Dennis D. McDonald ( is an independent consultant located in Alexandria Virginia. His services and capabilities are described here. Application areas include project, program, and data management; market assessment, digital strategy, and program planning; change and content management; social media; and, technology adoption. Follow him on Google+. He also publishes on and aNewDomain.

Paywalls, Online Publishing, and Link Sharing

By Dennis D. McDonald, Ph.D.

In episode 62 of Gina Trapani and Kevin Purdy’s IN BETA podcast Gina and Kevin talk about writing and publishing articles for independent online magazines such as The Magazine.

They like that such “indie” publishing gives freelancers an opportunity to get paid for writing stuff they might otherwise end up posting for free somewhere on the web. On the other hand, independent magazine such as The Magazine require payment of an annual or monthly subscription price for access to individual issues, just as is the case with the digital editions of more established magazines like The Economist and the New Yorker.

There’s no law that says that anything you published online has to be free and open. In my case I do have a blog where I publish information related to my own consulting and research interests. Since this is largely a promotional publication for me the last thing I want is to shut people off from being able to access the website, so I make it free and accept no advertising.

Also, I’m frustrated if I want to share a web link to a payment-required magazine’s article that requires payments or subscription. Generally I don’t share such links if I think a recipient will be frustrated by clicking on a nonworking link. I wouldn’t want that to happen to me, other things being equal.

Being paid to publish an article in a payment-required  indie magazine such as The Magazine sounds like a great idea if that’s the business you’re in. But for me, I have to balance such opportunities against the loss of potential sharable links both for my own articles and those written by others I want to link to or share.

Copyright (c) 2013 by Dennis D. McDonald, Ph.D. Dennis is a Washington DC area consultant specializing in project management, digital strategy, and technology adoption. His clients have included the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the US Environmental Protection Agency, Jive Software, the National Library of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering, Social Media Today and Oracle, and the World Bank Group. Contact Dennis via email at or by phone at 703-402-7382.

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