Four short links: 30 November 2009

Paywall Performance, News Decisions, Sony Subsidising US Supercomputer, Invisible Open Source Business Model

  1. Paywall Performance for News — the National Business Review (NBR) in New Zealand went to a paywall in mid-July, and Foo Camper Lance Wiggs says their visitor numbers reveal a grim picture. As a commenter says, of course, visitor numbers go down but NBR makes money directly from the visitors that stay. I’m curious to see the effect on advertisers now the site’s incentives are not to spray their load far and wide to land on as many eyeballs as possible. An interesting canary in the mine for Rupert’s paywall plans at Fox.
  2. Real Time, Real Discussion, Real Reporting: Choose Two (CrunchGear) — a long post about the Internet’s effects on journalism, but the headline will stick with me the longest.
  3. Sony Still Subsidizing US Supercomputer Efforts — US military buying PS3s as a cheap source of cell CPUs. The PS3’s retail price is subsidized by Sony, driving game sales in a razor-blades model. It’s like you could melt down razors and get more in scrap metal than they cost to buy at the supermarket … (via BoingBoing)
  4. Open Source Proves Elusive as Business Model (NYTimes) — To Ms. Kroes’s point, there is an open-source alternative, and usually a pretty good one, to just about every major commercial software product. In the last decade, these open-source wares have put tremendous pricing pressure on their proprietary rivals. Governments and corporations have welcomed this competition. Whether open-source firms are practical as long-term businesses, however, is a much murkier question. On the contra side, Mozilla makes millions from referred searches and must be counted as a win for open source even though it’s not a company.
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