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Early Reports Point to Dismal Result for Times Paywall

It has been less than a month since The Times and The Sunday Times disappeared behind a paywall and the only available information about the relative success or failure of the move has been what third party web traffic monitors are claiming. Traffic monitors such as Alexa are showing decreases of more than 60% in just a month and the time on the site decreasing by a third. While this doesn't provide a detailed breakdown of just where on the site users are headed or end up, the reduction in time spent on the website is more likely to be a better indicator of users hitting the paywall and then leaving soon afterwards, rather than paying and continuing to browse and get some value from their payment.

Coverage from competing newspaper, The Guardian, suggests that the figure is closer to 90%, and other coverage suggests that the damage is even greater than that.

As some have pointed out, if the move was a success, then it would have been trumpeted loudly from the other, still freely accessible online, News Corporation assets, something which has been conspicuously absent. Until audited figures can be obtained from News Corporation, the full extent of any increase or decrease of readership will only be an educated guess at best.

21 July 2010

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