This week's post is going to be slightly different, because I'm going to be doing some investigation. I'm not sure I can count as an investigative journalist, because I'm not a journalist and I don't really do much investigation, so this is just going to be a one off. This weekend you may or may not have heard that The Times has announced that it is going to be going behind a pay wall as of early May. Those of you who are aware of such things will have noted that I've talked about this in the past as I used to work for a publisher:
- Will they charge their advertisers more given that they will have more information about the users (registration insists on you telling them your address, for example). This advanced advertising capability based on user demographics would seem to be a great way for them to charge users more and charge advertisers more. I'm assuming that they will still advertisers, of course. This could make up the shortfall in revenue from not as many users signing up to the scheme as they'd hoped. How are the users going to feel about this though?
- Will they be able to persuade enough of their users to sign up and pay given that they are going to lose all of their deep linking.
- Will they do any redirecting of old links to new ones to try and persuade passing traffic to sign up.
- Do they understand that nobody will ever link to them again. This will mean that if they are first with the exclusives, anyone else who writes about it will generate the links upon being asked for 
- Will their journalists and columnists be happy to stay at an online publication of, say 1m readers, when they could move to a website of 20m? This is a key one for me, because they will need a USP and 'news' won't be it - everyone can do that. Columnists and journalists should be able to give that added extra to the site, but only if they aren't enticed away. Breaking news isn't enough, because it is too easy to replicate elsewhere.