Web Publishing Roll-up: A New Social Platform for Women Only, Goodbye Pay Walls?

3 minute read
Marisa Peacock avatar

This week web publishing brings collaboration among countries, an examination of pay walls, big and small and a French women's blog aggregator.

A News Smorgasbord

A European news partnership has emerged between Italy's Corriere della Sera and Holland's NRC Handelsblad, Germany's Spiegel Online and Denmark's Politiken.

Spiegel Online and NRC Handelsblad joined forces in 2008 to plan an English-language network of private publishers across Europe. Since then the newspapers have exchanged and collaborated on content regularly. In 2009, Politiken joined to help cover the run-up to the European Parliament elections, providing interviews with those in power across the Continent in project called "27 Views of Europe.”

Adding Corriere della Sera to the mix aims promote different perspectives and opinions about issues facing Europe and the international community. Through a network modeled after airline alliances, members’ national identities are highlighted while a platform for a truly pan-European dialogue is built in hopes of promoting active discussions among readers and constituents.

Newspapers to Watch

Lots of larger publishing companies are turning their attention to small town newspapers for how to implement paid content, because larger publishing enterprises have faced a slew of challenges convincing customers to pay for content they once accessed for free. The theory is that if pay walls can’t make it in smaller environments, they probably can't make it anywhere else.

Among those paying close attention are Rupert Murdoch, whose Times of London starts charging for full access to its site in June, and the New York Times, which will charge its heaviest online readers starting next year.

And yet, which papers are they watching? The Intelligencer Journal-Lancaster New Era, a mid-sized paper in Pennsylvania, for one. In the next few weeks, the Journal hopes to start charging out-of-towners who peruse the obituaries frequently.

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, which enacted and has maintained a pay wall around its website is another. Its average weekday circulation increased 2.7% to 185,222 over the six months that ended in March, according to its new report with the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

While some newspapers have seen a decline in readership since implementing a pay wall, like The El Dorado News-Times in Arkansas, for example, others have reported an increase in readers, like Ohio's Norwalk Reflector. Only time will tell what the future of pay wall will bring, but until then bigger newspapers will watching closely.

Learning Opportunities

HelloCotton, Goodbye Progress

Paris-based HelloCotton a French social platform for discovering and sharing women’s blog content, has launched in the U.S.

Launched in 2008 by two men, the platform counts roughly 3 million monthly unique visitors who use HelloCotton for their female friendly blog post aggregator. From fashion and health to beauty, HelloCotton aims to capitalize on the popularity and growth of the female blogosphere.

The site, which launched in the US with 500 American blogs this week features a mashup of women’s magazines content combined with social media and other web technologies. As well, the American site allows connections via Facebook Connect and will be initially be run by a small Washington DC-based team.


Will a site that has only two women as part of its team be able to capture the attention of American women? Additionally, not to be sour, we honestly wonder if a site that claims to be built upon “a spirit and values such as cheerfulness, courtesy, sense of humor and creativity” can find a profitable niche? Sites like Shine, while popular, do little to challenge stereotypes about women wanting only to read about celebrities and shoes.

While we welcome HelloCotton, we just hope that we don’t have to say goodbye to science, politics and technology.