Feb 24 2005
Wired News: Whither The Wall Street Journal? Penenberg on the WSJ and his recommendation they drop the subscription model and open their doors to the traffic.
Two points he touches on, but deserve development. He cites the Battelle meme of irrelevancy due to the walled-garden model which prohibits bloggers from deep linking inside the archive. Same could be said of the NYT. Sites that permit a permalink into their articles will reap what they sow by letting we bloggers funnel scads of traffic into their pages. Highbeam (not another Highbeam reference!) takes it even a step further and lets bloggers deep link into the archives (which could actually end run the newspaper industry's precious rev. stream from their morgues.
The killer in the open-site model such as the one followed at Forbes (Adam misstates Forbes "...got rid of registration requirements when it discovered they drove away traffic.") Forbes never required registration for access. It was a founding principle to counter the Journal's model with an open one and make cash from the traffic [CORRECTION: Adam writes: "You are mistaken. Not in your day, though. But a few years ago the site did require registration. I know this for two reasons. Number one, I had to register just to read old friends like Penelope Patsuris. Number two, Michael Noer recently came to the graduate seminar I teach at NYU and reminded me about Forbes.com's former registration requirement.]) was pointed out yesterday by Forbes.com's editor, Paul Maidment.
Online operations need coal in the form of stories, articles, content, bus plunge stories, to meet their inventory needs. As long as online arms like Forbes, Businessweek, NYT are dependent on print parents feeding them, they'll never stand on their own two feet. Force them to build their own editorial capabilities and they sink under the overhead.
I sense some very interesting days ahead in big print media as they come to terms with their online offspring. The place with the best prospects, imho, is Reuters, which has no print parent and could easily become the arms merchant of linked news by embracing bloggers.