I was recently doing some research and I came across an article on nytimes.com. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to read the entire article because The Times only allows you to view a snippet of the article unless you pay $4.99 for the current article, $7.95 to view 100 articles in a month, which works out to about 8 cents per article. You can also opt for $49.95 per year and you are allowed to view 1200 articles, which comes out to 4 cents per. This had me seriously thinking. What if The Times unlocked all this content for the major search engines to spider and index, then sell contextual advertising around the content. I'm sure advertisers would love the chance to advertise on the NY Times website. I don't have any NY Times sales data but I'm sure that even advertising revenue on a CPM (Cost per thousand impressions) would be higher than the current subscription model. According to data from Alexa, the New York Times website is the 181 most visited on the internet. Imagine the increase in traffic, especially from the major search engines, if all the content was unlocked?
I can imagine the NY Times website being a version of Wikipedia but with more authority because of the newspaper and its author's are highly regarded. (for the most part).
The executives are really stuck in the Old Times. I don't see newspaper advertising revenues rising any time soon, and one of the largest online repositories of information is just sitting there....unable to be accessed. When are they going to realize that more and more people get their news and information from the internet and there is no stopping it.
Update: Thursday July 16th. Advertising at the New York Times is down another 7%.