Blog Post

FT Deal With Foursquare Lets Users ‘Unlock’ Paywall

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

The Financial Times’ metered online paywall system is considered one of the more successful models, but a new partnership with location-based social net Foursquare is aimed at younger readers who are most resistant to paywalls. The partnership will launch sometime in the next few weeks, Business Insider reports.

The partnership is limited to specific areas on Foursquare, which lets users “check in” at various locations via their mobile phones, alerting users they’re connected with. The FT has chosen a number of cafes and businesses situated within business districts and schools such as Columbia, Harvard and the London School of Economic, among others. When Foursquare users check in at a designated spot, they can earn points that will ultimately unlock the’s online subscriptions, which can run from $183.04 for 52 weeks (or $3.59 per week) for unlimited access to $299 ($5.75 per week) for mobile access included as part of a premium sub.

The move is notable because the FT has been so ardent in defending its pay system. Clearly, the Foursquare deal shows that the FT isn’t about to give up on its metered model, but it demonstrates that even one of the prime examples of paywalls has to be flexible when it comes to attracting younger users.

3 Responses to “FT Deal With Foursquare Lets Users ‘Unlock’ Paywall”

  1. @stone and @markbnorwich, The article makes no claim that Foursquare is good technology, nor does FT. This is a brilliant plan by FT, and I think we’ll see more paid subscription news implementing similar things. The fact is, youth are using Foursquare and will continue to. This is a way for FT to reach a new demographic who will become, in the span of a few years, paid subscribers, loyal to FT before they send their first check.

  2. @markbnorwich

    I have recently seen many people on Twitter & Facebook let me know where they are via 4square on their phones. What they are also saying to everyone who is listening “I am not at home or in the office so you can rob me if you like”.

    Hopefully there will be a secure way of using the service that will not post where you are on-line if you wish.