Published on
April 18, 2002

AnaLine
Analysis of Online Media


The Wall Street
Journal ONLINE


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Home Page

The Wall Street
Journal ONLINE

USA Today

The New York Times
on The Web

 


 

The Wall Street Journal is ranked #1 circulated paper in the Nation. However, in terms of online application the WSJ.com is indeed lacking.

The initial page is entirely too lengthy. The downward scroll seems never-ending. This is a hindrance for at least two reasons. Those who frequent the Web not only dislike the inconvenience of continually clicking the down arrow, but it also impairs the concept behind the visual presentation. This layout is also not conducive to people who have slower modem transfer rates. If the WSJ.com could configure a home page of literally half that length, the problem would be resolved.

The second most irksome aspect of WSJ.com is the mandatory subscription. With the exception of the site map, help, contact us and the links to other sites, a log in is required on every page. In terms of turning a profit, this format is a plus, however most publications are of the "free Online information" ideology, which causes many Web surfers to visit another newspaper's site, especially people of a limited income. In addition, while some people may prefer the immediacy of a paid subscription to an electronic paper, others may argue for the delivery of a real paper for the lesser or equal cost of the Online Journal.

As previously mentioned, the site map is accessible. It is another large document even though it does not list every document, which in terms of a newspaper is a wise decision. However, the initial rule applies: only paid subscribers can gain further access.

The help button was one of the best aspects of this site. Not only does it pop-up in its own window, it has a wide range of detailed topics from site features to how to navigate through the site to a glossary.

Establishing multiple forms of contact are possible at WSJ.com, rather than a single generalized e-mail address. They are well set-up to accept all forms of praise or complaint. Editors and columnists can be e-mailed, as well as the U.S., Europe and Asia offices. WSJ.com also accepts e-mailed comments about articles and submissions of press releases. The customer service information, including office hours and a telephone number, is a nice touch, but it should not be stuck at the bottom of the page, piled under a heap of other contact information; customers who need help now are often quite impatient and want general information, like service hours, to be posted closer to the top.

Advertisements are not totally obtrusive. Though on the large side in size occasionally, the ads are at least stationary, non-flash oriented, and tastefully done.

Another good feature of WSJ.com is the inclusion of other sites on their menu bar, all, of course, offshoots of the Wall Street Journal, but more focused nonetheless. There are six variations of Journal: CareerJournal, CollegeJournal, OpinionJournal, Personal Technology, RealEstateJournal, and StartupJournal.

In terms of the online world, the Wall Street Journal is just beginning to emerge. It seems as though they are not taking the opportunities of the Web very seriously. They need to take a lesson in free samples from their competitors as well as brush up what little is accessible on their site through the Web. With the new layout change occurring, it seems clear that the Wall Street Journal puts most of its stock in its print version. Then again, that is where they are ranked number one, in addition to being in the top 20 internationally, so they must be doing something right.

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©Julie Bacon 2002