Once upon a time, Wikipedia and other user-generated sites were the upstarts, pushing against the pay-for-content paradigm. Now their form of information dissemination is the status quo, informing the way 250-year reference veterans like Encyclopedia Britannica do business.
Encyclopedia Britannica recently announced that it would open its subscription-required online database to bloggers and other web publishers to link to, TechCrunch reports. Because a paid subscription is required to view the encyclopedia’s material, search engines aren’t able to index its content. This means the encyclopedia has little online presence to speak of, which, as TechCrunch succinctly puts it, means it essentially doesn’t exist. The idea is to change this by increasing the number of visitors to the encyclopedia’s site through links, while still charging users for subscriptions to view content that hasn’t been linked to.