Paywalls and Digital Subscriptions: More a Question of How than If

It seems paywalls are becoming pretty darn common. Haymarket has now got in on the act, adding digital subscriptions to its marketing titles.

haymarket logos

From this summer, Marketing, Campaign, PRWeek, and Media Week will offer “a mix of free and paid-for content”. It’s not yet clear what content will be free and what will be paid for, Paid Content notes there will be three tiers of subscription:

  • “Premium Access, for full online access to all titles, plus a printed edition of one print magazine”
  • “Online Access, for full access to all digital resources and archived materials, including all Brand Republic Group titles”
  • “Print Access, an option to simply buy a subscription to a single print magazine”

It seems the question of whether readers are willing to pay for content online is steadily turning into how will readers pay. Granted this is only a handful of traditional print titles, but the fact they’re aimed squarely at an avid set of readers, PRs and marketing types, demonstrates Haymarket believes the collective readerships are strong enough to draw in a paying audience.

At least a large enough one to keep attracting advertisers and make a bit of cash inbetween subscriptions and ad sales.

Groupon vs fruit based company (and for once Apple’s not involved)

Groupon and main rival Living Social tend to have a funny effect as people either love it or loath it. I know a number of people who regularly embrace the regional discounts, snapping up cut price meals and manicures amongst others. I myself have invested in a heavily reduced teeth whitening offer; the fact that it’s remained unopened out of fear is neither here nor there!

Consequently I’ve been fascinated observing how Groupon especially, has taken off and how it’s forecast as the next big thing. So it’s no surprise that the following post on Mashable caught my eye.

On Tuesday (24th May 11) Groupon users in Denver were offered a deal for a 61% price cut on home delivery from Speciality Organics, a local organic fruit company. Whilst this doesn’t appear out of the norm, user’s became suss as it’s widely known there is very little organic fruit produce in Colorado. This led to one user, Maria Fraietta, to question the offer as currently no organic fruit companies or farms provide cross state delivery. Maria was not alone as the offer resulted in 100 comments raising the same issue.

What interests me the most is Groupon’s rapid response. Firstly Groupon have been building up a factchecking department with guidelines that require checkers to verify both reviews and reviewers. They’re also currently recruiting for a Fact Checking Manager. So they obviously take verifying the credibility of offers extremely seriously.

Further investigation into the matter revealed that Speciality Organics is a four person company working with produce couriers in 15 markets. They also allegedly partner a separate company The Fruit Guys, who have since dismissed such claims.

Groupon has called the situation with Speciality Organics ‘an absence of good communication skills’ as opposed to a scam. And interestingly, Speciality Organics has also run deals with rivals Living Social and KGB that received ‘virtually no complaints.’ It’s clear that Groupon takes scam accusations seriously, they even have a process in place so that any customers who purchase a scam will automatically receive a refund courtesy of the Groupon promise.

What do you think? Does the combination of Groupon’s rapid response and scam regulations ease any concerns of being conned? Or do you fall under the ‘wouldn’t touch it with a barge poll’ category?

Twitter: Still Safe for PRs

Following some brief back-and-forth last month, it seems Twitter has purchased TweekDeck for the princely sum of $40million (that’s around £24.7million, currency conversion fans).

Tweetdeck purchased

As lovely an exit this is for chief exec Iain Dodsworth, who will be counting as many small blue birds he can clap his eyes on, it’s something of a relief for any marketing types following the activities of UberMedia – the rival bidder in this scuffle.

Previously, it was suggested UberMedia purchasing TweekDeck would give the company, which is behind various popular Twitter apps and web-services, enough pull to launch its own ‘sub network’ – splitting the Twittersphere between power and casuals users.

Healthy competition aside, there’s more than half a chance such an occurrence would significantly impact how Twitter does what it does. More to the point, it would have meant a whole new online landscape to figure out, bed in and target. As it goes, it hasn’t happened. But that doesn’t means something won’t grab a hold of Twitter’s dominance one day.

Twitter is coming to the UK – Easy on the super injunctions guvna

Much excitement is brewing in this here London, as the world’s most famous micro-blogging / news breaking / celeb humiliating platform, Twitter, makes a move ‘across the pond’. Tony Wang is already here. He works for Twitter, “doing deals.”

The company is apparently planning an office for up to 60 people somewhere in our tea-loving nation’s capital, with the main aim likely being attracting advertising dollars (or pounds, actually) from local advertising types.

Cameron Twitter

Of course, such success doesn’t come without a price. Get popular enough to attract mass-market user numbers and you’ll find yourself running into a few controversies. For example, when footballers choose to play away from home and take out a super injunction. In the olden days of traditional media this may have been a viable solution to stop the British tabloids and gossip machine turning. Nowadays, social media makes it a whole different ballgame (last football pun, promise).

Even our illustrious coalition PM thinks so, telling The Guardian privacy law in the UK is “unsustainable” in the social media age, and needs to “catch up” with the expanding online world.  An interesting position for Dave, given that he’s probably keen for Twitter to take up residence in the all singing tech hotspot that is Silicon Roundabout.

Of all the excitement Twitter will bring when it arrives in our green and pleasant land, the legal implications may well be the most impactful. With a UK office, it seems unlikely the company will be able to continue to hide behind its US status and ignore local laws. So that football who we cannot name could be one of the last to suffer the embarrassment of the all mighty tweeting blue bird. Although we should still be able to get our fix — the law never stopped the red tops much.