wasting bandwidth since 1999

Take Our Content, Please

It seems as if the Encyclopedia Britannica is trying to go web 2.0. Sorta, kinda, maybe.

By way of their Britannica WebShare site, the publishers are now offering free access to their online articles to “people who publish with some regularity on the Internet, be they bloggers, webmasters, or writers”.

A web publisher can also link to and offer their readers full access to those articles, although they won’t be able to get to other stuff on the site without paying the customary fee.

Of course, this is all dependent on whether the folks at Britannica consider you worthy since they “reserve the right to deny participation to anyone who in our judgment doesn’t qualify”.

I wonder if they block the digital door to anyone who posts negative things about online versions of dead tree reference books.

Seriously, however, is this really a step forward or just a way to get lots of people to play the role of the door-to-door sales force they had when I was growing up?

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1 Comment

  1. Dave

    This is EB realizing that bloggers like to link words to Wikipedia articles. It’s pretty risky; if anyone sees an EB article and doesn’t approve, it’s a major negative mindshare hit for EB, no matter what the quality of the WP article. WP doesn’t take as much of a negative hit in that situation because people know it’s constantly improving.

    EB certainly seems to be in an unenviable position. Kevin Kelly’s “Better Than Free” article must be required reading over there…how do you monetize something when your direct competition is possibly the largest collaborative web project ever?

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