WSJ.com For Free

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Rupert Murdoch, head of News Corp (NWS) said it again today. He is leaning hard toward making the online edition of The Wall Street Journal free, according to CNN Money. 

Depending on which measurement service one looks at, WSJ.com has something along the lines of 2.5 unique visitors. Dow Jones estimates put that number much higher. If the site were free, it is easy to see that number racing past NYTimes.com at about 13 million. NYT says all of its online editions will do close to $400 million this year.

What WSJ.com would give up is 983,000 paid subscribers, most paying about $80 a year.

That is a lot to give up, but Murdoch seems more than game.

Douglas A. McIntyre