However, the group has changed its tune a bit since it began, with Brill telling minonline that "We are refusing to launch pay walls where you say to first-time visitors 'pay or go away,'" and will instead give visitors access to 10 to 15 articles for free before asking for payment. Journalism Online, launched in April 2009 by Brill, Gordon Crovitz and Leo Hindrey, hopes regular visitors will pay for complete access, while one-time or infrequent visitors won't be barred.
Questions have been raised as to whether all the unnamed affiliate publishers that have signed on to Journalism Online will go through with the plan. In September, paidContent's Staci Kramer pointed out that the number of companies (at the time it was at 1,000) that go to launch with Journalism Online may be fewer.
"Let's start with whether they're actually affiliates, a term JO used in today's release talking about the results of an API survey of publishers on paid content. It may sound like I'm getting stuck on semantics but it's more than that: letters of intent to become affiliates don't mean they've signed on to more than sharing information and discussion possibilities. The number of outlets shows the potential reach but the actual number participating in a beta launch likely will much smaller--a chain with 80 papers may start with one or two, for instance," she wrote.
Nieman Journalism Lab reported that when Brill was asked to clarify what "1,200 affiliates" actually means, he said "Companies representing or owning over 1,200 publications have all signed letters of intent."
According to Nieman, Journalism Online has trademarked the names of six models:
- High Activity Pay Points (metered model)
- Selected Content Pay Points (partial paywall)
- Time-Based Pay Points (charge for new content)
- Enhanced Service Pay Points (charge for special features)
- Market Access Pay Points (charge based on user's location)
- Preview Activity Pay Points (allow previewing of paid content)