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Rochester Post-Bulletin’s meter expands access for freeloaders

The southern Minnesota newspaper “jerry-rigged” its site to keep non-subscribers off. Now, for at least 15 pages a month, that’s changed.

I hinted last time that newspaper pay walls and meters might not be news anymore, but I couldn’t let the Rochester Post-Bulletin‘s unveiling pass.

The P-B’s new meter does something rarely done: it actually expands access for non-payers. For years, the paper’s print-protectionism largely limited non-subscribers to story distillations. For those of us who hoped to get a little smarter about southern Minnesota, there was little reason to even virtually drive by the P-B site.

“For the past year, we’ve been jerry-rigging our site to keep our most popular content privileged for paying customers,” writes Post-Bulletin managing editor Jay Furst. “We’re done with that.”

Now, freeloaders can get 15 free page views a month — higher than the Mankato Free Press’s 10, lower than the Star Tribune’s 20 — though certain content (videos, photos, section fronts, most AP stuff) won’t count against the limit. By the way, the P-B is using the same meter provider as the Free Press: Press+.

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For non-print subscribers, the P-B charges $15 a month or $99 a year. Six-day subscribers will have to pony up another 4 bucks monthly. Mobile content, including apps, remains free, but workaround freaks should know story selections there remain limited.

In any event, it’s now safe for Minnesota news junkies to click through to P-B stories. You non-payers will simply have to control yourselves — or if you like what you read, let the moths fly out of your wallet.