The Year Of The Paywall?

The Economist calls it for 2010. Why?

Between the first quarter of 2003, when the Newspaper Association of America began tracking it, and the second quarter of 2007, online ad revenue consistently grew by more than 20% a year. Then it wobbled, and began to fall sharply. In the third quarter of 2009 American newspapers earned 17% less from online advertising than they had done a year earlier.

The opposite seems to be happening at the Atlantic, thanks to our amazing ad sales staff. I can see the value of some paywalls, but I just don't buy the business model long term. What the web values is connectivity as well as traffic. Paywalls kill off critical interaction with the wider blogosphere and reduce readership drastically. I can see why media moguls might want the paywalls as some kind of replacement for all the power and money they have lost over the last decade. But I fear that the moment has passed. There are too many amateurs out there as good as professionals; and the barrier to entry is minimal. Perhaps the media mogul is as endangered as the owners of record companies.