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Michael Rogers
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Ah, the memories flood back. Thanks, Mark. One other perspective to add on the "Why didn't they put up paywalls in 1996?" question. Some of us HAD been using paywalls for a number of years...Prodigy, CompuServe, AOL. Those services not only let us monetize, but had sophisticated client software that optimized the viewing experience--pre-caching photos, speeding up downloads, even allowing audio streaming. In our implementation of Newsweek for Prodigy we actually downloaded a set of proprietary Newsweek fonts onto people's machines so the screen content looked even more like the magazine. By comparison, the early Web experience, at 14.4 to 56 K, was like watching paint dry. So another element of the decision was simply market-based: even if we could have built dependable paywalls at the time, it's highly unlikely customers would have paid for the experience.
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Aug 21, 2012