WSJ.com - What are they thinking over there?

Wall Street Journal is one of the only newspaper sites still charging a membership fee for access.  Moreso, as a print subscriber (only because I need something to do on the subway), you would think they would give me online access, but no, they only offer me a modest discount.  What are they thinking?  At the Paid Content mixer last month, the head of Dow Jones digital stood up and spoke about all the improvements they were making, about how they have embraced web2.0, yada yada yada.  But they're still charging membership fees and foresaking millions of users!!  WSJ is one of the oldest and most respected papers in the country, but because they've been so resistant to current media trends, WSJ.com doesn't even register in the Top 500 websites according to Comscore.  Penn State University logs more traffic than WSJ!!  Rumor has it that they weren't even profitable until they acquired MarketWatch.  I am amazed that these guys have been soooo slow to catch on.  The opportunity cost in lost advertising revenue must be tremendous.  From what I understand, Hoovers and similarly targeted sites are generating some of the highest CPMs - $40-50.  If you decide to cut yourself off from millions of users with the hopes of making it up in subcription fees, at least embrace paying subscribers by providing access online as well.

By Josh Guttman

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