The new bostonglobe.com is here

My first impression: Nice. No more eye strain, no more need to kill all those zombie popups, no more waiting forever while the site builds all those popups. Huzzah!

It's a much more leisurely approach to the news; the kind of thing that harkens back to the old days, when people actually settled down with a cup of coffee and the morning paper. The kind of thing you'd expect to see in an ad for a iPad, if those ads showed people reading the iGlobe on the way to work on the iRed Line.

Is it worth $3.99 a week (what they'll start charging Oct. 1)? Hard for me to say, since we already get the Sunday paper, which includes online access (for only $3.50 a week; go figure). What do you think?

Couple of nits: My password didn't seem to work, but instead of just giving me a box to enter my e-mail address for a replacement, it invited me to chat with somebody. No. I hate chatting; that's why I'm a semi-hermit. Just give me a box to enter my address, please (Steve Garfield actually investigates; finds an answer, sort of).

The related story links at the bottom of stories aren't particularly related - all the metro stories had a link to a story about the death of some former Paraguayan strongman. And while it's nice to let stories breathe, all those links at the bottom of each story are huge and have tons of white space, which makes you have to scroll repeatedly to see them all. Seems kind of dumb. Also, will be interesting to see if the Globies actually start embedding links in stories, since it seems like all their links are black, which works fine in a box that's obviously a menu but not in a story made up of black text. The "Save" thing that pops up everywhere is annoying, at least to those of us who know how to use bookmarks.

More important stuff: Where's the breaking news, the stuff that's happening right now, too late to make it into the dead-trees edition? Am I going to have to click over to boston.com for that?

For the Web geeks, Joshua Benton explains some of the technology behind the new site. Dan Kennedy explains how all that geeky stuff will let the Globe save on the 30% cut Apple would want to hawk the thing in its store (and let the Globe keep full control of subscriber data).

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Comments

They've obviously listened to

They've obviously listened to some of the complaints on the 90s chic (or is that just the hefty weight of the Mothership back in NYC telling them to grow the hell up?)

Still, way too many issues at first glance. I spent less than five minutes logging in and wandering.

Very clingy/needy "SAVE!! PLZ CLICK SAAAAAAAVVEEEE!!!" red box stalking users around. Another needy box at the footer that can't be disappeared has more needy save nonsense. Minimizing that bottom bar isn't persistent across new tabs and has horribly distracting shadows. Minimizing it mid-article returns user back to the top.

FWIW: All these "interactive/save/tell other people what you read" things are pointless. Why does every paper think they need to have a faux-social network embedded in their site?

Can't close the floater at the top re: questions. OpEd section is buried. Text size is gigantic (so the serif is clear?) and there's no comments yet (lol, not a bad thing: bunch of racist crazies over there). The white space in the related section at the bottom is odd.

The order of the sections on the front page isn't too logical, to me. The banner goes News, Metro, Arts, Business, Sports, Opinion, Lifestyle, Mag, Today's Paper. Scrolling down the page it is Metro, Business, Nation, World, Sports, Health/Wellness, Fall Arts Preview.

Making me buy the dead-tree edition is a hilarious, one-time business strategy to improve paper subscriptions as perhaps NYC again considers selling the Glob off?

Their editorial is hilarious, too -- and obviously written by an Olde.

On tablets and smartphones, BostonGlobe.com lets readers scroll through photographs with the swipe of a finger; on a desktop computer, a standard mouse would be used.

I mean, holy fucking wow! Wait! Swipes of a finger control use on a smartphone!?!

Yeah, I have to go do work now. I'll write them a letter later I guess.

Boston.com vs. BostonGlobe.com

Let me preface my comment by saying that I haven't tried the new bostonglobe.com site yet. I attempted to do so using my existing Boston.com credentials (which are supposed to work) but BostonGlobe.com didn't accept them. There is no password recovery feature for BostonGlobe.com at the moment; you are instead routed to a live customer service chat page but no agent appears ... I imagine because quite a few people have support issues right now.

But my main comment about bostonglobe.com is it will have a tough time gaining traction as long as a significant amount of supposedly premium content remains freely available on its internal competitor -- Boston.com (and the Boston.com mobile app). For instance, I am looking at "David Ortiz says now is the time to panic" for free on both. I know when I come back tomorrow there will be more free content, so why should I start paying $4 per week to see it formatted differently on bostonglobe.com?

I suppose the company could cut off the spigot of free content on Boston.com, but it's easy enough to find commodity news (sports, crime, weather, etc.) elsewhere for free, including UniversalHub.com, the Herald site, the local TV station sites, etc.

