Free Magazines Online


Am I the only one who wonders why glossy magazines publish all their content online? I don't get that business model (if you can call it that). Even in the heyday of dot-com nuttiness, I never understood what magazines had to gain by throwing all their content on the web for free. They charge less for online ads and don't get money you pay to offset printing and other costs, etc. Now that we're more and more mobile - which means that I can read Wired in the airport via my WiFi - I almost never have a reason to buy a glossy ever and that's going to continue.

Being in another country - actually - I like to buy the glossy because of the ads, which tell a lot about what companies are focusing on and what they think customers want. But for the most part, I just read Wired, FastCompany, Business2.0, Time and others online now. I guess AOL is going to start putting their mags behind the AOL pay-service wall and I think that's smart. All these companies are dumb-ass for putting the stuff online in the first place.

Another example is newspapers. The most popular national newspaper here in Spain, El Pais just did a great looking redesign AND shut off most of its content to pay-only subscribers. Good for them! Here in Spain, where most people are famous tightwads, I can't imagine El Pais getting many subscribers, but still, it's the right way to go. Having worked in the newspaper industry for a couple years, I can tell you that a lot of work, time, effort goes into producing a paper every day with any sort of quality and that people should pay for that.

Just a thought I had as I was looking some stuff up and ran across several items in magazines that are very recent, like Fast Company's January 2003 issue. With all that online, why would I buy the magazine?


Later... Thanks Dave for the link love. One example I forgot about is The Economist, which keeps about half of its mag under subscription wraps - this might be the way to go, using some of your content as teaser for the rest. Who knows... I really shouldn't be looking a gift horse in the schnozz should I?

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