It’s been confirmed that a WeChat paywall feature for articles will soon be introduced. But are people really ready to start paying to read stuff on WeChat? Read on to get the full details.
Above: The famous New York Times paywall
Reports say that the WeChat paywall feature will allow users to read the first section (20 to 200 characters) of an article. But then be prompted to pay up to 200 yuan to read the rest.
Above: A reported test screenshot of a WeChat ‘Pay to read’ notice in Chinese
The paywall feature will of course be optional. We expect it will be used by those accounts creating high quality content with loyal readerships. Interestingly the recent Spring Festival blurry photos already gave many users the experience of paying to see content on WeChat.
Even if it was just naked pics of girls
It’s clear WeChat is NOT going to make us pay to read every article. Especially as the average WeChat user is now reading 7 articles per day.
The new paywall feature is in fact just one of many changes on WeChat over the past year to clean up their content eco-system by:
a. Rewarding makers of high quality content.
b. Punishing plagiarism and spreading of untruthful rumors.
Other changes include:
Left: Original article / Right: Repost
WeChat has made it easy to report articles for things like spreading rumors or pornography. WeChat will even shame some accounts by calling them out for spreading rumors.
A recent article on the popular TechWeb account was deleted and replaced with this notice (above). The red stamp indicates the original article was deleted for spreading false rumors.
Reporting content can be done easily from the top right drop down menu.
The implications of this new feature could be many:
We anticipate most charges for content will be micro-payments of a few yuan or less. Micro-payments have become massively popular on WeChat through the practice of sending lucky money.
Bloggers with large followings on WeChat may be able to make considerable sums through a paywall. Just a few mao (less than 1 yuan) if thousands or tens of thousands are willing to pay.
Content behind WeChat paywalls is likely be copied and posted on other platforms or reworded. Perhaps even posted on other WeChat accounts for free.
We may see an increase in “Click bait” article titles. Though to be honest we can’t see how it could get any worse for many accounts (see below).
“7 Ways to Write Unimaginative Click Bait Titles on WeChat”