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Chronicle raises the white flag on its ill-fated pay-wall

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Note to subscribers of SFChronicle.com: Your $12 monthly subscription now appears to be officially worthless. The Chronicle’s ill-consummated, four-month pay-wall experiment is over. All the pay-walled content is going back to SFGate, the free site. It has subsisted on content farm fodder and wires and not much else that’s worthwhile since March, when the subscription site was unveiled amid much fanfare. But that was before Hearst brought in a new president and publisher who, from all appearances, recognize a train wreck when they see one.

The new bosses, publisher Jeff Johnson and president Joanne Bradford, informed staffers of the pay-wall retreat Monday. So far, the move hasn’t been announced to the outside world. Lots of no comments all around. And apparently the folks on the business side who oversee those SFChronicle.com subscriptions (wonder how many there actually were?) weren’t even given a head’s up.

From Eve Batey at SF Appeal, as of yesterday afternoon:

However, that information has yet to travel to the folks in charge of your (now possibly pointless?) digital subscription — when I called this afternoon to figure out if I should now cancel mine, the poor lady I spoke with at the call center said that they hadn’t been informed of any changes.

Similarly, the SFChronicle.com FAQ continues to imply that that website contains exclusive content, and the front page of SFGate advertises “Bay Area insider news, analysis & columnists available only with an Ultimate Access Subscription” to “the new” (oh, boy) SFChronicle.com.

More at SF Weekly, and at San Francisco Business Times


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