This evening I noticed no markers indicating exclusive content on The Standard Times website. I went to the Opinion page and clicked on an editorial. My right to leave a comment had returned. It remains to be seen if this is temporary or permanent.
The Standard Times implemented the paywall with little notice and less than robust communication to loyal readers, paying and otherwise. How will the paper communicate removal of the paywall, if at all? Will commentors return after nearly a four month hiatus?
Here's the paper's take on comments shortly after the paywall went up (from ConchoInfo):
Out of over 395,000 people monthly, less than 400 ever took the time to write a single comment.
In one readership study, it was found that almost 90% of all readers of news sites NEVER read the comments. Out of nearly 3 million page views, only a thousand or two could be traced to comment activity. Almost 85% of comments were written by a handful of very vocal and prolific commenters. It is of those people I heard the loudest complaints, yet only a small subset of the commenting crowd saw any value to keep up their commenting habits.
We shall see how long the paywall stays down and who returns.
Update 8-22-13: The paywall breach was temporary.