Mission Loc@l has many facets to it. Most of our community come to the site as a go-to source for news and information on the Mission District. And we love you for that.

Mission Loc@l is also an educational tool for journalism students from U.C. Berkeley and beyond.

Mission Loc@l is also a nonprofit that must experiment to find ways to sustain itself. Today we are launching a new one.

Many sites including the Dallas Morning News and New York Times have implemented various versions of paywalls. Your access to content is limited unless you reach for your wallet. That is not the model we are exploring.

Instead we’ve decided to try an alternative to paywalls. For the next few weeks we will be experimenting with Google Consumer Surveys. This means some content will be hidden to the reader until they take a survey, share the article you are reading or donate. The choice is yours and every choice helps Mission Loc@l stay strong so we can keep the community informed. The questionnaires are usually one or two questions. Pretty painless and then you are off on your way to keep reading the latest news from Mission Loc@l.

This is a test for us. A way for our readers to help keep Mission Local strong with just two quick clicks of a button and your honest feedback.

And we want your honest feedback, both for the surveys and your reaction to the surveys. Is this something you love, hate or are you indifferent.

You can try a questionnaire below to find the missing text to this article and if you encounter it at future articles, we hope you find Mission Loc@l valuable enough to participate.

(If you see a survey here – take it in order to keep reading)


Did you like the experience? What were your thoughts? If you want to help us out even more – leave a comment. Some of my personal thoughts on this experiment can be found here.


Follow Us

David Cohn has written for Wired, Seed, Columbia Journalism Review and The New York Times among other publications. His personal blog is http://blog.digidave.org

Join the Conversation


Please keep your comments short and civil. Do not leave multiple comments under multiple names on one article. We will zap comments that fail to adhere to these short and very easy-to-follow rules.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Can you tell us what google is doing with this survey info – selling it to others, using it for their own advertising. . .? And are they capturing our individual isp address, for that personal dossier they are supposedly creating on all of their users? Not that it makes a difference, its just nice to know how our info is being used.

    1. Hi Tessa
      I don’t know about the ISP – but I do imagine Google is getting some general demographic data about you (like location and what browser you are using) along with the specific answer you provide.

      And yes – they will be aggregating that data (not PERSONAL information like your name/email/etc) and then selling that off to marketers or other business.

      But the good news is that Google is also paying Mission Local for every response we collect. Thus – Mission Local makes some money as well and it allows us to keep pushing forward.

      Thanks for the honest question and reaction. It is most helpful as we try this experiment.

      1. I’m the product manager for Google Consumer Surveys, the microsurvey paywalls that are running on Mission Local. I just wanted to clarify what Google is doing with the data we collect.

        We only share these answers with the researcher that paid to ask the question. All the answers are anonymous and are aggregated before the reports are given to the researchers paying for these responses. Google doesn’t use these answers for any other purpose, combine it with any other data or use it to sell advertisements. We are just acting as the middleman for researchers and publishers.

  2. Could you explain how these surveys are actually keeping Mission Local strong? Do you get paid for each completed survey?

    It’s easy enough if you keep it as simple as this. As a long time reader of your blog I’m happy to help out.

    1. Hi Lou
      Yes – you are 100% on the mark. Mission Local makes a little money for every survey that is taken. Every little bit helps. We do not intend for the surveys to go beyond the experience you probably just went through (which is relatively quick/painless).

  3. people gotta start paying for content, everybody wants everything an artist can possible create for free. People WAKE UP and support artist and all avenues for artist that you find benefits your life. $$$ isn’t real, give it away!