It's always going to be a negotiation when you're trying to work with sites rather than unilaterally act against them, but we're genuinely trying to get them to a place where they're living up to the privacy promise that a consumer would want.
Update 10 minutes later: It isn't working for me on theatlantic.com; I got the "free articles" drawers and then got blocked after they counted down to 0. So perhaps the answer to my question is "no".
I can whitelist third-party cookies on specific sites, but I don't think I can whitelist a single cookie across all sites. This seems unfortunate.
Update 30 minutes later: I tried disabling both cookie- and tracker-blocking in Firefox and still saw no sign of it working on theatlantic.com
I do think that over time more opportunities for, at first, skinny bundles will emerge but the world isn't there yet at the scale you'd want.
So here's my argument: You don't charge enough money. It's the same mistake literally everyone ahead of you has already made before failing. Charge more money. Charge what seems like an absurd amount of money. Because you need a large pool to get people through the door. It's easier to cut prices than to raise them. Charge more damn money.
More selfishly: I can help you with the paywalls thing without cookies. email@example.com.
You may not get ads but everything you do in the sites is sold. Why would I pay for this?
Huh? What are you referring to?
So I'm unsure about the incentives going on here. Make your site even worse for normal visitors to incentivize paying up to "fix" it?
Seems pretty gross.
1. It had a very limited number of publications available.
2. You couldn't just read a whole publication. You could only read a selected few articles from each publication. And the curation of those showed clear political bias on the part of the curators.
3. Blendle sends out a weekly newsletter with a list of the stories it thinks are the best. It also presented a clearly one-sided view of the world and the stories available from the Blendle publications, accompanied by a TON of editorializing on the part of the newsletter authors.
Instead, I subscribe to several newspapers both in electronic and dead tree editions. I don't mind paying for news. But I want to make up my own mind about the news, and not be force-fed one ideology by a gatekeeper.
Back on topic: I hope that Scroll does better than Blendle. Looking at its list of publications, I only see two that I would read, and only one regularly. If Scroll expands to more interesting content, I'll get on board.
Scroll looks really nice because you don't have to access the content through scroll. You're still on the original source, and you get the benefits of your Scroll subscription no matter how you found the article.
The downside here is that because Scroll isn't re-hosting the content, you're stuck reading it on the generally awful websites of the original publishers, which are only made marginally better by the lack of ads and trackers.
Can't say I think much of their decision-making skills.
I am subscribed to the FT, Guardian online.
The system in the Brave browser
What I really want is:
1. A friction free way to pay what I want AFTER I've read an article (I assume a base level fee to read it in the first place) so that I can reward an excellent article. I want to know that that money goes to those who made that article not all the other people at the "publication".
2. Coverage of many good articles and publications, so that I can get most anything I want.
3. Excellent search that suits me. (Would be great bonus to have a mechanism to automatically hook me up to a rewardable version.)
4. No attempted surveillance at all. (I block much of it but hate that people try this nonsense, and I note that they do, if they're really objectionable I block them permanently at the DNS. Newspapers and magazines tend to be the worst offenders of all.)
This is actually already solved in Brave, you can tip a website or even a youtube channel with a click (technically it's 3 clicks: click BAT triangle, click "send tip", choose amount).
Sounds like a great way to lose more publications.
I'd be concerned that if pay-per-view articles became the norm, clickbaiting would only intensify. I suppose the countervailing force would be source reputation.
Standardised micropayments are the obvious answer, but it seems to be a ship that's sailed.
Apple's added a good number of publications since it launched, and I get more value out of it than I used to. But it's still trying to find its sea legs.
1. Even though almost all of the material about Scroll says "300+ sites supported", it's actually about 30 sites, mostly from the same few networks, and 304 "SBNation blogs". This was the list of domains initially supported: https://gist.github.com/archon810/b4ec827d5fbe9e22a43ad39ca2... (and I broke down that list by owner here, if anyone's interested in that: https://tild.es/lc6#comment-4ij7)
2. Scroll does not get you past paywalls: https://intercom.help/scroll/en/articles/3344875-does-scroll...
So if it's a site that's supported by Scroll that also has a paywall (like The Atlantic), you're expected to both subscribe to the site and Scroll to get a "clean" experience. It's also notable that even though the New York Times is one of the main investors in Scroll, they apparently don't currently intend to support it themselves (mentioned here: https://www.poynter.org/business-work/2020/revolutionary-a-h...).
