Yesterday News Corp announced it would be charging for lots of online content, putting subscription systems in place at all of its editorial websites. That probably means there will be subscription firewalls like you see at the Wall Street Journal on everything from Fox News to the New York Post. The stunning challenge to the widespread content is free model of internet news was met by scoffing from the usual suspects.
Chief among those suspects is Jeff Jarvis, who took to the pages of the Guardian to tear into the plan.
Charging for content brings marketing and customer-service costs. Online, it reduces audience and the advertising they justify. Putting content behind a wall cuts it off from search and links; they cut off your Googlejuice.
When publishers build those walls, they open the door for free competitors, who can now enter the content business with virtually no barrier to entry. Publishers who fool themselves into thinking pay will save the day only further forestall the innovation and experimentation that is the only possible path to success online.
He promoted the article on Twitter, with the phrase “It’s me vs. Rupert.”
Allan Murray, Deputy Managing Editor of The Wall Street Journal and Executive Editor for the Journal Online, responded this morning. “Rupert has a slightly better track recrd. Remind: What were your ad revs last yr?” he retweeted.
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