Ok… I’m not really all that worked up about it, but why not be a little hyperbolic from time to time? The point is that Murdoch’s famously high profile paywalls blocking Google search indices for the Times and the Sunday Times in London went up with relatively little fanfare a bit ago, especially considering how much conversation the idea of putting them in place had generated.
Here’s a good quote from Newser.com:
My sources say that not only is nobody subscribing to the website, but subscribers to the paper itself—who have free access to the site—are not going beyond the registration page. It’s an empty world.
I’m pretty sure part of the reason there was very little fanfare is because there were very few fans. This post from Newser gives an in-depth insider perspective on What’s Really Going on Behind Murdoch’s Paywall. And it reminds me of this old post of mine from November of 2009 about this strategy likely being a long term loser for Murdoch. Of course I only considered it possibly as a short term positive if they managed to squeeze some cash out of Microsoft and Bing to be exclusively indexed by their engine. But they didn’t even get that.
Bottom line is: this is a great case study for explaining some of these issues to clients, bosses, colleagues, etc. Getting listed is good. Getting traffic is bad. Putting up barriers between your content and your consumers is bad (almost always).
So we’ll see what happens, but looks like the paywall may be going the way of the dodo, and we can all thank Rupert for speeding along its demise. The new question is how long until these papers cave and the paywall is removed?