Media Moves

Paying for FT.com content doesn't make sense

January 11, 2008

Posted by Chris Roush

Felix Salmon of Conde Nast Portfolio writes Friday about all of the different reasons why it doesn’t make sense for The Financial Times to charge for content after someone looks at 30 free articles each month.

FT.comSalmon wrote, “This is a silly decision, and I’m quite sure that eventually the whole site will go free. Let’s count the reasons why this move makes very little sense.

  1. It’s a disincentive to read the site. The FT claims that the new model will “allow bloggers and news aggregators to link to material previously available only to subscribers” – but anybody seeing such a link will think twice before clicking on it, since doing so will cut into their precious allocation. At the margin, potential readers will probably make do with the summaries provided on the blogs and new-aggregation sites, and not visit FT.com at all.
  2. It’s a disincentive to link to the site. Let’s say a blogger links to one in ten articles that he reads. Then if the blogger isn’t an FT.com subscriber, he’ll basically be limited to three links to FT.com per month. Why minimize the link-love in this way?
  3. It’s a disincentive to use FT.com as an authoritative resource. Let’s say you’re interested in researching the story of how Paul Wolfowitz was ousted as the president of the World Bank. The FT covered that story very well, in dozens of articles. But you can’t read them all, and it’s not obvious which are the “best” ones, so you end up using some other, free source of information instead.”

Read more here.

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