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Tuesday, December 07, 2004

More Like "Lip For Zip" — And Other Non Sequiturs

A clarification for Staci Kramer at PaidContent: there's no "pay-for-play" involved in the HighBeam/Chief Blogging Officer thing except for the Chief himself. Near as I can tell, his initial band of "Partners in Crime" are friends, psychotherapists, and/or ne'er-do-wells Locke hopes will use the HighBeam search and database to inform their posts. It's happily optional and sadly unpaid. Seeing as how most Bag and Baggage posts aren't exactly what you'd call thoroughly researched, I haven't really banged on the thing yet. It's got a really impressive roster of publications though, and the idea is you can't generally access this stuff unless you shell out subscription or HighBeam search fees. From time to time I have occasion to cite a reliable source or two, and I can see it coming in handy then. The idea is, if I link to something I find in HighBeam, you get to read it — for a short time anyway, the links expire in like a week. Thereafter the links result in a précis of the article and (HighBeam hopes I guess) the thought that you might plunk down hard cash in order to find more such information.

HighBeam is not the first to give bloggers enhanced access in an effort to lure subscribers, though I think it's the first to do it so publicly. The New Republic has been sending me regular emails since last June with the same basic idea. Their email explains,

As you probably know, about half of our daily articles are accessible only to subscribers. These emails will include pass-through links to some of our subscriber-only content. We encourage you to forward these links to friends and colleagues you think would be interested in reading them--and, if you are a blogger, to use these pass-through links if you write about any of our pieces. Your readers will get the benefit of reading some of our subscriber-only material; and we will get the benefit of interesting your readers in TNR Online.

I haven't rigorously tested this, but I think the TNR pass-through links do not expire, so that's nice. This strategy strikes me as good and (one hopes) effective marketing — something Chris Locke knows a thing or two about — that's doubly smart because the blogger conduits (tragically) aren't being paid. They and their readers are being given a little greater access to content that's otherwise invisible online in order that the publishers can fish for subscribers in what has got to be a well-stocked pool. The Wall Street Journal should do this. Thanks Kevin for the heads up on Staci's post. (You people are determined to keep me from needing an aggregator, it's kind of beautiful. =D)

[Update:] See John Battelle, From Pull to Point: How to Save The Economist and The Journal from Irrelevance:

It's a massive opportunity to convert: the reader has come to your site on the recommendation of a trusted source (the blog he or she is reading). It's pretty certain that if you make that page inviting, and use it as an opportunity to sell the reader on the value of the rest of your site, that that reader will eventually feel like the Journal is worthy of his or her support.

Other odds and ends —

More sage advice than you can shake a Douglas Fir at: Kevin also points to Tony Pierce's new book, How To Blog, and J. Craig Williams writes in like vein for lawyers. [Via Evan Schaeffer]

I miss Santa's blog.

iPodResQ will revive your old, dead iPod for a reasonable fee, and everybody needs another several gigs worth of portable hard drive.

This police auction site has a great URI.

Adam Curry's PodSquad outline. A Rollup Podcast Aggregator. Steve Gillmor's ZDNet blog has an actual address — yay! More ZDNet blogs.

Cheryl Stephens writes Privity, "on achieving balance and meaning in the legal life," and Effortlessly Perfect, on "women's challenges in law." (In my case it's more like Inelegantly Falling To Pieces, but I can dream I suppose.)

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