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Series Intro: How To Setup Paid Subscriptions For Media Organizations

You have decided to do it. You are setting up paid subscriptions on your website. You think to yourself, "this shouldn’t be too hard, maybe our Content Management Software has something built in." It does, but it has mixed reviews and seems like it was added as a quick afterthought. “Just a few clicks on the keyboard and Google will give me the answer.” After clicking around you see plugins, Software as a Service, CMS with subscription management, metered methods, content security issues... You realize, “this is going to be harder than I thought.”

If you have the job of finding a subscription management service or paywall for your media organization, then this series is for you. I will walk you through:

  1. How paywall technology works
  2. What to look for in a paywall software vendor
  3. A list of paywall and subscription managment software vendors [coming soon]
  4. Best practices for launching a successful paywall for an existing website [coming soon]

Picking the right paywall software or service is challenging. My goal is to give you some insight into the world of paywalls and subscription management software so you can make the best educated choice. I came across a quote that I thought was appropriate for this series.

“If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.”
- Isaac Asimov

It is important to understand the difference between paywall and subscription management. Although they are closely related, they functionally do two very different things.

What is a Paywall?

A paywall is technology that protects or hides content from website visitors. The visitor is presented with the option of providing something in return for site access, whether it be an email address or paid subscription.

What is Subscription Management Software?

A software for managing digital subscribers and their access to the website. Typical tasks performed are mostly subscription status related. For example, keeping payment information current, subscription level changes, handling refunds, etc.

The first article in this series explains in lay terms how the paywall technically works. This is important to know when talking with software or web development companies.

Be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter, on the right side, to get notices when each part is published.

A Peek Behind The Wall - How Paywalls Work [Part 1]

[Originally published 3-4-13]


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Nick Johnson, CEO & Founder of Sabramedia, has more than twelve years in the web development and software business, and has spent the last few years talking with newspaper and digital media professionals around the world. Nick provides a knowledgeable perspective on web related topics for the newspaper and media industry. Sabramedia makes the Pigeon Paywall and Subscription Managment plugin and the Newsroom CMS

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