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News Corp. Sources Admit Online Paywalls Have Failed

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Boy, do I have a story for you! Exclusive, intensive, persuasive content you won't find anywhere else! All you have to do is register an account, enter in your personal info and credit card number, choose a payment option, log back in and you've already gone to Google News, haven't you?

Such is the fate of the dozens of online news sites who've adopted a pay scheme to access content. An overwhelming majority won't fork over a subscription fee for online news -- see Publishers Grab Onto iPad as a Life Preserver -- and News Corp.'s British Times and Sunday Times are allegedly no exception.

Sources spoke with Michael Wolff at and intimated that not only have the news sites' paywalls driven away visitors to free alternatives, but even the newspaper subscribers are unwilling to jump through the digital hoops to access the paid content that's available to them for free.

"It's an empty world," Wolff writes.

One insider even relayed a conversation with an A-list entertainment publicist who failed to see the logic in scheduling interviews with a site one has to pay to access. The publicist asked, "Why would I get any of my clients to talk to the Times or the Sunday Times if they are behind a paywall? Who can see it? I can't even share a link and they aren't on search. It's as though their writers don't exist anymore."

Wolff suggests that, given the hubris of CEO Rupert Murdoch, very few readers of News Corp. papers -- be it the Times, Wall Street Journal, or New York Post -- will ever hear of its ineffective paywalls. But they only need read about the hundreds of crumbling news outlets who adopted subscription fees to know it's a terrible business maneuver.

Most likely from a site with no fee restrictions.
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