Paying by sharing is a bad idea

From Katherine St Asaph, an observation that AdWeek have set up what she calls a ‘trollwall’ for some articles (see her screenshot to the left). The idea is that you can read the full article if you share it.

While this seems like a novel approach compared with a paywall, I have to point out what a terrible tactic it is.

When I share an article on a social network, I am saying to that network that I have read this and think it is worth your attention. That is what gives it value. However, when I have to click share in order to read the article in the first place, I can no longer send that signal.

That means, either I won’t read the article so as to maintain my social network reputation or I will click share and read the article eventually eliminating the entire value of sharing. Basically, all this does is tell my network what I happen to be reading not whether I think it is of any interest.

The same thing applies to some of the social reader apps although there  it is clearer to my social network that I might just be reading. Of course, that is precisely the problem with social readers. Sometimes you just don’t want everyone to know what you may have clicked on.

For AdWeek, this is a bad way of, well, advertising. They’ll need to find another way.

One Reply to “Paying by sharing is a bad idea”

  1. You can share it on Google Plus though, which means you can share it without anybody knowing you’re sharing it (half joking). Whenever something “forces” me to share, I share to Facebook, with custom privacy setting blocking anybody except me from seeing it. Sometimes I also delete it after, just because.

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