Finally some clarity after months of mystery about possible affiliates and constant questions about whether Journalism Online is reality or vaporware. A private beta has been underway for weeks but JO founders Steve Brill and Gordon Crovitz declined until now to identify any of the affiliates taking part. Turns out the hotbed for possible online pay innovation is The Intelligencer Journal-Lancaster New Era, which is getting ready to put Press+ — the consumer name for JO’s effort — to the test. (For affiliates, the product is known as the Reader Revenue Platform.) The New York Times (NYSE: NYT) published some details about the plans this afternoon but if you want to see what it looks check below for the exclusive screen shots we’ve obtained. (Slide show tour of the subscription process.)
In Lancaster, publisher Steinman Enterprises will charge readers outside the circulation area for access to obits, starting with a certain number free and then requiring a fee. GlobalPost told the NYT it will roll out a version by March that urges voluntary payments. That kind of flexibility is what JO has been promising since the immediately high-profile company was founded last year. Any consumer with a Press+ account should only have to enter payment info once to use the account for any publisher taking part. (Think Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) One-Click, iTunes, PayPal.) Affiliates will “own” their own customer relationships with JO getting a fee for its technology and services, typically 20 percent but that may vary.