Mr. Bauer’s Sunday review of Belcampo Meat Co. in Larkspur can’t be read online today without a subscription, as the Chronicle is gambling that there are enough people who don’t already pay to read the New York Times online who will pay for the Chron. We shelled out the twelve dollars for this month (this is our job), and we can tell you that he gives Belcampo two stars and really loves the daily changing meat board, and the meatballs, but criticizes the rather pissy and “lethargic” service he received, including a woman behind the counter who told him to look at the menu when he asked what, exactly, was on the meat board.
Meanwhile, on the blog, Bauer seems to be hedging with the whole paywall thing, saying that for each review he’ll expand upon “some aspect of the review that I found interesting” online. So that means that two of his five weekly blog posts will be addenda to his Sunday and Thursday reviews, and it means that the online readership of the actual reviews will, inevitably, go down.
Thankfully, archival searches of old Chron stuff remains free on SFGate.
We feel for the Chron in trying to make this work, as the NYT has, but what’s worked for the NYT can’t work for everyone. (An estimated one fourth of American newspapers have gone this route, but there remains competing wisdom about the model.) Was the advertising revenue that slow? A backlash from readers seems imminent.