Paywall Company CEO Trashes Newspaper Clients As His Business Folds

“Ongo,” founded in 2009, was going to be the centralized newspaper paywall system. Companies like the Washington Post, the New York Times Company and Gannett poured in a few million dollars to find a solution to delivering ad-free news to people who would pay for it. They launched their product in January of 2011, and at the end of this month, they will close their doors (and, as you do, lay off their employees). Here’s the now-former CEO, Dan Haarmann, on his way out the door, talking to Nieman Journalism Lab: “I hate advertising in my news. I cannot stand people trying to send me a mortgage or a credit card. I’ve got two kids, so when a Dora ad pops up on an article next to interest rates, it just kills me. Not only is it a waste of space but it’s a distraction. The way that interstitials and some of the advertising is pushing through reading experiences even on paid sites, I think, is egregious.” Above: an amazing screenshot of the front page of one of his clients, McClatchy’s Miami Herald, from the other day.

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