Time.com Drops its WordPress Paywall

Time.com is one of the most high-profile media sites in the world. You can see their listing on the WordPress showcase.

At the beginning of June, Time dropped its paywall ,which means that everyone can browse over 100 years’ worth of archived content.

The site’s paywall was twelve years old. Axios has a good, short history of Time’s paywall. Quartz is another high-profile WordPress site, and they also dropped their paywall recently.

Time says that it’s ending over 250,000 digital subscriptions, so where is the money coming from? Quartz is now focusing on newsletters. It seems that Time will take a different direction and focus on several different revenue streams, including events and advertising. They also have money coming from over a million print subscribers.

It looks like Time.com will focus on quantity of stories, in order to sell ads. I checked the site today and saw a lot of ads from networks such as AdChoices and Taboola. Here’s a screenshot that’s typical of the quality of ads that Time is showing.

Ads on Time.com

Sadly, Time’s fate seems to be the fate of a lot of publishers who want to chase profits and also a broad audience. It’s hard out there for publishers who aren’t building valuable relationships with their readers and drilling down deep into niches that get those readers excited. Time is in a particularly difficult situation as its brand was built around general, mid-market news.

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