Many print publishers are wary of cannibalizing their for-fee print sales by offering the same content for free online. Thomas Register’s experience belies these fears. Since launching a free access site in 1994, the company has had to drop their print directory prices from $210 to $129, but sales are still strong. Marketing Director Alissa Fogel says, “Obviously the Web’s had some impact, however many people choose to continue using the old media vs. the new media. Also a lot of people choose to use both. Thousands of our users are using the Internet in conjunction with the print or CD-ROM edition.”
Susan Orr, Thomas’ Director of Internet Marketing notes the Company has made up this loss in greatly increased Web-only revenues. These include selling online ads and ecommerce listing upgrades to print advertisers, and opt-in email list rental sales. The site has been so successful that Orr notes, “We’re shying away from calling ourselves a directory. More than 700 company listings are ecommerce enabled on the site now.”
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