Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Paywalls still don't work, FT Tilt edition

So the quick back history is:

1) The FT launched its new service, FT Tilt, to cover emerging markets a few months back.

2) Your humble scribe joined up and found a few items and/or posts interesting enough without ever getting wildly enthused.

3) After a while FT Tilt's main "professional" serive went behind a paywall and asked me (and all other users for certain) to pay for access.

4) Your humble scribe let his free-until-then trial sub drop, cheap as he is (as are most other interwebnetpipes users when it comes to paying for news and current affairs)

5) Your author receives this mail from the guys at FT Tilt this morning:

Give FT Tilt another look - You've been upgraded back to Professional status
Financial Times - Tilt
Dear Otto,

It's been six months since we launched FT Tilt and we already have over 3,300 members coming to us for emerging markets financial news and analysis that they simply aren't finding elsewhere. I wanted to let you know that we will be upgrading your status back to pro-member for a summer trial. This means you will have full access to all Tilt content for a limited time. Our product and coverage has only gotten stronger and we hope you'll give us another look.

You can simply login at http://tilt.ft.com with your original username and password. If you have any questions or problems logging in, please let me know.
 Also, to find out about Tilt in a fancier, more colorful format, you can check out our brochure by clicking the link:  http://goo.gl/E3JX5

We will be sending out an editorial highlight email as well to our overall membership so apologies in advance for multiple emails. Please let me know if you have any questions or feedback and enjoy your full trial access! 


Ranjan Roy
Commercial Director - FT Tilt

(212) 6XX-XXXX
ranjan.roy AT fttilt.com

I have nothing against FT Tilt and the thing it offers, though I do feel obliged to comment that when it came to LatAm during my trial period I wasn't that bowled over with coverage (Brazil data was quite good, the rest was between thin and zero). But yet again the evidence of how paywalls don't work on the internet is plain here because in a different set-up, 3300 paying subscribers would be a good moneyspinner, but for a company under the auspices of FT it's 1) small beer and 2) extremely unlikely to cover the costs of running a service with a bunch of professional journalists running the show. 

Market it how they want, but putting me back on a free subscription for a limited period is an attempt to prop up a failing business model. I pass guys, with the greatest of respect for the reporters doing the gruntwork, because it's high time the world's established media companies approached the internet on the internet's terms and not on the agenda they wish to impose.