Like the Los Angeles Times but a few years later, the new owners of the Orange County Register have made a wrong move by announcing a “paywall” per the email notice below and this story at the OC Weekly:
Print subscribers will have full access to the website, but only for those days they actually pay for delivery. If you buy the paper out of a box, you’re hosed.
Since we are everyday print subscribers, this isn’t all that troublesome. We were much unhappier with the significant increase in subscription cost — over 20% — which we were awarded after the paper’s acquisition by Aaron Kushner. But paywalls can be a pain, and this one better work better than the Times’ which has generated a lot of customer complaints. They’re also easily defeated, and a determined user won’t have issues getting onto the site.
There’s a question regarding quality as well — the Register’s website has never been as good as the Times’, especially in searching for archival material, even though they use the same basic software that’s become a world-standard for blogs (like this one) and electronic media. We’ve often also found items in the deadwood Register that don’t make it to the website for a day or more. That needs fixing.
Will the paywall be a “value add”? Not likely, since it won’t add any additional content, it will just be annoyingly in the way and generate only a little revenue. We hoped the Register might have avoided this, and concentrated on rebuilding the paper, additional acquisitions and staying a step ahead in this era of fast dwindling newspaper readership. The Register has more productive things to accomplish than nickle and diming its readers.