Paywalls are a huge turn-off. So why do publishers, including Adpulp, put them in the reader’s way?
Because content is a commodity and publishers of every variety are barely scraping by, that’s why.
According to Digiday, “third-party micropayments — in the United States at least — have flopped.”
I find the pronouncement a bit harsh and definitely premature. Micropayments have hardly been introduced, so it’s much too early to say they flopped. How about we all give them a chance to succeed before condemning them to the digital trash heap?
In fact, please stop reading this. Join inkl now and start paying for high-quality niche content on Adpulp and elsehwere.
The Micropayment Experiment Continues
We started asking Adpulp readers to pay for our content as they go last June. Since then, the site has received just 90 paid reads, either via the tipping function or by agreeing to pay upfront for one gated article. Our conversion rate with inkl-enabled articles is just above one percent.
The income from this trickle of reader support is not good, although I am incredibly grateful and somewhat encouraged by 90 paid reads. We could make much more money by running ads in this space, and we’re now considering how to introduce a new “one featured advertiser at a time” approach. With the niche audience we cultivate here, micro-payments alone won’t suffice. Of course, I never expected as much.
I believe in micropayments, even with the low conversion rate, because I believe in attaching a monetary value to writing. Naturally, this is a Sisyphean effort. Readers, myself included, have been feasting on free content for two decades. Saying the party’s over and it’s time to pay is such a buzz kill. Publishers who want readers to pay must be ready to shed readers, or “glancers” in order to find members or subscribers.
Publishers Pick from Lots Bad Choices
It seems that online publishers get to choose between degrading the reader experience with advertising or keeping it clean and asking readers to carry the weight, which most readers are not ready or willing to do.
I think the real answer is more complex, and that a combination of free and paid is best. After 14 years on the job, Adpulp has the free part covered. As we move forward into 2018 and beyond, we will focus on developing more products and services worth paying for. Clearly, we can repurpose some of our content into ebooks and make them available in a store here. In that store, we might also make Adpulp-branded merchandise available.
On the services front, what do you think about subscribing to a new Adpulp members’ area where we can discuss “the work” and other pressing matters in private? As a build on that idea, I think there may be an opportunity here for agencies and in-house teams to start submitting their work and subjecting it to our community’s criticism, or the editorial team’s (depending on preference and price), before it ever gets presented to the client.