Dueling Paywalls: Brill & Crovitz’s Journalism Online vs. Google’s One Pass

One company set to face new competition now that Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is rolling out its paid content system is Journalism Online, which to date has helped roughly 24 publications, predominately smaller-circulation newspapers, charge readers to access online content. In an interview co-founder Gordon Crovitz insisted his company’s Press + pay platform has several advantages over Google’s One Pass.

Among them: Crovitz said Press + lets publishers accept a variety of payment options from consumers, while Google’s One Pass requires them to use Google Checkout. “A big part of the success of paid content is making the system as easy as possible for consumers,” he said. Crovitz also said Press + could present itself as a “neutral” party unlike Google. “Publishers don’t want to be caught in between the fight between Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and Google,” he said.

Exact differences between the two services are not publicly known since Google has not laid out many details of how One Pass will work. Still, Journalism Online takes a bigger cut of resulting revenues than Google will (20 percent versus 10 percent) and Google’s entrance into the market provides publishers with a bigger-name alternative.

Indeed, one of One Pass’ launch partners, Media General (NYSE: MEG), which will use the Google product to put up a paywall at its Richmond Times Dispatch, had been working with Journalism Online since December to charge some online readers of its paper in Hickory, North Carolina. In a statement today, Media General stressed the opportunity to have a “global technology and search innovator” behind its “efforts to drive more value from our content.” Crovitz wouldn’t comment on individual Journalism Online customers.

Disclosure: Journalism Online and Google have been advertisers on our site.