A paywall is an integrated component in a website that restricts access to users that have not paid to subscribe to that site and view premium content.
Paywalls present a multi-faceted challenge when they need to be integrated in a mobile site. The biggest complexities stem from the elements paywalls are used to manage such as:
- Payment method
- Authentication system
- Single sign-on policy
- Level of restriction (geographic or content restrictions)
- Creating new users.
Paywall integration requests must first be examined to see if there are any technical impediments and if integration is technically possible with the Marfeel solution before any development can begin.
Paywalls are built on the Marfeel product but require some integration developments to connect to ad-hoc publisher's systems. The following three types of paywalls are supported in Marfeel:
Hard paywalls restrict access to all users that don't have a paid subscription to that site. Considered the most aggressive of all the models, the Guardian reported that publishers can expect to only retain 10-20% of their readership when integrating a hard paywall.
To alleviate the possible consequences of this type of paywall, experts claim that a publisher must serve a very specific audience or already dominate the market they operate in.
Metered or Soft Paywalls
Metered paywalls - also referred to as soft paywalls - allow users to view a specific number of articles before access is restricted and they must pay for a subscription. These types of paywalls allow access to any articles as long as the user has not surpassed the limit.
They are intended to maintain their number of visitors but also receive revenue through their paid subscribers.
Combination paywalls restrict access to specific premium articles. The publisher provides both free content and content that requires a subscription. Unlike metered paywalls, combination paywalls don't limit the user to a specific number of free articles they can access.
The premium content restricted by the combination paywall is normally composed of more in-depth and critical pieces that publishers argue require funded journalism through subscription revenue.
The following video is an example of a combination paywall that was integrated for one of our clients that requires users to log in to read premium content.
Because of the technical effort and resources required, paywall integrations are examined on a case-to-case basis and subject to an up-front fee.