Paywall means payment wall or payment barrier. It is a mechanism used in paid content
and online editorial work that ensures that users can only access high-quality content after they have paid a fee or taken out a subscription. The paywall is used to finance costly editorial work. It is one of several models with which the user participates in the financing of authors and editors.
There are various paywall models. In one model, the user can read a certain number of articles for free, while others are subject to a charge. This model is called a soft pay wall. The number of articles accessed for free can be based on a certain period of time, for example 20 per month or 5 per day
. Once the user has reached this number, they are asked to pay the fee or take out a subscription. This contrasts with the hard paywall, where a subscription must first be taken out before the user can access the articles at all. This variant is the riskiest, with most users bailing out. It is suitable for niche markets that are not served by other editorial teams, or only to a limited extent. Both paywall models can also be combined, whereby in the combination model premium content is marketed using a hard paywall, while other content is marketed using a soft paywall.