Scan originally appeared in Wired 03.11, November 1995.
"Let me just go through my 2.50AM morning ritual of putting on an over-sized white blouse with elbow sleeves, part my hair in curtains and put on my Informer-inspired steel-rimmed circular glasses, so that I can get online and read the Wall Street Journal. GOD, I feel so CURRENT!"
Check out the print in this ad - it actually sounds like a pretty cool deal - apart from the auto-renewal and shipping fee (huh?).
While other old-school media have been back and forth over the years on the issue of paywalls, WSJ has always had one. Currently, they're even considering building their wall even higher and cutting out Google indexing of their site.
This is a heated debate, and there are loads of great articles on this subject right now (1 2, 3, for example). Personally, I’m not for or against paywalls, per se. My simple take is that if you have content worth paying for, you can consider charging for it. And if you charge for something not worth paying for, you’ll find out soon enough. We can’t all be barbers cutting each other's hair – those ads need to lead places with products you pay for. It's not a given that media has to be free and ad-based - timely and relevant information can easily be worth paying for. WSJ have been relatively successful with their paywall, since they are A) the leading voice in their field and B) speaking to a resourceful audience who's willing and able to pay. If I were New York Times, I'd be much more troubled with my chances of successfully erecting a paywall - and I don't think there's any quick-win formula for those guys.
Wired and Conde Nast recently said no to pay-walls, which must please Chris Anderson tremendously.
Oh, bonus video: