Taking a note from the Wall Street Journal, Britannica.com will also allow direct access (“deep-linking”) to specific entries. The move is explained in a Britannica.com press release:
Access to much of the site, including full-text entries from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, normally requires a paid subscription. There’s an exception to that rule, however: When a Web site links to a Britannica article Web surfers who click on that link get the article in its entirety.
The press release also contains a curious quote from Britannica president Jorge Cauz:
The level of professionalism among Web publishers has really improved, and we want to recognize that by giving access to the people who are shaping the conversations about the issues of the day. Britannica belongs in the middle of those conversations. [Emphasis added.]
Britannica’s decision is in line with the industry’s broader move away from Web subscriptions, so how does Web publisher professionalism factor in?