by Mike Masnick
Wed, Oct 7th 2009 8:47pm
A bunch of folks have sent in the news that the Economist appears to be putting up something of a paywall, locking up all archival content older than 90 days, while also locking up one version of the magazine (the one that is made to look just like the physical paper layout). I have to be honest: I don't see how this makes any sense at all. In our experience, somewhere between 25% to 30% of our daily traffic is to archival content, usually in the form of search engine traffic -- or occasionally other sites picking up on an older story. Archival content is perfect Google fodder, driving traffic (and ad views) to pages that otherwise would get no traffic at all. In many ways, that's a big part of the value of having widespread archives -- to bring in such traffic for those who care about it. The chances of such a "drive by" viewer paying up for a subscription to view that content seems incredibly slim -- and it seems quite likely that the decline in traffic (and ad dollars) would almost certainly outweigh the number of new subscribers added. This doesn't seem to make any sense at all. Does The Economist have any information economists on staff?
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