The San Francisco Chronicle
has joined the Wall Street Journal
and the New York Times
in erecting partial paywalls around stories, requiring readers in some instances to pay to read individual articles online.
has long required readers to shell out for most stories, particularly ones of interest to financial professionals. The Times
has announced plans to charge its most assiduous online readers, allowing people to read a set number or articles before demanding payment.
, however, has come up with a truly improbable scheme: Demanding $1.50 of readers wishing to peruse a story about alleged murderous con man Kaushal Niroula -- a story that was essentially a retread of an SF Weekly
article published 13 months ago.
ran a front-page print story Sunday rehashing SF Weekly'
s April 2009 feature "The Dark Prince," which described how Nepalese immigrant Kaushal Niroula assembled a crew of gay, alleged serial grifters who face trial in the murder of a wealthy Palm Springs man. The story added a few details that have come out in court since our article ran, but essentially tracked the same Niroula life arc
of coming to America, attending New College of California
, and hatching a bevy of confidence schemes before being nabbed on charges that he and a group of accomplices conspired to murder Palm Springs art collector Clifford Lambert.
The biggest difference between the Chronicle
and SF Weekly
stories seems to have been that the Chronicle
brazenly asked readers wishing to read their Sunday so-called "exclusive" online before Tuesday to kick down $1.50 for a single "e-edition" of the Sunday paper. Whereas SF Weekly
's story had already been available online for free since April 2009. Following the two-day embargo, the story was posted on the Chronicle's free website, SFGate.com
We've asked the Chronicle
's director of consumer marketing Michael Keith for information about how well the paywall strategy worked, and will post his response when we receive it.Update:
Keith called us to say he doesn't have any information about how well the paywall strategy has performed, but did say it's been in place since December or January, and it's been tested every Sunday to date.Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly