Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Newspaper web sites: listen up

Many newspaper web sites are exhibiting counterproductive behavior in that:
  • their credibility rests on peoples' perception that they are a resource, a record, an authority. Yet
  • they apparently don't know how to make money without selling marketing data about readers,
which leads them to place their content behind paywalls (or forced-registration-walls, whether or not I'm expected to exchange money or marketing data is irrelevant).

What they don't get is that by doing so, they are in effect promoting other sites who place no such restrictions. "You must register to read our content..." has become functionally equivalent to "404: Not found" for me. That's okay for me, though, because nobody really has "exclusives" anymore, so Google will eventually find the content for me elsewhere. But in the meantime, Mr. Publisher-of-content-behind-a-registration-wall, your own actions are forcing me to realize how much I don't need you anymore.

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