Japan’s Nikkei newspaper has decided to enact a pay wall and strict linking policy for its online content. In order to link to the paper’s site, readers are required to first fill out a rather detailed written application, explicitly stating their extended purpose for linking to the Web site’s home page. That’s right – just the site’s home page. In fact, they’ve even disabled the ability to right-click on their page in order to copy a link address.
So what’s Nikkei‘s reasoning for this? The paper said they’re worried that certain other sites might “manipulate” their business stories to the extent that they run the risk of “inaccurately affect(ing) financial markets.” Bloggers in Japan are, predictably, unhappy with the paper’s online linking policy, with some claiming the move shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how new media functions.
Meanwhile, a much smaller publication in Japan, the Sankei Shimbun, is drawing praise — and pulling in more readers — by building an iPhone app that allows free access to its articles.
At a time when many popular U.S. and British publications are finding a balance between piquing readers’ interest with free access versus pay wall-protected “premium” access, it’s safe to say that the Nikkei‘s policy won’t prove popular elsewhere (or even within Japan). What’s more, it limits the flow of information across the net, and thus often (Or, well. Occasional.) valuable analysis of and debate surrounding news.