Beyond Paywalls: A Note To Subscribers

We have been thinking for some time at The Browser about the advance of paywalls. They are good in principle: Publishers need revenues in order to publish good writing, and business models driven by advertising lead very quickly to bad writing. Payment for content is the answer. But it seems hard on most readers to require a monthly or yearly subscription in order to read a particular article. 

Our solution is to launch a service enabling readers to pay to read newspaper and magazine articles that are published behind paywalls. The reader can pay to read a single article without having to buy a monthly or yearly subscription to the publication. We have called the service 1Pass.

Our aim is to make 1Pass an attractive sales channel for any reputable publisher. We have been lucky enough to start at the top, with an agreement to offer selected articles from the Financial Times. We expect to add more publications soon. 

We hope Browser subscribers will sympathise with the 1Pass project. For the time being there is no need to take any action. Whenever we offer an FT article for sale through 1Pass, we will also provide it to Browser subscribers as part of their subscription. 

We have also made agreements with The Economist and Foreign Affairs, so that we can republish selected articles from these publications for Browser subscribers to read.

The result is that we have a new section on The Browser home page in which we offer our choice of articles from the Financial Times (a new article each weekday); from The Economist (a new article each week); and from Foreign Affairs (three articles each month). 

It is important for us to stress that we are choosing the articles on merit. This is not a marketing deal in which the publications pay The Browser to feature particular articles; it is a syndication deal in which The Browser pays the publishers for the right to offer selected articles to our subscribers.

I would expect to include many of these articles in my daily recommendations. But there is no particular rule here. I will continue to read and recommend on merit.

In practical terms:

— If you are logged in to The Browser website, when you click on a recommended article from the Financial Times, The Economist or Foreign Affairs, you should be able to read the full text of the article, republished on The Browser. If you are taken to the publisher’s website, then you are probably not logged in.

— The same applies if you click on a link in the daily email. If you are logged in to The Browser, you should be able to read the full text of the article, republished on The Browser. If you are taken to the publisher’s website; or taken to a page on The Browser that contains only the first paragraph of the recommended article; then you are probably not logged in.

We hope that 1Pass will grow into a larger business, allowing publishers to sell individual articles directly from their own websites. That is why we have given it a separate name. If you’d like to find out more about 1Pass, please do have a look at the starter website — — and tell us what you think.


Speculations & Jihad

Today I added to my RSS feed: Victor Niederhoffer’s Daily Speculations. First recommended to me by Megan McArdle, who I think had been to a libertarian salon hosted by Niederhoffer a decade ago.

A piece that I didn’t post on The Browser, but which did give me pause for thought: The Question Of Theodicy And Jihad. I admired the discussion of violence and the Quran, but I wanted more follow-through.

Paid Content

We are thrilled to say that we can now offer the full text of paywalled content from The Economist and the Financial Times on The Browser. These offerings complement the full-yet articles from Foreign Affairs that we have been offering in recent months.

We are not being paid to carry this content; on the contrary, we select the articles ourselves, and we pay publishers for the right to carry them on The Browser. 

This is the start of our response to the prevalence of paywalls, which have become almost universal among larger publishers. These paywalls are often metered — the casual visitor gets one or more articles free each week or month before being pressed to subscribe. But I don’t feel comfortable recommending articles that many subscribers will be unable to read; and I feel that in the case of the particular publications with which we now have contracts — the Financial Times, The Economist, Foreign Affairs — a regular section of content will be a real benefit to our subscribers.

We intend that visitors to The Browser who are not subscribers to The Browser will be able to buy the individual paywalled articles that we recommend, using our new single-article sales platform, which we are calling 1Pass. So far, only articles from the Financial Times are available through 1Pass; but that’s the best possible start, and we hope to add more publications shortly.

Information Overload: Source Notes

Thanks to all our London friends who came to Forge & Co for an enjoyable and rewarding discussion of information overload yesterday.

Thanks especially to our hosts, Nicolas Granatino and the Cronycle team, for their generous hospitality; and to our panelists Anatole Kaletsky, Bill Emmott, Dayo Forster and Turi Munthe.

I promised a quick note of the sites and tools mentioned in the course of the conversations. Here it is.

Cronycle — — is the reading platform that Nicolas and his team introduced yesterday evening. The reading experience is similar to that of Flipboard; the key difference is that you can load Cronycle with your own choice of content using RSS and social-media feeds, curate your own collections, and/or create your own reading mix from the RSS feeds in Cronycle’s library. We see Cronycle as a natural fit with The Browser for reading on iPads. Early feedback would be most welcome.

Ada’s List
forum and list for women in tech

New Inquiry
online intellectual magazine recommended for its Sunday links

Daily Maverick
South African daily newspaper — Dayo’s first stop for news from Africa

Open Europe
news & analysis focused on European and EU affairs — Bill’s first stop for things European

of interest for its effective use of video; click “watch” in the nav bar for video offerings

open publishing platform for writers and groups of writers

News Deeply:
publishing platform for complex stories

Feedly is the most robust RSS reader. Free. It syncs well with Reeder, a paid iOS app which works offline (Feedly does not). I use Feedly to manage my feeds and Reeder to read them offline and

Vellum is a reading layer for Twitter hosted by the New York Times. It strips out URLs shared by people you follow on Twitter, ranks them, and presents them as posts: (an alternative: Digg Deeper

Daily news-briefing app from the Economist (free to subscribers; others pay, I think)

E-mail Newsletters:

I believe all are free except the Oriental Economist, which costs $100/year

Vox (the sign-up box is at the very bottom of the home-page
Next Draft
Science Daily
France Culture (the sign-up box is at the top right of the home page
Media/REDEF (the sign-up box is at the top left of the home page)
Benedict Evans
Quartz (click the envelope icon at the top right)
Oriental Economist


New Yorker — The Political Scene
FT World Weekly with Gideon Rachman
TED Talks

A Note To Our Newsletter Readers

News from The Browser:

1 We’ve added a new option for reading The Browser offline. If you have an account with Pocket (, you can choose to have all the articles recommended in The Browser Daily Newsletter sent automatically as full text to your Pocket queue. To activate this option, log in to The Browser website (; click the “preferences” link at the top; then, on your Preferences page, under “automatic read-later services”, enable “auto-posting to Pocket”. If you don’t have an account with Pocket, do consider opening one. Everything about it is free and, in our experience, amazingly neat and useful.

2 We’ve redesigned our web site, at If you haven’t visited for a while, please do drop in and tell us what you think. While you are there, you might want to click through to the Culture and Tech supplements; and to FYI, the experimental page on which we review paywalled content.

3 If you want to comment on anything in or about The Browser, please do you use the Feedback button on the website ( By default, your comment will be seen by other subscribers. So it’s a good place to make points about the site that you think might be of interest to others; or to comment on the substance of articles that we’ve recommended; or to recommend articles that we might have missed.

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