by Mike Masnick

Spread The News! Oh Wait, We Can't...

from the understanding-the-internet dept

We've explained plenty of times before why walled gardens don't make sense in the internet age, and here's a good example of why. Both John Battelle and JD Lasica are complaining that they never read former "must reads" like the Wall Street Journal and The Economist. It's not that these sites are subscription only (since some are clearly willing to pay for them), but that it's impossible to link to those sites -- knowing that most readers can't get into the site. So, these former "must reads" are put on the dust-collecting pile, not because these readers can't read them, but because they can't share them. Just last month we wrote about how the importance of breaking news is in how people want to share it, not just receive it -- and how that changes how news organizations should think about presenting and delivering the news. The sites that offer up only walled gardens, with no way to let people share end up losing out. Battelle suggests that even sites that offer paid subscriptions should let people deep link in, letting visitors coming from those links see that specific page, but none others without a subscription. That seems like a much more reasonable idea. It keeps them as part of the discussion -- which is increasingly all that matters for a news organization that wants to stay relevant.

Reader Comments

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  1. identicon
    Darnow, 11 Oct 2004 @ 8:53pm

    emailing is sharing -- isn't it?

    The Economist allows me to email stories to other people as a means of sharing them. Sure, linking is more elgant, but sometimes links to news stories aren't maintained.
    What's wrong with emailing stories?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Steve Mueller, 11 Oct 2004 @ 10:14pm

    Google News

    What happens when Google News (or anybody else) creates links to all the content, basically allowing anybody to get in free without paying?

    I don't like subscription sites, and like the idea of allowing sharing a specific link, but I think the Law of Unintended Consequences would have a big downside.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Alex K, 11 Oct 2004 @ 10:55pm

    Re: Google News

    Well, what about a small text file called robot.txt that was designed to stop what you just said?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Idea Boy, 12 Oct 2004 @ 3:40am

    I have an idea

    I have an idea...

    Stop talking about how irrelevant newspapers have become, and just let them die.

    The only time I ever read a newspaper is if somebody leaves one on the bus.

    We don't keep having news stories about Olympus Typewriters, do we? They went the way of the do-do because they did not forsee how word processors would dominate the market and put them out of business.

    It is almost time for newspapers to go out of business too, bunch of tree killing nebosites.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Hoffy, 12 Oct 2004 @ 11:23am

    Re: emailing is sharing -- isn't it?

    the Wall Street Journal has it too. A friend will email me a story, and the WSJ has a special link that works for 7 days from when he sent it to me. Far from perfect, but its something.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Mike (profile), 12 Oct 2004 @ 11:28am

    Re: emailing is sharing -- isn't it?

    Indeed, but the "email this" story is a weak approximation of being able to link in and share from a website. Besides, the WSJ does it the most painful way possible. In my client WSJ emails don't show up unless you force it to turn on HTML mail -- something I generally refuse to do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Oct 2004 @ 2:28pm

    Re: emailing is sharing -- isn't it?

    Anyone who "shares" my email address with the Wall Street Journal (or anyone else) is no friend of mine. Maybe the WSJ can be trusted not to resell my address; maybe not.

    When it comes to "email this" links, "Just say NO!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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