Note To Online Newspapers: Stop Removing Old Content

from the just-trying-to-help dept

One of the more annoying things with many online versions of newspapers is that they constantly “retire” old content. Different news organizations have different policies, but the sites go away after a certain period of time. That’s annoying for sites like ours where we link to those news sources. When we go looking for more information later, our links go to nowhere. So why is this a particularly pointless business practice for newspapers? Newspapers that keep their content online are finding that as much as a third of their traffic is to old stories. That’s one-third of your online revenue from ads, and you’re just throwing it away. Storage is cheap, so the cost of keeping the content online can’t be that high, but the cost of not keeping it online (and at the same link!) seems to be huge.

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Comments on “Note To Online Newspapers: Stop Removing Old Content”

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Scottitude says:

Re: Dumb Practice

I frequent at least one online community that suggests users copy and paste entire articles (including source info) into their forum posts to ensure the future availability of discussion topics.
Yes, in most cases this constitutes a copyright violation but it does keep everything in context and everyone completely informed.
If private bloggers can Permalink their posts, it’s a given that huge publishers can, too. Of course, whether the publishers understand the reality and value potentially unlimited ad-revenue over selling access to archived articles remains to be seen.

Brian says:

Re: I agree

It’s just a matter of time unil the newspaper archives are scanned and indexed. It can’t happen immediately for every newspaper in the country. Especially in an industry that has a declining revenue stream.

The New York Times is a business, not a national charity to provide information to everyone. Why not slam movie studios for not putting up all movies they’ve ever made online so they could be watched for free?

I think newspapers would leave content up forever if there was advertising revenue to support doing so. That is, if they didn’t have to rely on it as revenue to offset declining circulation and more expensive newsprint.

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