Britannica Free For Bloggers

Britannica Online is waiving (for one year) its $70 premium access fee through a program called Britannica Webshare (via TechCrunch).

This program is intended for people who publish with some regularity on the Internet, be they bloggers, webmasters, or writers. We reserve the right to deny participation to anyone who in our judgment doesn’t qualify.”

Britannica is hoping that by “giving away” the content to opinion leaders … they will drive traffic to their paid content (and then, what? entice people to subscribe?). It’s one pretty-big toe placed into the “open information” ecosystem. From the “welcome” email:

[Y]ou can make any Britannica article available to your readers simply by linking to it from your site. That’s right. Even though portions of the site normally require a subscription to access them, there’s an exception: when a Web site links to a Britannica article, Web surfers who click on that link get that article in its entirety. You can link to as many articles as you like, as often as you like.

When you sign up (after they approve you – one assumes a human is reading the applications as there’s a lag), you’ll still have to fill out name/address as though you were paying for the subscription (but no CC required).

However, the “continue” button takes you back to the “sign up” form (enter your promotion code). So use the “start using Britannica Online” button to go to the website home page. The only way you know that you’re logged in … is that there is a “log out” option in the upper right utility area of the browser window. Notice, too, that the featured video doesn’t didn’tload in Firefox/Mac.

Britannica screen shot

I’m especially interested in the “this day in history” feature for my politics blog at About.com.

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