Last weekend, my sideproject Longshot Magazine, created a new issue of our publication. As part of that, we decided to try to build a new kind of paywall. Our editors and developers got together and came up with some requirements for the kind of paywall we wanted:
- It would encourage, not discourage, sharing.
- It would be porous.
- It would allow you purchase the magazine for a variable amount of money, including paying with social capital. ("Pay what you want.")
- You'd only have to pay once to get access on all of your devices.
In short, this was a complex little project. And we realized it wasn't exactly a paywall. It was more of a "nagwall" because you could make it go away anytime you wanted to for free. I think Choire Sicha of The Awl had it just right when he wrote about the spirit of the thing, "It's a direct ask for something people can give. It's definitely not a demand. It's good-humored. And it's a relatively simple interface. I'd love to see what people build on from there."
Keep in mind that our (ridiculously talented and dedicated) developers Matthew Gerring, Joey Baker, Kevin Koehler, Heather Billings, and our digital lead Adam Hemphill only started on this thing late Friday night. It was done by the end of Sunday.