In the summer of 2003 we were surprised that a supposedly "digital age" magazine like Business 2.0 would throw up a subscription wall on its website. Of course, it was the Time Warner ownership that was the problem. What was amusing was that after we complained, a PR person working for the magazine emailed us and told us to tell all of Techdirt's readers about her own registration code that would let people view the whole articles. She promised that the code would last "forever," but it only lasted a few months -- and when I asked what happened, I got the run around from various people saying that Time Warner would never allow free access to that content again, while also being told by an executive involved with one of the magazines that subscription-based content was a huge success. Meanwhile, some of the reporters at Business 2.0 had suggested to me how frustrated they were with the subscription wall, and how it was hurting their ability to generate any buzz at all. Apparently management has finally realized that, if even their sister company AOL can take down the walled garden, so can they. Business 2.0 writer Om Malik passes on the good news that Business 2.0, Fortune and Money magazines have all done away with the subscription wall, meaning all their content, including archives, are now open to the public. It's about time. However, for the past two and a half years, all three properties missed out on tremendous opportunities to establish themselves as superior brands, since they took themselves out of the conversation.
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