An EZ-PASS for local news sites?
Friday, February 12, 2016 by Dave Winer

Three sites I read somewhat regularly, the Boston Globe, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune (sports mostly) all have limits on the number of articles I can read every month.

And occasionally I read sites that I aggregate on and That's about 50 more local sites. 

They all want $5 a month or more.

I pay for the NYT because it's my hometown paper, but I'm not going to pay for a local paper of another city.

So why don't they band together and do an E-Z PASS type thing. For $5 a month instead of 5 articles on each  site, I get 100. The out-of-towner rate.

Also I think linkbloggers should get access for free. :-)

And yes, I can prove I'm a linkblogger. 

  • Slightly off topic, but I've long felt that there is a pricing sweetspot that newspapers can't seem to identify. The Times is a great example: I live in Austin, but prefer the Times to the our local paper. I probably end up reading about 20-25 Times articles per month, which I'm able to do via aggregation sources that don't identify me, and thus allow me to go over their 10 article limit. I would gladly pay $100 year for this privilege, but not only does the Times not have an offering in that range, but they also do this "nickel and diming" thing where they charge one price for Web + smartphone, a different price for Web + tablet, and then if you want Web + smartphone + tablet, they add the two together. This just irks me, and causes me to spurn both. I truly believe that the Times is leaving a lot of money on the table. Oh well…

  • There have been experiments in other countries that are heading our way.  One that comes to mind is Blendle and a nice writeup can be found here.  They were able to get all the local news sites in country to join and then allow you to pay for what you use across those sites.  By relying on one platform it acts much like an EZPass.

    • That's the idea. I have heard of Blendle, but I didn't know that's what they do. It's a good thing. Helps buy the open web some time, before being assimilated by Facebook et al.