I don't know who the target audience of this product could be. There's probably 40 people on earth who fall in the venn diagram of not knowing about ad blockers, not knowing about RSS feeds, and willing to seek out a service like scroll for their 30-odd supported websites.
Either way, I totally hear you on this stuff, first thing on the list is building members even more privacy/data controls so that if for any reason you think you don't trust us anymore, you can make sure that you're protected.
From there, making sure we can iterate on our Terms to make sure they live up to the best of what our members want is going to be key. We've been launched for less than a month so keep the feedback coming.
Then why have them in your terms at all, if you never intend to use them? Just take them out right now.
There is also the usual arbitration agreement.
This clause would otherwise allow them to raise prices tenfold without the consent of their customers.
Maybe they should revise this...
I don't mean that question in a "how do you even" sense. I mean, what are your typical internet habits, given feelings about such terms?
This specific section renders the ToS pointless from the perspective of a user, as it may fundamentally change on a whim. Tomorrow, the company may change the ToS to sell you out for easy money, throwing away your private life and privacy rights before you'll have a chance to review and cancel. Even without a company turning on you like that, you will have to actively monitor the ToS and possibly cancel your service with a moments notice.
After all, only some changes will trigger a notice, and even then only a notice.
As for how I use the internet: I just don't sign up for/install a lot of things. If I do sign up for/install something, it's only if I can accept/live with the terms. I don't have social media accounts (Self-hosted Matrix/Mastodon not counted), I don't use random cloud services, my app list is roughly limited to government/bank stuff, a single parking app, Matrix and duolingo.
I also live in a region of the world where EULA's are only used as toilet paper, so that takes care of the worst part.
Arbitration agreements trouble me, even though they are pervasive. In particular for a product that is trying to offer a better alternative to opaque tracking and advertising techniques it appears to be another way to hide wrongdoing.
Hope this helps.
The problem isn't technical, it's that people just don't want to pay for general content. They might accept subs for netflix or spotify or specific newspapers but paying for "the internet" is still an unknown and unaccepted model. Until that changes, no amount of new apps are going to fix this.
Disclosure: I had the same basic idea and I have a patent on a small problem related to it (reliably tracking visits, allowing paywall passage without revealing user identity, without box-stuffing by either readers or publishers).
And no, the ability to share to social media isn't a "useful" service.
I realize they need a way to remind users that Scroll is active, but there needs to be a much less intrusive way to do it, or else they're defeating the purpose of the product.
I'm sure there's going to be a lot of stuff to change as we learn, so please keep the feedback coming.
And just to cover my bases here, by "real" news I don't mean that they are "unbiased". I just mean sources that will give me actual, interesting reports about things happening in the world. As long as there is a baseline, I'm happy to filter what I believe on my own as long as the sender is clear.
I'm also skeptical as to why a paid service selling news would include things like The Onion. I appreciate them as much as anyone but I don't want it in my "news" feed.
Also how much people hate paying for things. I recently went on a short rant about how I've never seen anyone with a paid version of Sublime Text. A lot of its users are professional software engineers should either be able to afford it or work for a company that can, and engineers that should have empathy for someone trying to make money off software
There is a ton of news sites out there that need an audience. They can make their money through sponsorships and non-invasive ads. You don't have to make millions off of your news site .. maybe off a few you can.
But maybe it's worth paying just to show publishers that it's viable. It's a rough chicken/egg problem.
I’m hopeful that fixing the business model of news on the web will cause them to step back a bit from polarizing clickbait and back towards factual reporting, which I think should help reduce the polarization in the political sphere.
I worry that this idea won't work until
- Someone can prove that the increase in number of paid subscribers will offset the decrease in $/sub, and...
- The subscription company is effectively owned by the big news orgs, so that they feel comfortable effectively handing over control of their subscriber base. Similar to how Hulu was started as a partnership between a few big media companies.
On the other hand they bill you based on the percentage of the time you spend on each individual partner site. That seems somewhat contradictory.
either way, you're trading the tracking by ad networks for tracking by scroll.
When i'm signed in to scroll and i open an article on the atlantic, privacy badger tells me i'm being tracked by scroll and google analytics.
when i'm not signed in to scroll, privacy badger tells me i'm being tracked by twelve different trackers.