There are some big differences between membership software and a metered paywall… the biggest is that the meter will let Google index and rank all your articles in search.
The meter (which gives a reader X number of articles of their choosing before requiring a subscription) also promotes social sharing since any article can be shared, and will be fully readable to the next person. It’s only when that next person starts to crawl through articles on your site that the meter kicks in and will restrict them to accessing X number of articles… then prompting them to subscribe.
Member software requires you choose the free articles and the bulk of your articles won’t rank well in search.
By-passing paywalls: The NYTimes and many other publishers have proven the metered paywall to work the best. You will lose some subscriptions to those that know how to get around the metered paywall but they won’t pay you anyway. Today we pay for access as long as it’s in a convenient format. Yes you can share passwords and all paywalls suffer from it. The tech to restrict IP address access etc is complicated and ultimately doesn’t do the trick.
Passwordless login does work to keep folks from sharing passwords since you have to have control of your email account to verify the email… BUT it comes with lots of support. Email systems and ISPs block email, and firewalls expire email links that have a click restrictions on them. To top it off many folks log in via their Facebook or other app browsers which messes up their workflow enough to confuse the reader because the link opens up Safari for them and doesn’t “save” the login in Facebook. It really doesn’t work well.
Having said that (incoming promotion) you can do really awesome things with our Leaky Paywall like:
- Charge a premium for access to older archive content
- Set up a free level to give extra articles in exchange for an email address
- Individually restrict articles to only paying readers
- Open individual articles to always be free
- Migrate posts into a special issue using IssueM (EG: “Best of issue”) and either lock it down for subscribers or use it promotionally
- Restrict comments to paying subscribers only
- Give your readers apps. Integrate subscriptions with our UniPress iOS and Android app platform
This video might be of interest: