The Financial Times has seen the writing on the wall — the pay wall, that is. That's the term bloggers use for the barrier newspapers like the FT and the Wall Street Journal put up around their content, preventing nonsubscribers from reading it. With the Journal, one of the few success stories in charging for content, contemplating getting rid of its pay wall, it's no surprise that the FT would follow suit. But the British financial daily is taking a surprisingly clever tack in doing so.
FT is making the site mostly free, except for the heaviest of readers. Newspaper officials say they did "research" — imagine that, research! — and now will allow readers to view 30 articles a month before having to cough up some change.
Hardcore readers — likely current subscribers — will not see much change, since they'll have to pay to keep up with all of the coverage. But bloggers will be free to link to FT articles knowing their viewers can click through without trouble. This could be a happy medium between pay and content models. Time will tell. Meanwhile, we're giving the FT the award for worst self-referential headline ever: "FT.com pioneers change to charging." The newspaper ought to pay you for clicking through and reading that one. (Photo by jimwinstead)