From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Paywall kicks in. We knew Fairfax was erecting a paywall for its websites for overseas users from late March. This user tells us how the new system works (it’s a metered paywall that hits the reader after a certain number of stories have been viewed, like The New York Times). Domestic readers take note: you’re next.

“I’m actually in Australia, but I’ve been using a VPN service to watch European TV … I started reading www.theage.com.au. After a few articles I got a message saying that I’ve reached five out of 10 free articles for the month. Yes, 10 articles per month. As a matter of interest I kept clicking articles to see what would happen. After a while I got the ‘that’s it’ message you need to subscribe. Not 100% certain but I’m sure I read more than 10 articles, so it might me that they count hard/fluff news differently. First option to sign up is ‘Website Access’, which is $1 for the first month, then $15 per month after that. There are two other options which are greyed out as ‘not available yet’, being ‘All Digital’ and ‘All Digital + Weekend’. Not sure if they turned this on for everybody this weekend, or if it’s just a non-Australian thing.”

Where’s Rupert? Crikey’s favourite media proprietor Rupert Murdoch continues his Australian tour — he’ll be at Sydney HQ later this week. A mole at free News Limited rag mX tells us that yes, staff have been instructed to beef up the animal coverage during the boss’ visit (Crikey has reported previously on Murdoch’s penchant for animal yarns). Speaking of which, this is what Rupert got up to on the weekend:

And as for where his spiritual home is located, there’s a clue from his Tumblr site, which shows Rupert has been kangaroo spotting. The News chief appeared unfazed by protests at his speech to the IPA’s birthday dinner in Melbourne last week (read about the event here):

If anyone happens to have a photo of a youthful Rupert protesting, you can really make Tips’ day by sending it in. Otherwise, News staffers are welcome to keep us posted on any instructions that accompany the boss’ newsroom rounds.

Who’s that at the door? Last week Tips got interested in door-to-door visitors, of all things. We noted that AGL was distributing “do not knock” flyers — while having door-knocked people trying to get them to sign up. We heard back from AGL, who said they had ceased all “unsolicited door-to-door sales activity” over the past year.

“Our research indicates that the vast majority of people prefer other, less intrusive, sales channels and we have distributed the ‘Do Not Knock’ stickers to assist households to avoid doorknockers if that is their preference,” our AGL person said. Would it be cynical to wonder if AGL wants to keep rival energy companies away from punters’ doors, now that they’ve ditched the practice?

Tips asked our readers whether door-to-door visits were a thing of the past. No, is the answer — and the nation’s door-knocking capital is Narangba, in the northern outskirts of Brisbane:

“To date in Narangba in the six months we’ve been here: three solar spruikers, one local automotive garage hopeful, a couple of (sect unidentified) earnest Christians. Not a great collection — lazy, as you say!”

We disagree — five visits in six months is a pretty good turn-out. Business must be slow in Narangba. And Jehovah’s Witnesses have been hitting up another reader:

“No shortage here in SE Queensland, Jehovah’s Witnesses at 10 in the morning, asking if I felt ‘safe’ these days. when I asked where they were from they fessed up. Two well dressed GC-type ladies in their forties.”

Tips has a theory that the golden era of door-to-door visitors has ended due to the sad case in which some Mormon missionaries were fed hash cookies. It would be wrong to say this case brings a smile to one’s face as drugs are bad, you know. Have you had any doorknockers in your ‘hood? What have they been selling? We’d like to know if anyone can rival Naranga. Drop us an email.

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