I lost my WSJ.com “free” bet, sorta


Read the comments in a long-ago post I made last January concerning the “freeness” of WSJ.Com and you’ll see I wagered a bottle of Rex Goliath wine on a bet with my fellow Brand-Rex blogger, Rex Sorgatz (fimoculous.com), that when the post-Murdoch WSJ.com rolled out, a significant portion of it would come out from behind the pay-wall. I said it would be free, he said it wouldn’t.

Today, a new look appears and still, WSJ.com is still officially (according to reports) for subscribers only — with some freebee stuff thrown in. For that reason, I’m happy to concede our bet to Rex S. I recommend the merlot. (Sidenote: Rex Sorgatz describes the new designs at WSJ.com and Time.com as “a race to boring.”)

The only problem is, while the site is officially for subscribers only, I can’t find an article on the front page that isn’t free. Maybe they’re offering some new twist on the “freemium” model where they say it is for subscribers only, but allow anyone to use it free. I discovered that because I was clicking around looking for a subscriber only article so that I could show how appending any WSJ.com URL with this string of Google News code will make it “free”: ?mod=googlenews_wsj . Of course, then there’s the way you can click on free WSJ.com articles from MySpace or Facebook or Digg.