The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette announced yesterday that they’re battening down the hatches. They’ll be ending free access to their online content starting August 5 — all news content (much of which has been available at no charge through the newspaper’s Northwest Arkansas site) will officially be on lockdown.
The inimitable Lance Turner offers his analysis of this strategic move here. Choice cut:
And what does it mean for the Web site? Well, you can kiss some of those inbound links goodbye. Bloggers and other Web sites will be loathe to send their readers to locked-down content, which in turn means more online irrelevance for DG news stories and opinion columns. (emphasis added)
In a related story, the ADG will be requiring all of their readers to sign a non-disclosure agreement under which they’ll not be permitted to discuss the paper’s content with non-subscribers.
UPDATE: The Fayetteville Flyer picks up on publisher Walter Hussman’s statement that “online advertising is not as effective.” FF’s Todd Gill asks: “Did you really just tell your current and potential advertisers that there’s no value in placing ads on your website?”