Publications Slowly Realizing That Freeing Up Archives Makes Sense

from the took-'em-long-enough dept

Here at Techdirt we have over ten years worth of content, all available for anyone to read, and as we certainly get a fair amount of traffic to those back archives. While we don't pay that much attention to ad revenues (our business isn't advertising), access to those archives (mainly from Google searches or links from other sites into a specific older story) represent a fair chunk of our page views and ad revenue. With that in mind, it's been quite surprising to see so many publications try to lock up their archives -- either (worst of all!) taking down old stories completely or trying to lock them up behind a pay wall. Luckily, it looks like more and more publications are recognizing that this is a bad business strategy. The article is in the NY Times, which only recognized this very issue a few months ago. Prior to that, it charged for access to its archives, but since opening it up has seen traffic shoot up and ad revenues appear to be following. The article also mentions how Newsweek has had a lot of success opening up its archive, and Sports Illustrated is getting set to make its own archive available later this week. For all of those publishers who worry that there isn't enough ad revenue online, it makes little sense to sit on so much inventory. These days, you need to work on using Google to help drive more traffic, not suing it to stop sending traffic. What better way to make money off your archive than getting a lot more people to look at it?
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Filed Under: advertising, archives, new york times, publications, sports illustrated

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2008 @ 9:19pm

    Free Archives, Pay for New Stories

    Wouldn't be surprised if they start doing just that. Might as well share the archives, especially with newspapers as the stuff is in the past anyways and there WILL be other sources to find them. Making yours easier to access is just smart business.

    For "breaking news" stories though, or at least new stories, say less than a month old, I can easily understand charging for that.

    And then a month later, when it is "old news" archive it and let anyone access it.

    Now if only they'll put it at a reasonable price...

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