Online Newspapers Start Recognizing That Traffic Is Good

from the slowly-sinking-in dept

Online newspaper registration is a bad business idea. We've been among those pointing this out for years. It's a pretty simple cost/benefit equation. On the "cost" side, you cut your visitors significantly as they don't want to bother with the hassle of registering -- even if it's free. On the "benefit" side, you might get some data about your visitors that you can used to sell higher priced advertising. However, that benefit is greatly dampened by the fact that studies have shown plenty of people enter fake info, making that data dirty data, that won't actually help very much. Yet, online news sites continue to insist that they need to have users register, even if it's doing more harm than good. The amount of ad revenue from the higher traffic is likely to outweigh (by a large measure) any increase in CPM from offering advertisers dirty data. It looks like some news organizations are finally recognizing this. The Houston Chronicle has now announced that they're dropping their online registration requirement to access many parts of their site. They say it's due to "user pleas," but you can bet that it was a business decision, where someone finally weighed the pros and cons, and realized why registration didn't make sense. Hopefully, other news organizations start to do the same.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    identicon
    Darin Codon, Nov 23rd, 2005 @ 2:32pm

    Newspaper Subscriptions Online

    So true! The Kansas City Star makes it really difficult to view an article. They have good editorial - but it's such a pain to read the articles I've opted to never read the publication again - even in print.

     

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    Taco Chic, Nov 23rd, 2005 @ 2:52pm

    No Subject Given

    its sad that its better to get your news from tv news sites....you dont have to give them any info...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2005 @ 3:23pm

    No Subject Given

    Registration bad? Ha!

    The newspaper in Spokane, WA (the Spokesman Review) has such a high opinion of its worth that it requires you to subscribe with money for online content.

    That the paper is inaccurate, biased and otherwise generally worthless (I can read the paper version in about five minutes) doesn't seem to matter - they think they're worth money, so obviously you must pay to see their content. Of course, in some ways they're correct - this is the only real local paper, so local news is available only there.

     

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    Bob, Nov 23rd, 2005 @ 3:57pm

    Registration

    "..you cut your visitors significantly as they don't want to bother with the hassle of registering -- even if it's free."

    This is true. What news sites have always failed to realize, is that online registration does work.. if you're the only news site posting on the internet. Unfortunately, when you have over 10,000 other news sites all clamoring for your clicks with the same AP feed, the user will click where it's the easiest.. and the quickest. Forcing the user to stop and register, even once, encourages the user to leave and never return, because it's quicker to click the next link to a site that does not require it.

    The point to most online ventures is to achieve a critical mass of users, in order to turn a profit. You can never achieve that mass when you require registration, thus you will never have any hope of becoming profitable. It's so bizarre to see these high-priced marketing gurus continue to convince various news sites to keep doing this; only to languish further and further behind in the shadows.. while sites that allow free access flourish and become the popular household names.

    Although I suppose it does serve the added purpose of keeping the prattle down on the net.

     

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    Rikko, Nov 23rd, 2005 @ 4:51pm

    Just avoid it

     

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    Rik, Nov 23rd, 2005 @ 4:58pm

    No Subject Given

    99% of the time you can find the same or similar article using news.google

     

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    John, Nov 26th, 2005 @ 11:27am

    No Subject Given

    Now, if we only could get radio sites to follow suit, everything would be good!

     

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    NoMorePoints.com, Nov 26th, 2005 @ 6:06pm

    Registration

    Thank Goodness for BugmeNot ( http://www.bugmenot.com/ )
    My guess is that all they want to do is to sell off your info to someone to get a few extra coin in their pocket.
    NoMorePoints.com

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2005 @ 7:38pm

    Newspapers opening sites

    Years ago I was based in Houston. The Chronicle's a decent rag. I'll be adding it to RSS Bandit. At least now they have a chance to expose me to their ads... not that it'll do them any good.

     

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    ProTronix (profile), Sep 27th, 2011 @ 6:29pm

    Electronics Distribution Newsletters

    An excellent way to convey traffic through electronic distribution channels is to advertise and create industry-related newspapers with good info and lots of subscribers. We offer parts sourcing around the world: http://www.proactivecomponents.com - Electronics Distributors

     

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    USBid, Sep 23rd, 2013 @ 11:40am

    Feeling kind of sorry for these guys...

    You really gotta feel for these guys, they are struggling to find a way to make it, it must be like being in a sinking ship working for a Newspaper. I hope the find a way to make it, but I agree putting up wall to see their content is not the way to do it.

     

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