It's not easy selling a paywall. Just ask oft-failed entrepreneur Steven Brill, whose terrible copycat idea to save journalism with micropayments met stiff skepticism. His solution: Claim an ever-growing number of unnamed "clients," charted against uncooperative reality after the jump.

In August, Brill and his partners at Journalism Online claimed their new paywall startup had already attracted 506 clients — err, "letters of intent," rather. They then reneged on a promise to name any of the prospects. A month later, the secret imaginary client base had grown to more than 1,000 (none obligated to more than information sharing); by November, Brill was claiming "over 1,200 affiliates." Today Bill tells Min Online he's got more than 1,300 partners, and still none are named. Perhaps the would-be info guardian will let us see the list if we agree to pay for a subscription to it?