Magazine article Information Today

Ad-Supported Content Steals News Headlines

Magazine article Information Today

Ad-Supported Content Steals News Headlines

Article excerpt

"Give it away for free" must be the new mantra for publishers and technology companies. And the adjunct to this mantra is "advertising is what drives revenues." Actually, a third component exists: Trust that the search engines will drive traffic to your ad-supported site.

Here are just some of the recent developments that give credence to this thinking. Recently, The New York Times stopped charging for its TimesSelect content and opened access to its columnists, blogs, and archives from 1987 to the present and from 1851 to 1922. For some reason, it is still going to charge for some articles published between 1923 and 1986. What the site loses in subscription fees, it hopes to more than gain with advertising. At press time, many speculated that The Wall Street Journal would soon follow suit. Barbara Quint's NewsBreak explored the potential impact on the subscription services for The Times offered by LexisNexis, ProQuest, and Factiva.

Elsevier launched an end-user portal focused on cancer research called OncologySTAT. The site carries an array of content, including current (1 year only) articles culled from more than 100 cancer-related journals published by Elsevier. The site is free to registered users and paid for by advertisers.

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IBM and Google each offered free office suite products designed to compete with the not inexpensive Microsoft Office. AOL moved its headquarters to New York, the center of the ad-business world, and is retooling itself as an advertising company (moving beyond the portal approach). Ads are where the money is found, not in selling content.

One blogger wrote on TechCrunch that "[t]he notion of paying to access content is flawed in a connected online world where virtually everything is free, particularly content. Companies such as the NY Times can make money from providing content for free. The fall of the model for all publications is nigh." However, I agree with some bloggers who pointed out that this really applies to the economics of the "big media" publications, not to specialized content publishers with unique and valuable content targeted at well-defined niches. But we'll see how this shakes out.

EBSCO Quietly

Builds Its Content Meanwhile, against the backdrop of the free Web, the traditional information providers continue to build and improve their subscription services. EBSCO Publishing (EBSCO) has acquired 10 social science indexes from SAGE. The deal will bring print indexes to users electronically through the EBSCOhost platform. These are highly refined, specialized collections in their subject areas. Currently, each index is only available in print.

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EBSCO's NoveList announced an exclusive arrangement with Nancy Pearl to offer Pearl's Picks in its suite of readers' advisory and library solutions. Pearl's Picks is a compilation of suggested reading and annotations delivered to libraries every month from the acclaimed librarian Nancy Pearl.

EBSCO beefed up its ebook offerings this summer by adding Elsevier, Taylor & Francis, and Springer to its list of partners. EBSCO said it was to meet the growing demand for ebook collection content.

EBSCO Information Services calls itself "the 'e' agent of the industry." It is a service provider for ejournal, e-package, and print subscriptions, and offers a suite of e-resource management tools, full-text and secondary databases, and related services for all types of libraries and research organizations. EBSCO says it upholds relationships with more than 78,000 publishers globally.

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This summer, EBSCO Information Services announced a milestone: Its online solution for ejournal management and access, EBSCOhost Electronic Journals Service (EJS), now provides access (searching and linking) to more than 16,000 ejournals and 10 million articles.

EBSCO introduced Nursing Reference Center, a new point-of-care tool for nurses. …

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