I am an avid iGoogle user and like the ability to browse headlines and get a quick grasp of the top stories from around the world. I see this as akin to walking around the corner to the newsstand and reviewing the cover stories and newspaper headlines to determine what to buy. The beauty of the web is most of the content is free and I can click through to as many stories as I have time to read.

A recent report from research firm Outsell says that 44% of Google News visitors never click on a headline to read further. Typically, people have Google News or iGoogle (substitute your site as needed) customized to the topics they are most interested in. If people are not clicking through on stories relevant to their interest, does that mean headlines aren’t interesting enough for today’s digital society or they do not have the time to read more? Either way, reading headlines does not equate to reading the articles. Hopefully this does not lead to headlines that are more sensational just to get people to click through.

Another development this week comes from the New York Times Company. Not too long ago, my boss Steve McAbee wrote about the a Forrester report, Publishers Need Multichannel Subscription Models, which concluded a majority of people view the web as a free service and are unwilling to pay for online content. Well, it appears NYTimes.com will give it a go in 2011 with a metered approach. It will be quite interesting to see how successful this is and if more news organizations implement a similar model.

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