Just add the links, already!

By Steve Outing

Old-media thinking drives me nuts. Case in point: I just read an article that’ll run in Sunday’s New York Times, “Cubicle Dwellers’ Funniest Home Video.” (Here’s the link to the story, but you’ll need a TimesSelect paid account to read it before Sunday.) The piece talks about all the fun viral videos floating around the Internet, and mentions several specifically.

But guess what?! From the NYT piece, you can’t click to see the amateur videos. The article just points to sites like YouTube and iFilm. I guess you’re supposed to go there and search yourself.

Now, I respect the NYT Web operation greatly. I’ve been a judge in online journalism competitions many times, and voted for NYTimes.com content and the site as winners multiple times. But I find stuff like this to be so lame.

Yeah, I “understand” the thinking behind not linking off-site. But that’s “so 1990s” thinking. Just link directly to the YouTube or iFilm or whatever page that hosts the video on a story like this. It’s just silly not to offer readers that convenience.

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!

2 Responses to "Just add the links, already!"

  1. Jay Small
    Jay Small 11 years ago .Reply

    My experience with purely voluntary registration — even with incentives — is it doesn\'t drive enough new registrations to maintain an effective e-mail marketing business, for example, if that is your intent.

    It\'s great if you need a profile mechanism for site user interactivity and other participatory forms, and may even be enough if you want to understand some demographics/psychographics of a site\'s user base.

    So I think the dividing line between pure voluntary and any form of required registration (hard- or soft-wall) on an information site may be between:

    — whether you\'re taking names only to enable functionality or understand your user base, or …

    — whether you\'re taking names intending to turn them into *addressable* profiles for advertisers.

    Jury\'s still out, imho, on whether that second choice overcomes the more opaque customer experience of required registration. Our new soft walls may ease that pain enough.

  2. Craig Saila
    Craig Saila 11 years ago .Reply

    When we launched registration at the globeandmail.com about a year-and-a-half ago, we decided on the soft-wall approach. The threshold was set to about 10 unique visits/sessions per user, this was cut in half shortly after, and then reduced to the current three. (Our registration process was designed to be completed in about 30 seconds to make it easy for drive-by-users who wanted to stick around.)

    After a surge of registrants, our traffic hit a plateau for a few months, but has since picked up (as has registration) and is breaking records nearly every month. It\'s probably not a coincidence things picked up again after we invited registered users to directly comment on our news stories.

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