Colman to Wiggs: if this is half-arsed then what’s success?

Barry Colman

Barry Colman, publisher of the National Business Review, has responded in an open letter to online critic and blogger Lance Wiggs.

And it’s surprisingly frank.

Wiggs launched a blistering, yet at times complimentary, review of NBR’s move to a pay-wall for certain online content. Colman’s style towards bloggers has in the past been bombastic and arrogant as all get-out. But his letter is in measures  generous and surprisingly humble.

Did we make the right decision with the paywall launch? I think the jury is still out. We’ve got a lot of customers but we need a lot more. They are continuing to sign up and that’s the best measure we have that we’re on the right track.

My gut feeling is that the site will get better and better and pick up more and more subscribers. But we are not on an ego trip. If it doesn’t work we’ll stop doing it. I’d hate to die wondering whether it would have been a success and there’s only one sure way to find out.

Newspaper Industry “best practice” – laying off journalists, dumbing down the newsrooms and using heaps of dirt cheap overseas cut-and-paste material to fill all the space, is not a scenario that I would find profitable. But not satisfying.

Perhaps the success of the move combined with its initial failures, has put our Bazza in a more sanguine mood.

Colman claims that 7,500 subscribers have so far signed up for the pay service, which we reckon equates to about $1.5 million in reader revenue. Even if you discount that by half for corporate subs it’s a good number.

It’s certainly the letter of the month and would win the Parker pen from Stoppress if we had such a thing.

Nice one, Barry.

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