All websites should display a custom article-read count for each reader

Do you know how often you visit particular websites?

The New York Times counts the number of their articles you view in a month. When you get close to the limit of 10, a cute little unobstrusive box appears in the lower left of your browser stating, “You have read 9 of 10 free articles this month.”

New York Times article-count alert

As much as readers don’t like pay walls, I do like this little alert. It demonstrates to me that I read a good number of NY Times articles. In general, when I click links on twitter, Google Plus, etc, I don’t pay much particular attention to where the article is. I simply read the article.

Do you suppose that most readers are the same way? Certainly the brand is nice, but the real importance is the fact that your friend shared the link in the first place.

I never really know how many times I read an article off that site in a given month. It’s kinda fun to know that I read 9 NY Times articles this month. This demonstrates the value that New York Times gives me. And you know what? I might pay more attention to the New York Times now.

This article-count idea could be applied to all websites. Not all sites should have a pay wall, but all sites should have an article-read count for each reader.

In fact, here’s an idea: Someone should develop an add-on for Chrome that counts the number of articles and blog posts you read per website. I would totally get into those stats.

What do you think? You can reply to this tweet, comment on this blog post, on Google Plus, or Facebook.

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2 thoughts on “All websites should display a custom article-read count for each reader”

  1. The New York Times was also smart in how they designed their alert box.
    1) It’s not annoying
    2) The box has the New York Times brand, so you know this message is coming from them and not some pop-up ad.
    3) It’s informative.
    4) There’s a clear call-to-action to get unlimited access.

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