Well, go ahead and file this story in the ridiculous folder.
According to BoingBoing.net, a small, regional newspaper in upstate New York called The North County Gazette seems to be trying to find a way to get people to pay for viewing their content on their website.
Instead of putting up a full-blown paywall or even incorporating a tip jar so people can give the paper money in the form of a micropayment if they appreciate what the Gazette is doing, they put up this little message:
We allow you to read one article for free—this one that you’re on. Thereafter, to read more or to return later, a subscription is needed. Please don’t abuse the privilege. To subscribe, see the ad to the right. We provide a service to you, we deserve to be paid for it.
As the BoingBoing.net headline said, this is pretty passive-aggressive attempt at making money via their website, but it gets even better.
Here is a message you sometimes get from the site:
This is unreal. All newspapers are looking for a way to make money online, but strong-arming customers isn’t the way.
The North County Gazette could easily end up getting shut down over this because of a public backlash, and they would deserve it.
If you want to make money, set up the paywall or something. Don’t sue people to keep your business running.