Small-town paper threatens to sue website viewers

Well, go ahead and file this story in the ridiculous folder.

According to, 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 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.

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About toddvogts 782 Articles
My name is Todd Vogts. I am an assistant professor of media. I like the color green, riding my motorcycle, and being with my family and friends. A good book is a perfect companion for me any time, and I'm a published author and journalist. Visit my website at and follow me on Twitter at