Extra! Extra! Paperless Society Almost Here

October 6, 2008 at 4:30 pm Leave a comment

By Kirk Littell

When the almighty “they” speak of a ‘paperless society’ it’s typically in reference to paper — you know, office paper, correspondence, forms, spreadsheets, etc. I for one still see that model being a long ways off (have you ever tried to read 30 continuous pages on-screen?). What is practically imminent though is the newspaper-less society. Yeah, I know the Boomers still like their news physically in front of them (and don’t forget those Sunday coupons!) but show me a tween, college student or young professional reading a newspaper that they had to buy — you can’t.

In case you hadn’t noticed, the New York Times stopped a feature last month called TimesSelect where one had to have a print subscription in order to access certain areas of the website (the Op-Ed pieces and the archive sections). With the practice of SEO driving more and more people to news portals it makes more sense, if you’re the Times, to give the masses full access to your content. In today’s media, having a big audience is what counts because those metrics can be turned into ad revenue. BuzzMachine put it like this: And TimesSelect cost the paper much more in the internet age: It took the Times columnists out of the conversation and reduced their influence in America and worldwide. Worse, it diluted the paper’s Googlejuice. Even as the Times acquired About.com, the company shut off some of its content from Google’s search and bloggers’ links. That was its greatest harm.”

American Express seized an opportunity to take credit for the paradigm shift (see circled copy in their ad on the right) and not only did they benefit, but it looks like the Times has, too. Website traffic is up dramatically: “The Op-Ed section reached 560,057 unique visitors last week, up from 245,942 for the week ending 09/15/07, while overall site traffic hovered around 3.8M, up from 3.4M in the same period. Op-Ed columns have also driven major viral traffic, claiming 4 out of 5 Most E-Mailed stories in today’s online edition.” Source Looks like a win for everyone, well, maybe the loggers aren’t too happy. What are we ever going to do with all of these damn trees, anyway? 🙂


Entry filed under: Brand Marketing. Tags: , , , , , , .

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