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By Nick Tjaardstra, WAN-IFRA
What does selling online news have in common with selling shaving razors?
In the U.S., the Dollar Shave Club is hard to miss and simple to understand. Simply put, for a dollar a month (+ two dollars postage) they will send you a razor and regular cartridge refills. Bolstered by venture capital and a massive TV and online ad campaign, the company has gone from zero to a billion dollars in value in a few short years.
As it turns out, the offer is not as simple as it sounds: there are actually two more tempting offers on the website. You can get a better razor cartridge with four blades for $6 and even better, a crazy luxury six-blade device for $9. The classic upsell.
Back in 2009, Press+, now part of Piano Media, was the news industry equivalent of the dollar shave club. For just a few dollars a month, you could get unlimited access to your favourite U.S. news sites.
Once The New York Times adopted the meter in 2011, the concept spread like wildfire. If you were lucky, news publishers might throw in a tablet app or even a Sunday print edition. And soon almost every news outlet with a paid content offer had a similar upsell.