Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Financial Times is stupid

So, if a nonsubscriber (like myself) goes to the Financial Times' website and tries to click through to an article, it takes you to the page for the article, but the page remains blank and a box pops up instead saying, "FT.com articles are only available to registered users and subscribers. Register FREE now for increased access" and then there's a link that says "Register Here." If you click to close the box, it just takes you back to the front page.

BUT, if you search with Google and it returns an article from FT, you can just click straight through and read the article, no problem. Do a site-specific search and it's even the exact same results you get from the search on their own website, except you can actually read the articles.

Also, if you try to copy and paste so much as one sentence from one of their articles (say, to pull out a quote and comment on it in a blog post), when you try to paste it, you get the following:
Please use the link to reference this article. Do not copy & paste articles which is a breach of FT.com's Ts&Cs (www.ft.com/servicestools/help/terms) and is copyright infringement. Send a link for free or email ftsales.support@ft.com to purchase rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5bb39488-ea99-11df-b28d-00144feab49a.html#ixzz15VXwqCMB

The development of a monetary system to succeed “Bretton Woods II”, launched in 1971, will take time.
Take note: the final sentence there is the one I was trying, for the purpose of this exercise, to copy-paste. So not only can anyone easily circumnavigate their subscriber wall, but they piss and moan about not copy-pasting their articles, while still allowing you to do it. There is nothing stopping me from deleting that little please-use-the-link paragraph.

Seriously, FT, a big part of blogging is pulling quotes from news stories to comment on them. The message doesn't happen when I try to copy-paste a single character, or even a couple of words, so clearly you have the ability to specify how much is too much to copy and paste; a single sentence does not an article make, but it does make a nice teaser quote to get an interested party to come read the actual article. And if you're that worried about people copying your articles wholesale, don't allow them to do it at all. You clearly already know how to mess with the copy-paste function, so you can't be entirely computer-illiterate. The way it works now, it only ticks off people who are legitimately trying to discuss your article, and does nothing to actually prevent people from stealing it.

The way it stands, you've managed to tick off legit reader/commenters like myself, while at the same time doing nothing to stop actual thieves. And now, instead of a blog post discussing your article, I have written a blog post about how stupid your website is. Well done.

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