Cutting off free content would also hurt Boston.com in the long run, in terms of page views/display ad revenue as well as mindshare. Once readers have decamped for other sources of online content, it's hard to get them back.

The bostonglobe.com may argue that they are targeting a different demographic -- people who like print and actually have the time to spend 30 minutes with the site every day. But that is surely not a good long-term strategy. It's a small potential audience, probably a fraction of the Globe's current print readership who are willing to shell out extra to look at it on a tablet/smartphone/browser. The potential audience may get bigger as more print subscribers get smartphones and tablets, but keep in mind that those people will also start to use their devices to install information and entertainment apps from other sources, which further lessens the attractiveness of bostonglobe.com. Why subscribe, when there are so many other things to do and see on the device?

What could work for the bostonglobe.com? In my opinion, the editors have to have concrete plans for truly original content -- information, community, tools, and even entertainment that can't be found anywhere else. Another strategy could involve working with local merchants to offer products, services, and discounts that can't be found anywhere else. If I knew that my $4/week subscription could consistently bring me more valuable benefits or savings at shops, supermarkets, service providers, auto dealerships, etc., I might be willing to subscribe.

bostonglobe.com

Very difficult to navigate on a smart phone. Won't respond to taps in important places like the sections tab. Wanted to submit comment and I first had to read list of frequently asked questions. Then the submit button kept breaking up and flying around. Why free for such a short time if it isn't working properly? At this time I can't make a judgment as to it's worth .

Pricing Model

If they combined all their papers into one subscription (Globe, NYTimes, Worcester T&G) I think more people would see the value. I find it hard to justify paying for two subscriptions to get good local coverage and good national coverage.

Sorry, should have clarified

I would think it would be fairer that you could get all the NYTimes affiliated papers for one price. The Globe national coverage is sub-par, and I don't care about the Times local coverage. I should be able to get both for one subscription. It's not like a physical paper where they now have to deliver two copies instead of one.

Frustration at First

As a home delivery subscriber, I was extremely frustrated with my inability to log in this morning using my email and password. When I finally figured out that I had to register separately anyway for the free trial, I went ahead and did it, but this seems so pointless. Why not let subscribers have full access from the very beginning? What's the point of making us jump through an extra hoop, and not even being clear about it?

$4 per WEEK??? As someone who

$4 per WEEK???

As someone who doesn't live in an area where I can get the hard copy of the paper, I rely on the Globe website and UHub to keep up on my Boston news. But they are out of their damn minds if they really think people are going to pay $4 per week.

Add that to the list of papers I can no longer read online thanks to a paywall, ugh.

Yes, $4 per week

As someone who pays for the newspaper for home delivery, yes $4 per week to access a news source. It may be of dubious quality these days, but what isn't? I avoid paying for most everything on the Internet but I don't see it as completely unreasonable. That's like one latte at Starbucks. A little over $200 for a year. I've had bar tabs near that amount when I've been drinking alone (not a pretty morning).

I suppose if I wasn't already paying for the paper version I probably wouldn't bother paying for the on-line version because I detest boston.com. We'll see if bostonglobe.com is any better.

Reading, sharing, and talking

Reading, sharing, and talking about the Sunday paper, the actual paper, is one of the simple joys in life.
I work in front of a computer 40+ hours a week.
Kicking back with the paper on the porch or the couch is a whole 'nother animal.

Yeah-

- There is nothing even approaching compelling or interesting enough in most mainstream newspapers to merit forking over some change to access their material. New York Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post? They read like early 80's Soviet Era Pravda or "New Times"- but with glossy high finished ad inserts but without the occasionally interesting literary or cultural commentary. Wastelands.

Not everyone wants five pounds of newsprint

No matter how many coupons.

In the meantime, what this says to me is that the Globe is still trying to boost circulation of the print edition, which still brings in a ton of money, from things such as those coupons. The more people they can convince to get the Sunday paper (such a deal! Cheaper than just online alone!), the more they can get from print advertisers.

yup, exactly. a bunch of old

yup, exactly. a bunch of old folks who don't understand how to change their dying business model are incentivizing the combo and putting their dying business model on life support. doesn't change the fact that it's still a dying business model and they aren't working to replace it with another revenue generator. which they should have -- they have the perfect lab (new england) that could then be applied to the parent company (the times/national).

cripes.

Paradox

For $3.50, people expect to receive their weekly allotment of ads with the paper.

For $3.99, people expect to receive an ad-free online experience.

Odd, that.