Runners' World Paywall (Read 233 times)


     My point is that running is a LOT more popular now...maybe that’s because of social media, 


    Er, race numbers disagree with you, old chap. The running boom for long stuff ended about 5 years ago. We've been in a decline... except in trail running/ultras... and that stuff is not in RW's wheelhouse.

    The paywall started as a way to replace lost revenue, I imagine. There are lots of reasons why they might lose revenue. Aside from the obvious.... free info on the internet... it is perhaps accelerated further by the idea that fewer people are getting into running now. Low sub rates and fewer ad eyeballs.


    The whole revenue model for Marathon Maniacs was based on new signups... as long as more people joined than those who stopped paying (because they were bored or felt rooked), it was fine. And then one day that curve may have changed....


    Mmmm Bop

      I paid $2 for a used copy of Hudson's book. The shipping was more than the book. Well worth the money.



      5k - 17:53 (4/19)   10k - 37:53 (11/18)   Half - 1:23:18 (4/19)   Full - 2:50:43 (4/19)


      Are we there, yet?


        I think RW has always targeted beginners, as it's a bigger audience.


        The shift to a beginners audience didn't start until the running boom of the '70s, then accelerated with the second running boom.  When it was originally published (as Distance Running News in 1966) it focused on race coverage and training.  A second publication, long forgotten, that mostly reported race results was Long Distance Log published from 1955-1975. Copies are available on the Road Runners Club of America website.

         2023 Races:

              06/16 - Six Days in the Dome 12-Hour




          Signed up just to discuss this.


          I was somewhat alarmed by the paywall popping up because the site itself is replete with ads. Most of their articles are also, basically, sneaky workarounds to peddle shoes, watches, sports bras, etc.


          Are the articles themselves worth $50 a year? I wanna say no, not really. For a while now, the content has shifted from informative to click-bait. They had an article a couple weeks ago contemplating whether fruits were healthy (spoiler: they are.) There was also a lengthy piece from a woman who was savagely jealous of another woman she saw in a coffee shop wearing a pair of $800 Balenciaga running shoes.


          Simply put, it was the kind of fluff you'd put up with from a site already plastered with ads. But to suddenly presume - and without much warning - that anyone would want to pay anywhere from $5 a month to $50 a year is wild.


          A big +1 on this.  I was already visiting the site less often because of all the ads and sponsored content.  To pay for all that is something I'm simply not interested in.  It will be interesting to me at least, to see whether the price stays at $50.  It will take some time to see whether they get enough people to pay that much or if they have to lower the price.

          5k 23:48.45 (3/22); 4M 31:26 (2/22); 5M 38:57 (11/22); 10k 49:24 (10/22); Half 1:48:32 (10/22)

          Upcoming race(s): Federal Twist 10k, 6/3; NYC Marathon, 11/6/23

            The problem RW is facing... print numbers have taken a nose dive, internet ads don't pay the bills, so adding a pay wall may seem like it helps but it gates the number of people seeing the ads... that is basically the conundrum faced by the entire publishing/news world. The good ol "everything is free on the internet!" strikes again. And honestly, in the case of RW, how many times do you need to see a blonde 20-something pretend to be running on a photoshopped cover? Or the same exact "how to run your first 5k" article. Plus, the running boom ended. It didn't crash, really, but numbers are down... and this part of the industry is driven by "bringing in net new clients". This is why their numbers are falling. And they are stuck in a land of sophie's choices. But it isn't exactly like they are alone, doing dumb shit and stepping on rakes. It's an industry problem. A dying one.


            So, it is a bummer and RW is lame for lots of reasons. Water is wet and Han shot first.


            run, rest & read

              I just hit ten of their articles without mention of a paywall. I tried to read the first two, and they are well-written. The trouble is the topics aren't interesting to me. Those content farmers need to get some new seeds.

              I'll pay for content, subscribe to 3-4 services, but not R/W. The articles aren't worthwhile.

              Their shoe guide might be worth some money to me, but nowhere near $50 a year. Still, maybe that's info they can sell.


                I was a subscriber for several years, but recently let my subscription end due to the reasons that most of you have mentioned already. The articles are aimed mostly towards beginners, and they seem to repeat the same information over and over again (first 5K, tips for your first marathon, running shoe guide, someone who overcame a hardship, etc..) After my subscription ended they started hounding me with emails advertising lower and lower rates until I was finally offered a full year at $2.00

                Lorraine Aske6

                  Link spam

                    Very weird, I occasionally do a RW binge (most recently just now), and read probably 20-40 articles without hitting a notice of an actual or pending paywall, or getting cut off. I was thinking maybe that's because I use a VPN, but I don't think that would be it because I don't think the VPN is constantly moving its "server of origin" around once it's set up at the start of each computer use.


                    So not sure why some folks (most/all?) are getting a paywall but I'm not. If I could figure it out, I'd tell you folks! Smile