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A paywall is exactly what the name implies, a system that prevents web users from accessing websites without paying for them.

There are both “hard” and “soft” paywalls. A “soft” paywall approach is when companies choose to follow a model where there is a limit of free articles and once you reach that threshold you have to pay to view additional pages. A “hard” approach on the other hand, requires a paid subscription to view any of the site’s articles.

Paywalls in practice

News sites like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have instituted paywalls for their content.

On the New York Times, users are allowed 10 free articles monthly before being denied access to articles until a subscription is purchased.

The Wall Street Journal takes a more hard line approach. To view almost any article on the publisher’s website, you must have a paid subscription.

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