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Building Magazine embracing the digital age…

by mel starrs on February 27, 2007

in Blogging and social networks

First we have what I class a ‘proper’ blog from Phil Clark over at Zero Champion (open comments, RSS, frequent posts, opinion, links).

Then, the subscription firewall for many articles seemed to come down with much more content available for free.

And now Building are embracing Second Life.  Second Life is one of those things I have filed away as ‘must have a look at when I have finished the MBA – must not get distracted by until then’ category.

What’s going on?

I have an explanation for the subscription firewall coming down at least.  It’s all to do with RSS and competitors.  Previously, Building’s RSS feeds contained the headlines and one or two lines of leader.  Then you had to click through to the article, which would then let you know you needed to be a subscriber to go any further.  Major frustration.  I for one stopped clicking through in many cases.  I didn’t need to subscribe, as I knew I could find a copy of the magazine if I really had to.  Sometimes I resolved to go hunt out the office copy of the magazine, but more likely than not it was buried under a mass of other magazines, pristine with it’s wrapper on.  I did however have the bare bones of the story, which if I was really interested I could plug into Google (other search engines are available) and look for another source of the story. Plus there were already competitors out there publishing their content in full for free.  Not exactly good news for Building – they could have gained a reader, but instead were losing them.

So if you can’t beat them – join them.  The model is already established for newspapers – expect to see adverts breaking into your reading on the free content in the future – most likely for conferences and publications.

There are no losers in this new model really.  It doesn’t cost Building magazine any more overhead to have 100,000 readers online as it does to have 10,000.  It is unlikely that this will harm paper sales (the vast majority of which are corporate subscriptions rather than personal) and indeed it is more likely to improve sales by enticing new readers.  Advertising revenue online is one route, but another is the jobs section.  With an increased online readership, companies can advertise to far more people, making the adverts much more lucrative.

Another winner is blogging of course.  It’s harder to accredit a source when it’s hidden behind a firewall.  So look forward to plenty more links in the future from me to Building.