Quora Sets Up a Leaky Pay Wall — But for Registrations, Not Money

Published on February 14, 2013
by Liz Gannes

Quora has been under fire in recent days and months for increasing efforts to mandate that users register and/or download its apps in order to fully experience the site’s user-contributed content.

shutterstock_14535421Tonight, the company responded by holding firm on its efforts to limit content to registered users by default. However, it opened up three different loopholes that allow non-registered users in, similar to the way pay-walled news sites like the New York Times offer access to non-paying users.

Quora exec Marc Bodnick argued in a blog post that people should join Quora because participation is a key part of the site. When users register, they contribute answers and votes and follows, and they are drawn back into the site. That engagement and retention results in “increasingly large audiences” for writers, Bodnick said.

But for those who want to share their own writings and their favorite answers and posts more broadly — which is, after all, another way to find an audience! — Quora is providing the following openings:

  1. Share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Starting today, when you use the Share button to share on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, people won’t be asked to join Quora to read what you’ve shared.
  2. Sharing URLs. Another option is to share pages using short links (e.g., when you want to share via email). You can get a short link by clicking the Share button and then copying the short URL listed at the top of the Share box. Other people can open that link without being asked to join Quora to read the content.
  3. Open any Quora URL. If you come across a Quora link anywhere and you want to read it without being asked to join Quora, you can add the text “?share=1” to the end of the URL. Example:

As for mobile access, Quora still would rather users download its apps, Bodnick said in a follow-up statement.

Accounting for about 25% of overall traffic, mobile platforms are important and growing on Quora — for both reading and contributing. We’ve worked hard to create the best mobile experience with our Android and iOS apps, and we encourage users to download them for the optimal mobile experience. We are always listening to the feedback of our community, and will continue to iterate the way that we help people discover the best Quora experience on any device.

(Image courtesy of imageshunter/Shutterstock)

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