It’s no secret that publishers are scrambling to find ways of making money online. On the subscription/paywall side, a startup called MediaPass wants to help, and it just raised $1.75 million in Series B funding.
If publishers want to start offering subscriptions, MediaPass CEO Matthew Mitchell says that developing their own technology would probably take months of work and could cost in the seven figures. With MediaPass, they can just add a few lines of code. MediaPass integration is now easy for WordPress.com VIP customers too, because MediaPass is now one of the program’s featured partners.
Not surprisingly, Mitchell says traditional newspapers have been one of MediaPass’ big targets, but other customers include blogs and other publications in a variety of categories like fashion and automotive. The company’s technology allows you to tweak your subscription model over time, making it easy to experiment and see what works, he says. It also allows publishers to create subscription plans that provide access to a number of their properties.
Although MediaPass supports “metered” systems (similar to The New York Times, where someone can read 10 articles a month for free but has to pay after that), Mitchell says he sees more potential in creating a specific mix of free and paywalled content, although that mix will differ from site-to-site.
Publishers should think of their free readers as leads who might eventually become paying subscriptions, he says. For example, for a long time Mitchell read ESPN.com for free, but a year ago, he stumbled on a paywalled article that he really wanted to see, and since then he’s been a subscriber.
“What a meter does is give you 10 views free, and on the eleventh you’re asked to subscribe,” Mitchell says. “That’s rolling the dice and gambling that the article I see on the eleventh view is the one I’m willing to pay for.”
Investors in the round include Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. CEO Jeff Stibel and MyLife CEO Jeff Tinsley.