Tag Archives: wired.com

Don’t Click Here

Google recently announced that they will allow publishers set a daily limit on the numbers of articles readers can access and read for free while using the google search engine. Now publishers can limit each individual reader to five views a day, making some content unavailable.

The staff at wired.com explains it better than I ever could, so here is what that actually means for viewers:

“If your site requires a subscription or registration to see pages of the site, those locked-down pages won’t show up in search results. News sites have dealt with this by taking advantage of Google’s First Click Free program, where any single page of a website can be seen, as long as the visitor shows up through a link from Google News or Google web search. If a user then clicks on another link to the site from within the site or from Google, the website can push the user to register, sign in or subscribe.”

And here’s the reasoning behind the idea:

“The idea is to allow searchers to find and read content on pay sites like the Wall Street Journal or mandatory-registration sites like the New York Times, while simultaneously letting those sites encourage readers to sign up. Being included in the Google index is important for news sites, because Google search traffic can make up a majority of traffic to news sites. Google News, the automated newspaper created through aggregated links, drives comparatively little traffic and is not a large revenue maker for Google.”

So much for the season of giving… ouch, I know. Sorry I just couldn’t help myself.

I think it will take a while for this to actually affect consumers, if at all. People will probably just start getting their information from other sources if they are annoyed enough. What do you think? Will this change your online practices?

If you’re feed up enough I guess you could just try yahoo.

The Future is Free?

Wired.com’s  Chris Anderson wrote a piece in 2008 entitled Free! Why $0.00 is the Future of Business.

In the article he makes some great points, but at times his ideas seem wild and impossible.  While I realize that most content on the internet is currently free, I do not see how that is going to be possible in the future. With newspapers and magazines trying to be online only, how will they turn a profit if they do not charge for their content?

Right now advertising online is not making the profit newspapers wish it was. Thus, newspapers cannot rely on that alone to keep a publication afloat.

Perhaps the most interesting Anderson discusses is “Freemium”,  where:

 The traditional free sample is the promotional candy bar handout or the diapers mailed to a new mother. Since these samples have real costs, the manufacturer gives away only a tiny quantity — hoping to hook consumers and stimulate demand for many more.

In the freemium model, that means for every user who pays for the premium version of the site, 99 others get the basic free version. The reason this works is that the cost of serving the 99 percent is close enough to zero to call it nothing.

The example Anderson gives is Flickr and Flickr Pro. Users do not have to pay for Flickr but Flickr Pro costs roughly $25 a year. I understand this business model but how is that  going to work for newspapers or magazines, when the mere thought of paying for an online subscription makes people livid?

As Anderson states in his article, information wants to be free and free is what we want information to be, so soon it will all be free online. This is a bold statement, one that I’m not ready to admit to working  just yet.