But The New Yorker wasn’t switching from open to meter, as most newspapers were. Its old access model, with its tiny blue locks denoting which stories were only offered to subscribers, had the effect of hiding much of the magazine’s best work. “We really wanted to expose readers to the great content. When you have an article behind the little blue lock, you couldn’t promote it,” said Monica Ray, vice president of consumer marketing for Condé Nast.
Ray credits The New Yorker’s readership gains to audience research and analysis that took place in the months leading up to the site relaunch and the period when the archive was open. Rather than complicate the paywall by weighing features and blog posts differently, they decided all stories would be equal. Placing the meter at six stories means things like “Diary of The Left Shark” and Adam Green’s profile of master pickpocket Apollo Robbins count the same. “We wanted to find a place where you got enough to read, but we weren’t giving you everything,” she said.