AOL Ending Free Access To Some Magazines

from the good-luck-with-that dept

And, so, the great “walled garden” experiment begins. AOL is officially cutting off free access online to some of their magazines – unless you’re an AOL subscriber. As has been pointed out here before, this seems like a backwards move. Strategies that involve taking away something that was once free don’t seem to work very well in attracting customers. They do a much better job pissing people off. Trying to charge for additional content and services (depending on what they are) usually makes more sense. This strategy is likely to backfire for a variety of reasons. They’re going to lose out on plenty of advertising revenue from these magazines – while it’s unlikely to convince anyone to sign up for AOL, just to get free access to magazines like Entertainment Weekly. They made a huge mistake in picking “lifestyle” magazines whose information is, in no way, critical to readers. These magazines cry out to be supported by advertising – and AOL just killed that potential by locking out most of their readers.

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Comments on “AOL Ending Free Access To Some Magazines”

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1 Comment
Kevin J. Wangler (user link) says:

I agree

Those are my thoughts, exactly. I suspect that most people are like myself, in that they are not going to pay for something online, when comparable services are avaialble for free elsewhere. Even if AOL Time Warner started charging for access to — which I read multiple times daily — I would not pay; I’d simply read another news site.
Certainly,, Entertainment, and other things like that are not going to be enough to convince most people to sign up for AOL. If someone wants to read that stuff badly enough, they’ll buy the magazine from the newsrack (doubtful) or, again, read the information elsewhere. It’s hardly as though the ‘news’ offered on those sites is exclusive to them. Yes, they have articles not available elsewhere, but the information is readily available in many other places, most of the time. The few exceptions wouldn’t seem to justify the expense (or hassle!) of signing up with AOL.
I don’t know who at AOL Time Warner concocted this idea, but I really don’t see it reaching any level of success. I agree completely that it will just annoy people, and drive them to find alternatives.
I’m sure there are some people willing to pay for this content, but I can’t imagine it will make up for the loss incurred by losing the advertising impressions that will come with a significant reduction in readership levels. Very odd decision indeed.

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