Thursday, January 02, 2020

Could "gift subscriptions" tied to social capital improve reading habits?

Here’s an interesting, if indirect, approach to the challenge of making paywalls by publishers less of a problem.  While I’ve suggested that companies set up consolidated or bundled paywalls (the way magazine subscriptions could be bundled a half century ago), many publishers are pressing gift subscriptions.

I got such an email from the Washington Post today, inviting me to post it on Facebook or Twitter to friends or followers or else to give the code to a specific friend. The trouble is, I went in to my own account and I found the ability to redeem a gift code sent to me, but not the ability to create a “free “ one to send to someone else  (the email said it was free from premium digital subscribers but from the website it would have to be purchased).  So I can’t tell for sure if it is valid.

There have been fraud concerns with some Amazon gift cards (see Internet safety blog Dec 17, 2019).

However, pushing the idea of “free gift subscriptions” makes a point.  It implies that someone should have enough personal traction with “their” own social capital to amplify the reading habits of others, so it could be seen as a kind of “legitimate” corporate activism.

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