Walled up and on the rise
Today the paywall came down on one corner of the Swellnet website. Most users won’t have noticed it, however there will be some people who can no longer access their favourite surf camera for free. And that requires an explanation.
The cameras that are now behind the paywall are what we, for various reasons, consider premium content. For a long time we’ve planned to put such content behind a paywall, but it took some behind the scenes machinations to prepare the site for partitioning.
That work is done and now the only way to access the following cameras is via subscription. The premium surf cameras are:
- Sunshine Beach
- Alex Headland
- Burleigh Heads
- Avoca Beach
- Christies Beach
Swellnet will shortly be adding more cameras to its network and each additional camera will be pay to view.
The paywall marks a subtle change for Swellnet, though not a change in direction. We’ve never wanted to be the biggest surf website going, we’d rather deliver great content to a particular audience. Our editorial speaks for that.
Shortly the paywall will expand so that the thrice-weekly forecast notes - arguably the most valuable of all Swellnet’s products - will only be available to sub holders.
What the paywall does is mark a shift away from an advertising model towards a reader-supported business, and here is where things get exciting. Income generated via subscriptions will directly fund a series of new products: proprietary forecasting tools available only to Swellnet subscription holders.
Last year Ben Matson wrote an article about subscribing to something that helps you do what you love. We received a small throb of goodwill - and a huge thanks to those people who subscribed then! - but from this point on a subscription isn't just a matter of altruism, Swellnet members will receive exclusive access.
Part of Swellnet will always remain free of charge, that won't change, but all future report and forecasting products will only be seen by Swellnet members.
Thanks to everyone for your ongoing support and advice.