Why are we doing this?
Registration also increases the value of the local visitor to our advertisers as well. We create additional revenue from the visitor who signs up for email newsletters and special deals by sending them targeted marketing messages. In the future we will also be able to better target advertising on the site as well (which is of more value to advertisers and a better reader experience as well).
Ad revenue with the current model is flat or declining.
The registration database will also be an asset to us in acquiring new print subscribers as well.
We’ll be able to spam visitors to get a subscription to a physical paper. Even if they only ever come to our site for one story
We’ve outsourced the actual spamming to another company so that we can’t be accused of being spammers. Registered users won’t readily know what spam is ours.
As an incentive, any reader who registers in the first month will automatically be entered into drawings to win valuable prizes.
We’re not entirely confident that people will be willing to register so we’ll be bribing them during the first month
Will any content or services be accessible WITHOUT registering?
Yes. Registration will not be required to use Classifieds, Cars.com, CareerBuilder, Real Estate or the Shopping services on MercuryNews.com. In other words, people who choose not to register still will be able to use these services for free.
These sections we’re already profitable.
Do we anticipate a large drop-off in readers?
Other Knight Ridder sites have not experienced a drop-off in readers, especially LOCAL readers. Kansas City and Charlotte first experienced a drop-off of non-local readers, but since moving to a “one page registration-free” model, number of readers has bounced back to pre-registration levels. Other sites that have launched since the new policy was in place has not experienced a drop-off in readers.
We don’t really care about non-local readers since our Advertisers don’t care about them. And look, if you never had content available for free you won’t see a drop off. Does that make any sense?