I’ve Reached My Limit

A story, an op-ed attached, came across my radar and I clicked because it looked interesting. And a screen popped up: You’ve reached your limit of free stories. You can subscribe for a mere (whatever). So I tried again, this time in incognito mode which often skirts the problem. Same screen, noting that I was in incognito mode and they were not going to let me beat their system. Fair enough.

I completely understand the need for a publication to make money. They have expenses. I get it. Oh boy, do I get it. But at the same time, they want and need eyeballs, without which they cease to exist. And they’re not shy about asking people like me to send eyeballs their way. I get emails, press releases, pitches all the time from a surprisingly wide variety of publications, seeking to entice me to write about them and thereby send them new eyeballs. Most of the pitches aren’t right for me, but that’s the nature of the beast.

Every once in a while, however, something will catch my interest and a click, only to find “You’ve reached your limit,” of whatever version that publication prefers. Guess what? Then I can’t read your story. I can’t write about your story. Why pitch me on your story if you won’t let me read it?

Of course, I could subscribe, as I do to the New York Times because Dr. SJ likes to do the crossword puzzle, but it’s really not feasible to subscribe to the 1000 publications, online and off, newspaper and commentary, legit and, well, not quite as legit, where something worthwhile may be lurking. There are more complicated means of circumventing the paywall, but frankly (and some of you nerds won’t grasp this at all), I’m just not that interested in doing cartwheels to sneak in the back door. You don’t think it’s too much to do? Great. You do a blawg and leave me alone. You don’t get a vote.

The upshot is that I’m not going to subscribe to every publication that has a story that interests me. I’ve asked certain pubs to give me free access, since they’re pitching me their stories already, and either get crickets in response or a “we don’t do that.” Yet the emails continue, ironically stating at the bottom that the reason I get them is that I’ve subscribed to receive their email, which never happened.

Is this a big deal? Not really. It does make things a bit harder for me, and often stories from your local media or industry websites sent me don’t get read because I can’t gain access and have no clue why I would want to go through any greater effort than a quick click, since many neglect to explain why I would care to read it in the first place. There aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything asked of me, including reading random stories in far-away newspapers about banal events of parochial concern.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate being sent stories and pitches. I do. There’s no way I can keep an eye on everything. But the effort to follow stories and ideas by reading publications that court my interest, but then won’t let me read, has grown tiresome. Hey, you can’t figure out how to give me access? Then I can’t send you eyeballs. Life goes on.

33 thoughts on “I’ve Reached My Limit

  1. Erik H

    If you use Firefox there are multiple plugins which will automatically delete cookies when you close Firefox. Same effect as private mode but it does not trigger their “private mode is blocked” tools.

    1. SHG Post author

      Whenever I write a post of this nature, someone will see it as an opportunity to teach me how to use the internet. Nowhere do I ask for anyone’s assistance, but they assume I am a clueless idiot and they can’t help themselves. They know stuff and must tell me.

      1. Black Bellamy

        No one is assuming you’re a clueless idiot. You wrote “make things a bit harder for me” and people being empathetic to the suffering of others have offered to help. Oh someone is having a hard time with something? I can help them. It’s the natural reaction of good people. What kind of person snarls at that?

  2. Sandra

    For me it falls into the area of – I will not send a penny to anyone who I consider a woke DNC stooge. If the click bait is omg I might click the story but I won’t subscribe $, give them my email address, or use a work around to “steal” it. If the story is good enough then I will hear about it other ways or if not then it doesn’t matter.

    I do consider it in poor taste though that you are sent soliciting emails in hopes you will benefit them with traffic or exposure and then they will not let you on the site.

    1. SHG Post author

      That any particular site reflects a particular philosophy has absolutely nothing to do with it. I learn from all site, whether good or bad. Just yesterday, I wrote about a exceptionally good post at The Nation, a very progressive site. Maybe the most important thing to do is not get stuck in an echo chamber, right or left.

