Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Independent Offline

When it updated its website a couple of years ago (I think it was), The Independent managed to break all the existing incoming links to its content. That was a singular act of stupidity which must have cost it dearly.

These days, though, it seems that the problems with the Indy's online presence are more far-reaching: the regularity with which server errors are thrown up is a long-standing irritation, but my subjective impression is that things are getting progressively worse. Around 6am this morning, for example, the entire site was inaccessible:

When I tried again (around 15 minutes later), what I got was this:

And the last time I attempted to access an article, about a week ago, it was this:

And so on.

Perhaps the explanation lies here:

Our relationship with our own website is one where the paper is first and foremost, and the website comes second. Until there is a model for making money out of a newspaper website, we're not going to plough millions of pounds into it.
That comes from the Independent's editor, Simon Kelner, quoted in the Press Gazette last year.

As somebody who refuses to buy the print edition of The Independent (owing mainly to the presence of unconscionable gobshites like Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in its pages), I don't suppose I have much cause to complain; but as audiences increasingly move online, it does strike me that the Indy is shooting itself in the foot -- spectacularly -- by failing to maintain at least a minimally functional web presence.


Shug Niggurath said...

If you don't buy the paper where does that part of the revenue come from?

Advertisers in the main will simply not pay the same for online as offline (think less than 10%).

This will change, but until then circulation will drop and so journalists and sales teams will be made redundant.

Believe me, this is a troubling time in newspapers.

Deadbeat Dad said...

I would be very happy if The Independent went out of business tomorrow, Shug.

My involvement in Fathers 4 Justice disabused me of any illusion I once held that the mainstream media serves any interest other than its own, regardless of the politics it espouses.

The Indy -- for which you could equally substitute The Guardian or The Times, or any of the other so-called 'qualities' -- has no more integrity than do the The Sun or the Daily Express.

They are all just pigs feeding at the troughs of their respective constituencies.

I used to run myself ragged trying to get them to correct the mis- and dis-information published about F4J. It was exhausting, debilitating work (pigs do not like being driven to market). These letters in the Sunday Telegraph and The Independent (scroll down to the heading 'Fathers 4 Justice'), for example, were finally published only after I threatened to go to the PCP.

One day, perhaps, I will get around to documenting more fully the MSM's role in undermining the campaign for equal parenting.