Being a old-fashioned blogger, I find linkbaiting to be truly distasteful and journalistically unethical.
That being said, the New York Times just made themselves irrelevant by putting up a paywall. The maximum the Times is charging is $40/month, well out of the price range of many broke college students who wish to scour the web for current events (most of them for a class).
Paywalls are a losing proposition. The New York Times THEMSELVES even admitted that several years ago. Other companies who put up such paywalls include the Wall Street Journal and other News Corp publications as well as the well-known-for-being-scientifically-biased Consumers Union, publishers of Consumer Reports magazine, who have been well known for putting distasteful and journalistically unethical pieces into the pages of their magazine over the last several years.
But is there an alternative to the constant putting up and taking down of paywalls? In the words of Sarah Palin (though I do not agree with her politics whatsoever), “You betcha!”
This service is called Instapaper, and it was created by Marco Arment. Instapaper is most well-known for its iOS application that takes anything that you want to “Read Later” on the Web and brings it down to your iOS device, whether it’s an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. What I think is so great about Instapaper is that you just register for the Instapaper service, place a little bookmarklet called “Read Later” into your Web browser and then you just hit that on any page containing an article (including the article page for this very blog entry), and that’s it.
The Instapaper app is only $5, and if you already have it, you don’t ever have to pay for it again.
So, $5 one time vs. $40/month… who wins? Instapaper, of course! It makes total financial sense, not just for broke college students, but also for anyone questioning why one needs paywalls that make no sense once compared to Instapaper.