Wired News: Whither The Wall Street Journal?

Wired News: Whither The Wall Street Journal? Penenberg on the WSJ and his recommendation they drop the subscription model and open their doors to the traffic.

Two points he touches on, but deserve development. He cites the Battelle meme of irrelevancy due to the walled-garden model which prohibits bloggers from deep linking inside the archive. Same could be said of the NYT. Sites that permit a permalink into their articles will reap what they sow by letting we bloggers funnel scads of traffic into their pages. Highbeam (not another Highbeam reference!) takes it even a step further and lets bloggers deep link into the archives (which could actually end run the newspaper industry’s precious rev. stream from their morgues.

The killer in the open-site model such as the one followed at Forbes (Adam misstates Forbes "…got rid of registration requirements when it discovered they drove away traffic.") Forbes never required registration for access. It was a founding principle to counter the Journal’s model with an open one and make cash from the traffic [CORRECTION: Adam writes: "You are mistaken. Not in your day, though. But a few years ago the site did require registration. I know this for two reasons. Number one, I had to register just to read old friends like Penelope Patsuris. Number two, Michael Noer recently came to the graduate seminar I teach at NYU and reminded me about Forbes.com’s former registration requirement.]) was pointed out yesterday by Forbes.com’s editor, Paul Maidment.

Online operations need coal in the form of stories, articles, content, bus plunge stories, to meet their inventory needs. As long as online arms like Forbes, Businessweek, NYT are dependent on print parents feeding them, they’ll never stand on their own two feet. Force them to build their own editorial capabilities and they sink under the overhead. 

I sense some very interesting days ahead in big print media as they come to terms with their online offspring. The place with the best prospects, imho, is Reuters, which has no print parent and could easily become the arms merchant of linked news by embracing bloggers.

IntelliTXT is bad.

IntelliTXT crosses the line and needs a stake driven through its heart.

I was following some links from Romensko’s daily email yesterday and one landed me on the New York Post which lo and behold was testing IntelliTXT, the contextual adword technology that automatically highlights keywords in a story and provides a link to an advertiser.

Forbes.com was one of the first pubs out of the gate with the technology but pulled the plug in December when the editorial staff righteously stood up and cried foul. Today’s NYT reports that the Times itself is considering implementing the stupid, stupid, stupid technology. Even though Steven Hall at Adrants was quoted as saying the ads are “easy to ignore.” I disagree. They aren’t. Especially for the clueless who may, at first pass, think they are a hyperlink to more detail on the story or a definition. They are annoying as hell, stupid in their blindness, and probably, sigh, the way of the future.

Ad words

This crap completely crosses the line between church and state. Penenberg equates them to the comments in Pop-Up Videos. While Hall says they are easy to process and preferable to flashing banners, skyscrapers and other dancing baloney, I disagree — the news hole needs to be sacred — ads need to be labelled ads and kept out of the content well. Figures Popular Mechanics would use them.

Congratulations to the editorial side of Forbes for swatting it down.

What’s with poker mania?

Sorry, but after swatting down at least a dozen online-poker spams every day, and now a wave of trackback spams from “tigerspice.com” I have to ask:

WTF is it with poker?

My teen-aged son is obsessed with watching it on television — louche men wearing bug sunglasses — and it seems to have encroached into nearly every channel with celebrity poker, world series of poker, dogs playing poker.

I have a dark fantasy of inventing the email equivalent of a neutron bomb and replying to the online poker spammers with some sort of digital missile missive that will cause faces to rot off.

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