Traditional Publishers Opening Up to the Web (and Search)

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A couple traditional publishers are putting more effort into web content.

Business 2.0, Fortune, and Fortune Small Business's website content are now free.

Time Inc. has ceased charging for three of its online business titles--Fortune, Fortune Small Business, and Business 2.0. Time, together with sister company CNN, has also brought the three publications under the CNNMoney.com umbrella as part of a broader site relaunch on Monday

The reason for the change? They see the flood of content causing viewers to block out smaller sites and remain loyal to a small number of sites.

"All of the research we do tells us that readers are narrowing the number of sites they visit in a day," said Shah. "And from an advertiser perspective, it's very attractive because it allows them to build large campaigns that will have a bigger impact."

HarperCollins has decided to add revenue streams to traditional how to book publishing by creating topical hub sites for some of their how to books. The sites will contain subscriber only sections and free content with ads.

News Corp.'s HarperCollins Publishers tapped Waterfront Media to create Web sites to promote books written by HarperCollins' self-help authors, starting with fitness guru Jillian Michaels and her book, "Winning By Losing." Waterfront CEO Ben Wolin said that Michaels' site, JillianMichaels.com, will contain add-ons to the book, including extra recipes and exercises. "We have the ability to publish a lot more than a book publisher would, so the site ends up being a pretty large enterprise."

I am not one to say that because something comes from a publisher it is of higher quality, but the AdSense business model has promoted massive amounts of low quality content. I think traditional publishers are realizing they are getting their asses kicked and are going to start opening up as their offline profitability continues to erode.

If major publishers get serious about marketing the how to sites it may start to kill off the one page salesletter sites.

Robert Cringely recently wrote an article about how search and the pay per click business model are putting a large dent in traditional publishing businesses.