Do paywalls make content better? Wired thinks so

Wired’s paywall went up last week: Four free clicks, then $20 a year.

Starting last Thursday at 9 am ET, Wired.com put up a paywall — although infrequent visitors might not have noticed it right away.

“You can read whatever you want, but if you read five stories in a month, we ask you to please pay us,” Wired Editor in Chief Nick Thompson said.

Once Wired visitors cross the five-story mark, they are asked to pay $20 per year to continue reading, with the added bonus of no advertisements, although Thompson said the first three months will be free. Customers are becoming more accustomed to paywalls, he said, and media businesses are realising a simple but true fact: They work, while advertising increasingly does not.

“When you create a subscription business model, your incentives change significantly,” he said. “You’re trying to build a really deep relationship with your reader. No one is going to subscribe if they think that what you’re doing is not unique … You do want as many readers as possible. You do want people to come frequently. But what you really want them to do is love your stories.”

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