Monday, 29 October 2007

FT extends free access offer

I'm a regular user of but have always had to pay for that service. The price has come down from the £150+pa I was charged when it launched to £36pa now. But it looks as if that will be free now. A few weeks ago, the FT announced that readers who register could have access to 30 news items free per month. They would also allow free access to older items. (This is particularly useful to us 'bloggers' who put links to FT stories on our pieces only to find that after 24 hours readers cannot access them unless they, too, are subscribers)

Today, has announced a deal with Google (and 30 other partners) for its "First click free" service. Basically if you click through from Google, the "First click" doesn't count against your monthly tally.

Personally, I don't see why they don't make the whole lot free. It looks as if the WSJ will do just that now that Murdoch is in charge. Subscriptions for news services are really starting to sound so 'yesterday'. This might seem a bit alarming for someone who has spent 21 years building a business based entirely around subscriptions!

I should add that I was alerted to this from the excellent StrategyEye from MarketClusters. You can read their take on this story FT to allow free access from Google to their stories. I should also admit to being a shareholder in MarketClusters. I really rate their service very highly - which is the reason I became as shareholder in the first place. Currently, it's very Web 2.0 oriented. But I understand there are moves afoot to broaden the appeal. StrategyEye now tracks deals and opinions on over 10,000 companies globally– monitoring over 4,000 News and Blog sources every few minutes and indexing almost 40,000 digitalmedia stories daily – as well as the commentaries from their growing team of in-house analysts. I see some ex-Ovum people have recently joined. StrategyEye are currently offering a month's free trial.

Footnote - Some readers might note an inconsistency between my comments on free access and subscriptions. Personally I do think that StrategyEye should make their daily "free" and get their revenue from advertising. That doesn't mean that their more 'in-depth' analysis cannot be available only on subscription though. Indeed, any old Holway followers will know that was exactly the successful model we followed with Hotnews (free) and the Holway Report (paid for).

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