What if someone tries to get around your paywall?

There’s Always Someone…

The success of a leaky/metered paywall is tied to the ability to offer a few free articles per browsing session so that your content is fully indexed by Google and can be shared in social media.

Generally publishers are enjoying paid digital subscriptions by metering the content and accepting the fact that a minority will download/share (which is generally a good thing) and get around the paywall any way they can. These readers will typically not pay to subscribe.

But there are ways to make it a little harder for those who will.

Practical Solutions To Shore Up Your Paywall

Play with your meter settings

You can lock down individual articles if needed in the Visibility Settings box on the post edit screen.

You can also set the meter to 0 (creating a hard paywall) but then your articles won’t show up in search or be shareable. Publishers are moving to this leaky/metered system and away from the hard paywall for the major benefit of new traffic generation.

Locking down ‘subscriber only’ content: Once you get digital subscriptions under your belt you may want to consider locking down content only for paid subscribers (special issue content, etc) or selling a Super Premium level that requires a higher level of payment for access to unique content. Here is a good example: https://leakypaywall.com/how-to-make-the-most-of-your-special-content-with-leaky-paywalls-flexibility/

Blocking incognito mode and browser switching.

Edit: We have released our incognito blocking tool IP Blocker and have already had some terrific feedback:

…the number of subscribers per/day has skyrocketed since you installed that IP plugin, and that’s awesome… Walt
Heisenberg Report

Password sharing can be blocked but creates its own set of problems: https://leakypaywall.com/problem-password-sharing/.

Offer flipbooks (via a WordPress plugin) instead of PDFs.

Flipbooks can be set to not be downloadable. You can restrict both PDFs and FlipBooks with each IssueM issue to paid subscribers. Of course the PDF is convenient to print out which is its biggest benefit.

Flipbooks offer a difficult reading experience but do help print sales (and shows off the advertising) since readers can see what a print version looks like.

Consider going mobile

One final thought: mobile apps are now preferred by 89% of readers for access to publications. If you offered apps to your readers it would increase the value of your publication (as well as increase paid subscriptions) and make it much more difficult to get around the paywall.

UniPress will get iOS and Android apps built for you and integrates with Leaky Paywall and IssueM.

Bottom line

Try not to worry about it. People that are bypassing paywalls generally won’t pay to subscribe anyway. Most of your audience don’t have the time to bother ‘getting around your paywall’.

Have more questions? You can always drop us a line.


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