The paywall is up at the New York Times On-line. Or at least it’s about to be.
While some of this is still conjecture, the little graphic (pulled from a loading instance of The New York Times’ Website, by the way) at the top of this post says it all; The New York Times is counting how many pages you view at their web site. Why? Because soon The New York Times website isn’t going to be free.
We’ve know since last spring that the Times was going to start charging for access to their website. The only questions were how much, and for what. If they can pull it off without losing readership, I applaud them; business change isn’t always about what freeloaders (umm . . . like me . . .) want. The issue is the perception and reality of what’s happening; after all, perception is reality.
The news is leaking out; basically, access to the New York Times on-line is going to cost about $20 per month. But in the “perception is reality” world, is that too cheap, too expensive, or just right?
- Mashable’s Headline: New York Times Paywall To Cost Less Than $20 a Month
- Gizmodo’s Headline: New York Times’ Website Paywall Will Cost Up To $20 a Month
There’s a big difference between “Less Than”, and “Up To”, even when the accompanying stories are all but identical. Even more telling are the names of the pages on the two blogs. In case there’s any doubt about their editorial bent on the matter, Mashable named their page “new-york-times-paywall-less-than-20“, while Gizmodo went with “unconfirmed-new-york-times-website-paywall-will-cost-a-huge-20-a-month“.
“Less Than” versus “Huge”. Perception is Reality.
I don’t wish to overstate the implication for this case; the truth is, in a few days I won’t remember whether Gizmodo was cheaper than Mashable, or vice-versa. But for you and your business change plans, it can mean everything. Create the wrong perception in your clients—even in subtle ways like this one—and your reality could become that they go away.
Heck; create the wrong perception for Google and your Search Engine Optimization strategy will fail. Simple? Complicated? A bit of both.
Perception is Reality.