>Why the Times pay wall will collapse

>Rupert Murdoch had been threatening to put the Times online content behind a pay wall for quite a long time, and has finally got his way. Normally what Rupert wants, Rupert gets, but I think this particular wall is not built on very solid foundations.

The main problem is that timesonline is not actually a very good website. I have received countless 404 errors, and it has an awful search function. Unlike the Financial Times, who offer a specialist product behind a pay wall, the Times has nothing to offer that people can’t get more easily for free. The quality of the BBC, the Guardian, and the Independent’s online services far exceed what is on offer from the Times. People will quickly find a better alternative.

The other issue is that I don’t think people will accept the principle of paying for web content, and in particular news. The whole culture of the internet is that information is spread for free, whether it is videos on youtube, blogs, or news websites. The internet is a democratising force, and having to pay for information is not democratic at all. My argument falls down a bit here, as I am strongly against illegal filesharing, but the non-paying culture has been truly embedded online, and it will be hard for even Murdoch to break it.

There have  already been some technical issues in implementing the pay wall. Some people have got in for free, while freelance Times staff have even to pay in order to see what else is in the newspaper! Of course I could be completely wrong, but don’t be surprised to see the the Times pay wall being pulled down in a few months.

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