Registration and Pay Meter Frequently Asked Questions | Palo Alto Online |

Registration and Pay Meter
Frequently Asked Questions

When will I be required to have a subscription or make a payment in order to read a story?

After you have read 20 stories in a calendar month, or if you wish to access a story in our online print edition archives that is older than three months, you will need to either be a subscribing member or pay a per-story fee of 25 cents.

Why are you doing this?

We are asking the consumers of our content, our readers, to pay a small amount toward the high costs of our creating this content because it can no longer be supported by advertising alone. The number of people reading our paper and visiting our website has never been higher or more engaged, yet most of our readers have paid nothing. That is not a sustainable business model in an era when small, locally-owned retail businesses are giving way to large chain stores or online shopping sites, and one result is a decrease or elimination of advertising in local newspapers. In short, just like the New York Times has successfully done, we need to create more balance between the revenue we bring in from advertisers and that from readers.

I'm already a paid subscriber/member to your print edition. Do I have to pay more to use your website?

No. If you have paid for a subscription through our Support Local Journalism membership program you get free access to all of our online content as long as you keep your subscription membership current. In order for us to verify your subscription status, click on the link that says "Link your subscription" when you see that option on the pop-up screens warning you about the need to pay after 20 stories or on the notice shown once you are blocked from reading any further stories. You'll be prompted for your name and address so we can confirm your subscription in our records (within two business days.)

You will also need to set up an online account and password if you are not already registered on our site. Once you've done this, and after we verify your subscription, your account will be designated as a subscribing member and you will never encounter any mention of the pay meter again (as long as you are logged into the site.)

What are the subscription options?

A full year is $60, which includes both online access and delivery of the printed paper for those who live in our circulation area. A one-month pass is $6 and a 7-day pass is $2. You can also sign up for a subscription using an ongoing $5/month credit card charge. Gold and platinum subscriptions are $120 and $240 per year, respectively, and provide a way to increase your level of support and receive invitations to occasional special member-only events or special offers.

I am a registered user and log in to your site to participate in the Town Square forum. Doesn't that mean I'm a paid subscriber? Why am I being blocked from seeing stories?

Registering on our site is unrelated to whether you are a paid subscribing member. Registration is free and allows you to post comments on Town Square. While some registered users are also paid subscribers, most are not. If you think you have paid for a subscription or membership within the last year, then click on the link that says "Link my existing subscription" when you see that option on either the pop-up screens warning you about the need to pay after 20 stories or on the notice shown once you are blocked from reading any further stories. You'll be prompted for your name and address so we can confirm your subscription in our records.

Does a subscription membership to one of your newspapers and websites give me free access to your other websites?

Yes. As long as you have created an account on one of our websites and are a paid subscriber/member, you'll have access to all of our websites.

How do I know how many articles I have read?

If you aren't yet a paid subscriber or you are but haven't logged in, you will see a small "meter" showing how many articles you've read once you have read 15 articles. This will appear at the top of every story you read, and will serve as a reminder as you approach the 20 story limit.

If I return to a story I've already read, does it count again toward the 20 story limit?

No. You can return to read a story or to comment or follow the story in Town Square without it counting as a new page view.

How do I pay by the individual story?

If you prefer, once you use up the allotment of free stories in a month, instead of subscribing you can purchase stories for 25 cents each. To purchase this way, you select the "Read for 25 cents" button, which will then prompt you to provide your credit card information and a minimum deposit of $5. Then in the future only a simple click on this button will be required to purchase a story, which will debit your account by 25 cents. When the balance gets to zero you can add another $5 or more to it.

I see your system is "Powered by CoinTent." What is CoinTent and how is my information protected?

CoinTent is the vendor that manages our registration and subscription system. It is a San Francisco company with the most advanced encrypted security features to protect passwords and credit card transactions. Neither we nor CoinTent share your information with any third party for any reason. As CoinTent develops other clients using its system, you will be able to use a single account to pay for stories on other sites.

I'm having trouble logging in. When I log in using my username and password I receive a message that they are not valid or are already in use.

This message probably means that you have not updated your password since our registration system changed on Dec. 23. To be sent an email with a link that will enable you to set up a new password, click on "Click here to receive a 'set password' email" in the pop-up box you'll see when attempting to login. You will be prompted for the email address you registered under and then within the next few minutes will be sent an email with a link to change your password.


One more week to vote!

Don't forget to cast your ballot online. Voting ends May 29th. Stay tuned for the results in the July 21st issue of the Palo Alto Weekly.