“People who have studied the information age at this point recognize that there were a bunch of problems and side effects to the fact that people weren’t asked to pay for content in the early years of the internet.”
Wired’s brand and mission may align it closely with the koan of the internet revolution that “information wants to be free,” but the days of unlimited free content at Wired.com are coming to an end. Starting today, visitors to Wired.com will be able to read four articles a month, plus a snippet of a fifth article, before Wired asks them to subscribe. A yearly subscription will have an introductory rate of $20 (final pricing is TBD), and will include access to Wired’s website as well as its print and digital editions….
“ANURAG ACHARYA’S PROBLEM was that the Google search bar is very smart, but also kind of dumb. As a Googler working on search 13 years ago, Acharya wanted to make search results encompass scholarly journal articles. A laudable goal, because unlike the open web, most of the raw output of scientific research was invisible—hidden behind paywalls. People might not even know it existed. “I grew up in India, and most of the time you didn’t even know if something existed. If you knew it existed, you could try to get it,” Acharya says. “‘How do I get access?’ is a second problem. If I don’t know about it, I won’t even try.”
We’ve all seen it. You open your web browser, head to your favorite site, and instead are met with an ominous message: “Your connection to this site is not secure,” followed by a warning that any information you enter could be stolen by unnamed attackers.
How could your favorite site betray you like this? Continue reading ““Just Do It.” Publishers Tackle the Painful Transition to HTTPS”
After two years of experimenting with affiliate links inside its coverage of tech and gift guides, the Condé Nast-owned Wired has rebooted its product review pages to make them more easily shoppable, hired three new editorial staffers for a gear reviews team that now totals seven and beefed up its distribution strategy with the launch of a dedicated gear newsletter and content licensing strategy. The moves, which the company is announcing on Nov. 21, are part of Wired’s effort to bolster what its senior editor Michael Calore deems an important revenue stream for the publisher. Continue reading “‘We were leaving money on the table’: How Wired is diving into commerce content”
Tech publisher Wired is revamping its mobile site in an effort to improve page speed.
Today, Wired is introducing a so-called Progressive Web App, which is a Google-backed protocol that lets web developers build mobile sites that load quickly like an app. Wired plans to make it available to a small number of users for about a month before rolling it out to all of its users, said Zack Tollman, Wired’s app architect. Unlike publisher apps for iOS or Android, PWAs are accessed through the open web like a regular website and don’t have to be downloaded. Once Wired’s PWA is rolled out to all users, Wired.com will function as a PWA for anyone who accesses the site through Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers.
Wired believes a PWA will increase its page speed, which will get users to view more articles and result in more impressions per session. So, it deployed two web developers to work full time and four product managers to spend part of their time on the project for three months. The publisher is also looking at building products on top of the PWA, since PWAs allow for swiping interactivity, which opens the door to products like Snapchat-like mobile cards. That’s all down the road: The initial version rolling out is the same design and functionality as Wired’s mobile site. About 70 percent of Wired’s 11 million unique visitors last month came from mobile, according to comScore.
Even though Google announced PWAs in May 2016, Wired had to use its finite resources — it usually has six engineers and web developers working on its site — to finish other tech projects before it could create a PWA. For example, in the second half of 2016, Wired adopted HTTPS to make its site more secure and HTTP/2, which is supposed to improve page-load time by compressing data for ad servers.
Other publishers that have adopted PWAs are The Washington Post, the Guardian, The Weather Company, Forbes and Financial Times. Google did not reply to an interview request for this story. Wired is the first Condé Nast property to roll out a PWA.
“I imagine [other Condé Nast titles] will do PWA; we are just ahead of the curve a bit,” Tollman said. “There is a general excitement around new technology that just works for our brand, so we like to be experimenting with these things as soon as possible.”
PWAs are touted for their speed, but they have drawbacks. For one, they work on Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers, but not on Apple’s Safari. Similar to how Apple restricted ad targeting in Safari, denying PWAs is a way for the device-selling company to play its card against ad giants like Amazon, Facebook and Google.
Making PWA-powered websites feel like an app also takes a lot of technical work, and monitoring another platform can be time-consuming, said Salah Zalatimo, head of product and tech at Forbes. Another publishing exec, requesting anonymity, expects PWAs to eventually become the standard mobile web experience for publishers in four to five years. The delay in adoption is because most publishers’ back-end technology is too crappy to overhaul their sites in the near future, the source said.
Last year, Condé Nast integrated the underlying tech stacks of all its brands to operate under one platform, which should make it easier for other Condé Nast sites to adopt PWAs, Tollman said.
PWAs cache content, which speeds up the loading of ads and content. But users shouldn’t notice any difference to the site’s overall design, and salespeople shouldn’t see any change to the inventory they sell, said Robbie Sauerberg, gm of advertising at Wired Media Group, noting that Wired’s sales team hasn’t had any concerns about its mobile site changing.
Another publishing source, however, had a different experience after launching a PWA. For this publisher, reworking its mobile site led to apprehension among some sales reps.
“Going to PWA means refactoring your site, which generally gives sales teams anxiety and fear,” said the source, under the condition of anonymity. “The anxiety is understandable, as it is a drastic change.”
Photo via Wired
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