Glossary Entry: Paywall

Quick Definition

A paywall is a feature on a website or in a video game that prevents users from accessing content unless they pay a fee first. These are commonly used by popular news and specialty websites as a means of generating income without resorting to peppering their website with advertisements.

More Information

It's very likely that you'll find this term being used in a derogatory way, and there's a simple reason for that. While people are generally fine with paying for content they want, paywalls tend to appear unexpectedly.

For example, you might search Google for information about a recent event, and select a news story from the list of results. Upon viewing the page, you're informed that you can only read the article if you pay a small fee first. Some people might be okay with that, but the search results showed the first paragraph or two from the article, and that automatically implies that anyone could view it -- there was no warning that the page's content was restricted in any way.

Another example would be a situation where a friend forwarded you a link to an article they found interesting, only for you to find the article is off limits unless you pay a fee. Again, you expected to be able to view the page, but weren't allowed to do so.

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