Okay, this is really beginning to get tiresome. We thought that the newspaper industry had figured out that it needed to adapt to the times a few years ago when they finally started ditching subscription fees and registration gates. However, in the last few months, there's been a resurgence of folks in the newspaper business whining about how newspapers have to stop giving content away for free and how Google was somehow hurting their business by giving them more traffic. This after the ridiculously confused stories about how Craigslist was "costing" newspapers millions of dollars. None of these things are true. All they really indicate is a newspaper business that hasn't figure out how to adapt to how people want to consume, create and share the news. So with all of that, here's the Wall Street Journal, publishing a column by, Walter Hussman, the publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette whining about how "free" is a disastrous business model. Apparently, he doesn't read our site, where we explain not just how "free" is a great business model, but one where it can expand your market. Hussman's reasoning is equally bizarre. He compares his newspaper to another one that used to charge for online access, but has since offered up the content for free. He admits that the other site now gets a lot more online traffic, but notes that its paper subscriptions dropped much faster than his own paper's subscriptions. Note the important fact here: his own paper is still losing subscribers. In other words, people are looking for something better. He's trying to protect the shrinking market, rather than embracing the growing one. If there's any business model that's a "disaster" that sounds like it.
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