Breaking Down Barriers: The Intersection of Paywalls and International Growth


Hatched by Glasp

Jul 29, 2023

3 min read


Breaking Down Barriers: The Intersection of Paywalls and International Growth


In today's digital age, access to information and international growth are two crucial factors that shape our society and economy. However, there are barriers that hinder the free flow of information and restrict companies from expanding their reach globally. This article explores the connection between paywalls, which limit access to journalism, and the pillars of international growth. By understanding the common points between these two topics, we can uncover insights and actionable advice that can contribute to a more inclusive and globally connected world.

Paywalls and the Gatekeeping of Information:

Paywalls have become a common practice among prominent media organizations, restricting the accessibility of journalism to those who can afford it. This creates a divide, as these organizations often target an affluent white audience, neglecting lower-income consumers. While paywalls may serve as a business model, they inadvertently contribute to the gatekeeping of information, limiting good journalism to the elite. It is crucial to recognize that financial status should not be the gate that keeps people from receiving vital information. Instead, journalism should exist for its original purpose - to inform the public of what's important, rather than solely lining the pockets of the rich.

Product/Culture Fit and Customer Accessibility:

Just as companies must establish product/market fit before expanding domestically, they must achieve product/culture fit before venturing into international markets. This means adapting products to meet local needs and ensuring they align with the cultural context of the target audience. Companies often make the mistake of assuming early traction in a market indicates product/culture fit, when in reality, they may be misled by a small subset of users who do not represent the majority. It is essential to thoroughly understand the unique cultural nuances and habits of each country to differentiate from local competitors.

A 4-Phase Framework for Internationalization:

To effectively expand internationally, companies can follow a 4-phase framework for internationalization. This framework includes:

  • 1. Local Availability in English: Make the product available with no changes.
  • 2. Language-Level Localization: Localize the language of the product.
  • 3. Content-Level Localization: Invest in local content tailored to local users.
  • 4. Feature-Level Localization: Invest in local features to meet market-specific needs.

Measuring Progress and Ensuring Accessibility:

Measurement of progress towards product/culture fit can be done through customer retention and observing accelerating organic growth. Additionally, ensuring accessibility to local customers is crucial for sustainable growth in international markets. Factors such as product performance, internet speeds, pricing, and payment methods play significant roles in accessibility. Optimizing website and mobile app performance is critical for customers in markets with slower internet speeds. Similarly, understanding local market payment needs is vital for achieving widespread customer adoption. Accessibility and adaptability to local markets are key to gaining traction and competing with local startups.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Prioritize inclusivity: News organizations should explore alternative business models that do not rely solely on paywalls, ensuring broader access to quality journalism.
  • 2. Invest in cultural understanding: Companies expanding internationally should invest in understanding the cultural nuances and habits of each market to differentiate themselves effectively.
  • 3. Ensure accessibility: Focus on optimizing product performance, pricing, and payment methods to ensure accessibility to customers in diverse markets.


The intersection of paywalls and international growth reveals the importance of breaking down barriers to information and expanding globally. By recognizing the limitations of paywalls and adopting inclusive business models, news organizations can serve a broader public. Similarly, companies can achieve international growth by prioritizing product/culture fit, customer accessibility, and understanding local markets. By implementing actionable advice and embracing a global mindset, we can foster a more connected and informed world.

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