Thursday Buzz: ‘Free’ As a Data-Gathering Expedition

Why The New Yorker decided it would start giving away its stories for free—for a little while. Also: If you can write an email subject line with fewer than 10 characters, prepare for a massive open rate.

The New Yorker tried the scarcity approach to its online strategy. In the end, it didn’t work.

The flagship Condé Nast literary publication, which had published just a third of its magazine articles online for free, is changing course with a promotion that will make every issue of the magazine since 2007 available to everyone over three months. In other words: If you’re looking for some long reads, you’ll have a lot more quality content to choose from.

What’s the motivation? Here’s the part where associations should perk their ears a little: The magazine is giving its articles away for free to grab data on readership—data the magazine then plans to use to build its eventual paywall strategy, according to The New York Times.

The move comes at a time when the magazine is flourishing on the business front, despite price increases, and online content is seeing a sea change in favor of the kind of longer pieces The New Yorker excels at.

But the plan ultimately shows the magazine learned a good lesson organizations big and small can appreciate: What worked five years ago may not work forever. So don’t be afraid to adapt.

Infographic of the Day


True story, according to Informz: The shorter the subject line, the more likely people will be to click. Now, the hard part about that (obviously) is writing a subject line with fewer than 30 characters.

But don’t fret, the company’s Alex Mastrianni says. Even long subject lines can work out, given the right approach.

“We’ve found that above all, relevancy and clarity [trump] persuasion and creativity, at least in our clients’ experience,” she said in a blog post.

Other good reads

If you’re presenting in a faraway place and you need a projector and an internet connection, this hotspot/projector combo from Sprint might be worth keeping an eye on.

Small associations might find this price decrease on Microsoft Office 365 interesting.

Social media automation tool IFTTT is brilliant. In case you need a refresher course, John Haydon has one over at SocialFish.

(photo Esther Vargas/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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