The Washington Post paywall, and accessing our blog for free via RSS/Twitter/Facebook

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

As I mentioned when the blog moved to The Washington Post, part of the deal was to have the blog eventually go behind The Post's rather permeable paywall, something that indeed happened today. We realize that this may cause some inconvenience for some existing readers—we very much regret that, and we tried to negotiate around it, but that's The Post's current approach. At our request, the paywall was delayed, and we've been paywall-free for eleven months (in exchange for our giving up a large chunk of our advertising revenue for that time, a concession we were happy to make); now, though, it has indeed come up.

But despite the paywall, all of our readers will still be able to read all our content, even without a subscription, though somewhat less conveniently.

1. The blog—together with the rest of the Washington Post—is outside the paywall for anyone who accesses the site from an .edu, .gov, or .mil host. Also, if you are an .edu, .gov, or .mil reader, but want to access the blog from home, you will be able to do that just by registering for a free account.

2. Even beyond this, all readers will still be able to read all our blog posts—without going through the paywall—via the following approaches (among others):

a. Our RSS feed. You can use an RSS reader, but you can also access the RSS feed directly from Chrome and Explorer by just going to that URL, and you won't need to install or learn any new programs to do that.

b. Our RSS feed automatically delivered into your Microsoft Outlook mailbox. On Office 2010, go to File / Account Settings / Account Settings / RSS Feeds, click on New, enter the RSS address (for us, it's http://feeds.feedburner.com/volokh/mainfeed), click on Change Folder when that option comes up, and set the target folder to be the Inbox. This feature works with all sorts of RSS feeds; I read several of my favorite blogs this way.

c. Our Twitter feed (@VolokhC). Just click Follow at http://twitter.com/VolokhC—over 14,000 of you already subscribe to us via Twitter, counting @VolokhC and some no longer promoted but still working alternative Twitter feeds.

d. Our Facebook feed.

I know this is different from our standard interface, and less convenient in some ways. But if you like our content, please at least try one or another of these approaches.

3. The first 10 page accesses per month to Washington Post material will be free—as will visits that come in through search engines—so if you're an occasional reader, you'll likely be able to read the blog the familiar way.

We'd have liked to keep our blog entirely outside the paywall, but one problem with joint ventures is that one sometimes doesn't get what one likes. And—as we've seen from our substantially increased visitor counts—the payoff from our Post joint venture has been a broader reach for our ideas, which is why we blog in the first place.