Blog» Paywall case study: Rasmussen Reports

Paywall case study: Rasmussen Reports

By Peter Keung  | June 13, 2013  |  Case study

Electronic media company Rasmussen Reports is best known for their US elections polling, but they do public opinion polling on a wide variety of topics, releasing new poll results on its website daily. Their multi-tier paywall subscription system has successfully helped them generate website revenue at different levels of user engagement.

Paywall outline

There are 3 subscription levels on the Rasmussen Reports website:

  • Public: access to all top story headlines, daily presidential tracking poll, commentary, daily update e-newsletters
  • Rasmussen Reader: full access to all current articles
  • Rasmussen Platinum: detailed demographic breakdown of poll results, preview of upcoming polls, access to full article archive

The paywall is implemented completely within the eZ Publish content management system, with an integration with an external payment processor.

Editors can mark whether and article is private or public with a simple dropdown list.

Selecting an article's object state

Articles available only to Platinum users are saved in a distinct section of the site.

From awareness to signing up

Throughout the site, there are banners indicating to users that they can sign up for an account to get a more enriched site experience.

Article subscription banners

There are multiple entry points to the sign-up process within articles, on the homepage, in sidebars, and in the main navigation.  A/B testing has helped us determine the most useful messaging.

Different messaging is shown to different users; for example, public users see this banner:

Rasmussen Reader banner

... whereas Rasmussen Reader subscribers sees this banner:

Platinum banner

Once users start the sign-up process, they are presented with two tiers, each with monthly and yearly options:

Registration options

Promotions and trials are periodically run via a promo code system.  Promo codes are easily defined in INI files where basic settings such as expiry date and trial period can be set:

Description=Yearly subscription through December 2012

Managing accounts

We use Payflow Pro to manage recurring payments and payment information (so that we don't have to store any credit card information on the site itself), while we manage all other elements within eZ Publish: the shopping cart, pricing, users and user groups, and the permission system. Key subscription information is stored within the eZ Publish user account, including the account expiration date, a history of all account changes, and the Payflow Pro profile ID.

For site users, they can manage their account within the familiar site interface:

Account management interface

Here, they can renew their account, update their login information, update their credit card information, cancel their account, and manage various site notifications.

Behind the scenes, we have a handful of maintenance scripts to accomplish the following:

  • Notify users of upcoming subscription expiry
  • Expire users
  • Upgrade and downgrade user accounts
  • Cancel and re-open accounts
  • Check Payflow Pro for failed payments and expired credit cards

Video presentation

This case study was part of the eZ Sessions #7 video presentation. Watch it below:


Join our mailing list for news, events, tips, and tools

Related Blog Posts

eZ Publish websites for publishing companies

Over the years we've worked on many websites in the publishing industry. Each has a unique set of requirements and challenges, but we've been able to...

Read more »

Site performance optimizations: a look back at Election 2012

4 years ago, in 2008, we first met what is now one of our longest ongoing clients, Rasmussen Reports. There was some stress and urgency to their problem,...

Read more »

Related Case Studies

Rasmussen Reports

Rasmussen Reports

Rasmussen Reports is a content-rich information hub, with millions of page views each month.

The Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor is the most visited eZ Publish site in North America.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Hi, we're Mugo Web - Nice to meet you!

We're a group of web experts who solve complex web problems.

Learn more about us »



Yes - we can do that.

Many years of experience with complex websites allows us to offer total solutions.

Learn more about what we can do »

We love our clients (and they love us too)

We've solved problems across North America and around the world.

Learn more about what we've done »

We tweet too

Follow us on Twitter for the latest Mugo happenings

mugo twitter page @mugo

© 2008 - 2019 Mugo Web. All rights reserved.