subscription wall (1996), pay wall (1997)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Mon Nov 2 17:34:46 UTC 2009

"Subscription wall" and "pay wall" (or "paywall") are used to describe
online firewalls that limit access to paid content. Not yet in OED et

* subscription wall

1996 _USA Today_ 19 July 2D (Factiva) "We haven't made any
announcement on when or what cities," says Microsoft's Richard Tait.
But he admits the company has its eye on all the major metropolitan
areas and says content will be free to users on the Web: Pages will be
linked with the Microsoft Network, "but not behind the MSN
subscription wall."

1996 _Australian_ 30 Nov. (Factiva) And if Friday's Beach really takes
off, we will be able to create a subscription wall: potential viewers
will pay to see the series, rather than see it for free as at present.

* pay wall

1997 _Associated Press_ 6 Apr. (Factiva) In a market where users
expect to get everything for free, just like on television, Disney is
betting its extremely high-brand recognition will push past the "pay"
wall. Last week the company announced the coming launch of The Daily
Blast, a subscription-based Web site for kids.

2002 _MediaPost_ 19 Nov. Salon has, as Jones puts it, "already bitten
the bullet and taken content behind the pay wall."

* paywall

2004 _alt.rec.geocaching_ (Usenet newsgroup) 31 Aug. Some time ago the
website wanted to go commercial. The caches hidden would be behind a
paywall though placed by volouteers (typo).

2004 _Independent_ 22 Nov. 20 (Factiva) It's a clever way to monitor
the zeitgeist. Stories more than a week old fall behind a "paywall"
(you have to pay to read them), so if a story really matters, best to
make a copy on your hard drive.

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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