Jeff Jarvis at Buzz Machine considers the upside-down logic of paywalls at online newspapers, where low-value readers get their content for free while loyal, engaged readers are required to pay.

Instead Jarvis proposes that newspapers build the opposite — a system of credits that rewards readers for actions that show loyalty (and benefit) the publication, such as:

a) sharing stories across social media,

b) looking at ads,

c) reading more articles (which generates more ad inventory), and

d) sharing data about yourself that enables the paper to charge higher advertising rates.

Jeff Jarvis wites: "Imagine that you pay to get access to The Times. Everyone does.

You pay for one article.

Or you pay $20 as a deposit so you’re not bothered every time you come.

But whenever you add value to The Times, you earn a credit that delays the next bill.
* You see ads, you get credit.
* You click: more credit.
* You come back often and read many pages: credit.
* You promote The Times on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or your blog: credit. The more folks share what you’ve shared, the more credit you get.
* You buy merchandise via Times e-commerce: credit.
* You buy tickets to a Times event: credit.
* You hand over data that makes you more valuable to The Times and its advertisers (e.g., revealing where you’re going on your next trip): credit.
* You add pithy comment to articles that other readers appreciate: credit.
* You take on tasks in crowdsourced journalistic endeavors: credit.
* You answer a reporter’s question on Twitter and the reporter uses your information: credit.
* You correct an error in a story: credit.
* You give a news tip or an idea for an article The Times publishes: credit.

Maybe you never pay for The Times again because The Times has gained more value out of its relationship with you.

If, on the other hand, you hardly do any of those things, then you have to pay for using The Times."


"You see, that values the local reader over the remote reader.

My idea for the reverse meter values the engaged reader over the occasional reader — and even rewards greater engagement.

And therein lies, I think, the key strategic skill for news businesses online: understanding that all readers are not equal; knowing who your more valuable readers are; getting more of them; and making them more valuable."


"The key strategic opportunity for news sites is relationships — deeper, more valuable relationships with more (but not too many) people."

Must-read. 9/10

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