      1. Sandra

        I read from all sites thus my willingness to click on it and to consider it from a free source. I am not willing to give Leftists any profit though.

        I am a proponent of “go woke go broke”. That is the reason I cut my cable as I refuse to give money every month to CNN, MSNBC, or ESPN. I do make a few exceptions but the service/item has to be unobtainable elsewhere and something I consider crucial.

  3. Pedantic Grammar Police

    There is a simple solution to this problem. The only reason they can get away with using paywalls is because people pay. If you pay for any paywalled site, you are making the problem worse. If you immediately click “Back” when you encounter a paywall, then you are making the problem better. I’ve worked at media companies and they have huge teams of people analyzing every click. If enough people click “Back” on a tactic, they stop using it.

  4. B. McLeod

    This sometimes delays access to worthwhile stories, but that is about it. Once one knows of the story’s existence, it is a simple matter of an online search to find additional iterations as the story spreads.

    Oddly, once the story is picked up by the webpages hosted by TV news stations, the paywalls just aren’t there. Just as print media sites are extending their user-pays model to the Internet, the broadcast media sites are extending their advertisers-pay model.

    Some print media sites (e.g., LAW 360) are particularly bizarre. LAW 360 refuses to allow me to subscribe as an individual person, as they only price to firms or entities. So, the LAW 360 news feeds alert me to stories, and I go find them elsewhere. I can’t read their story (except as subscribers elsewhere cut and paste from it) but I can read numerous other authors’ coverage as the story spreads.

  5. The Real Kurt

    Filed in the category of “Shooting yourself in the foot”, or perhaps “Ready, Fire, Aim”

    It’s not as if they couldn’t send you a super-secret time-limited URL for the story they want you to look at, or something like that.

    The Real Kurt

  6. Sgt. Shultz

    Every once in a while, you give people a glimpse of life on the other side of the dashboard. Naturally, people who have no fucking clue want to tell you what to do, because it isn’t possible that after all these years, you know about a million times more than they ever will about how to run this hotel.

      1. Guitardave

        I guess the subject of the post should’ve clearly stated that, thou you do not need help in finding a new one, you were bummed about the local doughnut shop being closed this morning.
        With all the empathy around here you’d have at least a dozen delivered to your door by now. Amirite?

  7. John Barleycorn

    Let me get this straight, are you saying The McClatchy Company going bankrupt and Buffet and Company selling off all their Print is probably because them fuckers didn’t pay attention to the artisanal crossword puzzle experts? And here I thought it was their reporter’s twitting too much in-between texting their friends nudes?

    P.S. Let the Dr. know when she gets ready to settle into retirement, I have a gig on the side just for kicks and I will hold an opening for her under the crosswords puzzle tab at SJ. Should be plenty of cash around after the SJ Zine remodel to pay at least three or four crossword puzzle reviewers I should think.

  8. Keith

    For a person like me (most definitely not a journalist, or blog writer) subscribing to a media outlet here or there is no big deal. However, if I wrote a blog like this and were being inundated with requests to write a piece on a story that resides behind a paywall, there’s no feasible way I could (or would) subscribe to all or most of them. And therein lies a big part of the modern media issue when it comes to “why can’t we get more interest?!”. You’re a better person than I am, as I would certainly make sure they knew how asinine I think they are for asking to be covered while expecting payment.

    I’ve lurked your blog for a long time, but this is the first time I’ve posted. I greatly appreciate what you do here and never gave a second thought to what you may have to deal with in situations like this. What a time to be alive, huh?!

    1. SHG Post author

      Over time, I can go through hundreds of different sites and newspapers, whether because of their pitches, people sending me links or just things I see that seem interesting. The amount of time and effort needed to address their myriad filters would suck up far more than I have to give. For people who don’t do this, it may not be a problem, but since this is my world, it’s a nightmare.

  9. F. Lee Billy

    You are, as they say in the various boroughs, a Chump. A likeable and an occasionally smart one. Ha. Only kidding

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