Saturday, October 16, 2004

"From Pull to Point: How to Save The Economist and The Journal from Irrelevance", John Battelle, 10/11/04

Topic is the power of deep linking thru blogs.

John Battelle is Visiting Professor, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, one of the co-founders of Wired magazine and the founder and former Chair of Standard Media International ("The Standard"), publisher of The Industry Standard and

He makes the same point that Adam Penenberg did in “Searching for the New York Times” (major media is becoming irrelevant because it can’t be found via links) but his emphasis is on blog links rather than search engine links.,1294,64110,00.html

I added a comment to his blog entry and linked to my description of SubscriptionPal.



From Pull to Point: How to Save The Economist and The Journal from Irrelevance

by John Battelle




The real issue is how paid registration is handled. I find, increasingly, that sites which wall themselves off are becoming irrelevant. Not because the writing or analysis is necessarily flawed (though honestly, I don't trust journalists who eschew the blogosphere), but rather because their business model is. In today's ecosystem of news, the greatest sin is to cut oneself off from the conversation. Both the Economist and the Journal have done that.


”So what is to be done? My suggestion is simple: Take the plunge and allow deep linking. Notice I did not say abandon paid registration, in fact, I support it. Publishers can let the bloggers link to any story they post, but limit further consumption of their site to paid subscribers.


“I'd be willing to wager that the benefit of allowing the blogosphere to link to you will more than make up for potential lost subscribers. First off, if you as a publisher do not offer additional paid subscription benefits beyond the articles themselves, you're not paying attention to your community. And in any case, many folks will pay to subscribe to a site which is continually being linked to. In fact, I'd wager that the landing pages from blog links might be the most lucrative place a publisher can capture new subscribers. It's a massive opportunity to convert: the reader has come to your site on the recommendation of a trusted source (the blog he or she is reading). It's pretty certain that if you make that page inviting, and use it as an opportunity to sell the reader on the value of the rest of your site, that that reader will eventually feel like the Journal is worthy of his or her support.


“Why? In short, if a reader finds him or herself pointed to the Journal on a regular basis, that reader knows that by subscribing to the Journal, he or she would be more in the know. After all, all of the blogs read and point to the Journal, the reader thinks, so perhaps I should read it too. Before subscribing, the only time a reader might find out something in the Journal is if someone points to it (a far sight from where things stand today, by the way). But if they subscribe, they can get their own RSS feeds, and be first to know something. And, in the end, isn't that what drives subscription sales?


“Net net, I think allowing deep linking will drive subscription sales, rather than attenuate them.”


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