Another new pay wall: Finance and Commerce’s free era ends Wednesday

The business-news site will be scampering into pay territory Aug. 25. It shouldn’t be a big surprise; Finance and Commerce is owned by the same folks who pushed Politics in Minnesota behind the pay wall on Monday.

F&C’s price is higher than PIM’s — $229 a year, though there is a $24-for-30-days trial offer. That fee does include five-day-a-week delivery of the paper version.

Unlike PIM, which is a relative upstart and mostly digital for some time, F&C has been around since 1887 as a print repository for public notices. The paper employs journalists as a condition of Minnesota Statute 331A.02: If you want public notice cash and publish more than once a week, 25 percent of your news columns must be “devoted to news of local interest to the community which it purports to serve.”

The title’s owner, Dolan Media, has made it clear it wants all its news sites (which includes Minnesota Lawyer) behind pay walls, believing users must pay the cost of providing content — or in the case of legal notices, for database access.

F&C appears to be the final local piece of that strategy. Dolan’s sites don’t get big traffic, so I’m guessing any advertising falloff is minimal. The F&C site itself looks like it got a design upgrade in anticipation of the move.

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by William Lindeke on 08/19/2010 - 11:02 am.

    That’s really too bad. There was a lot of good stuff there. I guess I’ll never link to one of their stories again.

  2. Submitted by Rick Prescott on 08/19/2010 - 11:45 am.

    David, you’ve linked to their stories now and then, right? Will this change how you approach their content?

    I also have linked to them pretty regularly because the content is always good. This change will put a quick stop to that.

  3. Submitted by David Brauer on 08/19/2010 - 12:16 pm.

    Rick – still figuring this out, but I doubt I will link to stories behind pay walls. Too much of a hassle for readers who only go to that site occasionally.

    I probably will link to stories on sites that meter, depending on how fierce the meter setting is.

  4. Submitted by Ken Paulman on 08/20/2010 - 10:00 am.

    Thing is – newspapers aren’t in business to have their stories read far and wide across the internet. They’re in business to make money.

    I run a website that links to news stories. I know that the sites I link to have nothing to lose from me sending traffic their way. But I’m not going to delude myself into thinking that I’m somehow fattening their bottom line, either.

    The “link economy” is of little benefit to smaller news orgs – if you don’t have the scale to see real benefits from online advertising, you’re probably better with a small number of paying customers (as opposed to a large audience from which you net zero dollars).

    I’m not an expert, but I think we’re going to see a lot more small papers move to paywalls in the next year or two.

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