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Variety Launches New Paywall-Free Blog Showblitz

Variety has announced the launch of a new free blog its calling Showblitz. Here’s a partial description from the release:

This is not a strategy shift for Variety.com. The paywall lives on. Each entry on Showblitz – short, timely, punchy and art-centric – will include links to the full stories within Variety.com. In fact, what better way to entice eventual new subscribers than great, compelling, timely and newsy content they can’t get anywhere else?

In other words, the site is basically a fancier version of a Facebook wall, but one that may draw in some traffic from Google and other search engines. We spoke with a Variety.com spokesman who told us he hopes the site will “serve as a honeypot” to sign new readers up.

“Links are the currency of the Internet. So we wanted a space that would give aggregators something to link to, but allows us to maintain a robust paywall.”

That kind of makes sense. But it leaves out one obvious problem. Most aggregators don’t want to shell out the money to pay for access to Variety.com. So what are the odds they’re going to link to the opening graph of a story they can’t read–and their readers can’t read–in its entirety? The Wall Street Journal circumvents this problem by allowing access to stories that have been found through Google searches. One would think it would make sense for Variety to follow a similar tact.

Post Facebook-style teases to a select number of stories on Showblitz and allow full access to those stories on Variety.com–but only via-Showblitz. Aggregators would then have a space to troll for link fodder–Variety could give them free access to say, breaking stories with a short shelf life–and new visitors to the site, directed to Variety.com from various aggregators, would have the chance to look at headlines of stories that are behind the paywall. Best of both worlds.

Does that make sense to anyone else?

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