A study of etymology (the history and origin of a word) reveals several interesting facts behind some commonly used words.
A commonly known fact is the evolution of the Russian title “Tsar” and the German equivalent, “Kaiser”, from Caesar. Another lesser-known fact: the adjective “phony” arose from the secret codeword “fawney” used among British swindlers to refer to gilt rings passed off as real gold to their unsuspecting marks.
Clearly, the circumstances surrounding a word have far reaching consequences; why then Paywall is the term “paywall” still a ubiquitous term within the modern publishing industry? According to Wiktionary (don’t judge me on my research, you should try googling “etymology behind the paywall”), the origin is composed of “pay + wall, by analogy with firewall”. A logical enough conclusion, especially back when paywalls were a simple “pay or leave” concept, but it’s unacceptable now that such a term still evokes the emotion of being a fourteen-year-old with a fake ID in front of a smug, grinning bouncer.
First off, the metered model is now one of the most adopted monetisation strategies within digital publishing. For those of you who don’t yet know about the metering concept, it allows casual readers access to articles which may be limited by duration, location, number of views or any other variable the publisher decides on. Imagine the bouncer capitulating and letting the lucky 14 year old into the club but only for a few minutes. Not really much of a bouncer is he? So why should we call him a bouncer?
One of the better blogs we read recently put it in as simple a manner as possible:
We whole-heartedly agree with this; stepping back from the digital arena, we were offered a free issue of the Economist, before getting a proposal to pay £X for 12 issues a year. Do you know what the friendly folks at the Economist called this proposal? A subscription.
Do us a favour: next time you’re reading news online, when you hit the article limit, don’t think about whether you would pay to get past the “paywall”. Instead ask whether the articles are good enough for it to be worth your time to subscribe.
Evolok is proud to create a world-leading digital subscription platform, combining identity management, access management, engagement and monetisation capabilities, that enables online publishers to leverage their content's appeal and maximise subscription revenues.