Issue #11 — Subscription publishers worry about password sharing

Business models

The next big traffic wave: browser recommendations

As Facebook’s traffic sent to publishers continues to plummet, there’s something big brewing to replace it: web browsers serving up native recommendations about what to read next, right on the new tab page (or elsewhere, like at the end of a story).

Mozilla announced that Firefox is experimenting with this today, analysing what you’re reading and offering something to click on next. Google is quietly building the same with a feature hidden away behind flags in its Canary browser showing a bar offering up recommendations on mobile.

Expect these features to be big traffic drivers in the future, as they start getting good. There’s a serious problem, however, with these ideas: they commoditise content further by essentially convincing you to leave the site as soon as you’re done with reading. That might increase bounce rate dramatically, and lower overall pageviews per session. On the other hand, maybe we’ll be able to find great, fun new blogs again as a result, like the good old days of blogging… even if it isn’t likely.

Subscription publishers wrestle with password-sharing

Now that the payments model is working relatively OK, publishers are starting to worry about password sharing, a practice which has happened for decades and won’t stop soon.

Netflix’s CFO said in 2016 that cracking down on these people wouldn’t lead to an uptick in subscribers, and Spotify’s solution was even better: offer cheaper ‘family’ plans.

Fresh ideas

How we hire front-end engineers at the New York Times

How do you hire engineers at a newspaper, when the engineering organisation is so new? For those looking at publishers as a place to work, this is a great guide to getting hired.

Every website not available in the EU after GDPR

GDPR was a big piece of legislation that saw a number of news sites shuttered to EU visitors, but where are we at now? This developer wanted to find out, and created a detailed archive of popular sites that are blocking the EU to get around the law, as well as the errors they’re showing.

WTF?

The Story Behind The Story That Created A Political Nightmare For Facebook

Hot take from John’s own Twitter account: tying your business incentives to pageviews might be the entire cause of the “ticker” scandal, and why this completely blew out of proportion at the time resulting in Facebook killing a feature prematurely.

Blockchain journalism startup Civil launches a $1 million pot to support media startups in Asia

After raising the money, the company’s founder tweeted “Now I have to figure out how to make this shit work.” Nothing quite so reassuring from your local blockchain startup!

WhatsApp is a black box of viral misinformation

Now that fake news is saturated on Facebook, viral creators are moving to somewhere new: WhatsApp. It’s such a big problem that the team has joined forces with 24 news organisations to try and fix it.

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