paying online readers, which generates about $65 million a year. [3] [4]

Pay walls removed

The New York Times had a subscription program, TimesSelect, which charged $49.95 a year, or $7.95 a month, for online access to the newspaper's archives. In 2007 paid subscriptions were earning $10 million, but if every reader who reached the pay wall had entered the site, ad revenue would have been higher.[citation needed] In 2007 The New York Times dropped the pay wall to its post 1980 archive. Pre 1980 articles in a pdf format are still behind the pay wall, but an abstract of most articles is available for free. [3]

In 2008 the Atlantic Monthly dropped its pay wall. [5]

First click free

On December 1, 2009 Google announced changes to their "first click free" program which is running since 2008 and allows users e.g. of the Wall Street Journal to find and read articles behind a paywall. The reader's first click to the content is free, and the number after that would be set by the content provider.[6][7]


  1. "A Brief History of Paywalls". Retrieved 2009-11-30. 
  2. The Newspaper that Doesn't Want to be Free Success of under paywall
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Times to Stop Charging for Parts of Its Web Site.". New York Times. September 18, 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-14. "These indirect readers, unable to get access to articles behind the pay wall and less likely to pay subscription fees than the more loyal direct users, were seen as opportunities for more page views and increased advertising revenue." 
  4. "Whoah! Quietly Makes Big Traffic Strides.". Condé Nast. Retrieved 2008-04-14. "No wonder Rupert Murdoch's in no hurry to do away with The Wall Street Journal's online pay wall. Even with it still in place around large sections of the site, traffic is still growing at a most impressive rate." 
  5. "The Atlantic drops pay wall.". Atlantic Monthly. January 22, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-14. "Beginning today, is dropping its subscriber registration requirement and making the site free to all visitors. Now, in addition to such offerings as blogs, author dispatches, slideshows, interviews, and videos, readers can also browse issues going back to 1995, along with hundreds of articles dating as far back as 1857, the year The Atlantic was founded." 
  7. "Google To Let News Groups Set Reader Limits". Wall Street Journal. December 1, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-01. 

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