From Paywall to Sharewall

Give brands a reason to pay for early access to your content so that they can be the first to sponsor and share it.

I love this idea by @khoi to give credit to paywall subscribers for sharing New York Times stories.

Now extend that to brands and you have a great new model for sponsoring stories. Imagine, I’m Samsung and I like this story about the best of CES 2014, I could share it and all the people who would click on the link would see the page with a top banner “Brought to you by Samsung” (which is literally true, this story is “brought to you” by Samsung).

Since that banner will be based on a parameter in the shared url, every person who share that page will increase the reach of that sponsored story.

This story is brought to you by Samsung (mock up)This story is brought to you by Samsung (mock up)

It’s a service that brands would pay for (on a CPM basis). They are increasingly eager to get in the content marketing space but they don’t know what to write about and how. Sponsoring a story is a great way for them to attach their brand to stories they like without having to write anything. The value is even higher if the story hasn’t been published publicly yet (e.g. if it is a story behind a paywall) since we all know that the very first person to share a story is the one that gets the most successive shares (retweets).

For publishers it could be an interesting new revenue stream without having to mess around with the user experience for their readers. It is also an opportunity to extend their reach.

Lastly, for readers, it’s a great way to get content that would otherwise be under a paywall.

Thanks to my friend (and former Storify advisor) Scott Rafer who coined the term “ShareWall” for this concept.

Xavier Damman

About the author

I'm Xavier Damman. I'm an engineer in computer science and an entrepreneur. I'm passionate about the digital renaissance. I like to think about the future of media (I cofounded Storify), organizations and democracy (I'm now working on Open Collective). In my spare time, I like to hack and talk. You can follow me on Twitter @xdamman.