Who invented paywalls anyway?

A short primer on the problem with paywalls and why NICKLpass exists

It’s hard to make money selling the news,

even if you’re the biggest newspaper in the country

Journalism is very hard work. Newspapers used to pay for it (and make some money) by selling ads alongside stories. Very slowly and then all at once, advertisers took their business elsewhere. This left publishers big and small with an impossible challenge: funding the news many rely on but few want to pay for.

Their solution? Paywalls. The best news is reserved for subscribers only. 

The news bubble is a serious problem for readers

(also society)

You believe in paying for news so you subscribe to your local newspaper, but do you subscribe to every news outlet you read? Major newsrooms depend on the work of local and specialized reporters across the industry, and these are the endangered species of the news world. Every time dwindling revenue forces a publication to lay off staff or shut down entirely, the universe of credible news shrinks a little further and the quality of the reporting you do pay for becomes a little thinner. More critical news simply goes unreported.

Where does this leave us?

Fake news is free, real news is behind a paywall

How do you neutralize bias and polarization in news media? You read a lot of news and you get it from a wide range of trusted sources. Subscribing to just a few publications cannot solve this problem, and neither can relying on wealthy owners. But giving readers the option to support the whole news ecosystem without paywalls might.

Our idea:

Make real news accessible to as many people as we can

We believe that people should pay for the news and that they should be able to afford it. NICKLpass is a new business that creates greater access and sustainability for the news that everyone needs.

The Team

Sumorwuo Zaza

CEO & Co-Founder

Ted Economy

CTO & Co-Founder

Jane Lee


Alex Betit

Sales & Revenue

NICKLpass in the News

Sick of Hitting Paywalls? Get Your Teams All the News they Need with NICKLPass

– Comcast NBCUniversal, LIFT Labs, August 27, 2019

Getting past the paywall: Comcast-backed Philly startup wants to help sell news

– The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 4, 2019

Publication-bundling startup NICKL ‘decided to lean into the moment’ when everyone wants the news

– Technical.ly, May 13, 2020

Interested in investing or working with NICKLpass?

Reach out if you’d like to get involved.